Should I buy this Camaro as my first car?

Discussion in '1978 - 1981 Specific' started by MTG15, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. MTG15

    MTG15 New Member

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    Jun 3, 2020
    350 V-8
    No A/C
    Around 100k miles

    The car seems to be in good condition from what I've seen, except for the fuel pump. It also needs a powerstering pump, has a little rust and it's missing a front spoiler.

    The guy selling it is a mechanic and it's asking 4,800 for it.

    I really want one of these, and I think I could afford it, but im still not sure.

    Sorry for my bad english btw.

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  2. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Feb 26, 2004
    Bloomington, MN
    Welcome to NastyZ28! :D

    Your English is fine!

    Where are you located?

    This car has had many modifications in its life.

    The A/C has been removed and I don't think it has a heater. (There should be two hoses leading to the passenger side firewall).
    I see no evidence it is Z28 but it has a 80-81 Z28 hood and rear wheel flares.

    The body looks straight but I would check it for large areas of body filler (use a magnet) because it has obviously been repainted.

    Check the rear frame rails and trunk drop-offs for rust. (If the rear frame rails are rusted through... walk away. Repairing or replacing those rails is major work.)
    The bottoms of the front fenders, lower door skin seams and the areas under the rear wheel flares are places where rust usually forms first.

    If you can't look under the carpet for rust in the floor, at least crawl under it to see the floor pan from the bottom. (Floor rust usually starts from the inside.)

    The original engine for a 79 would have been light blue. This one may have come from a donor vehicle or had an orange rattle-can rebuild.
    The Holley carb and headers are also not original. (Not that those are bad things but their age and condition are unknown.)

    The transmission dip stick/tube came from who knows what and has got to go. (Looks like it would hit the hood.)
    It also suspect the transmission has been replaced.

    Odometer mileage can be ignored until you know more about the engine/transmission. Do you know/trust this mechanic?

    If it isn't full of body filler, runs well, shifts good and doesn't burn much oil it may be an okay car for the price.

    You're going to spend a lot of time here at NastyZ28 sorting out previous modifications and doing things like getting the (non-existent) blower motor working.
    (Unless you live somewhere you can drive with the windows open all the time.)

    Cars can be fixed up a piece at a time and kept in drivable condition but there are some things which require serious down time. (Like floor replacement.)

    We have seen far worse cars restored but they are usually a "Hobby" car and not a daily driver.

    Keep us posted on what you find when you inspect it more closely.

    Good Luck
    70 Proof likes this.
  3. BillyDean7173

    BillyDean7173 Veteran Member

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    May 21, 2014
    Hutto, TX
    Welcome to Nasty! :bowtie:
    Take your time inspecting that car and follow the info that Twisted gave you.
    Don't let the seller know that you really want the car.
    Be prepared to walk away if you get bad vibes.
    Don't fall in love with it. It could be sold tomorrow.
    Are you going to fix it up? Know your skill level and don't bite off more than you can chew.
    If the seller tells you "it's all there", 90% of the time they are lying or ignorant or both.
    Ask yourself if you would be better off saving more money up and getting a car that's more complete and not so piecemeal.
    Good luck and be happy with your choice.
    Zstar likes this.
  4. CorkyE

    CorkyE Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    Ringgold, GA
    When you say 'first" car, do you mean you have never owned a car before? If so, I don't think this will be a good first car for anyone. Just my opinion.
  5. Popper

    Popper Veteran Member

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    Mar 24, 2018
    First Car AND only car??? Unless you have a solid history of turning wrenches and are mechanically inclined IMO this car is not a good choice. If its gonna be your daily driver its probably not a great idea with the amount of non-stock parts/work that show. If its a second car aka weekend car then go for it. Most of these cars have had hard lives, are over 40 years old and have been out in the elements. A few were treated very well but for the most part they were purchased because they were performance cars and were driven accordingly. I can speak from experience as a teenager that owned one back in the 80's i knew very little about cars and 'butchered' a few things. I look back and cringe at some of the things i did to that car back then....
  6. Chevyforever

    Chevyforever Veteran Member

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    Jan 4, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    All excellent and observant advice that the others have posted. Additionally I don't like the idea of buying a car or engine that has been run without an air cleaner for any length of time whatsoever.
    Zstar likes this.
  7. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

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    May 4, 2001
    When it comes to price...location plays a huge part. I would absolutely walk away from any car with rust in California, Nevada, easy to find a clean solid car in that area. If its a Eastern car, the minimal rust the better and that will drive a price due to supply out there. Overseas....these cars are pretty valuable. Hardly any around...But overseas, I would never buy a fix-r-upper. That will surely burn the wallet!
  8. ruthlessz28

    ruthlessz28 Veteran Member

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    May 9, 2009
    carpetersvill, il
    i dont see a problem with any car being a first car. mine was and still is the 79Z i bought when i was 15y.o. as long as your will to put in the work to get it/ keep it going, make it your own and know your abilities you will have more respect for it . mine taught me so much about budget maintenance and priorities. plus i could say its mine not my parents and I built it

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