What "Z28" Really Gets You, Besides Home Quicker

From: "Car and Driver" April, 1977

The Z/28 is a special automobile. While it bears close physical resemblance to other Camaros, its suspension is available only within the Z28 package and cannot be ordered as an option on tamer Camaros or other Chevrolets. The original Z28 was introduced in late 1967 as an option symbol for the high- performance 302 cubic inch engine that was available in the Camaro of that era. Now it stands for a suspension system, rather than an engine (which is a stock LM-1, 350 cu. in) four barrel V-8 with an increased diameter air conditioning pulley. It is expected to produce about 180 hp, and that typifies the change in thinking in Detroit, where nimble roadhandling has replaced raw, eyeball rupturing acceleration as the central theme of performance automobiles.

The Z28ís suspension has been totally and originally revised front and rear. The front end carries a larger sway bar, stiffer spring rates, specially-valved shocks and revised jounce travel. At the rear is a new, larger sway bar, stiffer springs, different shocks and higher-durometer shackle bushings with new shackles. These components, coupled with Goodyear GR70-15 steel-belted radial tires (also used on the Corvette) on 7.5" rims form the key to the Z28ís superior handling. The steering gear is a 14:1 straight-ratio unit with somewhat increased effort.

Chevrolet engineers wanted to employ a dual-catalyst exhaust system of the type being used on their Nova police cars, but cost considerations prevented such a luxury. They compromised by using a single catalyst feeding directly into a pair of resonators. This produces a relatively-free exhaust system and a healthy exhaust note.

The drivetrain is completed with a Borg-Warner T-10 four speed gearbox of the same design used in the original Z28 and on numerous Corvettes. It replaces the widely-employed Saginaw unit because of durability. It has been modified to carry a 2.64-to-one first gear ratio. A larger 11 inch clutch and pressure plate are part of the package, although less ambitious enthusiasts can circumvent the entire problem by ordering an optional Corvette CBC three-speed automatic. A final drive ratio of 3.73 to one for the manual transmission and 3.42 to one for the automatic provide good mid-range performance, satisfactory acceleration and 105 to 115 mph top speed, depending on the ratio and the drivers resolve to override the 5000-rpm redline.

While Chevrolet has not announced a final price list for the Z28, insiders believe that it will be closely aligned with the Trans-Am. This means that another superb-handling sporting vehicle will be available for $6000 to $7000 depending on the options. - Brock Yates

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