Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is my Camaro a Z28? -OR- I want to know if this Camaro is a true Z28? -OR- How can I tell if my Camaro was a true Z28.
(Below is a brief summary of some things to check but is by no means complete.
A. The Chevy Camaro Z28 was produced in the following years '67-'74, '77-'88, ('88-'90 IROC), '91-'02. The only true years a Z28 was not available in any form or fashion was 1975 and 1976. Basically, the Z28 option was a performance package with some nice looks added to help identify them before you got to see their tail lights. Since the Z28 was a performance package, the engine is one of the most important parts of a Z28 Camaro. In most cases the original Z28 engine is required to identify the car as possibly being a true Z28. Also, remember that having the original engine doesn't mean the rest of the car is still original. Check everything including dates, castings and partial VIN's. If the complete VIN says it was originally a 6 cylinder Camaro then you can guarantee it was not a Z28 so be sure to check the VIN. Unfortunately, these days it is so easy to fake almost everything on a Camaro - the more you know the better off you will be. Here is a good old saying that is never more true than for this ... if we had a nickel for every time someone said they had a Z28 Camaro (but did not) we would be filthy rich by now.
Identifying a First Generation Z28:
From the looks of the emails we get on this subject we can sum it up by saying the best place to start to try to verify a first gen Z28 is by checking the engine codes and dates. We hope more people read this before buying a Camaro not after buying that so called Z28. All had a 302 cubic inch engine with a suffix code MO or MP in '67, MI or MO in '68 and DZ in '69. To get the 302 engine Chevy took a 283 crank and put it in a 327 block. Some people say Chevy put the crank in a 350 block but since 1967 was the first year for 350's and 302's and both used the 327 block it is better to say they used a 327 block. A 302, 327 and 350 block are exactly the same except for the number of main bolts which would depend on the application and the year. The 1969 302's had 4 bolt mains. The 1967 and 1968 302's did not have 4 bolt mains. They were in fact 2 bolt main blocks used in '67 and '68 302's. In 1967 they are small journal blocks and in '68 and '69 they went to large journals. The reason for the Z28 was to compete in SCCA Trans-Am Challenge Series. The engine requirements to race in SCCA was limited to 305 cubic inches. All had 4 speed Muncie manual transmissions. All had power front disc brakes at least. All had 12 bolt rear ends but didn't have to be posi. None had A/C. None were factory convertibles except one beautiful '68 Z28 was a convertible which was made for the head of Chevrolet at the time (Pete Estes) and if you own it email us a picture and all the info you can please! Just remember badges do not a Camaro Z28 make. There is NO code in the VIN that recognizes a Z28 in any first generation Camaros. Late '69 Camaros had an "X" code on the trim tag though. A Protect-o-plate can be helpful in identifying a first gen. Z28 but be careful because there are places that make reproductions of both trim tag and protect-o-plate. Before emailing us in the hopes that we know some secret to identifying Z28's check the engine codes given below. If the Camaro doesn't have the original engine then finding out whether it was a Z28 at one time just got that much harder and in most cases impossible.
|Year||Trim Tag Code?||Check Engine Code Table or get Help||
VIN Engine Code?
|1967||YES||MO or MP||
|1968||NONE||MI or MO||
|1969||Some X codes||DZ||
Required for a Z28
Available on base Camaros
Easily Purchased and Added
|Special Engine||Yes (see above)||No||NO! Very hard to fake especially the casting number and casting date|
|Z28 Emblems||Yes (some were "302" and some were "Z28")||No||Very much YES!|
|Special Hood||Not all but most||No||Yes!|
|Front disc brakes||Yes (Brakes could NOT be front drum brakes)||Yes - but most got drum brakes.||Yes! Check that they are not after market though.|
|Special Instruments - Amp, temp, oil pressure, fuel, clock, tach||No - that's right NO not required.||Yes - just required V8 and Console||Yes! They were AC gauges. Also tach's were dealer installed or factory late in 69.|
|12 bolt rear end||Yes but didn't have to be a posi||Yes - but check dates of rear end||Not easy to find one dated for a specific Camaro build date.|
|Automatic (ANY)||NO! Automatic was not available on any first gen Z28||Yes||Easy to change to 4 speed but not easy to fake correct 4 speed trans with partial VIN. Also be sure to check manual transmission. The Z28 Trans was not a Saginaw it was a Muncie. Saginaw was the "low" performance manual trans.|
|"X33" or "X77" Code on trim tag on 1969's only||Yes but for late style Norwood assembled '69 Camaros only! (No so called "X" codes on Van Nuys assembled Camaros)||No - Base Camaros got "X11"||Not easily added but check VIN to make sure it was a V8 because trim tags are getting swapped out. Also have seen people selling reproduced trim tags so watch out.|
Identifying a Second Generation Z28:
Like always the best way to truly identify a Z28 is by the engine. On Norwood, OH assembled 1970 and 1971 Camaros check the Trim Tag. Unfortunately for Van Nuys assembled Camaros the engine is it. Engine changed to 350 cubic inches. In '80 and '81 the Z28 was available in a 305 or a 350 version. An automatic was available for the first time in a Z28 starting in 1970. A/C wasn't available until '73 though so that can be something to look for on 1970 and 1971 Camaros where you are unsure. No Z28's were produced in '75 and '76. Starting in '72 the engine was coded in the VIN.
Identifying a Third Generation Z28:
A 305 engine was the only engine available in a Z28 from '82 to '86. From '87 to '92 a Z28 could be ordered with either a 350 or a 305. A third gen Camaro with a 350 could not be ordered with a manual transmission. From '88 to '90 the Z28 option was combined with the IROC option and could not be ordered separately. In 1987 and for the first time in Camaros history a Z28 convertible could be ordered by someone other than a GM exec. The convertible was not built by GM but by a company called Automobile Specialty Company (ASC) and could not get the 350 engine. It is however said that some owners of 350 IROC's did get ASC to make their Camaro into a convertible. The VIN for a true "factory" convertible Camaro is how to tell one from the other.
Identifying a Fourth Generation Z28:
Back was the 350 however it was entirely changed for the fourth generation Camaro. It was called LT1 and produced 275hp. Also new in Camaros was a 6 speed manual transmission that was only available with Z28's. The LT1 was available from '93 to '97. From '98 to '02 the engine was changed again which GM called LS1 and was a "350" (actually a 346) engine. The convertible was gone for '93 but was again available with a Z28 in '94 and up until the end in 2002. Again the VIN is the best and easiest way to tell whether your fourth gen Camaro is a factory Z28.