Hey everybody, I have been loitering on this forum for quite sometime. I recently joined after I finally purchased a camaro. Ever since I could remember, I have always loved the 2nd generation camaro. I have always been fond of the 1979 or 1980 model.
In highschool I had a friend with a 1979 camaro with a motor we put together in shop class. I instantly fell in love with that car. 15 plus years later, I finally got my hands on a 1980!
While surfing craigslist the beginning of this year in the Sarasota/Bradenton area of Florida I saw an ad for this Camaro. It was described as a 1980 RS with extensive engine modifications. It was listed at $3500, which was out of my price range at the time. Few month later, I had a little money in my pocket, and I went searching again. Camaro was still on craigslist, now at $2300. I still didn't have that amount, but was close.
In seeing the car I could tell that it has sat for an awful long time. By the vin I verified its a berlinetta made in California. The interior surprisingly was immaculate, but dirty. The interior was redone at some point. The interior was originally beige/light brown, but redone in black. Dash is a plastic cap, but looks nice. It has a center console with new parts in bags. The door panels and all pieces were in the trunk. The dash seems to have been removed during the restoration and not put back together correctly. None of the gauge worked. The trunk needed a patch. Every body panel on this car has rust, but they can be replaced I told myself. The car appeared to be put together in the early 1990', then parked. It has a Z28 hood and spoiler. I was told there are 3.73 gears in the 10 bolt out back. I can only confirm its posi. It had new tires on old school rally wheels. The back suspension was lowered with coil over type of setup, in addition to the factory leaf springs.
Now the engine...I'm not new to SBC. I've had c10's, caprice's, silverado's etc over the years. When the seller described it as aggressively modified I took it with a grain of salt, "aggressively modified" to some means headers and valve covers. First thing I noticed were that the heads were from a 305 (had the "U" print). It had a holley dominator intake with a Edelbrock 750, which for a 305 is waaaay bigger than I would run. It had headers and full stainless steel exhaust. The motor was low on oil and the radiator was full of....well i'm not sure what to say it was.
After putting some oil in it I cranked it up. Sounded ok, but all the plumbing was wrong. The vacuum from transmission was not hooked up, the pvc connection was plumbed into the charcoal cannister and it smoked real real bad.
Make a long story short, after a small title issue, I bought it. After replumbing, tuning up and replacing the carb, it still ran real bad. Motor was loosing compression, spit out oil, I had a anti-freeze leak somewhere. I was prepared to rebuild anyway.
The engine came out along with the transmission. The transmission appeared to be fresh. Once I plumbed the TH350, it shifted nice and tight. There seems to be a kit in there. The oil was new and red, and leaking from the pan...
Once I started tearing down...I lost my shit! I'm no mechanic, but what I found is disappointing. The motor is a 350 from a 1975 C10 or heavy duty truck, according to the serial numbers behind the alternator. Once I took off all the Mr. Gasket accessories (this car has every Mr Gasket part ever made), I started finding out why it was parked for so long. The majority of the intake bolts were all loose (I removed most by hand). I had a radiator fluid leak from the intake. Most of the intake gasket was not there. The Pro Comp roller rockers were all loose, I removed them all by hand. The majority of the head bolts were loose. I removed some by hand. Somehow, the head gasket was solid, no leaks. While rotating the motor I heard rattling in the oil pan. The oil pan was for a c10 truck. The oil pan was approximately 3 inches lower the the front crossmember. When I removed the pan I verified it was a 4 bolt main. At the bottom of the pan....two main bolts.
The 305 heads have a 2.02 valve, which I'm sure was machined in there. The heads also appear to have alot of work done to them. I know back in the day 305 heads were put on 350 blocks to raise the compression. I can tell you this motor had high compression, high enough to blow the rings im sure.
Once I find a harmonic balancer puller, the cam will come out, then off to the machine shop.
The motor is stock bore with perfect cylinder walls. Not sure if the crank is stock yet. Plans are to send to the machine shop to be baked and have all clearances checked. Whatever needs to be reconditioned will be done then. My goal is to drive the car. I've wanted one a long time, I want to drive it.
Once I get it running and I work out most of the bugs, then I can work on the exterior.
I'll post pics as I progress.