Half-baked, half-assed, half-hearted, there's lots of negatives associated with the image of halves. However, as today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 1970 and a half Z-28 proves, being awesome is half the battle.
Nearly half of you yesterday found the TRD-infused ‘94 Camry Coupe to be Nice Price, while nearly half of you thought the updates were just polishing a TRD, and went for the Crack Pipe option. That narrow 45%/55% vote demonstrated not just the consternation a tarted Camry can engender, but also the duality of man, a concept under which opposites attract, war equates peace, and peanut butter and chocolate together taste like crap.
I hate the duality of man.
Fortunately, today's car comes from a simpler, less cerebrally taxing time- an era when sitcom stars slept in separate beds, nothing was Autotuned, and pony cars ponied up some real pony horsepower. The second generation Camaro - correctly spelled with an ‘a' and not with an ‘e' (camero), as is frequently the case by those who also think family reunions are a good place to meet girls - was a revelation. More uncola than the rest of Chevy's coke bottle influenced fleet, it also pointed the bow tie brand's pony car in a whole new direction, one that would last for almost a decade and a half. While Mustangs greeted the seventies by first becoming bigger and bloatier, and then sadly Pinto-ier, the Camaro just became smokin' hottier.
That transformation was supposed to happen when the sixties gave way to the seventies. Unfortunately development hold ups resulted in the new Camaro not debuting with the reast of the ‘70 models in the fall, but instead arriving in February of the new year. Because of that, the first year of the new Camaro is considered by some the 70 ½, and it is generally coveted as being - especially in Z-28 form - one of the best of the breed.
This restored ‘70.5 Z-28 has all the performance features that were either new or unique to that one-half model year. That means - thanks to new SCCA Trans-Am rules, - the Z-28 could rock something bigger than a 302, and not only does this car have an LT1 350 V8, but the engine is claimed to be numbers-matching with the original build sheet. Backing up that engine's 360-bhp (10 less than the Corvette's LT1, just because) was a Muncie 4-speed actuated through a long chrome handle topped by a cue ball knob. Out back there was a 12-bolt rearend which could be had with an optional (RPO ZQ9) 4.10:1 posi diff. This was the lone year of the new body to sport that boltaliciouos pumpkin. The Z-28's suspension was what at the time went under the auspices of ‘heavy duty' rather than improved handling, however the effect was the same and the car represents one of the best handling ponies around.
As noted, this Z-28's engine is claimed to be the one that the UAW gave the car on its original B-day, but that has had a full resto only 36 miles ago. hell, that's not even broken in. Even though renewed, it appears that the builder didn't try and tame it, keeping the engine's octane-taxing 11:1 compression ratio and dual snorkel aircleaner over a new Holly OPEC ATM. But that's not to say that thought wasn't put into this car's restoration, and the seller says that while the original double hump heads were employed, they hold bay against that ludicrous compression pressure with modern, stronger head studs - not that you'll see them. The Muncie four speed has also been upgraded to an Auto Gear Equipment gearbox in a Muncie look-alike box, and that 4:10:1 rear end has been replaced with a less frenetic for the freeway 3:55:1. Other than that, there's stainless steel for the brake and fuel lines as well as the Magnaflow-equipped exhaust.
Externally, the citrus green paint with black stripes and gray-painted rims are totally period correct, and the simple one-piece rear spoiler and black airdam up front add to the aggressive appearance without looking too much like something out of a 12-year old's math notebook doodles. Also, as it's been restored, the notorious Camaro door droop doesn't seem present, and in fact the panel fit all around seem like better than new.
Inside, it's vinyl and lots of it, which might make you lament the lack of A/C come summer, but then this car looks like so much fun you might be hard-pressed telling the sweat from the tears of joy at driving it. Here's a hint, that pool in your ass-crack: not tears.
As I said, this particular model year - or half year to you OCD types - is unique among Camaros in general, and Z-28s in particular. First Z-28 with a 350; first with a body so sexy it never pays for a drink; first variable ratio power steering. This was also the last year for the 12-bolt rear end, the last year for 9+ to 1 compression ratios, and the only year of the new body to get low-back buckets with head rests. hell, with all the unique going on here, you might be surprised the ‘70 ½ Camaro didn't see duty guarding Cleopatra or something. Eunuch, what?
Of course special doesn't come cheap, just ask the Pretenders. And this Z-28 will require $45,900 in someone's brass in pocket to buy. First off, let me help you out here - ahem, I could buy a BRAND NEW Camaro with more horsepower, IRS, airbags up the wazoo, and A/C, for less than that! Yes, yes you could, and for those who have that opinion, this should be an easy decision. For the rest of us - those who may feel the little hairs on the napes of our necks dance a bit at the prospect of firing up that outlaw of a 350, dropping the hammer on it, and slamming the cue ball through all four gears, all the while enveloped in glorious clouds of BF Goodrich - this might require some soul searching.
So what do you think about $45,900 for this fully restored ‘70 ½ Camaro Z-28? Is that a price that you think is fair for being one of the halfs, rather than the half-nots? Or, would you only consider it a deal at half that price?
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