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hyperv6

They just don't build them like they used to.

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I have a neighbor who over the years has had a lot of fun cars like a 96 Impala SS, 66 Chevelle, SS Nova etc.

Back in 1981 he ordered a new Camaro coupe with only options being V8, Posi, spoiler and AM FM radio. The car is a factory 4 speed. The Gunmetal Grey car has been pretty much sitting in the garage for 25 years. He suffered some medical issues like 3 strokes and several heart attacks including one where he was gone for a little while. H was able to recover to now have the onset of Alzhimers.

I grew up in this neigborhood and just came back last year. In that time he has asked me to take the car out and run it as he is no longer able to drive. So at different times we have gone out for short runs in the local country side.

We have not gone too far as this car has from what I can tell about 10,000 miles. He installed a 373 gear just after he bought the car so I suspect we have a couple thousand miles less than what is showing. [it shows 14,000].

I got the time to clean it up for him and dust off the cob webs. We then took it to a local Camaro show. During the drive it would show 75 MPH at what I would guess would be 40 MPH. This had been our longest trip and I took side roads as not to get too much heat in the 31 plus year old tires.

I have noted some things about the car and here is my observations of a new 1981 Camaro in 2012.

The car is as it was delievered to the dealer. While nostalgia was great the reality of how bad cars were in 1981 came through.

The cars inteiror was mared by carpet that did not cover the entire floor there were open spots at the entry to the back seat that were there since delivered to the dealer. Yes he never had it fixed.

The noise and clunks of a Camaro were standard from the factory. The car while tight and solid still has some of the toys in the trunck clunks.

The interior made of that material that was left over from Ace Frehley's costume. It was that silver that would soon tarnish and crack and today is a rare sight. In fact at the car show many people thought I had put that interior in as they had never seen one. I can say it may be one of the only ones left in showroom condition as they were rare even in the 80's.

The paint was orange peeled and had a good amound of dirt in the paint. I would look at the restored cars and be amazed how good they looked and how bad the original factory paint looked. I felt some may have thought I had Earl Scheib paint the car it was that bad.

Body fit was amazingly poor. The leading edge of the one door has a ding in on the edge that looks like the door was dropped on the edge against a sharp edge. The doors so not have the normal sag of most 2nd Gens and they do not shut with a clang of a loose window etc. Infact this is one of the few 2nd gens at the show that had perfect non scratched windows.

Driving was good the car drives as new and the posi is still tight. Steering feel has the feel of a boat a slow speed. No feel no feed back and little that connects the driver to the car. The brakes were good. Even with drums the pedal was solid and firm.

The transmisison is improved with a Hurts Shifter I installed about 20 years ago. The tranny pulls and shift strong and the clutch is smooth as glass.

The car down the road is amazing to watch the hood dance and shake. The ride is firm but not jarring.

What I take away from this is like the 64 GTO I drove a couple weeks ago. The cars still retain some of the old things I enjoy of the old cars. The noise and the shifting of a heavy 4 speed and going through the gears is great. But there are so many things that todays cars have improved on more so than just quality. Cars like my HHR SS is tuned to the road and make me feel as part of the car vs like a rider on a horse.

Sometimes I think all of us look back with better memories than it really was. Don't get me wrong I love these cars and enjoy any that I get to take out as many of my fiends have some nice restored rides that I get cut loose in from time to time. I also think we forget how good cars have become today. They put together so much better and are much easier to drive stupid fast.

Cars today like the Vette and Camaro to me embody the best of both worlds and give us cars that are so much better but still have a little of that fun factor still in them. It is only a shame cars like the ZL1 convertible at the show was over $60,000.

Note too I was not the lowest mile Camaro there. A local Dealer I know just found a few miles from my home a 1970 Z/28 split bumper. The car has only 7,000 miles. paint is 99% perfect in the while and black stripes. The interior is perfect. The trunk was just as the dealer left it. The engine could use a little refresh on the paint but other wise the car is amazing. I went over the car with the owner and he even showed me the many flaws on this too from the factory that you just never see on most restored cars.

I think the fact we see so many over restored cars today that we often forget what they really were like. I wish more would restore them to like new condition just so many could really see how it really was.

Anyways it was a fun trip back in time but I was glad to get back to 2012.

I hope to get some photos but it was too dark by the time I came home. We plan on getting it out soon to get some shots of it with the proud owner.

Note while he has not driven the car much he always has the keys in his pocket wanting to drive it. The keys are worn smooth from rubbing against each other. The moral is if you have a hobby car drive it as much as you can because there may be a day you wish you still could.

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Couple of points:

- Decent writeup there, Hyper.

- '81 isn't exactly a legendary year...

- Are you sure this thing had drum brakes? I very much doubt it.

- Buy the man the right speedo gear so it reads true!

- This car would not be indicative of the best of F-body handling (even in '81). The equipment just isn't there on a base car.

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I like the looks of the Z-28s of the '78-81 years...

Yeah, a HUGE improvement over the '74-'77 cars, even if they fall quite short of the '70-'73s.

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I like the looks of the Z-28s of the '78-81 years...

Yeah, a HUGE improvement over the '74-'77 cars, even if they fall quite short of the '70-'73s.

A buddy of mine in high school had a clean black '81 Z-28 his junior year then traded it for a new dark blue '88 IROC-Z his senior year..talked to him recently on FB, still a Camaro fan--has a yellow '11 SS.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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>>"During the drive it would show 75 MPH at what I would guess would be 40 MPH."<<

Going from the standard '81 manual ratio of 3.08s to 3.73s, the car will be going 83% of indicated speed.... or at 75 indicated, actual speed is 62.

• • •

I drive different, old stuff all the time. Different people see & value different things in vehicles than others do, so when you're confused about other's opinions on old stuff, keep that in mind. Some things definitely are better, and some definitely are WORSE, even being totally objective... but many times it's a preference as to which is 'better', and that's fine too. Where people go astray is to assume everything is 'better' merely because it's newer.

  • Upvote 2

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There is good and bad with many cars vs old vs new. My point is too often many of the car we see tday at shows etc are better than they ever were in the first place.

It is like when we looked over the 1970 Z/28 [one of my favorites] the flaws were major in most areas things today that many would refuse delivery on at the dealer today. These are the kind of flaws you just don't see on most restored cars.

Also note I judged this show for around 10 years. I can tell you where most of the issues are on any F body as I have seen em all. The one thing is most first, second and thired gens all have bad side windows. They are all scratched and few people replace the glass. This is where we could really seperate the good cars from the perfect cars. Also many interior pars like seat backs that are not in poor condition. Few replace them since you don't see it from the outside.

I grew up with Chevelles as my dad nearly ever years for many years and I know where the issues were with them too. It was my job to look the cars over each year and find the mistakes. and issues. Yes there was never a perfect one.

So the long and short of it i my point is when we look at old cars today most [not all] are much better than they originally were new.

I also felt backed up on this. I was thinking about this on Sunday and Monday I also got my Muscle Machines Magazine from Hemmings. The owner of a 71 TA pointed out the same thing as he has the original TA he bought in 71.

Anyways this is not a condemation just an observations of original vs restored since we see too few unresotred cars today it is a point being lost on those who never lived back then or have ever owned or been around unrestored cars.

Camaino it is drums as the Camaro coupe was not offered with the rear disc option. To get the 4 speed you even had to buy the 305 and that is why he passed on the Z/28 that year.

It is lacking AC and has the AC delete on this one the center vents are blocked off. I have not seen that in any late second gen ever.

In todays world of better paints and other parts most cars are restored to levels never seen originally. I also see this in many Corvettes as most never had bodies or paint as flawless as they have at shows today. In fact some events they take off it the expected flaws are not reproduced.

I think this really shows the importants of the few survivior cars we have and how many colloectors should pay more attention to them.

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Ah, ok, you are talking rear drums - that explains things. I got the impression that you were indicating drums up front as well.

Even on Z28s and T/As the rears were still an option.

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Great story, hyperV6!! What an experience over many years. I'm glad the owner is getting the opportunity to still enjoy his car in some way.

My first car, purchased in September, 1992, was a bone stock 28k mile 1978 Chevy Camaro LT. The original owner purchased it in late 1978 as a company car and drove it for two years. She then got married and was able to get a new company car; however, her husband liked the Camaro and they decided to buy it from the company rather than turn (trade) it in. Down the road they had children and parked the car, using it sparingly through the years (parked outside in the sun & weather). In 1992 they decided to purchase a new car (I think Toyota) and traded in the Camaro, which then was sold to a local used car dealer whom I bought it from. This car was as original as they come, and I had to get it repainted (the black was not glossy anymore and the top was sun cracked along with the top of the rear seat), fix one headlight bucket, replaced the alternator, battery and eventually the tires. It was a LT model, had one rear speaker and an AM/FM radio (not stereo), manual windows/locks/mirrors, power steering & brakes, A/C, no cruise, two-speed wipers!, the upgraded multispoke aluminum rims, and it had the 305 V8 and an auto trans. It was a good first car and I enjoyed it as a daily driver from Sept '92 until May '94. It was definitely not a new '92 car by any means, and felt every bit as old as a '78. However, it was a fun car and got me used to driving in wet & snowy road conditions without ABS and in a RWD configuration.

At the same time I was buying my '78 Camaro LT in Sept '92, my cousin was buying a leftover '92 Cavalier Z24 coupe. She got married the following July and give birth to her first child in May '94. Her & her husband were buying their first house before their son arrived and wanted to shred off some debt load. I was offered the Cavalier for the balance of my cousin's loan (approximately $8k; the car stickered for $15k). The Cavalier had only 7k miles put on it in the 20 months my cousin owned it, and still had the balance of the 5 year GMPP warranty that was transferrable. It was like getting a brand new car!! I had to thoroughly clean & detail it, as my cousin wasn't a clean freak, but other than that it was gas and go (a few minor warranty issues crept up in '94 & '95). I kept the Camaro for another year, though it was off the road as I couldn't afford insurance on two cars at 19! I eventually sold it to a son of a co-worker who was looking for his first car and was a car guy himself (with mechanical skills to boot). I last saw a picture of the car in '96 and he souped it up like most young Camaro owners did during those years (larger rear tires, installed a factory spoiler, customized the interior and chromed the engine bay). While I was thrilled with my new-to-me Cavalier, I do have fond memories of that Camaro though I know it was not perfect. I kept the Cavalier as my car until April '98, when I traded my wife for her '92 Mercury Topaz to trade in for a used '95 Pontiac T/A Coupe. The Cavalier stayed with us for another 2 years until my wife traded it in for a new '00 Pontiac Grand Prix GT Sedan.

Eventually I'll scan pictures of the '78 Camaro and '92 Cavalier, along with the '95 T/A I bought.

Edited by GMTruckGuy74

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Ah, ok, you are talking rear drums - that explains things. I got the impression that you were indicating drums up front as well.

Even on Z28s and T/As the rears were still an option.

Yes It was only an option on the TA and Z.

As for the front they did not have drum front since 1969. GM converted them in 1970. It was an option in 69

Edited by hyperv6

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Great story, hyperV6!! What an experience over many years. I'm glad the owner is getting the opportunity to still enjoy his car in some way.

My first car, purchased in September, 1992, was a bone stock 28k mile 1978 Chevy Camaro LT. The original owner purchased it in late 1978 as a company car and drove it for two years. She then got married and was able to get a new company car; however, her husband liked the Camaro and they decided to buy it from the company rather than turn (trade) it in. Down the road they had children and parked the car, using it sparingly through the years (parked outside in the sun & weather). In 1992 they decided to purchase a new car (I think Toyota) and traded in the Camaro, which then was sold to a local used car dealer whom I bought it from. This car was as original as they come, and I had to get it repainted (the black was not glossy anymore and the top was sun cracked along with the top of the rear seat), fix one headlight bucket, replaced the alternator, battery and eventually the tires. It was a LT model, had one rear speaker and an AM/FM radio (not stereo), manual windows/locks/mirrors, power steering & brakes, A/C, no cruise, two-speed wipers!, the upgraded multispoke aluminum rims, and it had the 305 V8 and an auto trans. It was a good first car and I enjoyed it as a daily driver from Sept '92 until May '94. It was definitely not a new '92 car by any means, and felt every bit as old as a '78. However, it was a fun car and got me used to driving in wet & snowy road conditions without ABS and in a RWD configuration.

At the same time I was buying my '78 Camaro LT in Sept '92, my cousin was buying a leftover '92 Cavalier Z24 coupe. She got married the following July and give birth to her first child in May '94. Her & her husband were buying their first house before their son arrived and wanted to shred off some debt load. I was offered the Cavalier for the balance of my cousin's loan (approximately $8k; the car stickered for $15k). The Cavalier had only 7k miles put on it in the 20 months my cousin owned it, and still had the balance of the 5 year GMPP warranty that was transferrable. It was like getting a brand new car!! I had to thoroughly clean & detail it, as my cousin wasn't a clean freak, but other than that it was gas and go (a few minor warranty issues crept up in '94 & '95). I kept the Camaro for another year, though it was off the road as I couldn't afford insurance on two cars at 19! I eventually sold it to a son of a co-worker who was looking for his first car and was a car guy himself (with mechanical skills to boot). I last saw a picture of the car in '96 and he souped it up like most young Camaro owners did during those years (larger rear tires, installed a factory spoiler, customized the interior and chromed the engine bay). While I was thrilled with my new-to-me Cavalier, I do have fond memories of that Camaro though I know it was not perfect. I kept the Cavalier as my car until April '98, when I traded my wife for her '92 Mercury Topaz to trade in for a used '95 Pontiac T/A Coupe. The Cavalier stayed with us for another 2 years until my wife traded it in for a new '00 Pontiac Grand Prix GT Sedan.

Eventually I'll scan pictures of the '78 Camaro and '92 Cavalier, along with the '95 T/A I bought.

I am making it my duty to make sure he enjoys it while he can. He was a die hard car guy and it is hard for him to give up. They have helped my mother over the years and it is my turn to help return the favor.

I think we have a deal to sell the car when it is time. We have a buyer willing to wait till they are ready to sell it. I just hope his wife waits till it will not matter to him. I think I have her agreeing to that right now.

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Ah, ok, you are talking rear drums - that explains things. I got the impression that you were indicating drums up front as well.

Even on Z28s and T/As the rears were still an option.

Yes It was only an option on the TA and Z.

As for the front they did not have drum front since 1969. GM converted them in 1970. It was an option in 69

Exactly why I questioned what you said in the original post. I knew front disc was made standard on Chevelles back then , so I was sure it had to be the same with Camaro. And, I had never seen any 2nd gen with front drums - even base cars.

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Ah, ok, you are talking rear drums - that explains things. I got the impression that you were indicating drums up front as well.

Even on Z28s and T/As the rears were still an option.

Yes It was only an option on the TA and Z.

As for the front they did not have drum front since 1969. GM converted them in 1970. It was an option in 69

Exactly why I questioned what you said in the original post. I knew front disc was made standard on Chevelles back then , so I was sure it had to be the same with Camaro. And, I had never seen any 2nd gen with front drums - even base cars.

You never saw them because they never were. I remember GM moving to the disc in 1970 as a kid. My retired GM engineer great uncle was excited about it. I wish I was older and he was still around to ask him more about his time at GM. He knew a lot of really cool GM people and I remember him speaking of them but I was too young to understand who they were. He was old Sloan GM and worked there from 1926-1962 ll at GMC. He really had an amazing life serving in balllons in WWI, traveled the world and worked help to design the first trucks with penumatic tires and tandam axles for Goodyear.

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Exactly.

I should clarify a bit before I get called on it. Big block Chevelles got standard front disc (I think in '67 or'68), but base cars retained the front drum into the 70s. Not sure when discs became standard across the lineup (probably '73).

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Exactly why I questioned what you said in the original post. I knew front disc was made standard on Chevelles back then , so I was sure it had to be the same with Camaro. And, I had never seen any 2nd gen with front drums - even base cars.

Yea; when a car has discs/drums, you don't just say it has 'drums brakes'.

Too bad the other divisions didn't put the engineering behind their drums like Buick did.

^ I believe you're right Camino- without checking; its in my mind that the GTO got optional front discs for '67.

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Balthy: I've heard you rave about Buick's drums before, they must really be something. Every car I've ever had with front drums was a nightmare as far as brakes went. I don't miss front drums - at all.

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I have about a dozen road tests of the day- they didn't fade and actually stopped better than the discs (when they came out on the Riviera).

'60 Invicta : 60-0 : 138' (4500 lbs on 4" squishy bias-plys).

They should've kept them.

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The Buick and Pontiac drums were good for drums. They both transfered heat well. But Disc is still much better at transfering heat after repeated stops.

We used to get a lot of those old Buicks in the area around the gas station I worked at was. It was a low income area and most of the cars were old and at the age most there could afford them after the gas issues of the 70's.

I also drove a lot of the 8 lug Pontiac wheels on different cars. We had them on several of my buddies dads Pontiacs.

GM did go optional on the disc on the A bodies in 67, I had wished my SS had them as too often you often wondered if you were going to stop.

My dads 67 was drum but his 68-73 had discs.

Am I thinking right the Nova also got them standard in 1973. I used to see a lot of front drum Nova's but most Chevelles were ordered with the disc,

I just drove the Buick drums not long ago with a friends 63 Riv. I was lucky years ago to take a 65 Riv GS out for a spin back in the 80's. It was a under 10,000 mile car. The owner passed away and his son crashed it and it still sits in a yard and he refused to sell it or the engine.

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Buick drums exceeded the Pontiac's, tho, as Buick had 12"ers. In the day, Pontiacs took about 10' longer to stop, but sometimes did see fade. Pontiac went to 14" wheels for '57, they should've gone back up to 15"s pretty much right away- only the police package/SDs had available 15"s (and the 1st gen Tempests). But the Buick drums didn't fade- I believe it was the size of them, and that the fins extended into the airstream underneath; they overlapped the backing plates. The Pontiac 8-lugs didn't, even tho they were exposed to the air more. Ideally, 12" 8-lugs with extended fins would've been pretty incredible.

Disadvantage to discs is that they aren't self-energizing, they require a lot more assist, and rotors tend to warp a lot more readily than drums.

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Disadvantage? I guess that is why we have so many drum brakes still on the road today. LOL!

FYI brake warp by and large is a myth according to long time race car builder Carol Smith in his book and most brake MFGs. The truth is most pulsing brakes are due to pad material built up in on the rotor that is uneven due to the fact too few people seat or bed their pads in anymore. Also the new cars use ball bearing vs the better roller tapers for less rolling resistance for better MPG. The side effect is that if they have more than .002 of play they will wobble and wear the rotor thickness uneven hitting the pads. This is termed rotor thickness variation or RTV by most MFG and brake companies.

GM and most brake MFG's address this in their tech information.

No matter how you spin it you will not be seeing drums on the ZR1 soon.

Edited by hyperv6

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Ah, ok, you are talking rear drums - that explains things. I got the impression that you were indicating drums up front as well.

Even on Z28s and T/As the rears were still an option.

Yes It was only an option on the TA and Z.

As for the front they did not have drum front since 1969. GM converted them in 1970. It was an option in 69

Exactly why I questioned what you said in the original post. I knew front disc was made standard on Chevelles back then , so I was sure it had to be the same with Camaro. And, I had never seen any 2nd gen with front drums - even base cars.

Neither have I....

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Disadvantage? I guess that is why we have so many drum brakes still on the road today. LOL!
Where people go astray is to assume everything is 'better' merely because it's newer.
Also the new cars use ball bearing vs the better roller tapers for less rolling resistance for better MPG.

what?

No matter how you spin it you will not be seeing drums on the ZR1 soon.

Extrapolate, much? :wacko:

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