Original Paint 1974 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

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So, do you think this is a Z28? I say that facetiously thanks to the massive optional hood decal. When I worked for a Chevy dealership in ’74, that was always the running joke. The shop foreman would point at one of these and bark, “Hey O’Donnell,  get that Z28 up on the rack!” And I’d say, “What Z28? I don’t see a Z28.” As the seller mentions, the hood decal was a one-year offering, and fortunately an option. And for those of you who follow Barn Finds closely, this is not the 1974 Camaro Z28 that my colleague Adam Clarke covered back in December – but it is similar. This 75K mile example is located in Hendersonville, North Carolina and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $21,100 with the reserve not yet met.

So, ’74 was a facelift year for the second-gen (’70-’81) Camaro, mostly brought about by the federal bumper standard. The aluminum front bumper incorporated a new grille and headlight surrounds while out back, the circular taillights gave way to rectangular wrap-around pieces. This was also the last year for the “small” rear window as ’75 brought a larger, extended downward rear window that did help ameliorate the Camaro’s notoriously poor, rear visibility. This Camaro is still wearing its original stripes/billboard name decal and it sounds as if the Medium Red Metallic finish is original – it certainly shows well. The seller stresses this Camaro’s originality and I’d say it’s deserving of high marks.

We all know that power was on the way out in ’74 thanks to the triple whammy of federal emission controls, surcharged insurance premiums, and now, an oil embargo with resulting high gasoline prices. The Z28 relied on a 245 net HP “RPO L82” 350 CI V8 engine and I can tell you from experience, these were actually pretty strong runners. Considered a performance engine thanks to its forged internals, big valve heads, more aggressive cam, and slightly higher compression ratio, the L82 was a very driveable powerplant and less finicky than the LT-1 that it replaced. This example is equipped with an automatic transmission, and in this case, it’s GM’s excellent Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic, driving 3.42 rear gears. The seller states that the engine was rebuilt prior to 1988 and it “Runs and drives like it should“.

The interior of this Z28 is a fairly pedestrian affair (I owned one like this) but it’s nice enough and this example’s innards show no sign of wear or degradation. The cut pile carpet was new for ’74, and I’ll admit that I always preferred the older nylon loop variation, but it had a tendency to fade, black in particular, which is something this cut pile variety won’t do. Note the tachometer, it has the correct 6,000 RPM redline. Also, this Z has A/C, something that was not allowed with the old LT-1 engine, except for a few examples that were produced near the end of the LT-1’s 1972 production run.

Well, ’74 was it, the Z28 was discontinued at the end of the model year though it returned halfway through the ’77 model year – but that was a changed, and much less powerful car. The L82 engine continued after ’74 but was only found, as an option, in the Corvette, up through the ’80 model year. Being one of only 13K examples, this ’74 Z28 has real cred and its condition is not to be denied, right?

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  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    Kind of like the cars that have the emblems on them,
    & the owner has to have a license plate frame that says the
    same thing (like TRANS AM).These owners also seem to have
    a jacket with the same information (in big letters).
    I always want to ask these people “Is that a Trans Am?”.

    Like 9
    • Mark

      To each their own. Same with any other passion.
      Friend only has NY Giants clothes, plate frame, stickers…
      Maybe he’ll get rid of some after last week LOL

      I have a Trans Am and multiple shirts and a jacket. I don’t have a license plate frame.

      Like 1
  2. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    This is a very nice Zed-28, for sure….the E Bay listing states it has had the same owner in his collection for 33 years….very nice.

    Agree, the L-82 is a very good performing engine.

    In my opinion, the loud graphics speak to the 1970’s, kind of cool, but not everyone’s cup of tea.

    Looks great, and the new owner should be quite happy, indeed….👍🤓

    Like 16
  3. ACZ

    One thing not mentioned is that the L82/TH400 combination utilizes a 2400 stall torque converter as standard.

    Like 6
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I remember being a teenager in the 70’s we the same type Z but in blue. I remember it had a 4-speed and very fast. To me 74 was the last hooray for any type of muscle. I know my car buddies will disagree. But this Z28 is really nice. Good luck to the next owner 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 10
  5. BA

    Is this car the one that was mentioned in that song that chanted about a Trans Am with the license plate I EAT Z28? Lol no I’m not a hater but somehow this year car has me thinking about that song . The car that i consider the last hurrah I had a meltdown over the 1971 Corvette with a LS5 454, 4 speed , side pipe headers , A/C and a Holley double pumper . This car while a nice example is No Rat & I’m safely in my cage not throwing myself or my phone number over the internet without even a whimper .

    Like 2
  6. george mattar

    Great write up Jim. I began working at a Chevy dealership in 1975. I was the service writer. We had several of these come in for service. The L82 engine was a great performer despite all the negative comments. Oh it has an EGR valve. It is slow. The Corvette L82 was rated 250 hp, because of the Camaro’s more restrictive exhaust. This car is a beauty and certainly much better looking than what GM calls a Camaro today. Someone is going to get a nice car from the great 1970s. These L82s had plenty of power and can reach 6,000 rpm all day long. I now own a 1973 Corvette 350 with 4 speed, but despite my search for an L82, I couldn’t find a good one.

    Like 5
    • K. R. V.

      Ok so you don’t like new cars. But the latest Camaro has a great performance record. That even with a V6, or Turbo 4, is quicker and faster, handles way better, stops a lot easier and gets twice the mileage doing all that. But there are better looking vintage Camaros, I will concede that point. But for my money? I’d go with a new 6.2 Convertible.

      Like 7
      • JoeNYWF64

        The new one better be faster for what it costs & you can’t fit 3 adult friends in a new hardtop, let alone a convertible one – 2 will have to walk.
        Compare the empty space & ez of maintenance under the hood of the ’74 espec w/o a/c to the new one. EZ to modify the ’74 motor. & no cat conv or ck engine lights or electronics or body control modules/computers to worry about.
        On the new one, the hood struts will eventually fail – while the hood springs on the ’74 last virtually forever & allow you you open the hood to ANY position.
        The other new pony cars have ancient hood prop rods. Ha ha. & none of them have the bigger window airy non claustrophobic feel of the ’74.
        It’s not so much the motor in the new one – see what happens to the performance of a new camaro(or any modern car) when you substitute in the ’74’s mechanical fan, very robust/heavy/thick front brake rotors & recirculating ball power steering system, full size spare tire, & heavy starter, heavy 3 speed non lockup non overdrive trans. Plus the almost 300 lb front & rear 5 mph bumpers – plastic “bumpers” on new cars are an expensive joke. Plus on the new one you do not have the choice of more than 15! exterior colors, 5 or more interior colors, & more than 50 separate distinct options, like you did on the ’74.
        No RWL tires avail on the new ones either & i would worry about blowing out today’s ridiculously low profile tires & bending their aluminum rims on the poor roads in my neck of the woods – many times impossible to avoid a pothole or even a too deep manhole cover that’s hard to see!

        Like 7
  7. Rosko

    My favorite Z. Really

    Like 6
  8. Mitch

    So in 1974 my brother went to the Chevy dealer to buy a brand new Z28 and the dealer told him that the Z28 package had been discontinued, so he ended up buying a plain white with black vinyl top and interior Camaro but it did have a 350 4-speed and posi rear end that thing was such a pig it couldn’t even get out of its own way at first but after a month of my brother driving it well it started to act a little more like a muscle car, it was a fun car to drive, unfortunately my brother drove it like he stole it literally, that thing ended up in fields and he knocked down a light pole with it I’m pretty sure it’s in the junkyard now,,, lol

    Like 3
  9. md

    245hp out of a 350 was quite a feat considering the “74 400 put out 150hp, and the 74 454 put out 230I think?

    Like 5
  10. 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

    In early 1974 a coworker at a local repair shop bought a new gold Z28. He asked me to drive it to my brother’s home (300 mile round trip) to pick up a Muncie 4 spd. At 16 years old I was beside myself to be trusted with his brand new car. I had to add my own white 4 speed shifter ball because I didn’t like the factory shifter ball. The trip included some twisty and hilly rural roads and I had a blast. Maybe even some illegal speeds and driving maneuvers, but I did respect the situation and didn’t abuse the car. Looking back, it was no super car, but for the day it was definitely a fun ride.

    Like 6
  11. Macfly

    I had a Camaro with these stripe sin high school. It wasn’t a true Z28 I found out later, but it was hot rodded and I sure had fun with it. I’d like to have this true Z.

    Like 3

    Not a Camaro guy. I think everyone thinks they are big deals. But You don’t see too many of these anymore. At least its not ugly as a mud fence like the newer generation ones are. JMHO Not gonna argue with anyone.

    Like 0
  13. James Harding

    This is one of the few ’74 Z28s I see presented correctly. When ordered with the D88 stripe option the fender emblems were deleted. You could get emblems or stripes, but not both!

    Most ‘restored’ 74s incorrectly have both.

    Like 2
  14. half cab

    A buddy of mine had a yellow and black one of these back in ’75 and had purchased an off road gm can and installed in it and it really woke it up.

    Like 1
  15. Robert Levins

    Great article! And a great car. You know, I think that this car is perfect the way it is. Why? Because that’s the way it was ordered. In 1974. Great time piece and very good performance for its time. I’m not a huge “decal” person per say but I love it the way it is. 1974 was a tough year for Americans mainly because of the Oil Embargo, but so was 2020, and many other years in the past. Great times, hard times, I like to remember the good times. Like this car. In 1974 I was only 10yrs old but I still remember the way of life in the 1970’s. The last era of simplicity. To the new owner: Relish the moment of a simpler time. Enjoy it and preserve it. Good luck. And a great article!

    Like 3
  16. ACZ

    Wasn’t the original “Bumblebee” a 1974 Z28?

    Like 0
  17. Daleone3

    I believe this car was listed somewhere else recently and there were undercar pics in that ad. Anyone looking at it should request pics as it is not as clean as one would expect. The pics that were posted showed very rusty brake lines and that inner portion of the lower rockers were quite crusty. The floors were nice but there is definitely going to be some work on this one first hard stop.
    Seemed odd that the floors were so clean but lines looked like they were ready to go. Aside from that, seems like a nice driver.

    Like 0
  18. rayburn

    Had a 1974 Camaro Type LT back around 1979 or so, it had a strong and smooth 350 4 barrel with auto tranny. great driving and handling car!

    Like 0
  19. Bob-O

    Way back in 1974, I purchased a new ’74 Camaro 350/auto with rally wheels, sport mirrors and hidden wipers in white with a red vinyl interior. The dash and steering wheel were black, IIRC, but that red, was RED, especially at night when you opened the door and the dome light came on.

    The day I went to the dealer to take delivery of the car they had a new Z28 on the lot with these big Z28 hood and decklid graphics. The car was a pastel-like lime green, which would be like today’s green/yellow Shock color. The image of that Z28 is totally burned into my brain 50 years later and I’ve never seen another ’74 in that color since then.

    Like 1
  20. JoeNYWF64

    I know you could get an, IMO, ugly vinyl roof on 2nd gen f-bodes(even t/a’s!) that usually covered the whole roof at least on the pre ’75 ones.
    There is a rare color for ’74 – lime green – does anyone know why this ’74 has a “split” vinyl roof?! Never seen that before. There’s even chrome moldings present that look factory –>
    & it’s claimed this lime colored ’74 z28 is only 1 of 2 left!

    Like 1
    • DON

      I would assume it was an aftermarket add on , something a dealership would farm out to make their cars a little dressier- kind of like the portholes some cars got installed back then

      Like 0
    • James Harding

      I saw that ad several months ago. That split vinyl is not anything from the factory and I don’t know why it was done to an otherwise clean and stock looking car.

      As I recall, 1976 was the first year for the half vinyl roof, which ended at the front of the pillar. No vinyl surrounded the rear window.

      Like 0
  21. Richard McBride

    Nice piece if you can get it for under 24k

    Like 0

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