1970 Camaro Z28 Road Test

tom3

Veteran Member
Aug 1, 1999
15,806
ohio
Yep, today's appliances on wheels are pretty quick in some cases. Don't hear/feel that four barrel kick in, burning rubber, exhaust bellowing, torque steering, and rowing the gears along with the satisfaction of changing the plugs, etc. now and then. But the new stuff is really good for hauling those groceries - and thousand dollar routine repairs.
 

'70 Z/28 RS

Veteran Member
Apr 13, 2021
277
Midlothian, VA
IF I want to go out and "feel" the experience of driving, I'll take an older car any time over a "point, stab, and steer" recent production car. Certainly the newer car would be faster, but without all of the things which make an older factory hot rod more fun to drive and be in. That's just me and my "normal".

Enjoy!
FS87LT

This was me yesterday. I originally bought my Camaro as investment. Was gonna mainly treat it like a 'painting on the wall' type thing and rarely drive it. Just kind of 'look at it' for some years and then sell it for more than I paid for it. lol

But nope, once I got in it and drove it, it's all I can do now to stop driving it! I damn near burnt a whole tank out yesterday and still wanted more. Had to force myself to go back to the house. 😂

I never had one back in the day, so the thrill is still new to me. The sound, the handling, the 4 speed, the non-power steering (on mine anyway) has me hooked. I have to really 'manually drive' the thing and it's just a blast to do.

So now, I just have this longing to go out and buy another one that's not #'s matching, stock, etc., so I can throw in a killer sound system and drive the damn thing whenever I feel like it. Ah man, I'll just stop there, getting myself worked up!
 

76z28

Veteran Member
Jun 29, 2009
2,885
bakersfield
Yep, today's appliances on wheels are pretty quick in some cases. Don't hear/feel that four barrel kick in, burning rubber, exhaust bellowing, torque steering, and rowing the gears along with the satisfaction of changing the plugs, etc. now and then. But the new stuff is really good for hauling those groceries - and thousand dollar routine repairs.
As ou talk about having to change spark plugs etc now and then.. just like a new car LOL
A new car will out last those old ones by a long shot, no if ands or buts about that.

I guess you haven't drive a newer camaro, they do all that and then some.

It's funny to hear how all of these new cars are" Thousands in routine repairs" Yeah no they aren't. On the other hand.. those old cars were lucky to go 100k... so please don't bullshit everyone with how great they are.

I love my big block but I'm not ignorant of the fact that technology has "hindered" a car.
 

70454inutah

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2014
244
provo utah
I was a bit surprised that the z28 didnt run faster from the factory than published times and i would think part of that had to be traction off the line.
I bought mine engineless. ran a couple small blocks and then snagged a 75 454 out of a truck. im sure the motor had a 100 k on it then. With headers and everything else stock i took it
to the grand jct colorado track at 4800 ft (far cry from sea level)
i had the 4spd in then and a buddy loaned me a set of tires off his imsa car. these were dirt track tires which got some laughs at the track.
Launching was fun. anything below 2300 would lug it, anything over 2500 would go up in smoke. but I ran a 14.2 at elevation shifting at 4800 rpm with a
bone stock truck motor. sold the car to my younger brother and he abused that motor for another 20 years until it sat for about 7 years and i bought it back from him.
motor still ran strong when he parked it.
now I have 15 mazda and its been nothing but i pain.
 

G72Zed

Veteran Member
Sep 8, 2015
4,955
Canada
I should clarify that I am comparing them to today's cars. Most of today's cars are faster than the old cars(and they should be)

I agree, the technology in todays newest cars are so advanced, with the engine fuel/ignition management allowing high Comp ratio's, knock sensors, 6-7-8 speed DC auto with traction control and tires/suspension that allows to hook it up, no wonder my old aunts new stock 460hp GT Mustang runs high 11's at almost 119 mph by changing a few buttons with the air on.......it's the best time for "fast cars" that's for sure.

But, back in the late 80's and very early 90's, you could take an 11-12 year old Camaro, build a solid iron 454 out of a Suburban, hit it with some NOS, TH400 and some good shocks/leaf springs/slicks and run 9's and 8's through the mufflers, that's if you knew what you were doing....... without any fancy gizmo's, granny aids or sensors/ecm/Cpu laptop - Google-internet.

Good thing the "new" performance advancements and parts where not available back then....there would be less of us old "hot rodders-racers" around today I think.


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G72Zed

Veteran Member
Sep 8, 2015
4,955
Canada
I was a bit surprised that the z28 didnt run faster from the factory than published times and i would think part of that had to be traction off the line.

I wasn't, considering the way the came out of the factory mostly "under geared" for the engines design and power band, the "safe" timing curve, safe carb settings and with cast iron exhaust manifolds and full passible exhaust system, there was a full second plus ET left on the table.

With a 100 mph trap speed, it lines up with a 13.1 ET. The old distance/mph tells the tail. MPH is a good indicator of ET potential.
 

FS87LT

Veteran Member
Apr 3, 2010
975
DFW, TX
Well, after installing a Cloyes Plus-Roller timing chain (and Cam Dynamics 266 cam and 4bbl) in my '77 LT 305 at 92K miles, I then proceeded to drive it daily until it hit 525K miles and most of the block freeze plugs were needed to be replaced. I'd had a 355 "in waiting" since about 200K miles. All it took was normal 4000 mile oil changes with good 20W50 motor oil and ACDelco filters. No obsessive maintenance, either! AND, about 95% of that driving was in about a 100 mile radius of home. The KONIs and BFG Radial TAs kept the ride firm, as the WS-6 sway bars help it flat. After I put the 9895 Holley on it, it then averaged 20mpg, too. If I wanted to go somewhere, I did. The blow-up spare tire resulted in a good bit of luggage room for a weekend excursion. Forget the drag strip, give me an open road instead!

And, with the optional G80 PosiTrac, I can go places other cars couldn't, even with the allegedly mediocre snow traction of the BFGs. One day after some ice issues, I drove around a Honda car on an incline, it was just spinning its front wheels. I grinned. Learned techniques help too!

Now, I figured out years ago that many Chevrolet owners trade their cars every couple of years, so few people know just how long they might last, except for people like me that ordered what they wanted, got it, and then kept it.

Yes, modern cars with all of their electronics and computer over-rides can make them last longer, as the better engine machining can too. Yet the simplicity of the 3-speed automatics, manual a/c, single-piston disc brakes, and NO screens leads to better reliability and longevity. LESS things to go wrong, as many said back then, about not ordering power windows and such. AND, modern cars are much better insulated against heat and sound than the older ones ever were. So dig out the DynaMat and such to help with that.

There is ONE place where the newer cars are phenominally better . . . occupant safety, even if the driver might do something inappropriate for the conditions.

IF I wanted a new Camaro, it would be just like the one I have now, just newer. Only thing is that Chevrolet never did understand that, heading off toward $50K+ SS models and German race track records instead. I like the newer LS motors, but I'm not going to swap one in as, to me, their real-world benefits are not enough to go through all of the adaptations. My 355 did get a set of the then-new '86 Corvette L98 aluminum cyl heads, though, when I could resell then for $550.00/pair (including VIP freight charges). There are others out now which are better, but mine are good enough for what I'm doing. They do just fine at 2300rpm cruise rpm levels.

As I added the 15x7 steel Z/28 wheels and factory cat-back Z/28 exhaust system, my car looks like a Z/28, although it also had "Type LT" emblems on the rood sides. One day, a then-new '87 Mustang GT took some bait on the Interstate. I began shadowing him, two lanes over, to see if he might be a "Real GT owner". He noticed and took the bait.

I was about 2 lengths behind him when we got to the crest of a hill, with an open freeway in front of us. At 70mph, he made his move. I nailed the Camaro and manually shifted into "2", then ran it up to 100mph before a shift into "D". He called the race of at 110mph. He did not gain anything on my Camaro (with 235K miles on it, a dirty K&N filter, and NGK V-Power plugs with about 25K miles on them). He was not pleased! LOL He slowed down a bit quicker than I did, so I eased past him as I slowed down more gradually. He did not look at me or wave. He was not pleased. His car still had the paper plate on it, too, which meant it was too new to be modified. He would have really been displeased if he had known that my Camaro had a 305 in it rather than a (suspected) 350. No "waxing poetic" here, just facts. Never did see him again!

The cam I put in? 210 degrees @.050, .440" lift. Intake? Holley Z-Line intake, 1976 350-spec Holley 4160 600cfm. Stock exhaust manifolds, honeycomb converter, cat-back factory from GM Z/28 exhaust system. Against his factory-tricked 302 with under-drive pulleys, tubular exh manifolds, and all of that. Only time I did anything like that, although it was fun. AND, the night before we removed the 305 and installed the 355, I took it on a highway loop run of right at 60 miles at freeway speeds, when it returned 23.5 mpg. I was just as impressed with that as I was the first time I took the car on a trip to west TX, when it got 20mpg average, while it was still bone stock.

Yep, those were the days. Just that I made them that way, which means something to me. A new Camaro (or Mustang or Challenger) might get better fuel economy, with their newer engine designs, but how good they do things is the result of how good their computers do things . . . NOT their drivers and owners and mechanics taking care of them. The new ones do have some character in performance, but it's more "appliance-oriented" than in prior times, to me.

Regardless of which generation of vehicle one has, it should behoove the owner/driver to learn what "the equipment" likes and can do, then work to extract everything it might do, effectively, by how they drive and operate "the equipment". Learn what it likes and what it can do, rather than desiring it to do what YOU want it to do, even if it can't do it. Things just work out better than way, when you BOTH work together toward a particular goal/objective. Don't be its enemy, but its friend.

Much of the "fastness" of modern vehicles has come from continual refinement with regard to exhaust emissions. The need to keep cruising rpm in a tighter rpm band, for example. With much former race engine technology, as the same things which mean more power to the flywheel also means better fuel efficiency, many times. Plus computers to keep everything under tight control, too. Far better than the old "analog" computer with sensory inputs guiding it. Plus better tires and computerized launch controls, too. Might I be motivated to spend $60K for a new one with all of that stuff? Probably not. I can have more legal fun just driving my '77LT at legal speeds, with the windows down, the stereo playing, just enjoying life as it IS and WAS.

Sorry for the length. Y'all enjoy!
FS87LT
 

70454inutah

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2014
244
provo utah
I wasn't, considering the way the came out of the factory mostly "under geared" for the engines design and power band, the "safe" timing curve, safe carb settings and with cast iron exhaust manifolds and full passible exhaust system, there was a full second plus ET left on the table.

With a 100 mph trap speed, it lines up with a 13.1 ET. The old distance/mph tells the tail. MPH is a good indicator of ET potential.
13.1 sounds more like where I could see it going with the solid lifter cam, decent heads and the rpm range. that also puts it in a good range of faster cars of that era.
 
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