The “Arizona Rattler” 1983 Camaro Z28

DSCF3331 (Copy)Every year I go to Barrett-Jackson, and I bitch and moan about how there’s always a hundred first generation Camaros and never any good third generation models. Well this year I was pleasantly surprised by two very clean examples. This is the more extreme of the two and the one that has history rooted in our great state.

What started as an anemic 83 Z28 (with what could have been at best equipped with a 190hp L69 305) was transformed by local KC lights owner Pete Brown into this 498 cubic inch, fire-breathing monster. And this was way back in ’83, when the car was brand new. Typical of an 80’s custom it had some pretty dated graphics by today’s standards and some typical drag racing wheels. It’s been slightly modernized in the looks department with a monochromatic black paint job, a 91-92 spoiler and 18″ Iroc Z wheels, which in spite of their size are less obvious than you would imagine given the subtle body work on the car.

I guess my only complaint would the rest of the drive train – a turbo 400 automatic and Dana 44 rear end. I wasn’t really thinking about it (or looking) at the time, but it’s likely an IRS unit sourced from a C4 Corvette. Although these are both great components, it just seems like there was never a solid decision on whether this was going to be a straight line car, or a corner carver. If I was going to go to the trouble of changing the paint and wheels I probably would have thought about a 4L80 or even more preferably: A TKO or T56 manual transmission.

I find myself simply nitpicking though. This car is clean, sinister and exudes a real badass vibe. It’s almost as if by looking at it you can sense that if you found yourself next to this car at some midnight stop light confrontation, you’d be equally as concerned about getting your ass kicked literally, as well as in a race.