Welcome to my Third Generation Restoration site. Third Generation, in this case, refers to Chevrolet Camaro's and Pontiac Firebird's built between the years 1982 and 1992. This is the often maligned generation, having developed a (well deserved) reputation for poor build quality and low performance.

But there are some nice qualities about these cars. They handle very well, are pretty comfortable, and are cheap and plentiful these days. Used parts are also cheap and abundant. And cheap is the factor that compelled me to build one.

The purpose of this site is to document the building of a third generation Camaro on a small budget. There's no specific target, but the goal is to keep it under $5,000, and that's for a completely refurbished car that will (hopefully) both look good and run good. I'll be starting with a basic shell, with virtually nothing on it. In the end will be a finished, running car. Every expense will be documented with the goal of showing that it really is possible to build a nice car on a low budget.

Here is how it all began...

The 1986 Z28

86zday1-2thb.jpg The journey into the third generation world began when my son expressed an interest in building a Camaro, and the third gen cars were the only ones that fit his budget. So he purchased a 1986 Z28. It had a carbureted LG4 305 engine with a 5-speed transmission. It also had t-tops and a lot of power options. The car was complete and mostly original. Although it hadn't been run in a couple of years, it was able to be driven home without incident. At some point it had hit something in the front and the nose, grill and lip spoiler had been replaced with parts from a 92 RS. Other than that, the car is basically original. The RPO sheet in the console lid confirms that it's as advertised. For this car he spent $1000. At the time it seemed like a pretty good deal, but then we didn't know what to look for. Ultimately it turned out to be infested with rust, to the point of making it impractical to safely repair. This car was later scrapped.

The 1985 Z28

85zday1-1thb.jpg At some point about a year later, It seemed like a good idea to get a parts car, as the 86 needed so much sheetmetal work. So this 1985 Z28 was purchased. It has the LB9 305 TPI engine and an automatic transmission. The interior is in great shape and is the same as the one in the 86, only with a power driver seat. It has a perfect dash pad and a new nose. Trouble is, the body turns out to be much too good to cut up and donate parts to the 86, although I'll probably take some other parts from it. It's also a complete, running car that has the highest output motor available in 1985 and it only cost $600. Hmm, what to do...

The 1988 IROC

88irocday1-1thb.jpg Problem solved! A shell from an 88 IROC was located nearby, and will make an excellent foudation. This was originally a L98 350 TPI with an automatic. Most everything is long gone from the car, but what remains is just what I need to replace the rotted hulk of the 86. And for the $300 it cost, it will be way more cost effective than trying to repair the 86 body. I'll be putting a lot of what was taken out of the now deceased 86 and putting it into this car. The result will be a sort of Frankenstein, with parts from many cars, and little that is original.

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