Final F-Body: 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 – SOLD!

Feb 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

February 15, 2021 Update – we confirmed the seller of this second-gen Camaro Z/28 deleted their listing in just one week, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

After a twelve-year production run, 1981 was the last model year for GM’s second-generation F-Body twins, the Pontiac Firebird and Chevrolet Camaro.  The top Camaro offered that year was the Z/28 and this white-over-blue example originally listed in February 2021 on Craigslist in Milford, Michigan (Detroit) appears to be a low-mileage, 4-speed equipped survivor with an asking price of $19,900. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Z/28 priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $15,400 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $24,400.  As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool provides a similar assessment the asking price falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $14,800 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $22,200.

Here’s the Hagerty Insurance Synopsis of the 1981 Camaro:

The year 1981 would be the last for the second-generation Chevrolet Camaro, and in 12 years it had gradually gone from a legitimate muscle car to a personal luxury coupe with comfortable options, fancy paint and striping, and less performance. Production dropped to 126,139 units, the lowest since 1973. In 1981, the U.S. was experiencing an economic downtown, and buyers seemed to be waiting for the 1982 Camaro redesign.

Camaro models were reduced to three lines, with the Rally Sport discontinued. The basic Sport Coupe cost $6,581, the luxury Berlinetta Coupe cost $7,356, and the Z28 Coupe $8,025. The 115hp 229 cubic inch Chevrolet V-6 was offered, along with the 110hp 231 cid Buick-built V-6 substituted in California. Three V-8 engines were offered, the 115hp 267 cubic inch V-8, the 150hp 305 cubic inch V-8, and the 190hp 350 cubic inch V-8, which was standard on the Z28 with automatic transmission. Z28 buyers who wanted a 4-speed could only buy the 165hp, 305 cubic inch V-8.

Californians could buy 4-speed manual gearboxes after a four-year lapse, but only with the 305 cubic inch engine. A base 3-speed manual gearbox was offered (but rarely seen) in all but the Z28, and 107,760 buyers paid $332 for the 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission, while 10,780 spent $133 for a wide-ratio 4-speed. The Z28 retained its rear-facing air intake and its single exhaust split behind the catalytic converter into two exit pipes. All Camaros now had Computer Command Control (CCC) engine management system. Power brakes and a space-saver tire were now standard.

Once more, comfort and luxury options proved most popular with tinted glass (112,832 buyers), air-conditioning (96,095), tilt wheel (69,837), rally wheels (47,478) style trim brightwork (49,834), and cruise control (35,364). Cloth upholstery was only an extra $26 over vinyl and the Berlinetta luxury interior could be ordered for an extra $304, or $330 for cloth. Berlinetta buyers could also buy locks for their wire wheel covers, and 4,964 spent $32 to do so.

A total of 13 colors were available, and traditional tones were favored. White topped the list (16,137 buyers), followed by Black (14,157), Dark Blue (13,102), Charcoal (12,907), Light Blue (11,516), Dark Brown (10,745), Silver (10,359), Bright Blue (9,464), Maroon (8,302), Red (7615), Gold (6,964), Orange (3,056) and Bright Yellow (1,816).”

We came across this dealer promo video for the ’81 Z/28 on YouTube:

Equipped with factory air conditioning, a four-speed manual, and power windows, this is a nice example of the final second-gen Z/28 for those who prefer a car not equipped with T-Tops.  While the seller doesn’t specifically mention it, the presence of the four-speed more than likely means the V8 displaces 305 cubic inches which put out ten less horsepower than the optional 350 cubic inch mill. However, the chassis pictures highlight a true dual aftermarket exhaust which likely makes up for some of that difference.  The only other noticeable non-stock modification is an aftermarket stereo system and speakers.  While the seller says they cannot verify whether the 44K miles shown are original, the survivor condition of this car hints those are likely all this Z/28 has seen and of those, none of them were during a harsh Michigan winter.  This is a great-looking Z/28 you can enjoy as is and even enter it into the Antique Automobile Club of America (“AACA”) Preservation Class judging if desired.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1981 Camaro Z28 w4 Speed. Actual miles undocumented. Super clean car with nice paint. Runs and drives outstanding. The Interior is excellent with minimal wear. Good tires and brakes, all gauges and lights work.  Come see and drive this car, it’s hard to find these old cars in this kind of condition. Been very well cared for its whole life. Car is located in the Metro Detroit area.

Show or go: what would you do with this Z/28?  Comment below and let us know!

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