By on December 17, 2012

Let’s say you had to move out of the country. Forever.

There are only so many things you can take with you. A few pieces of furniture. Family albums. Your antique collection of 1970’s beer bottles.

The play car you rarely drive… has to be ditched. So you unload it at a nearby dealership and hope for the best.

It’s hard to believe. But what you see here is the real McCoy. A soon to be 16 year old Camaro Z28 with all of 8,193 miles.

By 1997 these Camaros had nearly caught up with the Mustangs in terms of sales volume. 100k for a Mustang. 95k for the Camaro. Throw in a healthy five-figure sales volume for the Firebird, and it seemed like the F-bodies would indeed endure for the long run.

Then something happened… and that something was nothing. GM more or less let both models shrivel on the vines of cost containment and amortization until May 2001 when, after only about 29k sales, GM finally pulled the plug on the last great cheap Chevy musclecar. Sales were so bad at this point that many of these models had to be badged as 2002 models to remain marketable.


Just look at that interior.A cheap, drab, plastic fantastic. I can tell you from personal experience that the dashboard alone shatters with frightening normalcy while nearly everything else just falls apart over the course of time.

Cheap seats. Cheap doors. Cheap dash. It was as if all the old accountants from the Roger Smith era had a party and all the retirees from the finance division were invited as well.  I’m sure you could find some 1980’s parts bin surplus if you looked hard enough.

Which is a shame. Because these vehicles are an absolute blast to drive. I recently got a 1997 Firebird model and to be frank, it offers one of the best powertrain combinations from that era. In a pure bang for the buck calculation, these F-bodies are tough to beat.

Should this one go to a museum? Ebay? A collectors garage? Beats me. However it did sell for quite a price. Feel free to make a guess and share with the Best& Brightest your F-body story du jour. Extra credit if you can associate with my home state of New Jersey.


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88 Comments on “Monday Mileage Midget: 8,193 Miles On A 1997 Chevy Camaro Z28...”

  • avatar

    I had a 1997 Firebird, was my first “new”-ish car that I bought with my own money when I was in college. The Firebirds got the upgraded interior in 1997 (Camaros didn’t get it until 1998) but it was still pretty lousy in general. This one looks like it lacks the second flip-out cupholder near the passenger side, which was the clue to the newer interior, though it’s hard to see.

    My dash never cracked and my seat bolsters never wore out, but the seat tilting did break about a year before I got rid of it. I went through two driver’s side window motors, replaced one headlight motor, the list just goes on and on. It’s all stuff that fourth gen owners will nod sagely to. Never had to replace an Optispark, but by now the aftermarket has mostly solved that problem.

    If I had to do it again, I would avoid the LT1 models. The LS1 cars are better in about every possible way, but they’re still a fourth gen, and they still have their foibles.

    • 0 avatar

      How about the cat bump in the passenger footwell? A good friend had a 2002, and his wife wouldn’t ride in it because of that stupid bump. The real kicker was that by then the cat had been moved, and the bump was vestigial – the only reason it was there is because it was in the mold, and GM was to cheap to reengineer the floorplan when they updated the model and solved the problem of the cat location in the first place.

      Typical GM:
      “Hey we forgot to make room for a catalytic converter!”
      “Just put it in the passenger footwell, the driver will never notice!”
      (floorpan modified accordingly)
      A couple years later.. “Hey – we’re updating the Camaro, let’s fix that problem with the cat!”
      “Great, I’m on it. Problem solved.”
      “Hey – did anyone fix the floorpan?”

  • avatar

    I’ll take a guess.

    I’d bet it sold for around $15k.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      In that shape I’d be surprised if it didn’t sell for some 5-digit figure; that’s the sort of time capsule condition which makes F-body fans drool. I’ll lowball your guess at $10K.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Y’know, nothing screamed “CHEAP” like that red-outlined Chevy bowtie logo. Never liked that.

    I actually liked the standard Camaros of that era. It was a simple design, but other than that, I wasn’t attracted to them, for they had become too impractical for about anything, regardless of performance.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Sometimes a seldom used car can turn out to be a real headache when you start using on a regular basis.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what my dad ALWAYS says about low-mile older cars. “I’d rather have one that’s been driven 8 or 10k a year than one which will crumble when you start usin’ it!”

      • 0 avatar

        One of Steve’s former articles gave me that impression too, he’d rather have a car driven about 10k a year no matter how old it is. The only caveat to that rule was if someone had recently started driving it again and fixed many of the things that would break while a car just “sits around”. Damned if I can remember the article though.

    • 0 avatar

      IDK, personally, a low mileage car with a pristine exterior and interior might be preferable to a regularly driven car.

      Replacing hoses, end links, seals, and other rubber bits isn’t too hard for me.

      Finding a dash pad or seat or radio or door panel that matches your old car can be difficult.

      I’d also much rather do mechanical work than body stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        in ’08 I sold my mom’s ’94 12,000 mile Sentra, a buddy jumped in to buy it right away, after he started using it, all kinds of issues, alternator, starter, radiator leak, water pump failure, leaky struts and on an on. Ended up selling it, he was scared of what else might break down

      • 0 avatar

        But there is no guarantee that a ’94 Sentra with 120K wouldn’t have any of those issues.

        Plus, everything you listed is something I could probably have fixed in two weekends.

        Stuff like clear coat failure, worn steering wheel leather, and frayed seatbelts are things that are either beyond my skill set or difficult to find an exact replacement for.

      • 0 avatar

        I bought a 1991 Mustang GT Convert, triple white, 5-speed this spring with 26,000 miles. I was leery of the car but went over the car like a fly on shit before I bought. The car was pristine, original owner was a collector who bought it and parked it for 13 years. I have a copy of the 2004 title when he sold it to the next owner, it showed 10 miles.

        The next guy owned it for 8 years and put the 26,000 miles on it. He put all new rubber on it. I drove it 2,000 miles this summer and it drives absolutely like new, not one drop of oil on garage floor. Still has original top(it’s starting to crack in a few places from age) and the original boot. A/C blows ice cold.

        All I’ve done is change the oil and install a nice new radio(I kept the original for the next owner). I figure I stole it for $7,000.

        As far as Steve’s Camaro, I will guess $15,000.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree, I want a car thats cosmetically perfect, once it gets beat on its impossible to get perfect. Mechanical stuff, especially the stuff from sitting too long, is much easier to fix. And as was pointed out, not like those things still won’t break on a higher mileage car.

        @56BelAire… you did steal it! Nice find!

  • avatar

    In 1995 I had a temp job working for a place in Michigan that was researching car seat comfort. We had to drive various cars on a short loop on suburban streets and fill out a form about their seats’ comfort, adjustability, etc.

    One of the cars I had to test, inexplicably, was a Trans Am. With the 5.7 litre LT1. I remember the feeling of punching the gas in second gear and feeling my head flatten like a pupusa against the headrest. It handled well too. The seat was just OK but what did I care? That car was dope. I don’t remember any of the other cars…

    Too bad the interiors are so gross, the F-bodies could have been stellar.

  • avatar

    If you look up the word “rickety” you see a pic of a late model F body.

  • avatar

    That RIGHT THERE gentlemean was one of my first vehicles.

    It was 1998, I was 18, and the car was a 1994 LT1 Z28. What a beast.

    I can’t tell you many cars were laid waste in the 90’s by this beast!

    Of course, this one being presented here is a 6 speed with the LS1.

    Funny thing is, I swear the LT1 had more grunt below 3,000rpm then the LS1 with the LS1 having a stronger top-end.

    If anyone recalls, they were also sold with the assymetrical Goodyear GSC that had just a wicked tread patten that lended

    • 0 avatar

      The car in the article is a 1997 Z28…. Last year for the LT1. LS1s were only in vettes in 97.

      As for the 80s parts bin? I’m about 99.9% certain that the seats in my 2000 Firehawk are the same as the 3rd gen GTAs, with the exeption of the headrest of course. Although the 83+ seats look similar i don’t think they are the same. If GM was willing to use seats that long i’m sure plenty of parts carried on till 2002. Now the real question is…. is there at least 1 part from the 70’s in the last 4th gens?

      • 0 avatar

        Turn signal stalk!!! MAY be a late 1970’s piece but I know by early 80’s you could not buy a GM product without this cheap clacky item… Chevette to Corvette, Cimarron to STS…

        By the way there’s no heaven for bean counters.

    • 0 avatar

      The 97 was an LT1 as well, the LS1 didnt start until 1998.

  • avatar

    My question is: fifteen years from now what will people say about the
    2013 Camaro? Any thoughts?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Unless I miss my guess, this was the last car sold in the United States with sealed-beam headlights. Even the pickups had gone to composites by then.

  • avatar

    Is it just me, or is that thing just plain ugly on the front end? I’m no F-body fan, but this one seems unusually ugly.

  • avatar

    8,200 miles? I’d jump on that in a heartbeat. Steve is only off on one thing, and that’s these cars CANNOT be beat in the bang-for-buck department. LT1 and 6-speed combo is wicked, and can be made virtually insane with very little money. This one is especially nice, since it’s too early to have the really, really ugly noses of the late 4th gen Camaros.

    I’ve driven several fourth-gen F-bodies, and they were all a hoot. The best being a 2000 SS with the Hurst shifter. The dealer riding with me said I drove like an old woman. So at about 60mph I dropped from 6th to third and punched it. Buy the third or fourth turn up the canyon, he was crying for his mommy. I didn’t even see where the speedo was–I didn’t have time for distractions. LOL.

  • avatar

    Yeah and that is just one of several key reasons I can’t stand GM vehicles….not only are the interiors visually unremarkable, with generally poor ergonomics and an overall feeling of “cheapness” and yet they still manage to fall apart, break, crack, sag and squeak with frightening rapidity after even mild use.

    That’s just unacceptable if a company wants my hard earned dollars for their product.

    This one looks great precisely because it hasnt been used over its lifetime.

  • avatar

    I’ve been a Chevy guy since the 1970’s and God bless those of you who’ve supported the F-car along the way. That said, I’ve always thought this generation Camaro looked like the result of a collision between Ugly and Bloated. Even if it were free, the price would be too high.

  • avatar

    I do embroidery work for a local Camaro & Firebird club and I’ve done embroidery designs of this generation Z28. I think how the spoiler is integrated into the rear end is a masterful piece of design work. The inset headlights are also rather nice. A good looking car with clean lines. My second favorite Camaro, after the 1970.5 version.

    This Camaro was based on a couple of concept cars that GM used for other brands, the 1985 Buick Wildcat and the 1990 Corvette CERV-III.

  • avatar

    Back in high school, at the very turn of this century, a friend of mine had one of these. At the time (and being 6 years old at the time to boot) it was pretty damn fast. It was at the height of the whole “ricer” fad and plenty were laid to waste behind that car.

    He had his painted black, added a SS hood and spoiler, corvette wheels, and a $1k sound system. But it was terrible car. The interior did literally just fall to pieces. The transmission mounts broke every other month, and it had some nasty problems with O2 sensors and belching black smoke.

    A decade later and I think tmy 12′ V6 Mustang would probably hang beside it (never imagined a day a V6 Mustang could run with that car). Not like we could find out, as the car was T-boned and totaled about 6 years ago, and now we has a wife, kids, and no more cool cars.

  • avatar

    Good lookin’ buggy and real fun to drive.
    Thrills per dollar on these hard to beat.
    Not so easy to work on with the back of the motor under the cowl.
    Changed a clutch in one last year and getting the bolts out of the bell housing was mucho difficult.

  • avatar

    In 2007, after I had ordered a new Infiniti G37, a local classic car dealer called me about a well optioned 2002 BMW M3 with 1,500 miles. I turned it down partly because I was afraid it still had the original oil from Germany which would have been 5 years old.

  • avatar

    “Should this one go to a museum? Ebay? A collectors garage?”

    None of the above: organ donor!

  • avatar

    I had a 96 SS with the LT1 and 6 speed. I loved that car, and until I bought my C6 it was the best pound-for-pound fun car I’d owned. Actually, for the money, it probably still is!

    My guess is that this one sold for $12K-$14K, to be retailed for $15K-$17K (That’s about what I would expect pay for it if I saw it go through our auction, and what I would expect to get for it if I were to retail it…)

  • avatar

    Love it, I’d own in in a heart beat. It will fetch top dollar. Where I live, 15k, no problem I had a 2000 Firebird 3800 v6 base model convertible. I got it cheap,low klms. The cash that baby sucked up, still gives me nightmares.

    That being said,it was a blast to drive,and easy to sell. I dumped it,waited a year and bought a 2008 Mustang V6 convertible. The Mustang is whole lot better of a car,but not nearly as much fun to drive.

    I also got a 2011 2SS w Camaro with a 6spd manual 4000 KLMs and counting. If, and when, I sell it I’m confident that it won’t be a problem.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    This car is looking a two very unfulling slopes. Slope one is garage queen until the owner sells it to buy a motorhome/retirement hits. Slope two: With cash from workers compensation settlement it becomes the baddest ride in the trailer park. Either way the landing will be rough

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Wow! I am shocked by some of the high estimates out here!

    The Camaro sold for $9300 plus about a $300 auction fee.

    Maybe I haven’t consumed enough of the Kool-Aid. But I just can’t see a plain jane Z28 without leather, convertible top, no SS model designation, etc. going for anywhere more than $10k retail.

    This is a base Z28 folks. The seats are GM industrial grade gray and there is no sought after package of any type to be had with this thing.

    Oh well. I have been wrong before folks, and you should see it on Ebay soon enough.

    • 0 avatar

      haha thats kind of funny. Usually every one of your columns about auction prices leaves me choking on the insane prices you report for the most used up boring cars I have seen, things I wouldn’t even look at let alone consider driving. Then you turn up a nearly showroom condition Z28 with the perfect amount of mileage on it, the best looking year of the platform, in the best color combo, with a stick no less, and we all surprise you this time!

      Oh and why I like this one is because it isn’t rare or sought after, it doesn’t have the crappy stuff that GM tried to claim was leather back then, no leaky squeaky convertible top to turn the chassis into a wet noodle, hard to tell from the pics but it appears to not have t-tops either, which is the holy grail for F-body modding. I wouldn’t have to pay extra for any special trim packages, I could modify it without fear of destroying something that might be worth some money, and I could drive it every day because it wasn’t beat up like one with high mileage would have been. For a 4th-gen fan this is a really nice Camaro.

    • 0 avatar

      This Z-28 doesn’t stir me at all.

      A friend of mine just paid $5k for a clean 92 Honda Accord, and had it trucked from Arizona to Pennsylvania. I guess a car is worth whatever someone will pay.

    • 0 avatar

      Extra clean LT1 for just under ten grand? And its even the right color?

      Sign me up!

      The aftermarket beckons…

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Ok, so lets do the math. Knowing these cars, betcha real mileage is half this figure, as wheelspin tends to modify reality..and being sideways for a fair bit of that…too bad the things were, as they say…pudgy looking..

  • avatar

    Looking to buy my first car pretty soon (max budget $10k), and I am sorta tempted by the f-bodies, but I’m put off by the whole redneck connotation. Anyone have a good idea for a 20ish gearhead? In b4 “you stupid kids can’t drive, buy a Hyundai etc. etc.” I can drive, and I am possessed of common sense, I just don’t want to drive something soul-crushingly boring.

    • 0 avatar

      You are on the right path, life is too short to drive boring soul-crushing cars! Screw the redneck jokes and buy what you like. Nothing wrong with a nice F-body, they can be modded to do just about anything. And for cheap performance, nothing can touch it. A Mustang is another option that might not be as “rednecky”, depending on where you are from.

      But if you are really worried about what your friends will think, then buy what they drive. For $10k you can get just about anything: E46 BMW, Mk5 GTI, last-gen Civic Si, MR2 Spyder or Miata, WRX, Porsche 944, C4 Vette, etc.

      If you have cash you could build yourself one hell of a nice S14 240SX, probably even have enough to do an LSx swap someday if you are handy. Get the F-body power without the redneck jokes.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem there is that most of the cars you just mentioned are either known to be very unreliable and/or at the mileage levels where they would fit my budget would be very unreliable. I’m not quite at that stage of my life where I can afford 2 grand on a repair bill, which leaves me in a bit of a bind – I’m mostly thinking Miata or just saying “screw it” and getting a nice, low-mileage Town Car. :P

        (And yes, I am both from and going to school in parts of the country where driving vehicles associated with men who wear ponytails and cut-off jean shorts would earn me much mockery…)

      • 0 avatar

        “You are on the right path, life is too short to drive boring soul-crushing cars!”


        Be cheerful while you are alive.

      • 0 avatar

        With the exception of the Porsche, you are wrong. None of those cars are going to be very unreliable, even at higher mileage. I don’t think you can find a fun car more reliable than a Civic Si. And the Porsche was just thrown in there to round out the list for whatever your peer group sees as acceptable. It isn’t even THAT unreliable, if you work on it yourself you will be fine. Speaking of, you are 20yo, you need to be working on your own car, especially if you want to drive something fun. If you can’t work on it yourself, then no matter what you buy you will eventually be hit with repair bill bigger than your wallet… fun cars cost more money than appliances. Or you could try to find a Camry V6 and spend some money on suspension and tires.

        A Miata is probably the best you can get as far as cost/reliability/fun, but the tradeoffs are the size and practicality; the soft-top, if you live up north, if you drive long distances, if you are very tall, etc… not everyone can live with a Miata as their only car. And if your friends would make fun of you for driving a Mustang GT, which is pretty much the most manly car ever, I can’t imagine you will fare much better in a Miata.

        Not sure you could find a low mileage Town Car for $10k unless its old. And didn’t you say you didn’t want a boring car?? My dad drives a TC. Sure JB has one and loves it, but he also has 3 Porches. You do not. If you want a barge then at least get a Panther Police Interceptor and mod it up Marauder style.

      • 0 avatar

        I think Town Car prices are very regional. Buy one somewhere with lots of retirees and little livery business and they’re probably cheaper than places where gypsy cab companies have bounties on them.

        When I was in my teens and early twenties, your choice of car had a huge determination on what your insurance rates would be. An 18 year old with a couple tickets and a two door sporty car had to pay a multiple of what I paid with my crummy driving record and cars that fell below the insurance companies’ radar. Back then it meant I could get away with a Jetta GL or a five-speed Audi. Today, maybe one could get something like a TSX or an IS 300.

      • 0 avatar

        “Or you could try to find a Camry V6 and spend some money on suspension and tires.”

        Assuming the cars can be made as such, a Camry sleeper would be innovative to say the least. The only downside is… you have to drive a Camry.

      • 0 avatar

        @CJ – True, they are fairly expensive here in FL, even with all the retirees. Yet Crown Vics and Gran Marquis can be found all over the place very cheap. I think since Ford stopped making them they have gone up in value.

        @28 – I was only half joking, a guy around here has an older Camry, looks like a 94 or 95, the SE V6 Coupe model, with a fully done suspension, 17″ rims, very tasteful, in excellent condition. Of course, good luck finding one these days. And I don’t think you can get a stick in the V6 models, which takes away much of the fun.

      • 0 avatar

        My buddy’s ’92 Camry V6 5-speed with over 250k miles:

        The exhaust has been looking a little blue the last few years but it’s in nice shape otherwise. It feels like a high quality car when you’re in it.

    • 0 avatar

      If you want a V8, try to find an old 91-96 Caprice. Insurance will be cheaper. Or, get a used Town Car as you said.

      • 0 avatar

        Eh, I have 4 years of a completely clean driving record; insurance isn’t going to be too much of a problem.* If I wanted a big ‘Merican V8 land-barge, I’d get a late-model Town Car like I said; more reliable and nicer than the B-bodies.

        *It is nevertheless ridiculous that without a single accident or speeding ticket to my name, I’ll still pay more than a 50-year-old, legally blind, alcoholic, semi-professional street racer.

    • 0 avatar

      Good on ya. I say do some soul searching, and decide if a Miata is what you want. Drive some and you’ll know. If it is, get one, drive it and enjoy the miles. ~$6-8k gets you a GREAT NB with cash to spare. You can work on it yourself and learn along the way. There are plenty of other great cars out there, but none really compete – it’s apples and oranges.

      Before you know it, your car choices might become radically more restricted due to life creeping up on you, so if you dig on the simple motoring pleasure of a MX5 as a daily driver, do it now. In ten years, the best you can hope for is garage space and enough spare cash to rest a miata there…

    • 0 avatar

      If roominess isn’t a consideration, and particuarly if you live somewhere with mild winters: Miata. $10k will buy you a creampuff owned by a middle-aged person who only drove it on sunny days. They’re cheap to buy, reliable as nearly anything I can think of, simple to work on with a cheap, plentiful parts supply, including an excellent performance aftermarket. Insurance is cheap, people don’t tend to mess with or steal them, fuel consumption is very good for a “fun” car, and there’s nothing like dropping the top on a clear day or night.

      I can think of no better car to get into performance driving with. The power is just enough that it isn’t altogether boring, especially with the short gearing and nice shifter, but isn’t so powerful as to get you in over your head. The rear wheel drive and balanced handling will let you have fun and learn to control a car at the limit.

      And if all that doesn’t matter to you: while the dudes will make fun of it, girls love them. Many sport compacts are faster, but driving a two seat convertible “sports car” has a special feel to it, and you likely won’t find a calmly-driven, excellently-maintained sport compact for your budget.

      Test drive one, because the numbers don’t reveal how much fun of a car it actually is for the money.

  • avatar

    This is my favorite Camaro by far and left the Mustang for dead, styling-wise. Though I lusted after one in high school, it’s terrible reliability ratings and cheap interior meant that our relationship would never be consummated, even when I could afford one years down the road. The Mustang was always the smart buy (still is, it would seem), but the Camaro inspired more passion for a certain period.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Had a 94 Z28 a couple of years ago… I think it had about 100,000 km on it.

    The interior was in good condition and didn’t rattle at all, though the parts squeaked if you prodded at them enough.

    The ergonomics were perfect with the exception of the pedal placement, the seats were purely functional but they worked (miles better than what Nissan put in my 240sx). Forward visibility was OK but the A-pillar got in the way and there was a whole lot of dash board. Most new vehicles are actually much worse in this regard, the standout exception being Subaru.

    Everything still worked, even though the switches felt crappy they did what they were told.

    Car washes were always fun.. I kept a towel in the back. Regular rain didn’t get into the t-tops though.

    The optispark and the routing of the spark plug wires around the exhaust manifold (great idea GM) were the biggest problems with the car. Mine specifically had clutch issues and reverse gear was shot so it popped out all the time.

    The LT1 engine sounds amazing. Maybe it’s the old small block firing order or something.

    It seemed really well engineered with lots of nice touches around and underneath the car. Cost cutting really took its toll when the engineers handed the car over to the accountants.

    I test drove it against a 2006 Mustang GT… The Mustang didn’t leave much of an impression on me and there was no hiding the live axle in the back. The Camaro was much more… buttoned down… or something. The axle was never an issue, where as in the Mustang the ass end bounced and shifted and crashed over little cracks in the highway.

    The Camaro basically sold itself the second I pulled out of the lot on the test drive… and I really didn’t want to like the car.

  • avatar

    After a deployment in Iraq, the first thing I knew to buy was a sweet red american rocket. It felt like the traditional thing to do. After searching for months, I found a 99 ls1 trans am, 6-speed and t-tops, 50k on the clock. I started it up and basically threw money at the seller. TAKE MY MONEY NOW! To this day I have the complete polar opposite of buyers remorse.

    It has about 88k on it now and sits in the garage all winter. I think about crying the day I hit 100k, but I know the car should be driven like the strawberry bitch that she is. The car is ridiculously easy to work on and I don’t understand why It gets so much flak in that regard. I’ve changed the clutch, spark plugs, redone the entire suspension front and back, etc., its all been a breeze compared to anything dodge has made. You jack it up and can see everything and how it works, the geometry and simplicity is the way muscle should be.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the 98-02’s can still hang with modern opposition. It doesn’t have any bloated crap like 20 airbags or advanced safety features, so it might only make 350 horses but its still gonna outrun those new GT cars with minimal bolt-ons. People never consider weight and simplicity, the F bodies are the last of that particular breed.

  • avatar

    For awhile I had a ’97 30th anniversary edition…the white one with organge racing srtipes and the white seats. It’s sad because it was such an awesome car to drive with incredible performance, but I agree with the comments on the super cheap interior. I remember even the HVAC knobs creaked every time you turned them.

  • avatar

    In 1996 my buddy bought a brand new 6 speed Z28 that was unsellable because it had zero options other than A/C. Yup, manual windows, manual cloth seats, nothing. He paid $17K out the door. Drove it for 40K fun, troublefree miles and sold it to a young bank teller who really wanted it. For $17K. Best automotive investment of his life.

  • avatar

    I have owned a few from this era. The one that was most memorable was a ’95 Z28 in arctic white, with T-tops and every option. I actually kept that one for over a year and gave it to the wife to drive the first year we were married.

    We went on our honeymoon in that car and took a lot of other T-topless road trips in it.

    A friend of mine really liked the car and I foolishly sold it to him knowing he was a horrifyingly bad driver. 8 months later he crashed it into a parked car and messed up the entire driver side.

    It languished in a garage for a few years until he agreed to sell it back to me. I pulled everything off it and set the engine, trans and wiring aside for a future swap project. The rest was parted out.

    These are fun cars, it’s hard to buy more performance for less.

  • avatar

    “Let’s say you had to move out of the country. Forever.

    There are only so many things you can take with you. A few pieces of furniture. Family albums. Your antique collection of 1970′s beer bottles.

    The play car you rarely drive… has to be ditched. So you unload it at a nearby dealership and hope for the best.”

    Unless I’m moving to a place without roads the play car I rarely drive is perhaps the only thing I pack.

    • 0 avatar

      “Unless I’m moving to a place without roads the play car I rarely drive is perhaps the only thing I pack.”

      +100 — well said!

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      That’s not always feasible. I wanted to bring my little bugger with me and between the expense and the paperwork (and I merely scratched the surface on that) I decided to part with it.

      I wanted its second life to be a cheap “race car”.

  • avatar

    3rd Gen > 4th Gen

    For some reason, visually at least, the 3rd Gen interiors are more passable than that mushy rounded plastic nonsense that made up most late 90s GM cars.

    And as for the turn signal stalk….Jesus, I don’t know how many years they used that same one, but I’d say close to 30…

  • avatar

    I owned one of these, but it was a previous generation. I had an ’86 Iroc Z, in maroon (I don’t remember what the name of the color was) with the awful and awfully popular camel color interior (My major bitch about the car, which I got for a very good price). It was stored winters, had never been in salt, and only a few times in the rain. It looked new inside and out. The only problems it ever had were computer related and minor rattle stuff that I mostly fixed myself. I had 14K miles on it in 1995, and 4K of that was from a single trip out West, and 3K more of it was a trip to FL and back. I just got tired of paying the insurance on it. I offered it to the sister and brother in law of a friend of mine for a really cheap price and they turned it down! I put it on a corner where a friend of mine had a jewelry store and sold it for almost twice as much in less than one day!

    He had it for about 4 years. I told him if he was going to trade it in to call me, I would match the price. Of course, he forgot, and a service writer at the dealer who knew me ended up with it. Soon after he got it, the 305 was gone and a built 383 was in it’s place. That was my plan too. Oh well.

  • avatar

    I bought a new Z28 w/ Hurst 6-speed in 2002. Added castoff stock SS wheels from SLP. It’s been a wonderful daily driver that turns 13 this month, 89k reliable and delightful miles.

  • avatar

    This car just proves that from about 1974 all the way through 2002, the Firebird was always the winner in the looks department.

  • avatar

    I had a bought-new 1989 Firebied Formula TPI 5-speed I sold after I bought the Camaro. I thought that old ‘bird was better-looking than the Camaro, but liked the looks of the 02 Camaro better than the 02 Firebirds, which all seemed too chunky in the rear. I liked their noses though. What I really wanted was a Camabird with the bird front and Camaro rear.

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