Early 1970s Chevrolet Camaros are among the most beautiful of all pony cars, with purposeful, sleek fastback lines and real on-road presence.
American icons? Of course. Desirable? Undoubtedly.
So what happens if the car also has a glittering New Zealand racing history – which is just what this 1971 Z28 has.
The driver roll call is impressive – Chevrolet specialist George Bunce, Australia-based mega car dealer Neville Crichton, the late racing ace Red Dawson, and multiple Bathurst winner Jim Richards.
Richards drove the car to victory in the 1974/1975 Castrol GTX series, mixing it with other Z28s, Chrysler R/T E49 Chargers, Ford Boss Mustangs, and GT-HO Falcons, and Holden Torana XU1s.
It was also campaigned successfully in speed events and drag racing by the late Cliff Pilling, before going to Brendon Mason who won many sprint events, motorkhanas and flying 400-metre sprints in the car at Drummond and Teretonga in Southland.
Current owner Darryn says the car isn’t rusty, and doesn’t appear to have suffered from a major shunt of any kind.
It has travelled 58,000 miles and most of them have been covered in anger, yet its body is still very straight.
“The paintwork is very presentable, not concours, but excellent for a competition car that’s never been fully restored,” he says.
“It’s a rare factory black on black car, the brightwork and fittings are all in very nice condition.
“If you didn’t know its history you’d think it was just a nice Camaro that had been treated well.
“It’s always been a good fast car, even in road trim, and has been respected for what it is by some very enthusiastic owners.”
Darryn says the chassis, front subframe and suspension arms have been powder coated black. The floorpan has had the roll cage holes welded up and the full floor has been cleaned up and treated to POR 15 black finish.
The car is still running the solid aluminium bushes to the subframe.
“The front wheel alignment is dialled in at one degree negative camber, 3.5 degrees positive castor, and the handling is excellent.
“However, it has to be respected on a wet road,” he adds. “It has a tendency to oversteer!”
305 cubic inch V8
The Camaro runs a 350-cubic inch V8 block, line bored to crankshaft, steel crank .010 and .010 4 bolt mains, TRW 10.5:1 forged pistons, shot-peened rods, ARP bolts, moly rings, high-volume Melling oil pump, Melling pump drive, and a high capacity sump.
The sump has a crank scraper, and is fully gated, and holds about six litres.
The heads have 202 inlet valves, triple springs, 15 degree retainers, new seals and valve job, 7/16 screw-in rocker studs, guide plates, and Crane roller rockers, pocket ported and matched to manifold.
The heads are more highly-developed than LT-1 heads.
The motor has Rollmaster timing chain and Isky end-float button, the inlet manifold is a factory LT-1.
The carburettor is a 700cfm double pumper Holley under original twin snorkel air-cleaner.
The Camaro has a 14-inch flywheel (factory cast iron), an 11-inch diaphram, and clutch disc relined, new throw-out bearing.
Darryn says that at a conservative estimate, the V8 generates around 400hp.
The gearbox is a Muncie M21 close ratio, fully rebuilt with new synchro rings, new bearings, thrust washer.
It drives the rear wheels through a 12-bolt Posi traction with a 3.73:1 drive ratio.
The Chevy has stock brakes, new front piston seals, new pads, hoses, new proportioning valve, master cylinder re-kitted with new seals.