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Old 04-17-2017, 06:47 PM   #1
Crushinator's Avatar
Drives: '15 Z/28 #783
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 367
May be buying an '81 Z28. What to look for?

I have an opportunity to buy a 2 owner '81 Z28. The car is a 4 speed, 350. The current owner, who is a friend of mine, told me that the original motor was a 305 that was blown up years back. So it was replaced with a 350 horse 350. It has headers and performance exhaust. Mileage is around 100,000 on the car. He described it as being a really nice car. (He's not really a car guy like we are). It was repainted once. I have not even seen pictures yet. He said it's grey with orange and black stickers(?). Sounds like a strange color combo to me.

My question is this. What areas should I look for, for known problems. Like rust, worn out parts etc.

My plan would be to buy it, and possibly do a light resto-mod. Perhaps some engine upgrades, wheels/tires, suspension if needed and brakes.

My brother had an '81 years ago, but I can't remember too much about it. Do they have 4 wheel disk brakes?

Lastly, the 5th digit of the VIN would be a P for Z28 right?
2015 Z/28
A/C and audio
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Old 04-18-2017, 12:20 PM   #2
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Drives: 2012 RS/2SS, 69 ProStreet Camaro
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: North NJ
Posts: 226
From the info I've seen online the "P" could mean "Sport Coupe" and or "Z28". (See Below). Although there should be a "Z28" on the trim tag. The 1981 didn't come with rear discs, lots of kits to convert though. As for rust, all of the usually places apply. Floors, rockers, trunk, rear wheel wells, etc. There is a lot of great aftermarket equipment available for these sencond gen Z28s.. On the color combo I think he meant orange/red stripes on a grey car. There weren't any orange/black stripes. I don't mind the combo. I had a 1979 that was silver with the orange/red stripes. I like the combo. That was a great car.


Vehicle Identification Number Example: 1G1AP87H2BN100000
First Digit Nation of Origin: 1=USA, 2=Canada
Second Digit Division: G=General Motors
Third Digit: 1=Chevrolet
Fourth Digit: A=non-passive, B=automatic belts, C=inflatable restraint
Fifth Digit Model: P=Camaro Coupe or Z28, S=Berlinetta
Six & Seven Digits Body Style: 87=Sport Coupe/Camaro
Eigth Digit Engine: See Engine Codes Below
Ninth Digit is Check digit
Tenth Digit Year: B=81
Eleventh Digit Production Plant: N=Norwood,Ohio, L=Van Nuys
Last Six Digits increase by one with each car built at each plant

Not my car, but the combo you described.

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Old 04-18-2017, 08:35 PM   #3
Crushinator's Avatar
Drives: '15 Z/28 #783
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 367
Thanks for taking the time to reply PROZ11. That helps a lot. I should probably see the car this weekend. I'm going to keep the car for a few days and give it a good looking over before committing to buy it. But I think if the whole car checks out, I'll just do it. I've been itching to have a fun/project car I can mess with when I have the time and money.
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