1980 Camaro Z28 - Nine-Year Itch

With This '80 Z28, George Paul Unintentionally Raised The Bar When It Comes To Building Late Second-Gens.

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March serpentine pulleys, a polished Griffin aluminum radiator, and aluminum valve covers, along with a few other polished bits, provide an attractive garnish for the snappy small-block.

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By 2007, the performance and handling areas were covered, so George decided the exterior was aching for some fresh pigment. Enthusiastic, George dismantled the car as much as he could, in order to save a little money, and delivered the car to Matt's Paint Shop for a healthy dose of '07 Corvette Silver. Nine months of paint and body rejuvenation left George with plenty of time to envision and research numerous wheel and tire combos. He considered going with the tried-and-true American Torq Thrusts, but was looking for something that hadn't been done a thousand times over for this car. He finally settled on Budnik G Series Ice wheels (17x8 up front, 17x9.5 rear) and BFGoodrich KDW rubber (245/45 front and 255/50 out back). Upgraded stoppers may be in the future for George's Z, but for now the stock binders are more than willing to bring the zesty Camaro down from speed.

At this point, the interior was screaming for vengeance as the blue and white vinyl no longer jived with the Camaro's freshly- painted sheetmetal. Fortunately, George is the owner of Softtrim Concepts, an automotive interior restyling company, so the trip back to the interior drawing board was only a few steps away. Good thing. George upped the ante with a totally custom black leather rendition on the door panels, console, package tray, and a pair of customized Pontiac G6 seats. It's an attractive ensemble he wished he'd come up with the first time around. But that's all part of building a hot rod.

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Stock gauges provide pivotal engine info, while a Flaming River steering column lays anchor for the Grant 457 Club Sport steering wheel. The interior relies on a crafty merger of both, stock and custom parts that lends itself to the old adage of "less is more."

With a horsepower rating of only 190, the stigma that accompanies a stock '80 Z28 Camaro can be a tough stereotype to break, but with a little motivation from the GM Performance Parts catalog, there's an easy fix. And with a little perseverance and dedication, oh, and a bit of cheerleading from his wife, George was able come up with one of the nicest late-model second-gens we've seen.

Not really intending to build a show-quality hot rod, George's plan was to end up with a car that he could be proud of, take his wife out for a ride, and just enjoy.

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Winning his class at the Detroit Autorama, endless compliments, and photo shoots - well, that's just icing on the cake.

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