Hey, Nasty Z28 has saved me more times than I can count during my ongoing restoration process, so I thought I might as well chime in! I'm a 21 from Arizona, and bought my '73 for $3000. It didn't look pretty, but it drove home and passed emissions. Not an amazing deal, but an okay one. It's a fixer-upper alright, but the rust is minimal. Nothing special, no Z28, no RS or SS, just a sport coupe. My dad owned a '69 and a '75 when he was my age, and this time last year we bought a 1984 Berlinetta Camaro that we restored into a drag racer. (350 with a TH350 rated around 460hp) That was my first resto-mod project, but the classic car insurance doesn't let me drive the car on the street until I have 6 more years driving experience, so it's more my dad's car than mine.
So, I bought myself the '73 because I was really freakin' jealous of my dad.
I'm still in the tear-down process. I buy all the stuff and do all the work myself, and my dad just watches to make sure I don't screw up big-time. My ultimate goal with the car is to make a modernized-muscle car for my daily driver, with a/c, turbochargers, and some modern seats. Of course at this point in the project, it's all dreaming. In the interest of keeping its original value, I'm avoiding doing any permanent cutting or modification that would prevent me from easily bolting back in OEM stuff.
Some interesting stories so far...
-The car, as we got it, was an automatic transmission. A TH-350. The guy who owned it before me did a little hot rodding to the car, and it had a floor shifter. After we took out the engine/tranny, we noticed a bracket on the steering column for a column-shifter, so we assumed OEM was a column-shift. The week after that, after tearing apart the suspension for polyurethane bushings and new ball joints, we found the end of a clutch boot in the firewall, connected to nothing. After some dashboard-diving, we found the remains of the clutch pedal. The guy had just cut it off!
-The transmission was supported while in the car by a hunk of wood bolted to the bottom of the frame.
-The last owner didn't have a big enough spacer for his fan, so he used an assortment of small spacers, large nuts, and washers. Backyard mechanic much? o.O
-The car has evidence of being restored sometime in the 90's. OEM paint was a golden brown, new paint was blue, and then the car began to get surface rust, so primer was haphazardly sprayed over it.
-The quarters were patched with a combination of sheet metal screws, fiberglass, bondo, and duct tape. Those are getting replaced.
Progress so far... The front end has been entirely rebuilt with new springs, bushing, linkage, and frame paint. The entire underside of the car has been stripped of dirt, rust, grime, and whatever else, and shot with frame paint. All of the rust has been sanded off or cut out and replaced with fresh metal. One quarter skin/trunk drop off/wheel housing has been replaced, the second one is almost done. Bought an LS1 out of a 2000 Trans Am, see pictures below.
Slightly outdated photo... No longer on the car: Engine and tranny, tires, brake system, or suspension system.
Looking forward to updating this thread! Thanks for all the info you guys post!
Update: November 5th, 2010
Look what I brought home today for $360...
LS1 price cost so far:
$360 - 80%ish complete motor (minus intake manifold, oil pan, two bent connecting rods, ECM, wiring, or belt system & accesories)
$90 - Block cleaning & fresh cam bearings
$200 - Intake manifold w/ fuel rails, Z28 throttle body, extra set of heads, T56 flywheel, box of spare parts (craigslist bundle deal, going to sell the extra heads)
$400 - Complete 4.8 motor out of a 2000 GMC Sierra, ECM, wiring harnesss and all
+$140 Sold old Edelbrock Carburetor
More to come as progress is made.