Solid Survivor: 1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

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Classics from the 1970s remain an affordable alternative for those seeking to dip their toe into the ownership water. This 1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 demonstrates this clearly because it is a rock-solid and unmolested survivor that retains most of its original paint. It needs a new home, with the seller listing it here on eBay in Barberton, Ohio. They have set a BIN of $16,995, but there is the option to make an offer.

The Second Generation Camaro was getting long in the tooth by the time our feature car emerged from the factory, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It gave Chevrolet years to eliminate any bugs or design flaws, meaning these cars tend to be as reliable as a Swiss watch. This one presents well in its factory shade of Antique White. The seller believes most of the paint is original, and while they say it is tidy, an in-person inspection will reveal a few flaws and marks consistent with its age. The decals look crisp, with no evidence of checking. The best news is the Camaro’s structural state because it is a rust-free classic. That makes it appealing for an enthusiast unwilling or unable to undertake major body repairs. The wheels are in good order, and there appear to be no glass issues.

Opening the doors reveals a sea of Red upholstery and trim. This car is consistent, with its interior presenting as nicely as its exterior. There is wrinkling on the driver’s seat base, but it is as expected from a survivor of this vintage. I can’t spot any UV damage, and there is no crumbling plastic. The dash is excellent, with the gauges featuring clear lenses and crisp markings. The original owner passed on factory air conditioning, but somebody fitted a vintage-style system for added comfort. It blows cool, but a recharge might help it reach Arctic temperatures. An aftermarket radio/cassette player provides entertainment on the move, but the factory unit is in the trunk for those seeking a more stock appearance.

All 1978 Camaro Z28s rolled off the line equipped with a 350ci V8, while this car’s original owner selected the three-speed automatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and brakes. The small-block would have produced 300hp at the start of the decade, but this one is strangled to pump out 185hp. It means the journey down the ¼-mile would take 16.8 seconds, which is well short of the 14.9 seconds a similar car would have achieved in 1971. However, that was what buyers expected during The Malaise Era, and there were many cars that suffered far more than the Camaro. This beauty is in excellent mechanical health, with the seller indicating it runs and drives well. This could be a strong contender if potential buyers seek a turnkey classic.

There’s much to like about this 1978 Camaro Z28 and very little to criticize. Its presentation is above average for an unrestored survivor, and it has no apparent needs. Values have softened recently, but there are signs the trend is reversing. If that proves correct, buying one of these classics now could be a wise move. The BIN figure looks competitive, but it could be even better if the seller accepts a respectful offer. If you are in the market for a 1970s pony car, this could be the one.

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  1. Neil

    I’m pretty sure those factory wheels would have been white, not the black color that they are now. It was kind of an 80’s thing to paint the wheels in the body-matching color.

    Like 8
    • AndyinMA

      I thought so! All white wouldn’t do it for me but in this case the black wheels make the car look great

      Like 3
    • Gordon

      A lot of the Z/28’s back in 1978 had a type of aftermarket wheels on them. They were the finned aluminum style, kind of like what the “Dukes of Hazzard” had on the “General Lee” and they were color coded to the trim and interior color.
      Now the ones with the old style steel Z/28 wheels, those were always a very dark gray.
      Been there, lived it.

      Like 3
    • Harry 1

      Agreed. I bought a 79 Z-28, Black exterior/red interior with the Black rally wheels with the z-28 caps. Wished I hadnt sold that car in the early 90s.

      Like 1
  2. Irocz28

    Had a coworker that bought one new back in the day. Blue on blue with the color keyed wheels.Nice car here,but that ac compressor?

    Like 2
    • ACZ

      That is called Mickey Mouse A/C.

      Like 1
  3. Marko

    I like the black color swap on what would have been body color factory wheels. It works well with the black rocker panels and stripe accent colors.

    A/C compressor looks to be a York unit. Really common for the era, from accessory retrofit shops.

    Looks like a great starter car for the budding classic car collector.

    Like 3
  4. Scrapyard John

    Just curious, but what does it take to bring a 350 of this era’s hp up to levels before emission controls? I’d assume you’d need to remove the converter, smog pump, etc. Maybe a different intake and carburetor. Is that about it, or would you need to dive deeper and swap the heads…?

    Like 2
    • Stan

      I asked the same thing other day, heads, good exhaust, and a carb are a smart play, maybe add 75hp or so. Be perfect for this lovely cruiser. Cool paint. 😎

      Like 3
    • mrshred

      I removed the catalytic converter from my ’79 Z28 shortly after I bought it new, replacing it with a straight pipe. Didn’t really notice much performance improvement but man, it sounded great! And it still passed NJ emissions inspections for the next 5 years until I sold it.

      Like 4
    • Jon S. Rhodes

      I bore the cylinders 30 over, put a mild cam,changed out the electronics.(the ob computer of that era were as powerful as a “Commodore 64”) 🤣
      Good performance…not crazily built..oh..and roller rockers, rebuilt heads…Fun!

      Like 1
    • Hoss Ledbetter

      My friend and I went to the Chevrolet dealer and looked at one on the showroom floor. The sales told us it made 300 hp. We were high school boys, but we knew better!😆

      Like 0
  5. Jim in FL

    Original or not, the wheels look really nice. I agree, body color was the thing back then, but I like the black on the rallyes and the 70s louvers.

    The compressor is a little wonky, not typical gm unless I’m mistaken. Maybe aftermarket air?

    The buy it now seems reasonable too. Check behind the rear wheels for frame rot, that was common. The red gut is a nice feature that you seldom see these days. As others have said, good entry point for someone interested in the hobby.

    Like 0
  6. CarbobMember

    Sold. Not surprised. Nice car good deal considering the market today. Also good investment IMO. The older I get the more these types of cars appeal to me. Funny how things change. Five or so years ago I wouldn’t have paid any attention to this.

    Like 1
  7. C Force

    To get the hp back in a 350 from this era is not that need higher compression heads like 68 or can go 2.02/1.60 valve heads as well.68cc will give you about 10.1cr still good on 91.then a bigger cam with a powerband that starts at around 15-1700 rpm.a aftermarket non-egr manifold and a 600-650 cfm carb,headers and maybe roller rockers.if you use 1.6 ratio rockers you can gain an extra 0.030 gross lift.long tube headers and 2in exhaust.its all in the top end for the most part.

    Like 1
  8. Frozenbird

    To get higher HP ratings like in the late 60’s, early 70’s just do what the manufactures did, start measuring the HP at the flywheel instead.

    Like 2
  9. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for $15,495.

    Like 0

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