Mom's 1981 Z28

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by carnut4life, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. carnut4life

    carnut4life Member

    33
    9
    Apr 2, 2016
    Beacon, IA
    Hi All, my name is Chad Slocum and I've been meaning to do this for a while but never seem to have enough time so today I'm going attempt to start a thread on my 1981 Z/28. I'll start with the history of the car and add some pics after, this will be long so I apologize in advance if I'm annoying anyone. My Mom(Vicky) bought this car used in November of 1983 at Ottumwa Ford in Ottumwa, IA when I was 11 years old. I was with Mom and Dad the day she bought it and I’ll never forget how beautiful it was sitting lot when we pulled up to look at it. Mom, like everyone else back then, wanted a black Trans Am, but even then they were hard to find in good condition. After looking at a couple shabby T/A’s Dad convinced Mom that we should go look at a blue Z/28 he had seen just a few days earlier at the Ford dealer. I was mortified at the idea of getting Z28 instead of a TA(yes, even then I thought it would be my car eventually) but as soon as I saw it all my fears disappeared. Not only did I think it was better looking than ANY TA I’d ever seen, I was pretty sure it was the best looking car I’d ever seen period! After the test drive I was begging Mom to buy it because I was in love with it, not only was it beautiful but it ran really well. I still don’t know how it’s possible but the car ran hard from day one and broke the tire(no posi) loose at 25 mph when Dad nailed it and the cowl induction flap on the hood opened up during our test drive. It had 17,000 miles on it and still looked brand new, the asking price was $8900. Mom negotiated with them for two hours trying to get it down to $8000.00 but they wouldn’t budge below $8100 so that’s what she ended up paying for it. I told her immediately I wanted the car when she got tired of it but she thought I was kidding. It was her daily transportation through the 80’s and was parked in the early 90’s with 58,000 miles on it. I found the build sheet for it back in the early 90’s under the drivers seat and still have it in my fire safe with all my other important documents, files and pictures. By 1998 Mom was ready to get rid of the car but shocked me by telling me my older brother had claimed it years earlier and would get first shot at it before me! I was crushed because I figured he would buy it for sure and keep it forever. Since he had Dad’s old GMC pickup he told me I could have the Z28 because he knew I’d keep it forever too, so I finally bought it off Mom for $3000 in 1998. At this point it was a mostly original car (the original carb, radiator and transmission had been replaced)with a single repaint and no rust. I had the original transmission that had been removed years before rebuilt and re-installed it but didn’t do much else to it for the next ten years besides take it out every now and then and do burnouts in it with the kids. At this point the car needed paint, carpet and headliner to be a nice driver. In 2008 Mom told me she missed the car that my step-dad said he would restore it for her so I let her have it back in 2008 under the condition that I get it back when she’s done with it. My step-dad painted it shortly after I gave it back to her but life got in the way and the car ended up sitting outside until the spring of 2016. Last year I decided I had to go rescue it so it could be properly restored so Mom could see it looking like new again while she's still here. My to my surprise she agreed and told me the car was still titled in my name and that I could come down and get it the week of my birthday! I was super pumped to get it back but it's time spent outside wasn't kind to her. The car no longer ran, the original seats, door panels, console and dash were shot now and to make matters even worse, the carpet and truck were soaking wet from the T-tops and trunk seal leaking. I took some pics of it with Mom and loaded it up on a trailer and brought it home, stopping by the old Vaughn Motors building in Ottumwa, IA for a picture there too since that's where it was sold new December of 1980 to Susan Delzell. Once I got it home I took the trunk mat, front seats and carpet out so I could start drying it out and see what the trunk and floors looked like, luckily they were still solid and rust free! Later that night I took the back seats out and much to my surprise found another build sheet in the upper back seat that was in near perfect condition. While I was thrilled to have the car back, it quickly became evident to me that the car was a long way from needing paint, carpet and headliner like it did when I first bought it in 1998 so now I have a tough choice to make about what to do with it. Now I'm going to attempt to add some pics of the car.
     
  2. carnut4life

    carnut4life Member

    33
    9
    Apr 2, 2016
    Beacon, IA
    MomsZ281998.jpg

    How she looked when I first bought it in 1998.
     
  3. AllensaurusRex

    AllensaurusRex Veteran Member

    467
    17
    May 22, 2013
    Murfreesboro TN
    nice, what are your plans?
     
  4. 70-camaro

    70-camaro Veteran Member

    1,533
    240
    Mar 25, 2010
    marietta ohio
    Real cool story. I like the blue.
     
  5. carnut4life

    carnut4life Member

    33
    9
    Apr 2, 2016
    Beacon, IA
    Thanks guys, the car is in the middle of being restored to be a nice driver right now. The sentimental value of this car is huge to me so I have every intention of keeping this car for the rest of my life and letting the kids fight over it when I'm gone. I'll attach more pics later tonight when I'm done working and fill you in on the progress of the restoration and the extra history I've found in and about the car in the past year. Would have been easy car to do when I got in in 1998 but everything on it needs attention now. Mom will be 70 later this year and I'm hoping it will be finished in time for her to drive it in a local parade/car show the last week of August 2017 in my hometown, Memphis Mo. with my kids riding shotgun for her birthday surprise. She's lived there for over 40 years so people will be shocked to see her driving it again since most people haven't seen the car on the road since the early 90's. Getting pics of her and the kids with the car will be priceless for me and make it all worth it! I'll get pics off my phone tonight and start loading them up if I can figure it out. Talk to you later, Chad
     
  6. carnut4life

    carnut4life Member

    33
    9
    Apr 2, 2016
    Beacon, IA
    Mom&Z.jpg

    4/22/16 Mom with her Z28 the day I went down and picked it up.

    MomsZVaughns.jpg

    In front of the old Vaughn Motors building in Ottumwa, IA where it was sold new.
     
  7. carnut4life

    carnut4life Member

    33
    9
    Apr 2, 2016
    Beacon, IA
    MomsZBuildsheetA.jpg

    4/22/16 Build sheet found in the rear seat after I got the car inside and started drying it out, can't believe I hadn't found it earlier. This was the second of three found in the car, the last one was on top of the gas tank, the first under the drivers seat.

    MomsZBuildsheetB.jpg
     
  8. carnut4life

    carnut4life Member

    33
    9
    Apr 2, 2016
    Beacon, IA
    After getting the car inside and dried out I quickly realized it was in MUCH worse shape than it had been a few years earlier. What once needed a paint job, carpet and headliner now needed everything and unfortunately for me, I can't do everything myself. Especially if I wanted Mom to see it looking like new again while she was still healthy enough to enjoy it, which was my #1 priority because she loves the car just as much or more than I do. So I made a tough choice and decided I'd sell my Lucy Blue 72 4 speed TA to pay for the car to be fixed right by a professional. I called Steve Schappaugh at Musclecar Memories in Lincoln, NE to see if he could look at the car and give me an estimate what it would take to make a nice driver out of it and get it looking like new again shortly after I got it home. After he came to look at it and gave me an estimate I told him I'd be selling my TA to pay for the restoration and it just so happened he was looking for a Lucy blue 71 or 72 TA so we worked out a deal that fit us both perfect and he came and picked the Z28 up in August of 2016 with the goal of it being done in a year. I'll post more pics tonight and try to get the project up to date, Chad
     
  9. camaro lover

    camaro lover Veteran Member

    381
    6
    Dec 29, 2002
    Owen Sound, Ont, Canada
    that's a great story. i hope the build goes as planned. i think you made the right choice. you have a lot of great memories in that car and hopefully a lot more to come. good luck with it.
     
  10. berg2695

    berg2695 Veteran Member

    189
    22
    Nov 13, 2011
    GONE
    Every old car has a story and this is a good one. I love the picture of the Z in front of the old dealership! Best wishes on your project.
     

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