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1967 Chevrolet Camaro - The Lost Z/28

How Ignorance And Blind Luck Contributed To The Deal Of A Lifetime

By , Photography by , Wes AlIison

The previous owner told me he had put an Earl Scheib paint job on the car, and Jim and I already knew that in 1967 the only external cue for the Z/28 was the factory stripes in a contrasting color. After a couple of hours of searching, we had not found anything conclusive. Remember, this was long before anyone had deciphered the mystical trim tag hieroglyphics, so we were hunting without knowing about the magic 4L code I would learn much later. That's when Jim saw a faint yet visible paint contrast just at the base of the rear window where the trunk seal met the body. There he saw two sets of what had to be factory-applied black stripes that carried over in the trunk seal area.

"You see that?" Jim asked me, pointing to the stripes that were all but painted over.

"Yeah!" I said because we both knew at that point, we had proved to ourselves that this was a Z/28.

"You, my friend, own a '67 Z/28 . . . wanna sell it?"

At that moment, a guy I had previously never met instantly became a good friend that I am proud to say extends to this day. Jim now lives in Texas and is still deeply buried in this wonderful automotive lifestyle that affects everything we both do.

Along the way, I also learned much more about the Z/28's history. The gentleman who sold me the car was a mere intermediary. We'll get back to him in a minute. In the glovebox was a collection of receipts all pointing to a woman by the name of Mary Bobel. From these records, it appeared she had owned the car since 1969, and I found her living in Monrovia, California (yes, that's almost Pasadena). Susan and I set up an appointment to talk, and this wonderful lady filled in much of the car's missing history. In 1969, she was looking for a car, and her son found this Granada Gold Camaro with black stripes sitting on the used car lot at Lindy Chevrolet in Arcadia. The car was equipped in much the same condition as I purchased it 19 years later, but Mary was quick to point out that it was in fact a Z/28

In a disappointing sidebar to this tale, in the middle of our discussion, I asked Mary if she had ever seen a small plate that looked like a metal credit card. This perky little lady immediately said, "I think I still have it." She disappeared into a side room for several minutes only to reappear with a frown. "I just remembered that I cleaned out the closet where I kept that a couple of weeks ago. I threw all that stuff into the garbage. I'm sorry." For a moment or two, I had this vision of me sifting through mountains of garbage, searching for a '67 Camaro Protect-O-Plate.

After driving the Camaro for 10 years, Mary sold it to a friend for the princely sum of $500. At the time, Mary said she told him the car was a Z/28. "But I don't think he believed me." That would be his loss. He had the car painted and then sold it to us.

I now knew more about the car's history and slowly began collecting a few OE parts in anticipation of a full restoration. But since Car Craft was never a muscle car restoration magazine, there was never a push to rebuild it. Plus, there always seemed to be other projects that were more important. I eventually moved to Hot Rod as editor, and the demands on my time with travel and two young children meant the car just sat. We bought a new house a few miles away with a bigger yard to store more cars, and that's when my marriage came apart and I ended up with the car.

The Camaro has changed very little from the days when Susan drove it every day to work. The disc brake calipers began to leak back in the early '80s, which was a common affliction. I had Stainless Steel Brakes install stainless liners in the calipers, which is how that company got its start-rebuilding Corvette calipers. The engine is still disassembled and sitting in my shop, maintaining the same state of disassembly for more than 25 years. Like I said in the beginning of this soliloquy, this story has not yet arrived at its Cinderella ending. The car is exactly as you see it in the current photos. I have most of the parts to put it back together, and I've even toyed with the idea of building the engine, tossing a wide-ratio Muncie behind it, and getting it running, shabby seats and all. Maybe that's the next new movement for barn find cars. It might be a hoot. Then again, maybe not...

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2 comments
Dana R Reynolds
Dana R Reynolds

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story back in the (early?) 80s when you (first?) told it and it was great to read it again! Maybe you could work with your sister magazine, Musclecar Classics, and do some restoration articles on it.

2002Z28
2002Z28

Great story  is the car still yours now ? and is it restored  you should please do a fallow up story 

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