Seldom Seen: 36,000 Mile 1980 Camaro Z28

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While Camaros of this era aren’t uncommon, they aren’t usually this nice and original! Though this Z28 isn’t showroom quality, it certainly is in the best condition expected considering age and the minor use it has seen. Though 36,000 miles isn’t mind-shatteringly low, it is very low for a car of this vintage. Camaros typically got used and abused, because that is exactly what they were meant for and what the target demographic wanted them for! Though there are many nice restored and customized examples around now, there seem to be very few still in nice original condition. You can find this 1980 Z28 here on Craigslist in New York with a reasonable asking price of $12,500. Thanks to reader Pat L. for sending this one our way! 

It is a little hard to tell in the pictures, but this is a T-top equipped car. Though it isn’t quite a convertible, T-tops suit the second generation Camaro very well. It is a 4-speed car, and clearly the interior hasn’t seen a lot of use. Though the driver’s seat looks to be showing some age, all of the interior is in very nice shape with no rips or tears. A professional detail on this car would make a world of difference, and really give it the feeling of being almost new! The blue on blue color combination is nice, and because of the shades of blue chosen it isn’t overwhelming. Though not an ultra highly-optioned car, this Camaro does have an AM/FM/cassette radio!

Under the hood is a good old Chevrolet 350 V8. In 1980 and 1981, the Z28s were equipped with a functional air induction hood scoop and a flap that opened said scoop under heavy acceleration. The seller states that the hood scoop is working properly on this car. All of the electrics including wipers and lights are working properly. This car is equipped with power steering and brakes. Unfortunately, it is here that we can see paint fade on the fender. Though this car has never been repainted, it is apparent in the pictures that it has spent a lot of time outside.

Some people dislike Camaros made after 1976 due to the drastic restyling that took place, but I think that this 1980 Camaro has curves in all the right places. Although this is a very nice, original survivor, this car will need some love to be like-new. The paint will likely buff out nicely, but due to sun damage some areas may begin to get a patina look to them. Because it is all original paint and decals, the decision to buff or repaint or neither will be tough on the next owner. Regardless, this looks like a really cool old car that is unmolested and ready to go for a drive!

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  1. Oldcarsarecool

    Love that color combo ! I almost bought an ’80 many years ago with around 44k on the clock. Probably should have . . .

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    • Superdessucke

      Had a ’79 in this exact color combo, only with the light blue interior. This one is surprisingly cheap if it’s as represented. It has the most “powerful” engine of the 2nd Wave Z28s (190) but also had 3.08 gears, versus the 3.73s of the earlier cars.

      T- tops will probably enhance the value here though I’m not a personal fan. They make a creaky car even creakier and they add weight and leak badly.

      The weight is partially offset here by the lack of A.C. This is from a time when many people didn’t feel you needed A.C. if you could take the top off. Nowadays, you can’t even buy a Miata without air conditioning unless it’s a limited run special club edition that car hipsters will pay thousands over sticker to get. A relic from another time to be sure!

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      • Tyler

        As long as you keep the hardware tight & dressing on the weatherstripping, they don’t leak or rattle. Mine was a daily driver for over 10 years, to the tune of over a 130,000 miles & never leaked once. Actually for those 10 years, the tops were probably out more than they were in.

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      • Randall

        The 1980 Z28 retained the 3.73:1 gears with the 4 speed and the 3.42:1 gears for the auto in all but California I believe. I bought an 80 auto with 24k miles on it back in the day, liked it more than my 79 4 speed, or my 77 auto.

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  2. motoring mo

    Cleanest “barnfind” ever.

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  3. 408 interceptor

    It’s rusting in the passenger door jamb area also, the quarter panel wheel spats are great places for rust to hide behind and it’s always worse than it looks. Second gen f-body’s are very good handling cars but it’s the low wide stance that sets them apart in a crowd.

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  4. dirtyharry

    I would paint it, the engine looks like it was just painted, it can’t be original engine paint looking that new.

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  5. Rock OnMember

    Nice find. Still has all of the pollution control equipment attached, which usually means that it wasn’t beat on too hard. North of the boarder we call them Zed 28’s.

    Like 0

    The cloth interior was far superior. That vinyl looks very uncomfortable and it is. With no ac it is undesirable s a cross country cruiser as you will stick to those seats especially with the T-Tops off. Cool car though.

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  7. Art

    4-speed makes it worth a second look

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  8. Nrg8

    You guys kill me. T-tops with vinyl and no ac, how awful. Can I get you a saucer of cream? Had a Cutlass w/t-tops and no ac and while it’s not for everyone, I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. Grid lock in the sun could get you raging, cruising the highway out to the lake with your girl, priceless…..

    Like 0
  9. Robbie R.

    Minor correction, the Camaro went to the plastic front and rear bumpers after 77 (not after 76). However of the 77-81 Z28’s, this was the best year. Good find.

    Like 0
  10. Vin in NJ

    There’s a reason the 78-81 Camaros get more love, and the 74-77 bumper cars go unnoticed

    Like 0
  11. Kerry Dahl

    I ordered a brand new 1980 Z28 brand new with every option that year black with gold striping. Seeing that blue Z makes me wish I still had mine. Nonetheless I enjoy seeing all makes and models of cars out there from a nostalgic point of view.

    Like 1
  12. Krindall

    On the shifter it says “lift” under the R. What is that?

    Like 0
    • Tyler

      The shifter has a reverse lockout. You have to pull it up slightly to move it over & up into reverse.

      Like 0
  13. Nic Brown

    Just a little note,
    4 speed cars were only available in Canada, making this a much more desirable car. and well how do you go wrong with a 4 speed and t tops!

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    • Mr. Bond

      Interesting! I wonder why the speedometer is in miles then.

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    • jon

      the. 4 speed wasn’t just available in Canada , but they were only available in the US with a 305 4 speed , Canada you could get a 350 4 speed

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      • Tyler

        No, the 350/4 speed was available in the states, with the exception of California.

        Like 0
    • Tyler

      That is incorrect. 4 speed Z/28’s were available in the states, a few were even equipped with the L82 350. But IIRC, California cars were available with only the 305. Mine was delivered to the dealer in the next town over on December 15, 1979. Once I get a few more things out of the way, I plan on giving it a nut & bolt restoration.

      Like 0
  14. RichS

    You can’t fix this car Spicoli!

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    • Andrew TannerAuthor

      My old man is a television repairman, he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it!

      Like 1
  15. jps311

    Hurricane sandy survivor possibly buyer beware

    Like 0
  16. Nova Scotian

    N-I-C-E. Nice car. Love it. Repaint (professional), with new graphics, and go squirrel that ass around every corner!

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  17. Tyler

    Those areas on the top of the fenders & elsewhere where the paint is gone is common to these cars & is from thin paint in those areas. Mine started looking like that after 5 years of washing & waxing. It got to a point that I quit waxing it after about 88 or 89 due to it removing paint.

    Of course in 91, I bought a 90 Z/71 pickup, & the paint started flaking off within 2 years.

    Like 0
  18. Bill O.

    I ordered a 1980 Z-28 in this color combination, from Joe Self Chevrolet in Wichita, KS., while in High School. Worked 40 hrs. a week to pay for it. Not the wisest decision I ever made.
    It has T-Tops, A/C, cloth seats, not many other options.
    It is a 350 with 4-speed car, with a 3.08 rear end, driving the optional Aluminum wheels.
    I ordered it without any Radio/stereo system at all, except I did get the antenna in the windshield option. Plan was to put a high end Alpine stereo in the car, but once I bought the car, I couldn’t afford a high end Alpine stereo. So the car came with a plastic plate covering the radio slot.
    I never did get a stereo put in the car, so it still has no stereo.
    I drove the car 130,000+ miles over roughly 10 years before parking it in a storage unit.
    I still have the car, in a storage unit in AZ., and have big plans to one day restore it to better than new condition.
    I love the car, and had a lot of fun with it, and plan to again one day.

    Like 0

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