Streetside Classics - Nashville
6000 Reliance Dr
In the early '80s, muscle cars were on the endangered species list, with this 1981 Chevrolet Camaro being one of the few V8-powered performance cars left on the market back then. Like the Trans Am, they were distinctive and in-your-face, creating a statement about American performance. Today they're hot collectables for guys who were there, when owning a car like this made you The Man. Featuring an upgraded 383 Stroker V8 and a quick-shifting 4-speed manual transmission, this slick Camaro breathes some much-needed life back into an era that was always starved for it.
Unlike all the orange and brown and bright blue 2nd Gens, this bright red actually looks contemporary enough that you won't have to make excuses for driving it every day. Paint and bodywork is very solid, probably nicer than what you'd see on the road in the '80s (especially since so many of these were ragged-out back then), with only minor imperfections that can be seen upon closer examination, most of which are on the center of the roof and difficult to catch. The cowl hood is more aggressive than what you'd find from the factory, and we love the look, especially when coupled with the ducktail spoiler out back. All the brightwork and trim looks new and fresh, including the bright headlight buckets, with the rocker panel and profile trim doing a great job of breaking up the red finish just enough to make the car really pop. The urethane bits match the bodywork nicely, which is something you couldn't say about all of the originals, a pair of high-visibility "Camaro" badges have been professionally installed on the front fenders to complete the look, and the unique lower and upper front grille set-up is instantly recognizable. If nothing else, the attention to detail on this car is impressive.
Open the doors and you'll instantly be impressed at the quality of the cabin, which is a time-capsule from the disco era. Seats, carpets, door panels, the headliner, and just about everything else inside this car is original. The vinyl red bucket seats show very little wear, the carpets are plush and stain-free, door panels are slick, and the contrasting black dash and middle console do a great job to break up all that red inside the cabin. Because this Camaro is a base-model, options are sparse, with a heater and stock AM/FM radio representing the "amenities", but if you're like us and love to drive, the 4-speed shifter with a cue-ball knob topper is all the luxury you'll ever need. The gauges and the bezel they're in are so crisp and clear they look new, the four-spoke steering wheel isn't cracked or faded, and, well, if you want a fresh and stock 1981 Camaro, they don't get much cleaner than this. Out back, the trunk is outfitted with an original black carpet set as well as its original space-saver spare and jack assembly none of which have likely ever been used.
Granted, 1981 wasn't the pinnacle of the horsepower wars, but that doesn't mean that 38 years later, we can't find a little more horsepower to suit our needs. A perfect case-in-point is the powerful 383 Stroker that rules inside the engine bay today, a wicked small block with less than 1,000 miles on it since it was rebuilt. Punched up with aluminum heads, a performance intake manifold topped by a 4-barrel carburetor, and a chrome dress up kit featuring ARP aluminum valve covers and a matching open-element air cleaner. A full MSD HEI system and updated plug wires ensure the motor cranks with ease, a big aluminum radiator keeps everything cool, and thanks to power steering and power front disc brakes, this car is daily-driver material. Long-tube headers feed a rumbling dual exhaust system, which terminates in subtle turn-downs that keep a low profile, which was probably the whole point. A quick-shifting 4-speed manual transmission delivers the power, which gets planted by the original 10-bolt rear with easy-cruising, highway-friendly gears inside. Five-spoke REV wheels look very sporty and wear fat 205/65/15 front and 215/65/15 rear performance radials.
With an upgraded powerplant, slick color combination, this 2nd generation Camaro represents great value in a turnkey classic. Call today!
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