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Survivor 4-Speed! 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta

Full disclosure, normally a late second-generation Camaro wouldn’t attract my attention –  I owned one and I’ll let it go at that. This one, however, is a bit different in that it is truly a survivor with claimed low mileage and it is equipped with an infrequently encountered four-speed manual transmission – it looks great! Located in Murrayville, Georgia, this 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta is available, here on craigslist for $25,000, OBO. Thanks to Pat L. for this discovery!

What’s in a name, I often ask? When it comes to cars, commodity cars anyway, it’s usually a name that conjures something a bit more exalted than what the name wearer actually is. According to Wikipedia, the name translates as, “A Berlinetta (from Italian: Berlinetta; Italian pronunciation: [berliˈnetta]) is a sports coupé, typically with two seats but also including 2+2 cars. The original meaning for Berlinetta in Italian is “little saloon”. Introduced in the 1930s, the term was popularised by Ferrari in the 1950s. Maserati, Opel, Alfa Romeo, and other European car manufacturers have also used the Berlinetta label“. Well, this ain’t no Ferrari or Maserati but I get the hopeful imagery on Chevrolet’s part. And being a ’79 model means that this is a first-year Berlinetta having replaced the previous year’s Type LT Camaro.

Other than stating that the drive train is all original, the seller offers no insight as to how this Camaro operationally performs. I would suggest it’s enhanced by its four-speed manual transmission as the 305 CI V8 suffers from malaise thanks to its puny 130 net HP output. Reliable, however, that V8 will be.

So now, I’m hedging a bit on the mileage claim. The odometer reads 11,782 miles but no other documentation is provided. The underside of the car just doesn’t look like one that’s experienced so little use. Same thing with the engine – it appears that the valve covers have had a thorough cleaning or a repaint but the rest isn’t quite as sanguine. Clearly, this car has been well maintained and cared for but…what do you think?

This Chevy is advertised as still wearing “All original paint” but the driver’s side door striker has been painted body color. All original? It could be, perhaps what I’m seeing is the result of some touch-up or a repair but I do know that component shouldn’t be body color. The light blue metallic finish, a GM all-time favorite, presents well – it has a strong shine and nice depth. Nice to see is no sign of plastic bumper friction. Perhaps my favorite exterior feature is this Camaro’s alloy lace wheels, they are such a welcome departure from yet another version of an argent painted steel rally wheel.

The light blue interior shows very well – it’s a tough shade to keep clean and it’s not revealing evidence of heavy use – back to that question of mileage again. The dash and instrument panel was redesigned in ’79 going for a flatter, less adventurous layout than the concave design that had preceded it and been in place since the start of the second-generation Camaro in 1970.

The lack of Z28 provenance is refreshing! Too many of these non-performance-oriented Camaros have been lost to the ages and the clean, uncluttered exterior bearing of this car is eye-catching. I’m absolutely onboard with a claim of survivor status, but 11K miles – I’d be more comfortable with some service documentation and not just a build sheet and owner’s manuals – maybe it’s there somewhere. As for the price, the OBO part of it seems a better starting point, what do you think?


  1. angliagt angliagt

    Nice car,but with a 305 – $25,000 ?!

    Like 14
  2. Bud Lee

    My 82 C10’s original door strikers were body colored . I know it has never been repainted . I’ve known the truck since new . That oil pan has kissed a few spots of pavement or gravel or exwife or other though .

    Like 8
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I’ve owned a bunch of Chevies including a ’67 Chevelle, ’66, ’68 & ’69 Impala, ’77 Camaro, and an’80 Chevette (embarrassed to admit that one) and only the ’66 Impala’s were body color and that was due to a cheap black paint job. Beyond that, none had painted door strikers. Statistically significant? Probably not but everyone in color that I have ever seen has been sprayed.


      Like 2
    • local_sheriff

      Sometimes new vehicles get damaged at the plant or during transport. It may be this Camaro had its quarter panel/ door jamb area repainted before it was even put on the lot, hence the new paint has faded similarly to the factory applied color and the 1st owner may never know

      Like 2
  3. Tony Primo

    I’ve owned a handful of second generation Camaros and presently own a 1980 Berlinetta. This car is exceptionally clean inside and out. It’s no powerhouse but can be built into anything that you desire. I’m guessing it’s priced about $8,000-$10,000 too high.

    Like 9
  4. Terrry

    As I recall, the Berlinetta was a Camaro with a more luxurious side. It did not get performance upgrades. As for 11k miles, I believe it if the speedo cable was turned backwards by a drill.

    Like 5
  5. gbvette62

    From my experience, I don’t ever recall GM cars with painted door strikers. They’re usually the first thing I look at when someone claims a car has original paint, mainly because very few painters want to remove them and have to deal with adjusting them after.

    GM usually installed strikers after the painting process. It’s extremely rare for GM to paint anything that comes in contact with another part, causing the paint to be scratched or worn off. 68-82 Corvettes use the same striker, and they were never painted when used on Corvettes. I took a look through the pics of the 74 Trans Am I bought new, but I don’t have any showing the door jams. My brother’s the original owner of a 78 Z28, and I have some pics of it new, but again, none of the door jams.

    Original paint or not, this does look like a nice little Camaro. While the 4 speed is a plus, the 4 speed in these cars was a cast iron case Saginaw unit, that was less than a great or reliable trans. GM only used them for 3 or 4 years.

    Like 5
  6. nlpnt

    If this is a 111k mile car it’s a very clean and well-maintained one.

    Like 3
    • Jack M.

      There’s no chance this has 111,000 miles on it. The seats and armrests would be showing much more wear.

      Like 1
      • Bick Banter

        The fact that the arm rest is still fully attached leads me to believe it’s a true 11,000 mile car. By 30,000 miles the top portion was usually detached with a sheet metal screw sticking out of it.

        Like 3
  7. Bultaco

    A nice crate small block and Tremec 5 speed would bolt in and make this car really interesting without permanently altering it.

    Like 10
  8. Stan

    Id leave it original maybe add an exhaust. This is a beauty, Manual trans makes it.
    I drove a buddys z28 once, it was a canadian model 350 4sp. Not fast, but sounded good and had a stockcar feel to it i recall.

    Like 4
  9. Steve P

    Can you beef up a 305 or not worth it?

    Like 2
    • DGMinGA

      Not worth it. Per a number of articles, about the best you can get it around 300 hp with cam, head, carb or FI upgrades, plus headers. A crate 350 or LS will give you a lot more for your money.

      Like 6
  10. John

    I’m not sure how long it’s been in Georgia, but with no AC the low mileage claims could possibly be correct.

    Like 3
  11. Pete

    Well the one my first wife bought only made it to 12,680 miles before the motor blew. Maybe you can get an extended warranty with it. Your gonna need it with that POS 305

    Like 0
    • Bob C.

      Those early 305s were real boat anchors. Nothing but camshaft problems. It took until the mid 80s when they finally worked the bugs out.

      Like 0

    Hi everyone , been reading all your stories there are a lot of questions unanswered I do own a third generation Camaro 85. IrocZ28 5 speed manual by the way my arm rest is attached ,my door strikers are not painted also and my Camaro has the original paint on the body which is the color black everything on my car is original , all numbers match only change is the LT1 350 SMALL HEAD Corvette motor was souped up to 700 HP EVERYTHING ELSE IS ALL ORIGINAL FYI

    Like 1

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