1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
2dr Sport Coupe
8-cyl. 305cid/165hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The year 1981 would be the last for the second generation Chevrolet Camaro, and in 12 years it had gradually gone from a legitimate muscle car to a personal luxury coupe with comfortable options, fancy paint and striping, and less performance. Production dropped to 126,139 units, the lowest since 1973. In 1981, the U.S. was experiencing an economic downtown, and buyers seemed to be waiting for the 1982 Camaro redesign.
Camaro models were reduced to three lines, with the Rally Sport discontinued. The basic Sport Coupe cost $6,581, the luxury Berlinetta Coupe cost $7,356 and the Z28 Coupe $8,025. The 115hp 229 cid Chevrolet V-6 was offered, along with the 110hp 231 cid Buick-built V-6 substituted in California. Three V-8 engines were offered, the 115hp 267 cid V-8, the 150hp 305 cid V-8 and the 190hp 350 cid V-8, which was standard on the Z28 with automatic transmission. Z28 buyers who wanted a 4-speed could only buy the 165hp, 305 cid V-8.
Californians could buy 4-speed manual gearboxes after a four-year lapse, but only with the 305 cid engine. A base 3-speed manual gearbox was offered (but rarely seen) in all but the Z28, and 107,760 buyers paid $332 for the 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission, while 10,780 spent $133 for a wide-ratio 4-speed. The Z28 retained its rear-facing air intake and its single exhaust split behind the catalytic converter into two exit pipes. All Camaros now had Computer Command Control (CCC) engine management system. Power brakes and a space-saver tire were now standard.
Once more, comfort and luxury options proved most popular with tinted glass (112,832 buyers), air-conditioning (96,095), tilt wheel (69,837), rally wheels (47,478) style trim bright work (49,834) and cruise control (35,364). Cloth upholstery was only an extra $26 over vinyl and the Berlinetta luxury interior could be ordered for an extra $304, or $330 for cloth. Berlinetta buyers could also buy locks for their wire wheel covers, and 4,964 spent $32 to do so.
A total of 13 colors were available, and traditional tones were favored. White topped the list (16,137 buyers), followed by Black (14,157), Dark Blue (13,102), Charcoal (12,907), Light Blue (11,516), Dark Brown (10,745), Silver (10,359), Bright Blue (9,464), Maroon (8,302), Red (7615), Gold (6,964), Orange (3,056) and Bright Yellow (1,816).
The 1982 Camaro would be vastly different. It wouldn’t be front-wheel drive, as expected, but it had seven inches trimmed out of the wheelbase, was 500 lbs lighter and was available with a four-cylinder engine.