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With all the hoopla surrounding the new Camaro 1LE, let's look back at the original.
The story of the ZL1 Camaro, fitted with that rarest of the rare, all-aluminum 427 big-block V-8, is one that has often been told: How only 69 were made, how they exploited the GM option-ordering system, and how they've become the Camaro guy's ultimate Camaro.
Classic Car Overview
Believe it or not, in recent history you couldnt get a convertible that was made in the USA. From 1976 to 1982 (and even shortly after that the choices were very limited), the big carmakers of the Mid-West couldnt square the numbers and were frankly blind to the publics desire, so cars like this 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Straman convertible conversion filled the void. Nicely preserved and showing a believed-original 62,935, this aftermarket brainchild of Richard Straman is a wonderful example of what happens when the secondary market improves an industry staple by giving the people what they want. In this case, a top that goes down on a sporty American classic. The 3rd generation Camaro was really the top of the food chain back in the early 80s if you wanted an affordable, V8-powered F-body. But the problem was, GM hadnt made a convertible Camaro since 1969, and ultimately wouldnt get back into the droptop Camaro business until 1987. Sure, the Corvettes offered convertibles and might have been faster but a used Vette was your dads car, and the new ones hadnt yet reestablished themselves after the 1983 gap-year. So you were stuck with a coupe unless you called Mr. Straman in California for a conversion convertible, and despite the 50% mark-up, the line was wrapped around the block. With so few believed miles, this one is very nice, including the bright red paint and underlying silver thats likely all original. There are a few minor signs of age and use that youd expect, but that deep chin spoiler hasnt been abused by tall curbs or steep driveways and still looks almost new. Stock fit and finish in 84 was okay, not the best, but this droptop lines up very well and the doors shut firm, which means Straman and his pros really knew their business because theyve certainly improved both. And best of all, this car still attracts attention on the street. Black accents on the hood and headlight buckets are used to great effect without being over-done, and this Z/28 also has a subtle ducktail rear spoiler thats ideal with the long rear deck offered by the convertible body style. The Charcoal cloth interior is likewise in great shape and remains comfortable and user-friendly. As with the exterior, the interior shows very little wear or signs of age on the upholstery and the seats still feel as firm as they did in the showroom. Cloth seats and big analog gauges are ideal for performance driving, and the grippy fabric and funky steering wheel are certainly appropriate for a car from the 80s. Camaros came loaded with features, but this one also includes options like factory A/C (needs servicing), power windows and locks, cruise control, a tilt steering column, and an original AM/FM/Cassette stereo. A black canvas convertible top fits neatly and while the trunk is not exactly spacious, its usefully shaped for overnight bags on a road trip. The 5.0-liter fuel-injected H.O. V8 was optional in the Camaro and when paired with the 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission, makes for a car with a bit of a split personality. Drive it gently, and its happy to trundle through traffic without a complaint. But stomp on the loud pedal and it reacts with a stout torque curve that can light up the tires almost at will. The engine bay is quite stock, a rarity on one of the most modifiable cars ever created, and it has been properly maintained so no worries about a car that has been laid up for decades needing major service. The underside is extremely clean and its quite unlikely that this car has ever seen weather more severe than a spring shower. The original single exhaust system still has its factory catalytic converter, so its legal in all 50 states and the suspension isnt nearly as harsh as you remember; its a nice cruiser. Five-spoke alloy wheels were part of the Z/28 package and they wear 235/60/15 BFGoodrich T/A white-letter radials all around. Go ahead and try to find a fresher 3rd generation Camaro convertible, let alone one with the rare history of a Straman conversion. Documented with lots of pedigree paperwork and original documentation from the time it was new, this is a very special bird. Call today!
Classic Car ID
Muscle & Pony Cars
5.0L HO V8
4 Speed Automatic
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