Rough But Legit: 1973 Camaro LT Z28

As with all the cool cars from the seventies and eighties, early second generation Camaro prices are on the march upward.  There is just something about the cleanness of the design before the 1974 updates that appeals to a lot of folks.  While the split bumper variants are in high demand, Z28 cars are right up there in desirability.  Take for example this rode hard and put away wet 1973 Camaro with both the LT and Z28 options.  Being sold on eBay out of Tacoma, Washington, this light copper colored Camaro needs a whole lot of work before you can cruise to the ice cream shop with pride.  Still, the buy it now price is a cool $8,950.  Is this highly optioned restoration candidate worth the asking price?

First off, let’s try to clear up the whole split bumper thing.  According to the folks at chevyhardcore.com, split bumpers were only available as part of the RS package (RPO 22).  A lot of people want the minimalist look that split bumpers provide, so there are two options.  One is a simple switch to a set of split front bumpers.  This looks good and is a cheap option.  However, Camaro purists will spot the change and scorn you for life as a heretic.  So, the second option is to replace the header panel, nose valence panel, grill surround, grill, and grill divider along with the bumpers.  It will still be a fake, but you’ll feel better after you’ve spent a few thousand dollars on the switch.

Regardless, this car has some really unique options.  The seller states that it was factory equipped with a four speed M21 manual transmission, a Positraction rear end with a set of 4.10:1 gears, and four wheel disc brakes.  The LT package included rally style wheels, a fully instrumented dash, sport mirrors, variable rate power steering, and hidden windshield wipers.  Power came from a 245 horsepower small block 350 V-8 with four bolt mains.

Sadly, the engine that comes with the car is not the original one the car left the assembly line with.  It is a correct engine for that year, but the numbers don’t match.  The other parts are implied to be correct and original to the car.  As you can imagine with a car so equipped, this Camaro has seen a lot of hard driving and damage from the elements haven’t improved its lot in life.  The seller warns us that it needs a full restoration.  Rust problems abound.

We are told that the car hasn’t been on the road since 2002.  It was part of the seller’s collection of muscle cars, but retirement from such restorations has ended the relationship with this Camaro.  That is a shame, because the amount of work needed to make this unique Camaro perfect again almost requires an experienced restorer.

The good news is that the seller claims this car runs and drives.  However, you are also immediately told that it needs a restoration to drive it.  The engine bay certainly looks like that of a vehicle with the last mile was squeezed out of it long ago.  The cut heater hoses are a good clue that the new owner is going to spend some quality time on their back replacing a heater core under the dash.

In fact, whoever buys this Camaro is going to be spending a lot of quality time with it.  A lot of money will flow towards it as well.  Is this car worth all the effort and expense?  With prices on the rise, maybe.

Do you think restoring this Camaro is a good investment?

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Comments

  1. Show73 Show73 Member

    It is 245HP, and these cars did not come with 4 wheel disc brakes. Standard Z28 rear end was a 3.73.

    Like 6
    • Jeremy

      Odd, because I believe there was a 4 wheel disc option on 69 Z28s so why wouldn’t it be on the option box 4 years later? I figured with deep enough pockets a guy could order whatever he wanted on a car…

      Like 2
      • Ralph

        The 1969 4 wheels disc option was pretty rare, but I don’t think these got rear disc brakes again until the later 70’s. The Trans Am’s didn’t get rear discs until 1978.

        Like 3
      • Nick

        Yeah, No. Rear discs were optional in 1969 because at that time SCCA Trans Am rules (the class this generation and the much more important 1969-1970 generation cars ran in) said that to use rear discs the car had to made with disc brakes even if optional. They were there for homologation purposes.
        The rules were changed to allow discs no matter what by the time this generation of car came around. As were the rules on engine size, earlier rules mandated a (max) 305 cu. in. engine, by this generation of car you could destroke any engine down to 305 to run in the class, as MOPARS did with their 340 cu. in. ‘Cuda and Challenger.
        This generation of Camaro never had rear discs, this car certainly does not have rear discs, neither does the ad say it does so I don’t know why the Barn Find ad writer is on about them. This car in closer to a basket case than a gem, much too high a cost to restore than it would ever be worth. There is real significance in any Z28 after 1970.

        Like 7
      • Superdessucke

        4-wheel disc brakes did not become an option on the Z28 after 1969 until 1982, with the 3rd generation.

        The only 2nd generation F-body which got 4 wheel disc brakes was the 1979-81 Trans Am with the WS6 package.

        Like 7
      • glenn

        The JL8 4 wheel disc option was 69 only. There was never a 4 wheel disc option on the Gen 3 cars.
        .

        Like 4
      • Nick

        I meant “There is NOT real significance in any Z28 after 1970.”
        The first year (1971 though I think they were called 1970 1/2) of this gen are still nice (with a real engine still) but none of the “must haves” to go Trans Am racing needed to be on the cars anymore.

        Like 1
    • Bruce

      I bought one of these brand new in 1973. They had 245 net HP. They had 2:02 fuelly heads with a 9.0 compression. The cam was the first year hydraulic and was very similar to the the 350-350 cam. with a cast iron intake manifold. If rated on the gross hp method of 70 and 71 it would be about 300 hp. They had 3:73 rear gears standard. When you ordered the LT. package you got the nicer interior with the wood grain dash and gages. They were still pretty quick, I raced a few 455 Formula and 455 T/A’s in the day and could beat them in the 1/4all day. In a top end race they would beat the Z.

      • JoeNYWF64

        Not with the very rare 455 i’m thinkin of – even with 8.4 to 1 compression – in the qtr mile.
        Also, depends on weight of cars racing, hurst or no hurst shifter, & what options they got – heavy a/c does not help. & a/c usually got you a numercially lower rear axle.

  2. Arthell64 Member

    I like a 73 z28 but $9000 for the car plus a $25000 restoration makes it a hard sell.

    Like 2
  3. Tempo Matador Ray

    Good point observed Show73. The 3.73 reared was indeed on duty then. I had fun with my 1970 1/2 Z-28 years ago. 350 LT-1 (202 heads), M-22 “rock crusher,” 3.73 posi. rearend. The sore point of this ad. sale for me is the transplanted 350 (high compression) LT-1. This is the legendary heart beat of these units. The rest of this project doesn’t scare me. I’ve labored on cars with more challenging issues…

    Like 2
  4. JoeNYWF64

    Why are there 350 badges on this car instead of Z28 ones?
    I see no evidence of a rear spoiler ever been on this car.
    Oddly, it says hi perf. v8 on emissions sticker.

    Like 2
    • glenn

      Rear deck spoiler was an option.

      Like 4
      • JoeNYWF64

        I thought the rear spoiler was optional only on the ’67-69 z28.
        I have never seen a 2nd gen z28 w/o a rear spoiler, unless the LT option badge really did override the Z28 badge(which sounds odd to me) – then i would not have KNOWN it was a z28. Why would chevy do that? How do you know then what u r up against on the street?
        Pontiac never made a 2nd gen t/a w/o exterior t/a identification, let alone 1 w/o a rear spoiler.

        Like 1
    • ACZ

      An LT Z28 did not have Z28 badges. The Type LT badging trumped the Z28 badges.

      • joseph bolton

        Correct. I had a 73 lt z28. Type lt badges on front grill and behind windows

    • Show73 Show73 Member

      I believe the LT option overrides the Z28 badge.

      Like 3
    • Jared

      When you ordered the type LT option with the Z-28, the tupe LT option took precedence and they left the “350” in any other configuration the Z-28 option would have been installed

      Like 1
  5. Tempo Matador Ray

    @joe…, I felt a need to jump back in. You brought up some other observations worth checking out before purchasing this car. There are enough discrepancies noted that would call for an up-close, personal inspection before any cash exchanges hands. After all, sellers as well as buyers need to be on the same page to keep the transactions honest…

    Like 3
  6. Fred

    Its legit. Z28 on cowl tag. “T” in the VIN for the 245 HP engine.

    Front and rear spoilers were options

    4:10 rear was not an option in 1973

    Like 5
  7. ACZ

    Original engine would have had the finned aluminum valve covers. This is probably a junkyard motor. Also looks like butchered wiring in the engine compartment. A nicely equipped one would have had A/C. A really nicely equipped one would have had power windows and the contrasting colored carpet. This is just a run of the mill LT Z28. Not that that’s bad, just not so special.

    Like 3
  8. Camvette Member

    Ok people, don’t bust my bubble here. But my 73 LT type is supposed to be a original split bumper. Looking at the tag it doesn’t have the RPO 22 on it. What does this mean.

    • bikerixr

      The RS option was available on all Camaros, even the inline 6 cylinder.

    • Show73 Show73 Member

      Camvett, your car is factory RS. In 73 they added longer bars from the core support to the fender, also all the bracing on the hood latch and the bars running to the nose. You can put a nose from an earlier car on, but there is no place to bolt the bars to.

      Like 3
  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Still….lots of good stuff to put on a rust free car from further south….

  10. TimM

    Nice car and in my opinion if it’s done right it’s a plus to have four wheel discs!!! 350 four bolt with a M-21 4 speed is a great combination!! Great project here and with some go fast products in it you could definitely get more horses out of it!!!

  11. Little_Cars

    More of a Firebird guy than Camaro guy, but by 1973 weren’t the factory rally wheels from Chevy the slotted ones with separate trim ring and center cap held on by the lugnuts? These appear to be spoked wheels, nice repainted ones, the type that came on 70.5 to 72 Camaros.

    • ACZ

      These appear to be correct wheels for a Z28. They were also used when the Z was brought back a few years later but were body colored then.

      Like 3
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $8,950.

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