When it comes to owning a classic Chevrolet, we all have different reasons for doing so. Some folks remember the car they couldn’t afford when they were younger, while other remember the one that got away. We asked Bill Dunphy what got him interested in cars, and he told us, “I’m not sure, I have just always been interested in musclecars.”
When it comes to Bill and his Z28, the pair came together by way of a 1973 Nova. Bill tells us that he bought his Nova when it was new. It served him well as his daily driver, but one day, the Camaro was put into play. According to Bill, “In 1976, I was working at a bank, and one of my regular customers stopped by. He told me about the Camaro, and I told him, If you are going to sell the car let me know.
He said, ‘I’m selling it.’” He wanted $3,000 for the Z, but Bill didn’t have all of the cash on hand. He did work at a bank, but… Bill sold his Nova so that he could purchase the Camaro. Bill continued, “It is a car I’ve always wanted, but could not afford when it was new. Being a Z28 is a plus.”
Bill told us, “In 1976, I joined the Air Force. One night while I was coming home from the tech school, the engine blew up. I was in Northern Alabama at the time, and I was helped out by a local character who helped me tow it to South Carolina. I put a crate engine in the car, and a few months later I drove it to Arizona.”
He and his wife lived in Arizona for a few years, and in 1982, the car received its first overhaul. When the car was rebuilt, it was painted white with gold stripes. A short time later, the couple then moved to Baltimore. Bill says, “I could not keep the white clean, so my wife wanted it painted brown.” After that, family obligations were the priority, and the next 25 years flew by with not much changing on the car.
Bill says that he did have the engine overhauled in 1994, and the engine builder installed a new set of cylinder heads. Unfortunately, the heads did not have hardened valve seats, and that engine only lasted about 40,000 miles. That brings us to 1997, and Bill says that it was easier and less expensive to purchase a 350ci crate engine, than to rebuild.
When 2010 rolled around, priorities were able to shift. Bill told us, “After the kids grew up and left home, I had my plan of what I wanted to do with the car. So, the car got overhauled again with upgraded parts.” All of the rusted sheetmetal was replaced, and the unibody and frame were epoxy sealed and covered with truck bed liner. As far as choosing the color for this iteration, “The new 2010 Camaro was coming out, and I liked the Imperial Blue Metallic with White stripes.”
Underneath is a Hotchkis TVS suspension, and a CPP Master cylinder with four-wheel disc brakes. The column-shifted Turbo 400 received an overhaul when it had 175,000 miles on it, and is still running strong. Behind that is a Moser 12 bolt with 3:42 gears and a positraction unit.
After being in the family all this time, the car now has 333,500 miles on the trip meter, and has completed two Hot Rod Power Tours, and events like the Appalachian Beach Run, where he and the car traveled 2,900 miles in 10 days.
Bill finished by telling us, “I occasionally autocross it, and it runs a consistent 14.4 on the ¼-mile. It could go faster if I wanted it to, but I enjoy road trips and the hundreds of waves and thumbs up I get when driving. Finally, I want to give a shout out to my wife who has been with me, and supported my Camaro addiction from the beginning, and hopefully into the future.”
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