It is rare…exceedingly rare…to find a Rough Start candidate that doesn’t need a massive, three-paragraph writeup in order to sell the average reader on the idea of acquiring a good budget project. Some cars just sell themselves and others are nice enough to overlook flaws. Combine the two and still find yourself under the $5,000 budget for a running, driving car and you might as well buy a lottery ticket with some scrap cash you have laying around, because it’s your lucky day.
So, our target for today is this 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. It’s the rubber-nosed, pure disco muscle car. It couldn’t be any further from it’s 1970 origins, yet the Camaro still sold well, a decade on with the same body. Part of that was the look…GM had managed to make add-on fender flares look right and the Camaro had been enjoying an early rebound back into performance thanks to IROC racing, among many other forms. They handle well, they’re comfortable, and the only problem area (engine horsepower) is an easy fix. The light blue is a nice call, the body looks good and the interior appears serviceable. We don’t see the rear window trim, however. That should be available through a restoration catalog.
If you are looking for daily-driver abilities in a classic, here you go. For five grand you can get the car as you see it, or you can save $500 and bring your own wheels and tires. Unless you’ve got a set of Z28 turbines or Cragars mounted and ready, just spend the money. All you have to do is fix a leaking transmission. Can you do a trans pan gasket or a tailshaft housing gasket on a TH350 automatic? Then get to it already!