In the early ''80s, muscle cars were on the endangered species list, with the Z/28 Camaro being one of the few V8-powered performance cars left on the market. Like the Trans Am, they were distinctive and in-your-face, creating a statement about American performance. You can''t blame a guy for wanting to get a piece of the action by building his own 1981 Z and adding some performance that the original owner never enjoyed. Unlike all the brown and white Z/28s, this bright blue tribute actually looks timeless enough that you won''t have to make excuses for driving it every day. Paint and bodywork were done to a good standard in preparation for the full makeover, which took place about six months ago. The new look includes a tall cowl-induction hood, a subtle de-badging, custom-painted grilles, plus the ducktail spoiler out back. The urethane bits match the bodywork quite well, which is something you couldn''t say about the originals, and a full complement of high-visibility Z/28 stripes have been professionally applied to complete the illusion. It even wears a correct Z/28 gas tank filler door complete with matching multi-colored logo. If nothing else, the predatory look of this car is intimidating. Showing almost zero wear since the build, the cool black interior avoids looking dated by virtue of the high-back bucket seats with generous side bolsters and matching deep-pile carpet. Matching door panels are in excellent condition, not even showing the usual wear on the driver''s side armrest. A full complement of gauges, including a correct 7000 RPM tachometer (yes, they all rest at about 1500 RPM when you turn off the ignition), has been fitted into the brushed-aluminum-looking instrument panel. The steering wheel is an aftermarket Grant GT piece that looks a lot better and is a lot more comfortable than the original plastic piece. You''ll note that this F-body was built for combat, as there is no radio and no heater, leaving a clean, uncluttered dash and no question marks about its intentions. A center console is always welcome, particular with an automatic shifter in it, and the tidy trunk includes a spare tire, just in case. Granted, 1981 wasn''t the pinnacle of the horsepower wars, but that doesn''t mean that 30 years later, stuffing more performance under the hood doesn''t fix everything. The engine is a built 350 cubic inch small block, topped by a 4-barrel carburetor, a matching intake, and a handsome chrome dress-up kit. Chevy Orange paint on the block is traditional, but had gone by the wayside by 1981, and thanks to power steering and brakes, this car is easy to drive despite its attitude. Stock cast iron exhaust manifolds feed a rumbling Flowmaster dual exhaust system, and the underside of this car really is shockingly clean. A TH350 3-speed automatic transmission delivers the power, which gets planted by the original 10-bolt rear. Shiny Rally wheels with trim rings are always a great choice on GM muscle, and this car wears staggered 215/55/15 front and 295/50/15 rear performance radials. Real Z/28s can''t keep up with this one, and few of them have been restored to this level. If you love the look but crave a little more performance, this is the car. Call today! This vehicle is located in our Charlotte showroom. For more information, please call (704) 598-2130 or toll free (866) 542-8392.