’73 Z-28

’73 Camaro Z-28—I’m not proud of this, but there’s no denying I actually once owned a Bowtie (well, twice counting the Nova). Truth told, this was a special car. One of just a few with the R, LT, and Z packages all on one car and it was the last year before before the Federally mandated bumpers turned the Z-28 (and nearly every other car) into something that not even its mother would love.

I rescued this example from a car lot. It’s previous owner was the son of the dealership’s owner who, given the condition I found the ‘Z’ in, must have flogged it without end. It only had 35,000 miles on it when I found it but they must have been some hard, hard miles. The back end was all jacked up with air shocks, the motor was weak (blowing oil), and the car was basically trashed but it was intact with its original 12-bolt rear, wheels (very hard to find), and all of the bolt-ons and accessories still there (and working).

After negotiating the price, I hauled the ‘Z’ off to rented garage space I secured at a local Chevrolet dealer where I was friends with the GM and began the tear down process—all the way down to the bones. With the car essentially down to the back shell and frame rails, the original 350CI motor was replaced with prepped 327 I located, Herb Adams suspension (a noted TransAm race tuner of the era) installed, and the body parts shipped off the body shop to be taken down to the metal and re-shot with Chevy #63 silver.

It took about 10 months to completely re-build the ‘Z” but when done it was a real screamer. I never dyno’d the thing but the seat of my pants said the prepped 327 must have put out some serious ponies as mashing the right pedal would pin you back in your seat. Sadly, the ‘Z’ met a bad end.

After driving and enjoying it for 10,000 miles, I got the itch to move on to something else and sold the car to a local guy. About an hour or so after completing the deal I got a call from the new owner. After driving it home, he had parked the ‘Z’ out in front of his house and went inside to call his insurance agent. While on the phone, he heard a tremendous crash and ran outside to find a pick up truck impaled on the ‘Z’s front end. Apparently the truck’s driver was had been out all afternoon drinking, careened around the corner and met the ‘Z’ head on…driving that beautiful 327 all the way into the driver’s seat. The car could not be salvaged.

I wished I had a better picture but this is the lone example I could find. I did the best that could be done using PhotoShop to try and restore some of the color fidelity but, other than than going in and colorizing each element, this is the best that can be done using the available filters.

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