The "civilian" 1967, 1968, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 package, which also included broad dorsal racing stripes, ostensibly added just $400 to a Camaro's price. But it was closer to $800 because the four-speed, front discs, headers, and special rear brake linings were separate "mandatory options." Of course, you could add all manner of regular Camaro goodies, including Positraction limited-slip differential, rear spoiler, and the Rally Sport appearance group. So delivered, prices could easily exceed $5,000 -- still hardly outrageous.
But wins, not sales, were the Z-28's main goal, and in due time they were convincingly achieved. Mustang claimed the Trans-Am championship in 1966 and again in 1967, when Z-28s won only three events. But Camaro dominated the series in 1968 and 1969, thanks to the all-star Roger Penske team and ace driver Mark Donohue.
A raft of improvements occurred for 1968. The power front discs became standard, four-wheel discs arrived as a late-season "service option" for more stopping power on the track, main bearings were enlarged, five-leaf rear springs replaced the wimpy monoleaf units, and a new $500 twin-four-barrel manifold option arrived. Factory competition equipment proliferated to include plastic bucket seats and purpose-designed airdams, spoilers, and steering components.
Other than a substantial face-lift, shared with other Camaros, the most obvious change in the 1969 Z-28 was a mean-looking "Cowl Induction" hood with a rear-facing scoop that gulped in air from the high-pressure area just ahead of the windshield. The deep-breathing, high-winding 302 switched to four-bolt main bearings, and rolling stock slimmed to six-inch-wide rims wearing E70-15 high-performance tires.
Paralleling the entire Camaro line, the 1969s are the most numerous of the first-generation Z-28s with 19,014 built -- quite high for such a specialized machine. That figure also represented a substantial gain on the 7,199 of 1968, which in turn was a sizable increase over the mere 602 for 1967. Needless to say, those first-year models are today the most collectible Z-28s, not least for being most like the all-out competition cars Piggins had in mind.
Of course, the Z-28 has since seen far higher volume, but only by becoming more and more like other Camaros -- and far less potent. Happily, it got a lot more exciting as time went by. But later Z-28s could never cast the same spell as the 1967-1969 originals. Magical muscle machines all, they were a unique, short-lived breed the likes of which we shall not see again.
Keep reading for the specifications of the 1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28.