1973 Z28 Restoration "Lilith"

Jerry73Z28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Nov 1, 2017
229
Greeley, CO
Short update:
Got home from my trip Friday afternoon. Too tired and jet-lagged to work on the car on the usual Saturday, but work was nice enough to give me Monday off for recovery. Decided to do my day with Dad Monday instead.
Dad worked on drywall mudding and I worked on my upper control arms. Got the bushings out (what a pain!) and chiseled off the rivets from the ball joint, then got to work with the blaster.
Got one completely cleaned off, and about half of the other.
Jva3ryn.jpg

At least the pile of "dirty" parts is getting smaller!
 

Darkbluez

New Member
Mar 12, 2019
12
Massachusetts
Ok, here goes. I've been lurking this site for a year and a half or so, and my project has been off and on (more off than on) for about 18 years. I've finally got a location, the tools, and a source of knowledge and experience to really get serious about doing this.

My Camaro came into my family the same year I did, in 1976. My Dad was working as a mechanic at a dealership in 1976 when this 1973 Camaro Z28 came into his bay with a broken valve spring. The owner was apparently a teenager, and we suspect the car was driven hard. My Dad recommended replacement of all the valve springs, but the parents elected to only have the broken one replaced. Needless to say, it was not long until the car was back in the shop with another broken valve spring. This time, however, the owners elected to trade it in.

My Dad bought the car for my Mom before it could go back onto the lot.

VE9l7ra.jpg


Mom had wanted a Firebird Trans Am, but she soon fell in love with her new Camaro. She wanted it to be blue, though, so Dad changed it from Silver and Black to Blue and White for her.

My parents split when I was 6, and she kept the car. I remember the love she had for her Camaro since I was very little. Many years later, needing work done, the car was parked, but she couldn't bring herself to sell it. I don't recall how long it sat undriven.

I joined the Navy in 1994, and re-enlisted in 2000. I got a pretty good re-enlistment bonus, and shortly after, Mom decided it was time to sell her beloved car. She gave my Dad and I first dibs on buying it. I took the opportunity while I had the money and bought her car.

The next time I was home on leave, while transferring from Everett, WA to a Navy school in Norfolk, VA, I managed to get the Camaro running with just a new battery. While home, we got the title transferred, and got her insured and registered.

wzEN8Yu.jpg


The years sitting had not been kind, though. The front window had developed a leak, and the carpets were ruined. She also had the usual rusty places behind the tires and on the quarter panel in front of the rear tires. I also figured that the suspension, at least, needed a lot of work. All the bushings I could see were very badly dried out and cracked. The exhaust system was also pretty much shot.

I bought a trailer and pulled the car all the way to Norfolk for school. I drove it there quite a bit, and am probably pretty lucky I didn't get any tickets for driving a basically unmuffled V8.

When done with training, I put her back on the trailer and towed her all the way back to Washington state, this time to the submarine base in Silverdale. I found a duplex with a garage and put the Camaro inside to try to start the work.

As I imagine happens a lot, the more I took apart, the more I found that I thought needed to be done. It wasn't long until I'd decided to take her completely apart and start from the ground up. It wasn't long after that when I realized what a daunting task I'd taken on. That, and other interests, and finding the woman I eventually married, and the car sat in pieces in the garage without much work being done. Also, the humidity in Washington was making it very difficult to make progress. I would sand off rust one night, and the next night the shiny metal would already have orange spots growing on it.

Then, in 2006, I got out of the Navy and prepared to return to Colorado. I loaded the body onto the trailer, and packed it and the bed of my pickup with parts. When I got home, I parked the trailer and car at my mom's. The "temporary" apartment we found has no garage, so there she sat. Extra funds were scant, and the "temporary" apartment became not so temporary.

ldOQrGZ.jpg


Finally, about a year ago, I started spending a lot more time with my Dad, and he suggested we start work on the Camaro together. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Though I spent a lot of weekends with him as a child, there's always been a lot of things I wish we'd been able to do together. As he says, we're finally doing the stuff together we should have been doing 30 years ago.

As you can imagine, another decade spent sitting on a trailer, in pieces, didn't do much to improve the condition of the parts. The block and heads, for example, were in such sad shape, even Dad wasn't sure we could save them. We found the end caps sitting in the oil pan, which spent much of it's time filled with water. But we took them, and the crankshaft, to an automotive machine shop here in Greeley, and miraculously, they saved them! The cylinders are bored 0.060 over, and it's been balanced. We let the machine shop install the valves and valve springs into the heads, but we want to do the rest of the assembly ourselves.

CSQd19d.jpg

hWx70zT.jpg

26VpE9P.jpg


We've spent most of the last year insulating and drywalling his garage, but that project is finally nearing completion, and we're now planning on starting the serious work on the Camaro. I bought a rotisserie a couple weeks ago, and hopefully, we'll soon be mounting the body and we'll be able to really see just how much work is ahead of us.

8rvAxpP.jpg


I guess that finally brings us to the present. My Dad's got decades of experience working on these cars, mostly as a mechanic, but he's done his share of body work as well. I can't wait to pick his brain and learn as much as I can.

Our goal is to restore my car as close to original as possible. I don't have any illusions about making her a show car, but I'd like to get as close as possible on my budget. The 350 engine (now a 360), carb, manifolds, the Muncie 4-speed, and rear end are all original. I even plan on going back to the original Silver paint job with the Black stripes.

I'd apologize for the super-long post, but I didn’t force you to read it! It's hard to condense the 42 years of history my family has with this car! I'll be posting updates regularly, so hopefully the posts will be a lot smaller from here on out.
I have 73Z also. Just finished repairing the frame and installing new bushings in the a-arms and having them painted. Keep us posted on your progress.
 

Bandit723

Veteran Member
Oct 1, 2016
4,363
Waupaca WI
Short update:
Got home from my trip Friday afternoon. Too tired and jet-lagged to work on the car on the usual Saturday, but work was nice enough to give me Monday off for recovery. Decided to do my day with Dad Monday instead.
Dad worked on drywall mudding and I worked on my upper control arms. Got the bushings out (what a pain!) and chiseled off the rivets from the ball joint, then got to work with the blaster.
Got one completely cleaned off, and about half of the other.
Jva3ryn.jpg

At least the pile of "dirty" parts is getting smaller!
Air hammer would have made short work of the rivets..
 

Jerry73Z28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Nov 1, 2017
229
Greeley, CO
I used an air hammer with a chisel bit on the ball joint side so I wouldn't mark up the control arm (much).
Yep, they came off pretty easily.
 

jsibayan

Veteran Member
Jun 11, 2013
143
Salinas, CA
Got a few more parts cleaned off yesterday, and while waiting for the compressor to catch up, I decided to clean out the body of the 14 years worth of dirt and leaves that has collected inside the trunk and cabin along with the parts stored there.
I found a few small rust holes in the trunk, and one or two in each rear floorboard. None big enough to even put a finger through. Nothing near as bad as I expected to find considering how long it's been exposed to the weather.
SSm4wkg.jpg


We'll get a better idea how much patching will be needed once we get it on the rotisserie, but I'm feeling a lot better about it.

On another note, I'd been doing some research into the VIN, body tag, and engine code, trying to figure out as much as possible as to when my car was built, using the great information on the Camaro Info tab on this site: http://www.nastyz28.com/camaro/camaro73.html
That is an amazing treasure trove of information!
I know my engine was assembled on July 16 (V0716CLJ) and the 2nd stamp matches my VIN.
According to the data page, 96,751 Camaros were assembled for the 1973 model year, and mine was very close to the end of the run (95,199). The body tag is stamped 07E, for the 5th week of July. According to my trusty calendar, the 5th week of July 1973 consisted of Sunday the 29th, Monday the 30th, and Tuesday the 31st.
I don't know if assembly line workers were working Sundays in 1973, but in either case, I guessed mine was likely built on the 30th.
And then, while sorting through parts yesterday, I find this:
VgGQM1Y.jpg

Mystery solved, eh?
I'm not sure what the part is, or what it does, but it mounts behind the back seat, and the hoses connect to the fuel system.
I think, when we reinstall that part, Dad and I are going to have to initial and date it below RBW.
Now I'm wondering who RBW is...


Hey Jerry, I have a similar initials I found in my gas tank canister. I've had it off for a while now since I'm SLOWLY restoring it. I ran into your thread. When I was scrolling down and found your thread, I remember that mine has the same initials.

831Z281973 JSibayan.jpg
 

popeye73z28

New Member
Apr 16, 2007
4
havre de grace.md
Ok, here goes. I've been lurking this site for a year and a half or so, and my project has been off and on (more off than on) for about 18 years. I've finally got a location, the tools, and a source of knowledge and experience to really get serious about doing this.

My Camaro came into my family the same year I did, in 1976. My Dad was working as a mechanic at a dealership in 1976 when this 1973 Camaro Z28 came into his bay with a broken valve spring. The owner was apparently a teenager, and we suspect the car was driven hard. My Dad recommended replacement of all the valve springs, but the parents elected to only have the broken one replaced. Needless to say, it was not long until the car was back in the shop with another broken valve spring. This time, however, the owners elected to trade it in.

My Dad bought the car for my Mom before it could go back onto the lot.

VE9l7ra.jpg


Mom had wanted a Firebird Trans Am, but she soon fell in love with her new Camaro. She wanted it to be blue, though, so Dad changed it from Silver and Black to Blue and White for her.

My parents split when I was 6, and she kept the car. I remember the love she had for her Camaro since I was very little. Many years later, needing work done, the car was parked, but she couldn't bring herself to sell it. I don't recall how long it sat undriven.

I joined the Navy in 1994, and re-enlisted in 2000. I got a pretty good re-enlistment bonus, and shortly after, Mom decided it was time to sell her beloved car. She gave my Dad and I first dibs on buying it. I took the opportunity while I had the money and bought her car.

The next time I was home on leave, while transferring from Everett, WA to a Navy school in Norfolk, VA, I managed to get the Camaro running with just a new battery. While home, we got the title transferred, and got her insured and registered.

wzEN8Yu.jpg


The years sitting had not been kind, though. The front window had developed a leak, and the carpets were ruined. She also had the usual rusty places behind the tires and on the quarter panel in front of the rear tires. I also figured that the suspension, at least, needed a lot of work. All the bushings I could see were very badly dried out and cracked. The exhaust system was also pretty much shot.

I bought a trailer and pulled the car all the way to Norfolk for school. I drove it there quite a bit, and am probably pretty lucky I didn't get any tickets for driving a basically unmuffled V8.

When done with training, I put her back on the trailer and towed her all the way back to Washington state, this time to the submarine base in Silverdale. I found a duplex with a garage and put the Camaro inside to try to start the work.

As I imagine happens a lot, the more I took apart, the more I found that I thought needed to be done. It wasn't long until I'd decided to take her completely apart and start from the ground up. It wasn't long after that when I realized what a daunting task I'd taken on. That, and other interests, and finding the woman I eventually married, and the car sat in pieces in the garage without much work being done. Also, the humidity in Washington was making it very difficult to make progress. I would sand off rust one night, and the next night the shiny metal would already have orange spots growing on it.

Then, in 2006, I got out of the Navy and prepared to return to Colorado. I loaded the body onto the trailer, and packed it and the bed of my pickup with parts. When I got home, I parked the trailer and car at my mom's. The "temporary" apartment we found has no garage, so there she sat. Extra funds were scant, and the "temporary" apartment became not so temporary.

ldOQrGZ.jpg


Finally, about a year ago, I started spending a lot more time with my Dad, and he suggested we start work on the Camaro together. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Though I spent a lot of weekends with him as a child, there's always been a lot of things I wish we'd been able to do together. As he says, we're finally doing the stuff together we should have been doing 30 years ago.

As you can imagine, another decade spent sitting on a trailer, in pieces, didn't do much to improve the condition of the parts. The block and heads, for example, were in such sad shape, even Dad wasn't sure we could save them. We found the end caps sitting in the oil pan, which spent much of it's time filled with water. But we took them, and the crankshaft, to an automotive machine shop here in Greeley, and miraculously, they saved them! The cylinders are bored 0.060 over, and it's been balanced. We let the machine shop install the valves and valve springs into the heads, but we want to do the rest of the assembly ourselves.

CSQd19d.jpg

hWx70zT.jpg

26VpE9P.jpg


We've spent most of the last year insulating and drywalling his garage, but that project is finally nearing completion, and we're now planning on starting the serious work on the Camaro. I bought a rotisserie a couple weeks ago, and hopefully, we'll soon be mounting the body and we'll be able to really see just how much work is ahead of us.

8rvAxpP.jpg


I guess that finally brings us to the present. My Dad's got decades of experience working on these cars, mostly as a mechanic, but he's done his share of body work as well. I can't wait to pick his brain and learn as much as I can.

Our goal is to restore my car as close to original as possible. I don't have any illusions about making her a show car, but I'd like to get as close as possible on my budget. The 350 engine (now a 360), carb, manifolds, the Muncie 4-speed, and rear end are all original. I even plan on going back to the original Silver paint job with the Black stripes.

I'd apologize for the super-long post, but I didn’t force you to read it! It's hard to condense the 42 years of history my family has with this car! I'll be posting updates regularly, so hopefully the posts will be a lot smaller from here on out.
 

popeye73z28

New Member
Apr 16, 2007
4
havre de grace.md
Great to here of your build, your dad, and your love of this AWESOME car. Also, thank you for your service to this great country. Look forward to your future posts on my favorite Z
 

gutted72

Veteran Member
Mar 4, 2002
1,451
Jennings, OK
You will definitely be spending a ridiculous amount of time on this site, there are so many people on here with a BUNCH of knowledge and the best part, they will be happy to share it with you.

I remember my days in Silverdale, you have 2 colors there. Green and a brownish red (rust). Spent 7 years up there enjoying the liquid sunshine. I'm really surprise your Camaro doesn't look like a block of Swiss cheese.

Good luck with your project.
 

Jerry73Z28

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Nov 1, 2017
229
Greeley, CO
Thank you all for the supportive replies!
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Still spending most Saturdays with my Dad, but more time working on the garage and hiding from the summer heat than working on the car. I've gotten a few more suspension parts sandblasted, primed, and painted, but not much else.
The garage is getting close, though. We hope to have it finished in the next several weeks, and then start moving in and prepping body parts once we don't have to worry about drywall dust and primer/paint splatters. And since it should be much warmer in the garage this winter, I'm hoping to make some serious progress before it gets hot again next year.
 




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