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Old 04-23-2012, 05:45:41 PM   #1
leonator134
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Hi all! What do you guys think?

Hi everyone, this site is great, I'm looking around on here all the time! I'm almost 18 and have always had a "thing" for 2nd gen Z's. Having said that, my favorite car on the planet is a 64 Impala, one of which I bought with my father in September (very nice condition, 4 door 283 2 speed auto, aqua). I drive a 96 Grand Marquis, but like I said, I've always liked 2nd gens, and would love to have one as a "daily driver", which is why I have joined here today! I'm a senior this year, and will be attending community college very close by for the next two years, which gives me plenty of time for cars and things (besides school, of course!) My ideal 2nd gen is a 1980 z28 T-Top 350 4 speed w/ leather or vinyl. Obviously, I would have to work my a$$ off all summer to afford one, but my dad is a mechanic and I've been learning for a few years so maintenance and fixing is not a worry.

My question is mainly this: do any of you Z owners use them as full on daily drivers? What do you think? I would feel so bad to drive it in the winter- with the salt and all, so I am wondering this also: how long do they last before things get rusty being driven full time? If I did buy one I would put it up on stands and paint as much as I could underneath, as a preventative measure.

Driving one full time would mean I would have to give up my Marquis, but it is possible I could finagle a way to garage a Z at my buddy's farm (paying them rent, of course) for the winter- so it wouldn't be exposed to the salt, and so I could drive the Mercury in the winter! So, how would one do being driven full time with the exception of winter?

It's all just thoughts in my head right now, looking for any information or knowledge from experience here! I don't really care about gas mileage, school next year is close. I wouldn't actually be in the market to buy one until mid summer or perhaps after. Any info is greatly appreciated! Thanks, -Leo! (sorry for the massive post haha!)
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:30:20 PM   #2
TDPalmer
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Your situation is exactly like mine. I bought my Z when I was 18 and wanted a 80 t top 350 4/speed but I settled for a 81 auto t top to fully restore as I went to a community college. I use mine as a daily driver to and from my community college which is about 15-20 miles away from my house.

My car has an LT-1 in it with a th-350 that I bought (stole) off craigslist and without A/C and headers and true duals I'm getting about 17-19 mpg with my foot being on it. Which I thought myself was a miracle, and it beats the 14-16 I get with my 360 Dodge Ram.

As for winter, we really did not have one here in Arkansas, and they don't salt the roads around here so I drove it pretty much all winter too.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:08:29 PM   #3
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thats very coincidental! mines about 12 miles away, and its almost literally right off the highway i live 3 mile from. i love 283s though, a very gutsy little motor. id love to build one and put in a z, with more power than the stock 350 and get better mileage! (not that it matters :P) I originally wanted an 81 but i somehow missed that they had computer operated components and don't really want anything to do with those.

How do you like yours? Hows the ride and drivability? Did you ever encounter rust? and how do you like the auto transmission? I desperately want a 4 speed haha.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:09:54 PM   #4
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I work at a body shop and we got a 64 impala 4 door in there now with a 283. When I drove it up to the paint part of the shop it was a very peppy smooth motor, and the car's leather seats and smoothness was awesome.

Taking the computer out of mine was my first priority, and since the car did not come with an engine or transmission it was easy! The only thing the computer controls in an 81 is the lock-up converter on the trans, the distributor spark, and the carburetor, along with a O2 sensor. Then I found the LT-1 TH-350 for a deal.

I love mine and I'm going to have it till the day I die, you hardly see any of them on the road anymore, and when you're driving with the t-tops off during the day it's an amazing feeling. I get compliments and stories everywhere I go.

The ride is amazing, it had the stock shocks on it when I bought it, and it drove smooth and tight when they were on it, but I Edlebrock had a sweet deal a little while back on their Performer IAS Shocks, and I replaced the body mount bushings and rubber before I drove it. It rides like my lady's 2012 Camaro.

Drivability? It's tame on the street, but it'll be a tire shredding beast whenever you want it to be. It's an amazing sensation driving it, and it always puts me in a better mood. I got true dual 6inch cherry bombs with 2.5inch pipeing with 2.5inch tips, it's a very loud aggressive tone on the outside when revving, smooth when driving. On the inside it's not loud at all, you can't hear it over the radio, and when you turn the radio all the way down it's almost like music too. It drives tight.

I actually love the auto transmission. You can put it in 1 and shift it up as you please and with the shift kit in it the car jerks, chirps, and all the fun (kinda) of a stick, and I can just put it in drive when I'm in the city or don't feel like bump shifting it.

Here's a video of it, but it's a lot louder in person. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoZ9J...ature=youtu.be
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:49:30 AM   #5
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Wow well that's very cool. They're sporty too aren't they? Even thought they're big muscle cars they have an element of sport to them?

I don't have anything against the automatic trans, i would just prefer a manual. A few of my friends have 5 speed cars and they're a blast to drive around, I just want one of my ow

Call it crazy, but something about the actual look of the interior with the 4 speed grabs me.. it's like the angled shifter adds a level of muscle and class.. haha I don't know.

Your Z sounds awesome! How about a walk around and/ or drive?

The 283 is fantastic. It has a very small stroke so it revs nice and high! It surprises me every time I open it up. Here's a link to a walk around!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KsaP...Qq8nFbzu0RM%3D
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:47:00 AM   #6
vfw_1168
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first welcome to the site... with the 80-81 Z to get a 350 you had to get the auto tranny ... the 4 speed came with a 305... doing away with the cpu is easy with a 350 swap.... mine is a norwood car built in 81 and a factory 4 speed.... i get 10 mpg with mine ... it has 4.11 rear gear and at 70 mph it is screaming for more gear as i am at 3500 rpm... i only drive mine from spring to fall when it is dry out ... during the winter is when i work on doing small projects to it.... here is a few pics of mine









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sold 81 camaro Z28 350 with 4 bolt main. Summit Carb, Borg warnner 4 speed. 100% Z28 mustang killer...my Z is on custom grills on fbodywarehouse
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I'm okay with not having bumpy nuts, no one is looking down there anyway.
http://s1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd379/vfw_1168/
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:48:41 AM   #7
leonator134
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Very nice z, I love the color!

I don't care so much about originality with these cars, so I wouldn't mind swapping out a 305 and building a 350. However, a built 305 might be kinda cool.. Kind of uncommon?

I thought the only 350 4 speed car was 1981 and made in Canada? I thought in America you could get a 350 4 speed in 1980?
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:50:41 AM   #8
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vfw.. I love you're car, you did an awesome job with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leonator134
I thought the only 350 4 speed car was 1981 and made in Canada? I thought in America you could get a 350 4 speed in 1980?

I've always thought that too, but I could be wrong.

305's in my opinion are very good engines, and it'd be pretty neat to see a restored 305/4speed. My girlfriend's dad has a 100% original 80 with 4speed 305 that's sitting out in a field rotting since the early 90's. We went out there one day this last summer, poured a little gas in the carb, hooked up a battery and it fired right up, all the electrical things still work too! It's what got me into these cars, one day I'll get my hands on it and restore it.

and one of these day's I'll do a walk around, the interior of my car is sitting in my garage, I haven't had time to put it in since I've ordered it, so it's been sitting in that spot for about 3 weeks.

I loved that impala, if that was mine I'd drive that around everyday. Have you took it to any car shows?
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:12:58 PM   #9
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I think the 305s are cool too! It would be neat to build up the factory one behind a 4 speed... but my dad is just itching to build a 350. He keeps trying to convince me that we should build one and put it in the Impala! And of course, I say NO! We're going to be pulling the 283 this summer to do gaskets, paint and then a 4 barrel carb, intake, cam, and elec ignition and maybe Power Pack heads, all the while making it look 100% factory. Hoping to make it Sleeper-esque! It has the factory 3.36 rear end so she goes just fine as it is, but I think a few more horses couldn't hurt!

There two weekly car shows here from May through September. The day we got it in September was actually the day of the last car show of the season. My dad borrowed some dealer plates from his boss and we drove it home from Dedham Mass at 7 in the morning, spent the day cleaning her up and then took her to the show that evening! It got a LOT of attention!

Its been rainy here a lot the past couple weeks (you know what they say about April!) but when it's nice I take it out many times a week after school. It is registered as an antique, so I try to keep excessive driving low
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:19:27 AM   #10
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I've been thinking though that maybe an automatic transmission might be better for a daily driver. A Z in nice condition will be less money with the auto, and I wouldn't be as upset if the car got damaged or rusty if it didn't have the 4 speed. I would plan to restore it of course, just over time. An auto might be the way to go.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:31:57 AM   #11
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Welcome to Nastyland.

Bought my Camaro as a summer DD. An AT should work well for what you have in mind. For future reference, check out some of the 200-4R conversions here.

Best not to drive these cars in salt at all. The powder/dust gets into some very inaccessible places and condensation activates it. Doesn't take much. Tends to eat 2nd gens from the inside out.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:04:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leonator134
I thought in America you could get a 350 4 speed in 1980?
You are right,i dont know what was available in 81,but my 80 is a factory 350 4 speed car.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:35:30 AM   #13
leonator134
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Ahh yes, I had heard that rust gets them pretty good. Unfortunately, there is no more room in our garage/ driveway for me to have another car. So I would have to give up the car I drive (grand marquis) in order to buy a Z, and it would be the car I drive everyday.

But what say I bought a Z this summer and put it up on jackstands and painted every single undercarriage component I could with several coats of POR15, how do you think it would fair then? (frame, floors, wheel wells, the whole deal)

B.M.- I'm jealous! It must be a blast to drive.

Last edited by leonator134 : 04-27-2012 at 07:43:06 AM.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:07:16 AM   #14
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welcome aboard lenator! i would suggest using Eastwoods Inner Panel treatment and frame coating in addition to what you did:


http://www.eastwood.com/ew-anti-rust-aerosol-with-ext-nozzle-black.html


http://www.eastwood.com/internal-fra...ay-nozzle.html

I don't drive my camaro in the winter anymore. But I do drive my 78 Cutlass and did apply the anti-rust, frame coating, frame encapsulator, and undercoating and it has been rust free. It also helped that the woman who owned the car before, had it rust proofed when she bought it 34 years ago. Since it was done 34 years ago, I freshened it up with those coatings and the frame and panels looks new.

good luck
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:18:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leonator134
B.M.- I'm jealous! It must be a blast to drive.
Yeah,this is the funnest car i have had.Over the years i have had 3 camaros with automatics,because around here the 4 speed cars are really hard to find,Either people get them and keep them,or people get them and swap them to an auto,so when i found the car i have now,i jumped on the chance as fast as i could haha.
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