The first car I ever purchased was a 1969 Rally Sport Z/28 Camaro. I paid cash for it, having worked for a couple of years prior to that, while attending college at the same time. One of my best friends had told me about such a car, of which I knew nothing about automobiles. He had purchased himself a 1969 Z/28 several months before I purchased mine. By the way, my friend still has his original Z/28 also!
The first week I took possession of the car was in January, not the best time of year to drive such a car in Michigan, and I was really sorry that I had bought the auto. Not so much because of the winter driving conditions, but because it was difficult for me to learn how to drive the stick shift. A number of times, I would start out in 3rd gear which would stall the car, and I also soon learned that turning onto another street necessitated having the car in 1st gear, or I would get the same results. Upon driving the car for the first time from the dealership, when I stopped to get gas, being an inexperienced manual transmission driver, I let up on the clutch too soon as the attendant began to put gasoline into the back of the car and almost ran him over. He yelled at me and was not a happy person. But after a week or two of driving, I began to get the hang of the Hurst 4-speed, and then began to really like the car. And, by the way, I drove my Z that first winter, but the coming winter, I garaged it and would hitchhike back and forth to work and to school, because I saw that the salt on the roads was already beginning to cause damage to the vehicle behind the rear tires and within the wheel wells. And it was also too dangerous driving such a car in slippery conditions.
My original color choice for my Z was Hugger Orange with black stripes. But I thought that there would be a large number of those on the road and I wanted both a color I liked, but also one that was not as common. I ended up being wrong about the number of Hugger Orange Z's that I would see, but loved the Garnet Red color with black stripes that I ordered. I was especially happy with the Rally Sport package because to me it really changed the look of the car in a way that I liked even better than the regular Z/28 option, and there were not very many of these Rally Sport Z's on the road. This package cost me maybe 100 - 150 dollars extra, and the car itself cost me $3570. Another very unique feature about my Z/28 was that when it came down the line in the manufacturing process, there was some kind of problem with the spoiler line assembly that day, or days, and my Z came with no front or rear spoilers, which were standard on all 69 Z/28's.
The 69 Z/28 came with a Hurst 4-speed shifter, a high rise Holley 780 cfm 4-barrel, solid lifters, high rise aluminum manifold, 11-1 compression, and 3.73 gears. The car was really a road race car, really coming alive at about 3500 rpms.The red line was 7200 rpms, but this felt so tight to me that I set my Stewart Warner tach at 6800 rpms, to make certain I didn't over rev the engine and blow it, like a number of other Z/28 owners did. Top end was about 150 mph, which I can attest to because one of my buddies was an engineer for General Motors at the time and gave me a formula involving rolling radius of the tires, etc., which would accurately measure the speed, based on the accuracy of one's tach. So one day I took the car out on the highway, took it up to absolute top end, where the tach wouldn't go any higher, then calculated the speed. One of my gripes about these cars was that the speedometer only went up to 120 mph, when there were almost no other cars that would top out any higher than 150mph. But the car was not set up for coming off the line...the times I tried it the wheels would hop side to side and at rpms lower than 3500, the car just didn't move until you got those rpms up in 1st gear.
My car has less than 20,000 miles on it, so almost all components are original or factory original, more like a museum piece instead of everyday driver, a survivor of so many years ago. And I still believe this kind of car is one of the best looking American cars ever manufacturer. I still love to look at it, and especially hear it run, the unevenness of the full race cam as it idles. The sound of all newer cars simply doesn't do it for me, compared to my Z/28.