When you start talking about early Z/28s, the conversation inevitably turns to those rare upgraded models that were truly race-ready. More specifically, while these were all ostensibly built to homologate the Z/28 for Trans Am racing, the street cars were not necessarily turn-key race cars. To turn them into race cars, GM had to offer the race components if they wanted to use them on the track (although ever-smart GM always referred to them as "heavy duty" components). Whatever they were called, they were talking about the killer dual quad Cross-ram induction system and the powerful JL8 4-wheel disc brakes that were available on the street cars. If you can actually find a real JL8 Z/28 with a real Cross-ram intake, expect to pay considerably more than the asking price on this car Or, if you don't feel like searching the universe for the next 20 years, you can have this gorgeous Hugger Orange Z/28 that has a date-code correct, OEM Cross-ram and a full JL8 brake package, both of which were added during the top-flight restoration that took place only recently.
To answer your first question, yes, it is a real Z/28. It carries a date-code correct 302 and its original 4-speed, the Cross-ram system is a GM/Winters OEM piece, not a modern reproduction, and the JL8 system includes all the correct upgraded front discs, fasteners, hardware and lines. As an extra little bonus, it also includes a rare factory transistorized ignition system that's fully functional. In short, it is as exact a car as you're going to find without being 100% matching numbers. And as I said, if that were the case, the price tag would be at least twice what it is.
According to the cowl tag, this is an original code 72 Hugger Orange car, but no new Camaro in 1969 ever looked this good. The paint is so deep and rich you feel like you could dive in and swim in it. The bodywork is first rate, with only the quarter panels being replaced by genuine GM replacement pieces - everything else is original to the car and you can still see the original VIN stampings behind the heater box and under the cowl vents. As a take-no-prisoners restoration, panel gaps and fit are much, much better than original, and even an inexperienced eye can see that someone spent a lot of time and money getting it to look like this. The stripes are painted on, not decals, and features some of the sharpest masking I've ever seen - usually you can find at least one spot where the paint seeped under the tape, but not on this car. The Cross-ram specific cowl induction hood is fiberglass, which matches what you could buy from the dealer at the same time you picked up your Cross-ram setup. This one is a reproduction, since there were only about 100 fiberglass originals made, but you'd never know it by looking at the finish, which is smooth and ripple-free. Like I said, someone spent A LOT of time on this car.
This one is also equipped with the Rally Sport package, and all the extra pieces that accompany that option have been beautifully restored. The wheelwell trim is bright, the gills ahead of the rear wheels are crisp, and all the emblems are exact reproductions. Glass and lenses are excellent throughout, with a mixture of original and reproduction items. Up front, the grille is gorgeous and the headlight doors work properly. The vinyl top, which is highly unusual for a Z/28, is professionally done, with no ripples or bubbles in the material, and there's nothing but clean steel underneath.
While there is some debate over the performance benefits of dual quads feeding only 302 cubic inches on the street, there's no denying the wow factor when you open the hood. Since GM had banned multiple carburetion from most of its production cars, a dual quad intake manifold would have to be developed with the intent that it would only be sold as a service replacement part. This was a valid procedure as far as the SCCA racing sanctioning body was concerned, as long as the parts were technically available to everyone who was racing, and not just the factory teams. As a result, no Z/28 was ever factory-built with a cross-ram intake manifold. It is possible that a dealer may have converted a car prior to delivery, but most of these manifolds were owner-installed. The Cross-ram intake on this car is an original Winters casting and sports a pair of vintage Holley 4-barrels, making it highly authentic. The air cleaner assembly, which is unique to this induction system, is correct, and all the decals have been installed as they would have been in 1969 at the dealership.
The rest of the engine bay is no less accurate, with Chevy Orange paint on the date-code-exact code "DZ" block, correct finned aluminum valve covers, and high-performance Z/28 only items like the oversized alternator pulley. Hoses and clamps are, of course, accurate reproductions, and all the factory inspection markings have been accurately duplicated. Expert eyes will see the JL8 master cylinder and lines, as well as a fully functional thermactor emissions control system. And as I mentioned, looking between the radiator and the grille, you can see that incredibly rare NOS transistorized ignition system, which works properly. If you can find one for your Camaro, expect to pay as much as a fresh engine rebuild for it.
The highlight of the beautifully finished chassis is, of course, the JL8 4-wheel disc brake option. Like the Cross-ram, it was developed with racing in mind, and was probably overkill for the street. Nevertheless, 205 or so smart buyers opted for it (or at least that's what GM claimed for homologation purposes, but the actual number might be much less), and this car currently has a factory-exact setup. From the brackets and lines, to the JL8-specific 11.75-inch front rotors (standard front rotors were 11.0 inches), to the calipers on the 12-bolt out back, it is exactly as if it were installed at the Norwood plant on production day. The transmission is the original, numbers-matching Muncie M21 close-ratio 4-speed, and the 12-bolt is stuffed full of 3.73 gears for head-snapping acceleration. Like the engine bay, the chassis is fully detailed with inspection markings, correct fasteners and finishes throughout, and an accurate reproduction exhaust system. If you're wondering about any of the components, assume they're new- shocks, bushings, gas tank, lines and hoses, everything is fresh. Wheels are, of course, great-looking Rally wheels wearing reproduction E70-15 Goodyear Wide Tread GT tires.
Inside, this car is no less remarkable and loaded with desirable options. The black bucket seat interior is one of the best-looking places to do business to come out of GM design studios, and has been immaculately finished with new seat covers, carpets, headliner and door panels. Options include a tilt steering column, full center console with rebuilt auxiliary gauges, head rests, and a super-rare "Blue Light" AM/FM stereo radio, which even I have never seen before. Fit and finish is show quality, and there's no sign of wear or use on any of the surfaces, from the driver's seat bolsters to the steering wheel. Get in, sit down, and hang on, because this is going to be one hell of a ride! The trunk is equally well finished with spatter finish paint, a new mat, correct jack assembly, and spare tire.
Real Z/28 Camaros restored to this level are starting to command some very strong prices and I think the day is not far off when they will be legitimate 6-figure automobiles. But when you add in things like the original Cross-ram induction, correct JL8 disc brakes, and the transistorized ignition, value and desirability will only go up. If you were to buy a perfect Z/28 today and try to locate those rare period components, expect to pay between $40,000 and $50,000 for the privilege. Fortunately, the hard work has already been done for you, and the result is a spectacular Z/28 that stands head and shoulders above its competition. You won't find a more accurately done car with a hotter list of options than this one. Call now!