Which is why you should buy one now.
The Chevrolet Camaro has spawned many special models over the years but in our opinion, the fifth-generation Z/28 model was one of the best. It featured more power and improved performance over the SS model at the time but without using forced induction like the ZL1. Think of the fifth-generation Z/28 as the Shelby GT350 of its era while the ZL1 would be more like the GT500.
This was the track-focused Camaro enthusiasts begged GM to build for years and it was so perfect, no one bought one. When they were new, dealerships had trouble moving them and values plummeted as soon as the sixth-generation Camaro was revealed for 2016. But with no six-generation Z/28 on the horizon, we think the fifth-generation model could become a collectible.
The 'Z/28' trim level first debuted in 1967 with hood and trunk stripes, rally road wheels, and a 302 cubic inch (4.9-liter) V8 engine. Chevy applied the Z/28 name (with and without the slash) on various iterations of the Camaro throughout the years, culminating in the fifth-generation model sold in just the 2014 and 2015 model years. Production of the Z/28 was limited, so only 1,801 were ever built over the course of two model years (509 cars in 2014 and 1,292 in 2015). The obvious track nature of the Z/28 likely scared off new buyers who wanted to use it as their only car. Buying the more powerful ZL1 made a lot more sense as a daily driver, leaving the Z/28 as the odd choice for true enthusiasts.
When it was new, the Z/28 carried an MSRP of $75,000. Because the more powerful (and more livable) ZL1 was much less expensive at $57,650, we can see why most buyers opted for the supercharged Camaro. We found used Z/28 prices ranging from just under $40,000 all the way up to around $70,000 for a pristine example with delivery miles. These prices aren't likely to go any lower and we suspect they will trend up very soon.
Since Chevy wanted to keep the car's weight down as much as possible, it was sold with no air conditioning and just one federally-mandated speaker for the seatbelt chime. There was only one option available, a package that added A/C and the full six-speaker stereo system back in. Chevy offered just five colors including Summit White, Black, Silver Ice Metallic, Ashen Gray Metallic, and Red Hot.
Only 116 people opted to have their cars delivered with no A/C and no stereo, meaning these cars will likely demand the highest priced when they roll across the auction block in 30 years. Of all the possible combinations, a Silver Ice car with no A/C and no stereo is the rarest with just two in existence.
The fifth-generation Camaro SS used a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 producing 426 horsepower while the ZL1 used a supercharged LSA V8 from the second-generation Cadillac CTS-V packing 580 hp. Instead of using either of these engines, the Z/28 borrowed the 7.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 from the C6 generation Corvette Z06. It produced 505 hp going out to a six-speed manual transmission only.
This was the most track-focused Camaro that Chevy had ever built up until this point. It featured 410 pounds more downforce than the Camaro SS thanks to a large rear spoiler, unique front splitter, hood extractor, rocker moldings, wheel flare moldings, and a belly pan. The entire suspension system was modified and even became the first production car to make use of Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve damper technology from Multimatic.
Large wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero Trofeo R motorsport-compound tires and massive Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brakes with six-piston calipers capped off the Z/28's handling prowess. In many respects, this is the most driver-oriented Camaro there has ever been.
The fifth-generation Camaro wasn't known for its luxurious interior, but who really cares about luxury in a track-focused car? The Z/28 cabin featured a matte finish, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and Recaro seats with microfiber inserts, differentiating it from an SS. Since this car was designed for the track, it was far less comfortable than other fifth-generation Camaro models.
To save weight, the two front seats were manually-adjustable and the rear seats were removed completely. Chevy also saved weight by removing the tire-inflator kit, interior sound deadening and the trunk carpeting, using a lighter battery, installing thinner rear glass, eliminating the HID headlamps and fog lights, and offering the A/C and stereo as optional extras.
Driving around the Camaro Z/28 (especially with the A/C delete) would have been an uncomfortable experience most non-enthusiasts would never put up with. So it's understandable why Chevy had such trouble selling them when they were new. But with fewer than 2,000 ever produced and no sixth-generation Z/28 model planned, the fifth-generation model should become a valuable collector's item. Since the non-A/C cars are so rare, we recommend buying one and using it as a track day car. As the values rise, you'll likely sell it for more than you paid.