MadMike's 1971 Z28 Camaro

The Maciolek Family's 1971 Z28 Camaro

Spring 1998
I was a vender at Super Chevy in the spring of 1998. A fellow walked by and we got to talking. He had some Camaros he was wanting to get rid of. Seems he had a 1972 RS and a "1971 Z28". "Ya, sure. ok. ". We exchanged phone numbers. A week or 2 later, I called and the guy was waffling. He wanted to keep the cars, he wasn't sure, he had other offers. "Hear me now and believe me later...." (picture Hans & Franz). I guess the guy really liked the 1st gen cars, because he eventually went and bought a 1969 Z28 and was restoring that car. Suddenly he didn't want/need the 2 early 70's Camaros, and we had talked to each other again (I had kept in touch). So, we drove to Alabama to look at the cars. Neither car had an engine or trans. The 72 RS body was solid, the interior was rough. The 71 was verified as a Z28 (the deal was all done except for how much money we needed to exchange so I could leave with the cars). The 71 Z body was totally, 100% wasted (except a fender could be repaired). The interior was "ok", mostly present, no console. Busted ignition, no keys. Both cars had good (unbroken) glass. The Z needs new window glass.

So, what happened? Me and Andrew dug deep and bought both cars. My intention was "borrowing" the parts of the RS nose I needed to complete my 73RS nose. My intention was to KEEP the 71 Z, and use the 72 to repair the 71. Then we could sell off the rest of the 72.

Me and Andrew did some swaparoo stuff, and I now have 100% ownership of the 71Z28, so the car is "my project".

The 71 Z28 as purchased - "I can fix it"

I know this ain't the time to be worrying about stuff, but I'm torn between making my car look like the below blue car, or painting it blood red with black "Motion" stripes. The other thing that's in the back of my mind is my 80Z drag car... with T-tops. If that car can't handle the 468 engine, I guess I'll just have to put it into the 71 and campaign that car on the track. I guess it was used to it in the early 70's. I don't have the time or money to play musical engines. Then again, my wife has mentioned to me several times that I shouldn't have "messed up" my 80Z.... Maybe I just outta rethink the whole situation....

.... I did - The 71 Z28 is going Drag Racing. My 1980 is going back on the street. I can't afford to have 3 or 4 street machines and go race the wrong car on top of that.

As if I needed any convincing... the 80Z28 is sentimental. To correctly restore the 71 Z28 would require a lot of time and cash. Just think of the amount of interior work. It's easier to put a steel roll cage in this car. The whole car needs bodywork. If I have to cut the back end out, who cares. This car is lighter than my 80, plus it'll get me the "motion replica" I'm looking for.

My 1971 Z28 Car target specifications: (most of this is coming from my 1980 Z28)
Engine: LS-7 454 + .060 (468 CID), 12.5:1 TRW forged pistons, floated pins, forged steel crank, balanced rotating assembly, ARP fasteners, Moroso 9 quart oil pan w/ high volume pump.
LS-7 cylinder heads, Manley race-flow valves, 2.19"/1.88"
Competition Cams Valve train - Solid roller cam (270/278 duration @ .050", .714" lift),
Pro-Magnum stainless steel rocker arms, titanium super locks & retainers, Moroso stud girdle
Hedman Husler Headers w/ 2 1/8" primaries, 4" collector with crankcase evacuation system.
TCI Rattler (SFI 18.1 approved) harmonic balancer .

Induction/Fuel System: Edelbrock Victor Jr. Intake, Holley 850 Double Pumper, choke eliminated, will use a fuel cell
Mallory 250 fuel pump & filter, -10 braided steel line from tank to pump
-10 braided steel line to Mallory 5 port competition regulator.

Ignition System: Modified HEI distributor, Mallory Hy-Fire IVc w/ proportional rev limiter and 2 step. Mallory Pro-Coil, Moroso blue max wires, optima battery.

Transmission: While originally a 4 speed car, I'll use my Turbo 400 with TCI valve body, SFI approved TCI shield, Hurst Quarterstick shifter w/12 volt line lock button. Undecided on converter.

Rear End: GM 12 bolt, positraction with 4.88 gears. Axle tubes welded to center section, balanced driveshaft w/ heavy spicer u-joints, Driveshaft loop

Exterior Color: Cranberry Red (code 75), with black stripes (just like the picture).
Interior Color: Black. Needs some fixin (major understatement).
I'm tossing around the idea of painting the car blue, with blue interior.?

Factory & Added Options:
Power Brakes, (J50), Rear window defrost (C50), Dual Mirrors (D35)
Mandatory Z28 options: U14 Instrumentation, D80 Spoilers (rear), D88 Stripes, F41 Suspension (upgraded).

Wheels & Tires: Weld Draglite, Goodyear 15 x 4.5 (front), 15x10 with M/T 26.5" slicks (rear)
Cooling system: Aluminum waterpump & radiator,

Suspension/Chassis: TBD

1971 Z28 Photos
[ Side view | Rear of 71Z | Drew, 71Z & 89 | Head on view | Dan wishing he was 16 | Interior shot - literally ]

On to the damage
Front of car: [ Radiator core support, what's left of it | Nose | under the hood/Engine bay ]
Interior: [ Dashboard/instrument cluster | Door & Panel | The floor is shot ]
Rear & Side: [ roof and 1/4 damage | notice the dent in the 1/4 | down the rocker | window chanel damage | straight on rear view ]
Underneath the car [ underside of car | another angle of underneath ]

My turn to waffle - What's up at the moment?
This car is totally messed up, and I'm currently taking a beating on putting together the drag car and the 1973 Z28. Everything I'm doing to the 73 will have to be done to this car too, and then some - mainly, I gotta repair the whole body. As such, I'm removing the interior. I'll salvage as much as I can, and the rest of the stuff is going to the dump. Same thing with the front sheet metal, fenders, and doors. Everything that can come off, will. And most likely will go to the scrap yard. I'm collecting little goodies and doo-dads to repair the car when the time comes. I don't want to get seriously into the resto of this car and get sidetracked. This means I won't take the front end subframe off and begin cleaning/redoing that.

I'm waffling because I just took a major financial beating and bought a gearbox, console, and grille for the car, among other things (that'll help facilitate repairing the 73)... I should sell the gearbox and console, but I'd like to keep them. I'm currently trying very hard to resist the urge to part away the 71Z28, keeping just the shell. I'm doing OK. We sold the wheels off the car. The 72 was picked over and now just the shell is left. One day, when I get a chance, I'll buzz up the 72 and transfer the sheet metal onto the 71.

One thing that bothers me, is the panel where the trim tag and VIN are located is rusted away, and in repairing that, it could give the appearance that some funny bizness happened. This web page, and some other things I'll do will be my intent to document the originality of the 71 Z28, in otherwords, there's no faking going on. Here's the trim tag. Last inspected - 1974.

Background as a racer?
From taking a peek at this car some things seem pretty neat. The car is a 1971 Z28, with next to no options - not even power steering. The car as I got it has severe surface rust, yet the underside of the car seems ok - an indication that it's SAT AROUND for a very long time. Further evidence of the car sitting is one wheel rusted sufficiently around the edge to become unusable (even though it still holds air), meaning the wheel wasn't rotated for a very long time. This tire still has a mid-70's era tire on it (firestone wide-oval).

People pillaged stuff, the engine & trans are gone, as well as the external clutch linkage. The car is fitted with a driveshaft loop, headers, 1/2 a$$ bullet mufflers dumping before the rear axle, and traction bars. The car was last registered in Georgia in 1974/75, yet it was in Alabama where I bought it. My guess is this car's early life was as a drag car. Then for some reason, the drivetrain either broke, or was raided and the car sat around for the next 15-20 years. At least we can tell for certain that in 1998 this car came to me and will be resurrected to its former glory.

April 1999
As if I don't have enough problems already, I've pushed this car out of the way and parked it. I'm not even going to think about starting ANY work on the car until I get several other projects completed. The serious body problems with this car means it wouldn't be smart to spend a nickel of money or an hour of time working on something that may all go down the tubes if the body can't be salvaged. I'm still gathering up some parts I'll need as I can from my parts pile.

One thing I am doing to this car right now is stripping everything out of it, down to the bare body and throwing away the junk... broken steering column, dash, etc...
Eventually when things shake out a little and I've got a functional 1980, 1973 and 1974 Z28's... this car will go into the garage and we'll see if we can repair the body before going any further.

Late Summer - 1999
A couple things are going on now; I screwed up on the 74Z, by trying to use a 1973 Subframe. I started redoing that subframe, bolted it onto the 74 and then noticed that there isn't an easy way to bolt on the 74 front end metal to the 73 subframe.... plus, I'm still trying to clean out the back yard (the 72 RS is still out back).
SO... the plan for this car is to haul it on up to the garage, take the subframe off the 74Z and bolt it onto the 71, then zip up all the sheet metal from the 72 and transfer it onto the 71Z. This will make the 71Z solid & eliminate the 72's precense. Shortly before this little project happens, I got something else I gotta complete, but in doing that... it should help me in a big way in fixing some of my stuff.

Unfortunantly, in trying to do what I'm doing, I'm basically TRIPLING my restoration costs. I gotta buy 3 sets of everything (actually 2 because I already took my beating on buying the 73Z28 stuff). This means subframe bushings, suspension bushings and components, steering, brakes, etc...

End of August - 1999
I'll quit beating around the bush... I sold a whole bunch of parts to a fellow who also had a 1971 Z28. I was bumming that I sold the stuff, cause I could have used it, and it was good stuff... but I needed the money.

Well, the fellow who I sold the stuff to decided he needed $ more than the Z, so I bought all my stuff back, plus his 1971Z28. I didn't screw the fellow and have a firesale on his stuff, I basically gave him his money back, plus I bought his car. I immediately resold that car, but kept most of my stuff.

There's a little "catch" here... I gotta straighten out and paint the 71Z to complete the sale.... so, I'm batching up some work and will knock out most of my bodywork at once. This will be tough, but I guess it's what's going to happen. I need to free up a garage bay, then place the sold 71Z into the garage. My 71Z will probably come up and be parked in front of the garage door. This has an added bonus because both 71Z's are currently parked along the edge of my yard and the my neighbor I know isn't too happy looking at the thing. Tough - I gotta look over at their Toyota and I don't bitch about it.

Winter 1999
Let's prepare to build this bitch - before my motor & trans rust up solid or I lose any more pieces-parts that go to this thing:

... stay tuned (I have a couple other things to get done before I do this).

The Final Goal

Last updated: 7/7/1999
Rewritten: 11/24/1999
Author: MadMike Maciolek
Email: [email protected]

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