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May's Cool Ride: Steven's 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 350

In the spring of 1980, I was 4-years-old and already had a love for cars. One sunny day, I was waiting for my dad in his truck across the street from Big Horn Chevrolet in my hometown of Worland, Wyoming. Parked on the street in front of the dealership was a car transport trailer on which I spotted a brand-new white 1980 Camaro Z28. It had T-tops and three-tone charcoal striping. It looked fast, just sitting there.

When my dad got back in the truck, I vividly recall saying, "Look at that car, Dad! Isn't that cool?!" He agreed and walked across the street to check it out.

What I didn't know at the time was that he and my mom had ordered it new from the factory. Beginning on July 1, 1980, that Z28 became our family car. For the next eight and a half years, we took it to school and the grocery store, as well as on family trips. It was always garaged, and it stayed in remarkable condition. But in November 1988, my parents decided it was time to trade it in on something more practical. I was extremely disappointed as I watched my dad drive away in it for the last time, taking it to the dealership.

It only took one day before the car was sold to a new owner. A local farmer bought it for his son, who drove it for a couple of years in high school. When he left for college, he kept it garaged at home and seldom drove it. In the spring of 2010, I contacted him and told him the story of me seeing it that first day, sharing some of my other memories of that car. To my amazement and joy, he agreed to sell the car to me. On July 10, 2010–almost exactly 30 years to the day from when my parents took ownership–I became the Z28's third owner.

The car just turned 40 years old and is still in amazing condition. It has 80,998 miles on it and has never been wrecked. The paint and decals are all original and shine like new. Except for the restored gauges and a ShiftWorks kit, the black cloth interior is all original and doesn't have a single crack or tear anywhere. I have the original warranty paperwork with my dad's information on it, as well as a copy of the dealer invoice and window sticker and build sheet. While the second owner had this car, he replaced the engine with a new GM 350 V-8. Since it is no longer numbers-matching, I decided to rebuild the engine to give it more power to go with its great looks, which I did with help from my then-6-year old son and a friend. It is still a 350, but now makes 330 hp and 365-lbs.ft. of torque at the rear wheels. It contains Original Air hoses and compressor.

The car is, and will remain, "Dad's Z28." My son loves to work on it with me, go for rides, as well as take it to drive nights and car shows.  The car from my childhood is once again part of the family, making memories that will last a lifetime!

Original Air components on this car are hoses and compressor. See Original Air's Update Kit for a 77-81 Camaro here.

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