Hagerty.com

Underappreciated 1970–73 Chevy Camaro Z/28s are a decent value


#1

It’s easy to forget about the second-generation Camaro Z/28, or at least overlook it. Most people picture with the later, fatter, slower, decal-laden Camaros of the late 1970s when talking about second-gen Z/28s, and the serious money typically goes after the initial and more hardcore 1967–69 cars. For a few short years in the beginning of the ’70s, however, Z/28s still offered serious high performance and wrapped it up in an attractive European-inspired package with chrome bumpers, smooth coupe bodywork, and an enormous square grille.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/10/11/underappreciated-1970-73-chevy-camaro-z28

#2

I have a (real) 1974 Z28 LT. I have been restoring cars as a hobby for over 50 years. If I don’t count labor, I never lost money at the sale, but it hasn’t been a real profitable pastime. I just like wrenching and feeling, as well as seeing, the difference I can make.
I think the only issues with the 74 Z28 was the decrease in HP and getting used to the 5mph bumpers, otherwise it’s the same great underpinnings as the 4 earlier years (even the back window is the same). The horsepower is easy and relatively inexpensive to fix with heads, cam, intake, and carb. You don’t even have to take out the motor. Replacement parts are 99% the same as the well supported earlier years. The “Shovel nose” you either hate or don’t, I don’t know of anyone who loves it. But the point is this is a great car for very little money. So if you do this car thing to have the unique entry at a show, want a car that is fun to drive fast and log distance, and to put some unique spin on performance and handling, look for a 74. But if investment is your driver, this is a long term’er. I’m usually the only 74 in a sea of earlier Camaros at the shows, and I get a fair amount of attention because of it. So maybe it’s the appreciated unappreciated!
Just so you know I put a Hotchkiss suspension, 5sp Tremec, and 3.7 rear in my car after the motor updates and I drive it. I have less than $16k invested.


#3

PLEASE don’t use morphed Camaro’s for your pictures. Ridiculous RS bumperettes on a standard front end 70-73 is what I am talking about. Pretty much takes away any creditability the author may be trying to drive home with the article.


#4

I believe the only difference from the HP rating for the 70-1/2 to the 71 was from the piston change which reduced the compression ratio from 11:1 to 9:1. The LT1 engines from 70-72 still had solid lifers, forged rods and crank, 4 bolt mains, baffled oil pan, 2.02/1.60 in/ex heads, Holley 780 cfm carb., and aluminum intake. So I believe the difference in HP from 71 to 72 was mostly from the rating mode to net.


#5

I recently bought a one owner original ‘79 4 speed. Perhaps it’s short on horsepower, but there’s no shortage of sweet music from the exhaust. And there’s no shortage of smiles when I’m driving it!


#6

I’m a casual Camaro fan and I have no complaints on the author’s credentials as long as the information they’re giving out is correct. Since they’ve obviously got an agreement with the auction company to use the photos, I’d blame the consigner for misrepresenting the car, not the author for using the image in good faith. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference until you pointed it out.


#7

Thank you! I personally prefer a full bumper on these cars but please don’t just install the bumperettes and call it an RS!


#8

The compression drop from 70 to 71 was a combination of piston and head changes. The difference in HP rating from 71 to 72 was a change in how HP was calculated, from gross to net. The HP loss For 73 and 74 Z/28s was due the use of the L82 instead of the LT1. The low production numbers for 72 were do to a strike at GM and several thousand cars were destroyed due to the cost of modifying them to 73 safety requirements.


#9

I have a real 74 Z-28 as well. It’s a driver, but it’s mostly original with Air. You’re right; I am always the only '74 Z at any cruise or car show. I love the nose compared to the 70 - 73. I would prefer the earlier tail light arrangement versus the '74 though. The Z-28 striping on the '74 is unique to that year as well and is a real eye catcher.


#10

Most experts agree the second generation Camaro’s were a better handling car than the first generation. I fell in love with the styling way back in high school and purchased a 1972 Camaro SS in 1975. Like most people, I ended up selling it for I think $2,900. A couple of years back I got her replacement in the form of a numbers matching 1971 Z28. She is presently being restored and I cannot wait to get her back together and on the road.


#11

I couldn’t agree more. I also noticed the steering wheel.