Gifted a 1979 "Z28"

Connella08

New Member
Aug 24, 2020
29
Massachusetts
Hello everyone,

i am new to the Chevy world but been a long time fan. when working on chevy's on my free time, ive always regarded NastyZ28 as a reputable forum to go to for information. well, now i get to become a participant! let me tell you the story.

i am at my friends house for a regular weekend gaming session when my coworker calls me. she asks me if im interested in picking up a car and sends me photos. i knew immediately that i wanted it. she tells me that its a 1979 Z28 Camaro that has been sitting in a garage for the past 15 years. apparently back around the 2006 timeframe, my now former coworker (she didnt work with us very long) was driving the car around and the carburetor caught fire. they were able to extinguish the flame and got the car home, but they took the whole driveline out of the car. her brother was going to school to be a mechanic, so they got him to bring the engine and carburetor into school so they could go through it, learn from it, refresh it, send it back home, and put it back in the car. well, apparently her father unfortunately passed away from cancer so the car just sat since he was the driving force behind the project. she ultimately had to move the car since the garage was literally falling down around it and she had no where else to put it, so she gave it to me hoping it would go to a good home. i went the following day to pick the car up.

upon investigation, it looks like its been painted at least once, but so far all of the signs point towards it being a genuine Z28. it has the vents in the fenders, the cowl hood, and the rope styled steering wheel. the engine appears to be original to the car. the stamping on the tab in front of the passenger side cylinder head has the VIN that matches the car. i am ecstatic at this point to find out its numbers matching. my friends and i start tearing down the engine to make sure its in ok shape to put back in the car. we took the heads off and my heart sinks. it looks like someone left it under a rain gutter with nothing to cover the intake. 4 holes are filled with rust. and not just a little surface. this is thick heavy scale. i took a wire wheel on a power drill to remove carbon build up on the piston faces to see if its been bored out, to which i cannot find a stamp to indicate oversized pistons. we blow the whole thing down to just a bare block and i am in the process of sending it to a machine shop to be stripped, bored and honed and my friends and i are looking at building it up into a numbers matching 383 stroker.

now, here is where things get a little confusing for me, and a little sketchy. the clock says there are 98,000 miles on the car. now, its 40 years old and i have 165,000 on a car thats only 13 years old. im not worried about its "higher mileage" but the block had ZERO ring ridge and the transmission looks like a brand new TH350 from back in 1979. the car is in great condition with little rust, tons of miles, but little wear? digging a little further i think, OH! lets check out the trim tag on the cowl. we go and pop the hood and its MISSING! looking around the engine bay, it looks like all of the sheet metal is in pristine condition as if its been replaced. i do have a clean title with the car, but you can bet i will be looking for the factory build sheet behind/under the rear seat (found this info online as a possibility to verify info).

Car the day i picked it up. you can see how dirty it is from sitting so long.
20200816_160623.jpg 20200816_160636.jpg 20200816_160644.jpg 20200816_160657.jpg
Engine prior to tear down, with matching number stamp
20200816_220010.jpg 20200816_214657.jpg 20200823_133851.jpg
i think it saw a "little" water
20200823_130723.jpg 20200823_131328.jpg 20200823_131332.jpg
 

Camaromurph

Veteran Member
Oct 20, 2018
307
Naperville, IL
Welcome. Nice story. Looks like a great opportunity.

no cowl tag on the horizontal section of the cowl eh. That’s weird. Since the engine is out you could look for the hidden vins on the firewall as well as there might be a build sheet on top of the fuel tank if you can’t find one in the interior.
 

CorkyE

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Nov 4, 2004
11,931
Ringgold, GA
Welcome to NastyZ, looks like a pretty good start on a project car. That #1 cylinder looks pretty rough, hopefully the block is usable.
 

Connella08

New Member
Aug 24, 2020
29
Massachusetts
Welcome to NastyZ, looks like a pretty good start on a project car. That #1 cylinder looks pretty rough, hopefully the block is usable.
I hope so too. Unfortunately, it's not just cylinder 1. It's 1, 2, 7, and 8 that look like that, and the headgasket was a weird single layer steel gasket (not fiber composite or graphite). I will hopefully be dropping the block off to get machined soon, so hopefully a .030 overbore will clean it out.
 

BARNFIND

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Oct 20, 2007
564
GPS WENT DEAD...LOST
If you take it to a Machine Shop and they deck the block this will be gone:
20200823_133851-jpg.102679
and you will no longer be able to prove it is "matching numbers" . There is a way to deck the block without going over this area but you HAVE TO ASK, otherwise it is gone forever.
 

Connella08

New Member
Aug 24, 2020
29
Massachusetts
If you take it to a Machine Shop and they deck the block this will be gone:
20200823_133851-jpg.102679
and you will no longer be able to prove it is "matching numbers" . There is a way to deck the block without going over this area but you HAVE TO ASK, otherwise it is gone forever.

I thought about that as well. I dont know if im going to have it decked yet. I'm going to do it in stages so I don't dump a large chuck of cash all at once.

Stage 1: bake and blast
Stage 2: check for cracks or unsalvageable damage
Stage 3: bore and hone
Stage 4: align hone (if recommended by machinist)
Stage 5: deck block (if recommended by machinist)
 

wnmech

Veteran Member
Jul 20, 2014
1,505
grand prairie tx.
Wow looks like you got a hell of a great deal on the car. I bet they can bore out the cylinders and you will have a new engine. Anyway welcome to the Nasty.
 




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