Award-Winning Trans Am Homologation Special: 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS Z28 Cross Ram 4-Speed

  • December 08, 2020
Why We Like It

Quietly released to little fanfare in 1967 to minimize boardroom headaches, Chevrolet’s Camaro Z28 was a virtual race car for the road, designed and purpose-built to meet FIA homologation requirements for the wildly popular SCCA Trans-Am series. Based around a high-winding 302ci V8 engine rated at a laughably underrated 290 horsepower, a 4-speed manual transmission, and handling suspension, the RPO (Regular Production Option) Z28 was the fruit of a judicious raid on Chevy’s huge parts bin by Product Promotion Engineer Vince Piggins, the mastermind behind the heavy duty options that made the Hudson Hornet so dominant on NASCAR ovals in the early 1950s. With the Camaro’s lightweight body, the Z28 was an absolute screamer on the track and even a record-setter at the drag strip in the right hands. Proof of the Z28’s excellence came with the Blue Sunoco-liveried cars of Team Penske, which scored the '68 season championship with engineer and brilliant racer Mark Donohue. While Z28 production for 1968 was almost 12 times greater than in 1967, relatively few cars from that year remain today, including this stunning example that has just returned to market.

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award-winning-trans-am-homologation-special-1968-chevrolet-camaro-rs-z2800s0s 49GxsMC0VhS 0j60ek 1200x900A big part of the Camaro’s success came from the newly available “Cross Ram” 2x4-barrel intake setup that arrived for 1968. While Camaros racing in the '67 Trans Am series ran with single 4-barrel carburetors, the SCCA soon changed the rules to allow “not more than two four barrel carburetors,” giving Chevrolet engineers the green light to develop their own dual carburetion system for Trans Am homologation. The result was the now-famous “Dual Cross Ram” intake system, an early prototype of which tops the 302ci V8 engine of this stunning, award-winning 1968 Camaro Z28 RS. The car has benefitted from a ground-up rotisserie restoration and retains its matching numbers 302ci engine and 4-speed manual transmission. It even features an inner fender signed by Jerry Thompson, who was part of the GM Engineering team for the Cross Ram intake program. Colors are captivating, including Tripoli Turquoise paint, Black Rally stripes, and a handsome Black Houndstooth interior. Features are far too many to list fully here, but the RS appearance package makes this Z28 a true standout, with pop-up headlamps and upgraded trim. Still looking great, it earned Platinum honors at the 2005 CCI Worldwide Camaro Club show at Kissimeee, Florida, with a judging score of 994/1000 points. Documents are reported by the seller to include a restoration book and even a dyno-test sheet for the Cross Ram engine.

Muscle cars have been red hot in the collector car market, especially ones built specifically for racing homologation purposes. The original Camaro Z28 of 1967-1969 ranks at the very top of this food chain, along with the Shelby GT350 (SCCA B-Production) and Ford Mustang Boss 302. The first series Z28 cars are also great to drive, with a screaming, rev-happy nature, mighty acceleration and high top speeds with good-for-the-era handling and braking. Think automotive royalty, especially in the case of our subject car, sporting a prototype example of the radical Cross Ram intake that helped propel the Z28 to the 1968 Trans Am championship. Jerry Thompson’s autograph on the car is a great addition and a fitting direct link to racing history.award-winning-trans-am-homologation-special-1968-chevrolet-camaro-rs-z2800P0P 8V93XT5UbbX 0j60ek 1200x900

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Hagerty’s price guide lists values for the 1968 Z28 from $30,800 for a #4 driver quality car, all the way up to $83k for a concours queen, plus 25% for the RS package on a Z28 car. Nonetheless, this former show champion is priced considerably above #1 value, although it sold at Mecum Indianapolis way back in 2013 right at the high pre-auction estimate of $100k, setting a new benchmark for these cars and possibly a breakout to the upside for the best of the best. Currently priced $10k over that previous sale, we feel that with a little negotiation, this rare-colored Z28 RS could be considered fair market in today's collector car climate.

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"Z28, the only car that can speak to the 'Vette."

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