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Trying To Restore A '81 Z28 Convertible - Need Help

Specific area for technical questions on Camaro Convertibles.

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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 8:48 pm
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
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Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
Hey hows it going? I was cruising the web and came accross this site, and noticed that there was a convertable section, and this is perfect, because around a month ago, i was told about a 1981 Camaro Z28 convertable. To make a long story short, the kid that owned the car before me had wrote it off while pulling threw an intersection. He ended up selling most of the interior, including the rear seat, and convertable boot, and the rear side panels. So my dad and i drove down to Surrey where the car was sitting, and bought it. We trailered it home, and got it mostly apart, and i got one of my back seats out of a coupe, and found it was a convertable only seat. I have now got all the material off of it, and i am working on cutting it down and welding it to the proper size, but where my problem is, I have no measurements for the sizes. If anyone can help me with any info on this, it would be great, and also with the rear side interior panels. if anyone is able to help me out that would be great! I will post some pics a little later.
Matt
 

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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:53 pm
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 13
Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
hey ok, i got some pictures of the car when i picked it up, and some of it now. I am going to try to scan some of the pictures of the car before it was wrecked maybe next week.
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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:57 pm
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
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Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
here is the frame, surprisingly enough the body is not twisted or anything, i had my boss at the body shop look at it, and he was amazed that nothing is really messed up.
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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 2:00 pm
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
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Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
right now there is really nothing for the interior, and it is kind of messy, but the floors just have minor surface rust on them.
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rlyfst1
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:18 pm
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I have no measurements for the sizes. If anyone can help me with any info on this, it would be great, and also with the rear side interior panels. if anyone is able to help me out that would be great!


Matt, you got a great looking project there. But, if memory serves me right, there was no convertible offered in 81.
 

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IrocTopless
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:40 pm
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Your right. There was no officially offered and sanctioned by Chevrolet 2nd gen Camaros. However, you (or a dealer) could independantly take one down to National Coach Engineering (as appears in this case) and have the conversion done. :thumbup:
1989 Iroc-Z, 305 TPI, 5 spd, 3.08 diff My Car Domain Website
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rlyfst1
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 4:50 pm
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Have you PM'd Camaro Mike, his screen name is Thumper II on this site? He has an 81 conversion.
 

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Thumper II
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 6:11 pm
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Yes, hello, here I am. Yes, it is true, I actually have 2 nd gen convertibles and I know a great deal about them. As for 1981 production, there is only very, very few done in 81 since NCE was legally closed. I have been told only 5 or so was known to been made.

As for parts for your new project, I can help you out with all the parts you may need. I do 2nd gen camaro parts as a side business and I have lots of parts in stock. I have just about everything you need for the front end. I also have much interior in my stoarge trailers and body shop, so just let me know what you need. I get camaros in and out of here weekly, so my inventory is always changing. If you want to see my cars and some parts I have, go to my website at:
http://www.trikfbdyprtsperformance.com

You can also e-mail me from that website with your parts list and I can help you get the car back together.
They call me "Camaro Mike" of NY
1970 Project Princess RS/SS convertible
1971 Camaro RS/SS
1972 Camaro BM Phaze III
1978 Prostreet RS
1981 Z28 convertible
 

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irocz85owner
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008 6:45 pm
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looks like a good project you have there,keep us updated
my 85 IROC-Z-350 4 bolt main,700r tranny,B&M shift kit,edelbrock performer intake,holley carb,headman headers,magnaflow exhaust,charcoal/black interior,new paint and more this year

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IrocTopless
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 7:32 am
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Thumper II wrote:
As for 1981 production, there is only very, very few done in 81 since NCE was legally closed. I have been told only 5 or so was known to been made.
8O That's one great motivation to save and restore this ride!!!!

Thumper II wrote:
As for parts for your new project, I can help you out with all the parts you may need . . . You can also e-mail me from that website with your parts list and I can help you get the car back together.
Now that's awesome help! :thumbup:
Keep us updated the_camaro_kid. You have the potential of one sweet jewel of a Camaro there. :)
1989 Iroc-Z, 305 TPI, 5 spd, 3.08 diff My Car Domain Website
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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 8:31 am
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 13
Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
yes it was a really great find. i am still amazed that something as rare as this fell into my hands, considering how rare it is, and for the price. i do have quiet the bit of resources for this car, i have around 10 camaro's kicking around my place, but other then the ovious parts, i have almost everything. Ive done some looking, and from what I can see, a regular coupe back seat will work, it will just have to be cut down, but where my problem is, how much does it have to be cut down. unfotunatly, I am working on this car on a pretty small budget, being just an 18 year old kid still going to school. Everyones advice and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I have been thinking about what kind of engine, and i have moreless decided what I am going to drop into it, but my dad said it will most likely twist the body from the torque, and now that I think of it, he is probly right. I was thinking on droping my 455 into it, which will be stock other then headers. what are your opinions on that? thanks again and i will be posting pictures fairly soon again.
 

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rlyfst1
Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 8:56 am
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my dad said it will most likely twist the body from the torque, and now that I think of it, he is probly right. I was thinking on droping my 455 into it


Your dad is one smart guy. There in no point to having more HP than the car can transfer to the ground. And. from a safety stand point, how fast do you want to go in a rag top?

A nice SBC would be perferct.And if that car is a rare as Camaro Mike says it is, maybe look for a date correct drivetrain? Just a thought.
 

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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:51 am
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 13
Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
yea, I would like something that i can have some fun with, and wont be a gutless wonder. if there is the possibility of twisting the body, i wont go with the 455. Right now i just want to get the car going for the summer, and hopefully get some enjoyment out of it this year, before i start on any serious restorations. With that car, I want to keep it basically stock and original, but I am probly going to put a set of drop coils in it, and i would love a 4 speed in it. other then that, it will be stock. The unfortuanate part about the engine, is the kid that had it, blew it up, and put it in storage, and replaced it with a GM 350 crate engine, and it looks like a brand new tranny in it, and shortly after he threw the block away :cry: I am going to be on the look for a 350 that i can replace later with the engine, whatever it might be, that I am going to put in it.
 

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the_camaro_kid
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:45 pm
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:47 pm
Posts: 13
Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: I ran accross it while searching the web
hey guys, sorry i havnt posted lately, just been really busy with work and everything. today, i just finished painting the subframe and motor mounts after a week or so of off and on cleaning on the frame. Now in the next few days i am going to be starting the assembly process. here are some pictures of before and after.
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impcon
Posted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:25 pm
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:25 pm
Posts: 5
Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: My son
Thumper II wrote:
Yes, hello, here I am. Yes, it is true, I actually have 2 nd gen convertibles and I know a great deal about them. As for 1981 production, there is only very, very few done in 81 since NCE was legally closed. I have been told only 5 or so was known to been made.

As for parts for your new project, I can help you out with all the parts you may need. I do 2nd gen camaro parts as a side business and I have lots of parts in stock. I have just about everything you need for the front end. I also have much interior in my stoarge trailers and body shop, so just let me know what you need. I get camaros in and out of here weekly, so my inventory is always changing. If you want to see my cars and some parts I have, go to my website at:
http://www.trikfbdyprtsperformance.com

You can also e-mail me from that website with your parts list and I can help you get the car back together.



Hi there! :wink: I am Matt's dad - just wanted to post an update for him on the progress on his '81 Z28 convertible. Matt has been going through some "stuff" that kept him on the side ines for awhile as far as working on any projects goes. He worked two jobs last summer - fighting forest fires during the day and working at the local Seven Eleven all night. He worked hard and earned every penny that he made and at the end of the fire season, he stayed on at Seven Eleven until late January. We had a cold and really long winter here so he wasn't in the convertible fixing mode at all - not that I blame him.

At the end of January, Matt rolled his truck - a freak accident that caused serious back injuries that he is still recovering from at this time - and he still has a ways to go. However, he is back to work on his car now - doing what he can as he is able to .. I try to help when I can but my hat is really off to him - he has done almost everything himself so far and he has done an amazing job if I do say so myself.

The sub frame is done and hanging on end on an engine crane and wrapped in plastic in the shop and he has been busy working on the front sheet metal getting it ready. because he has not worked in five months, he is having to do things that are not what he would like to do, but he is learning a lot as he goes along and that is what the hobby really is about. He had bought an already parted out Z28 a few months before he found the convertible and he needed some Z28 fenders - so, he improvised. The parts car fenders were rusty on the bottoms so he cutthe bottoms off of the original convertible fenders and welded them onto the parts car fenders and he did an incredible job! The fenders are now ready for primer. He wants to redo the car in a couple of years and replace these fenders with good, solid rust free GM fenders from Washington State or Idaho where I used to pull a lot of parts out of when I was running down there a lot.

Last Fall, a man was delivering a tractor to our home and he spotted some Camaro's sitting around and he asked if I needed any more parts. I told him the cars were Matt's and he proceeded to give Matt an almost perfect '81 Z28 hood complete with scoop, a urethane nose that is in well above average condition and some wheel flares - all from a car that he had wrecked for the 350 that it had. Sadly, everything else went to the land fill. So, all that is left now to find is a rust free rad support ( we found several a couple of weeks ago in W. State - we will be going back for a couple of them in the next few days ) and the interior rear side panels and a convertible rear seat.

His body mount kit just came in this week and with the sub frame all painted and reassembled aside from the steering box and linkage, we'll likely get the sub frame under the car in the next few days. There is a small repair yet to do on the urethane nose piece just under the lower grille but the nose should be mounted on the bumper so that we get the curvature right. I'll be encouraging Matt to post pictures of the progress as he really appreciates the encouragement that you all have given him. He is a fantastic young man - no dad could ever wish for a better son, believe me. His mom and brothers are all proud of him. SO more pictures will be forthcoming in the next short while as the car begins to come back together.

What is really neat is the way that he has been finding the pieces that he needs and how it has all come together. This past week, a friend of ours who has a tow truck and who picks up scrap cars called to tell Matt that he had just scored a Camaro and a Firebird. The Camaro is this one in these pictures.. if I can figure out how to post them... ( Tried but no joy posting the pictures.. *sighs* ) You can view the pictures here - http://s43.photobucket.com/albums/e356/ ... rts%20Car/


The neat thing about this car is that it still has the original 350 and automatic transmission in it with all of the smog junk except for the pulley of the smog pump! The pump even turns freely and makes that goofy sound that it is supposed to make... All lines and everything seem to be there even though the car has sat without a hood for awhile and the engine is stuck. We are hoping that the engine can be saved and it will be eventually rebuilt and put into the convertible. Oddly, the car is the same colour as the hood and front nose that he was given last year - almost as if those parts came off of the same car. The parts car is really solid and it is sort of a shame to part it out but it does have some issues the relegate it to the status of a donor car. Matt also has a 4 speed, fully optioned, air conditioned T-top coupe that may need the rear quarter off of this parts car and he has yet another car that can use the rear differential. so by the time all is said and done, the $150.00 parts car will go a long ways towards fixing two good projects. I'll try to encourage Matt to share some photos and start posting again. Thanks again for all the encoragement and compliments on his car.
 

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rlyfst1
Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 6:27 am
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Thanks for the update. It's great to see young people get involved in restoring cars. Talk about a car that will have a great story to go with it.

Please continue to keep us gear heads informed of the progress.
 

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impcon
Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 12:27 pm
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rlyfst1 wrote:
Thanks for the update. It's great to see young people get involved in restoring cars. Talk about a car that will have a great story to go with it.

Please continue to keep us gear heads informed of the progress.


Thanks and I am sure that Matt will be posting his progress reports as things go along. :) :) :)
 

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ZedHed
Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:21 pm
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Where Did You Hear Of Camarosource.ca?: on the web
the_camaro_kid wrote:
right now there is really nothing for the interior, and it is kind of messy, but the floors just have minor surface rust on them.



Wow, I can't believe it's the same car! This car I owned and it's a long story but my stepson Justin C. got a hold of it and this is the end result!
The car was in showroom condition when I parked it in Prince George, BC back in 2003 and he got it out of my dad sometime in 2006.
 

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camarosource
Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:41 am
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ZedHed wrote:
the_camaro_kid wrote:
right now there is really nothing for the interior, and it is kind of messy, but the floors just have minor surface rust on them.



Wow, I can't believe it's the same car! This car I owned and it's a long story but my stepson Justin C. got a hold of it and this is the end result!
The car was in showroom condition when I parked it in Prince George, BC back in 2003 and he got it out of my dad sometime in 2006.


Do you mean this is your car?? :)
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ZedHed
Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:46 pm
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camarosource wrote:
ZedHed wrote:
the_camaro_kid wrote:
right now there is really nothing for the interior, and it is kind of messy, but the floors just have minor surface rust on them.

Yes, I originally bought the car from a guy who owned it in North Vancouver and his dad ordered the car from a dealership on Vancouver Island as a convertible straight from California who did the convertible modifications. The car was shipped to the dealership and then he picked it up and brought it to N. Van.

Wow, I can't believe it's the same car! This car I owned and it's a long story but my stepson Justin C. got a hold of it and this is the end result!
The car was in showroom condition when I parked it in Prince George, BC back in 2003 and he got it out of my dad sometime in 2006.


Do you mean this is your car?? :)
the_camaro_kid wrote:
Hey hows it going? I was cruising the web and came accross this site, and noticed that there was a convertable section, and this is perfect, because around a month ago, i was told about a 1981 Camaro Z28 convertable. To make a long story short, the kid that owned the car before me had wrote it off while pulling threw an intersection. He ended up selling most of the interior, including the rear seat, and convertable boot, and the rear side panels. So my dad and i drove down to Surrey where the car was sitting, and bought it. We trailered it home, and got it mostly apart, and i got one of my back seats out of a coupe, and found it was a convertable only seat. I have now got all the material off of it, and i am working on cutting it down and welding it to the proper size, but where my problem is, I have no measurements for the sizes. If anyone can help me with any info on this, it would be great, and also with the rear side interior panels. if anyone is able to help me out that would be great! I will post some pics a little later.
Matt
 


 

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