Tidy T-Top: 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

While the 1st Generation of the Chevrolet Camaro remained in production for a relatively short time, the 2nd Generation proved to be a bit of a survivor. Introduced for the 1970 model year, it soldiered on until 1981. This Camaro Z28 is from that final year of production, and it is a tidy vehicle. It wears all of its original paint and appears to be a car that is ready to be enjoyed by its next lucky owner. The Camaro is located in Greenwood Acres, Georgia, and is listed for sale here on craigslist. The price has been set at $24,995, although the owner might consider a partial trade for a Rolex, Omega, or a Panerai watch.

The Light Blue paint that the Z28 wears is claimed to be original. If this is accurate, then it has survived exceptionally well. The color is consistent across the whole vehicle, with no evidence of fading or checking. It shines beautifully, with no apparent scratches or marks. There are no visible dings or dents, while the panels gaps look to be consistent. It isn’t clear whether the graphics have ever been replaced, but these look close to faultless. The owner says that the Camaro is rust-free, and there is nothing evident in the supplied photos. The Camaro rolls on aftermarket wheels, and it isn’t clear whether the owner holds the original items. The sticker price for the Z28 would have been somewhere around $8,025 when the car was new. However, the original owner chose to hand over an additional $644 to equip the vehicle with the T-Top. This appears to be in good condition, and the original storage bags are included in the sale.

The Camaro’s interior is pretty tidy, and there are only a couple of minor flaws that are worth noting. The dash pad has started to fade, but there are no signs of any splits or cracks. The pad might be able to be conditioned to prevent further deterioration, or the next owner might choose to throw a cover over it to offer some protection. There is also some fading on the wheel, but even that isn’t too bad. The upholstered surface all present nicely, with no tears or stains. The carpet might be slightly faded, but it is hard to be entirely sure. The original radio has made way for a new CD player. While the vehicle isn’t loaded with luxury items, the original owner did choose to outlay the additional $75 for a tilt wheel.

A good selection of engines was available for Camaro buyers to choose from in 1981, but only the Z28 could be ordered with the mighty 350ci V8. That is what we find here, and it should be capable of producing 175hp. A 3-speed automatic transmission backs this, and that combination should enable the Camaro to romp through the ¼ mile in 16.9 seconds. It appears that the engine and transmission might be numbers-matching, but the engine does wear quite a few cosmetic upgrades. It has also received a bit of recent attention. This includes the installation of a new rear main seal and a new oil pan gasket. It has been serviced, the transmission fluid has been changed, and a new battery has been installed. When I look at the photos carefully, I get the impression that the radiator might also be relatively new. The owner claims that the Z28 has a genuine 34,700 miles on the clock, but it isn’t clear whether he can verify the claim. He doesn’t indicate how well the Camaro runs or drives, but the appearance of the vehicle overall is quite encouraging.

By 1981, the Camaro Z28 was no longer the hard-edged beast that it had been a decade earlier. The 1979 model year marked a sales record for the Camaro, with 282,571 buyers handing over their cash to park a Camaro in their driveway. Wind the clock forward a mere 2-years, and those sales figures had plummeted to 126,139 cars. This was due largely to the anticipation that a new and more modern Camaro was scheduled to hit the showroom floors in 1982. This car is a nice one, and it would seem to need nothing. It does feature the T-Top, but that makes it 1-of-30,445 Camaros fitted with that option in 1981. The owner states that the values on these Camaros have been increasing, and this is one fact that is true. However, these increases have been very gradual and equate to around 15% over the past 3-years. The asking price is probably slightly higher than I might have expected, but if it is as clean as the owner indicates in his listing, this could be justified. If you are searching for a “plug-and-play” classic car, then maybe this is one that deserves a closer look.

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Comments

  1. Steve Bush Member

    It looks to a pretty nice original car. But $25k seems a little steep for a low powered V8 auto car with no AC or PW/L. Several similar cars, some of which have
    these options; are available online in the 8$20-25k range.

    Like 7
    • JoeNYWF64

      I always thought power locks were dumb especially on 2 door cars because you are pushing a button that pushes another button! lol
      & it’s good excercise to stretch to the other side to lock/unlock the passenger door & roll down/up that window.
      If this car has no dents in the doors, then it was never left alone in a public parking lot! Even then, someone parking close to you could still dent your door while you are sitting inside!! – happened to me – kids are not especially careful with heavy car doors!
      The factory cold air induction has been negated to a degree here.
      & the law may not like the dark tinted covered front directional signals.
      The “reliability” of p/w back then will make you angry you didn’t get
      virtually unbreakable crank widows with all steel gears & no motors.

      Like 4
  2. Arthell64 Member

    25k is I don’t want to sell it money.

    Like 11
    • Frank Sumatra

      More like “I don’t even want anybody to call me” money.

      Like 13
  3. Mark

    The seats don’t look correct. They look like they’re from a Firebird.

    Like 8
    • Claudio

      I agree, firebird seats as i remember vinyl seats for camaro ´s

      Like 2
      • Janelle Sage

        My 1981 Z-28 with T-tops had cloth seats just like this one, but gold..

        Like 2
    • Bob B

      Yep, 1980 Trans Am seats are what I’m seeing there.

      Like 1
    • Leadfoot

      I had a ’78 Camaro, and it had cloth seats.

      Like 2
  4. Frank Sumatra

    That might be a $5000 car. Maybe. Sorta.

    Like 1
  5. RS396

    Sold a couple of these close to the same money both last year that were estate cars. Miles were in the 50k area on those. Hard to tell from the pictures if the miles are correct on this one. If the miles are validated, coupled with the T tops and not so commom color, the seller is in the 20k range for the right buyer. It really will come down to the 37k mile claim being accurate. If rolled over, forget it, not even close.

  6. K Gun Offense

    Just because a car is old and well kept, does not mean it is worth 25 grand. It was a camaro from the dog years and had little to no power in that 350. There are people that love that model Camaro but I am not aware of any that might be interested at that price. They say value of something is what so.eo e would actually pay for something.. we will see. I just think the car is 10 grand overpriced. At that price, and you wanted a Camaro, there are values from earlier years or pay a few bucks more and get what you want. Sorry for the rambling but this one is just a joke to me as far as price!

    Like 6
  7. John

    Hard to pay 25k for a bare bones Z28. Plus after market wheels, air cleaner and valve covers. That knocks down the value for purest. I would pay around 10 to 15k for it.

    Like 9
  8. Steve R

    The way the ad is laid out should make potential buyers nervous. It vaguely mentions interior upgrades, has rust proofing holes in the rockers and door jamb (which is something you would not expect in a car from Georgia), it also has a bunch of cheap performer parts installed on the engine. The lack of AC and other power accessories won’t help it sell either. It probably worth low to mid-teens, but would be worth closer to the asking price if it had a few more options and the engine remained stock.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  9. Roarrr

    The 350 engine is the same that makes lots more with the requisite modification, if it started with the 305–one could snivel. For someone that wants such a vintage Camaro with an A/T it would be a supa choice they’re rare this good!

  10. ACZ

    As has been said, how would you find a rustproofed car in GA? Especially one without A/C. This needs to back to the rust belt where it came from.

  11. JEFF S

    With all the Baby Boomers dying off and there families not wanting anything to do with their old cars, I see prices dropping on a lot of cars in the near future. This one is a pass, no A/C in GA, been there done it, last year when the A/C went out in my 2006 VW Jetta GLI. No fun at all. My 66 Mercedes 250 SE, mechanical fuel injected, 4 speed, 6 cylinder, has 150 hp. And none of the early computer problems of the 80’s GM stuff.

  12. martinsane

    Still so laughable that cars you couldnt give away might be worth 25k.

    Sure sure its old and blah blah blah, but if that is the logic than i must be worth 6 figures…

    Seriously, ever since folks decided to ruin any form of owning or collecting by flipping and being shisters it has made these endeavors no fun. Same can be said for new cars, homes, clothes etc… you shouldn’t go into any efffort with the mindset that your going to retire on this one sale.

  13. karl

    Its a nice Camaro or so it appears, seats may be incorrect and to most that doesn’t matter. Because of the T-Tops it will never be anymore than a nice driver, I have said it before you take an already very overweight car without a single piece frame (No sub frame connectors do NOT make a one piece frame) and you start making HP North of around 400 and you body flex starts to cause problems, of course if your just looking to make smoke shows with your tires you can then go to town but dont hook up or you will have issues! The T-Tops themselves are a whole issue, if these were bought as an option to the car from the dealer these are a Cars and Concepts product, they have been out of business for a long time. I had a 78 Camaro I needed a new glass for my T-Top and found the fellow who bought out Cars and Concepts inventory and 10 years ago he told me parts are just about gone, there will be NO MORE!

  14. Shawn Aldrich

    I want this car.My wife ordered hers in 81.A few years later we had it painted.On the way home i was racing a friend of mine.Someone backed out of their driveway and i locked em up.I totaled her car nothing left.I owe her a new camaro so i can sleep with both eyes shut again

    Like 1
    • Ike Onick

      You can buy a nice RV for $25K and get some rest.

      Like 1
  15. JoeNYWF64

    Should not the steering wheel be blue too? The column & horn button is.
    Not sure why Chevy made that body colored nose section so long. Same with ’79 firebird. The hood is long enough!
    Those t-top panels are HUGE. I imagine chassis flex is even worse with those than say with the smaller Hurst ones on ’76 birds, but still less than 3rd gens with t-tops?

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