In January, 1980 Jimmy Carter was in his last year as President, the Soviets had just invaded Afghanistan and this Camaro was born.


A few months later, in April, 1980 Robert Mugabe became the leader of Zimbabwe and Alan Kay walked into his local GM dealer and bought this car off the showroom floor.

So there were two things that remained constant from early 1980-Mugabe still runs Zimbabwe and Alan still runs his 1980 Camaro.


Some scenarios work out much better than others…




Actually, Alan has only owned 2 cars in his whole life– a ‘71 Camaro and this one. He discovered this car when somebody told him, “you’ll love that new Camaro at the Chevy dealer”. Indeed he did because he drove it constantly for the next 12 years with no fear thanks to the bulletproof 305 under the hood.




The 305 was a low compression 80s grade motor and so far it’s clocked 110,000 miles with little or no effort-if you don’t count the impeccable maintenance program since Day 1. Alan admits that the performance has always been a little tepid with the 80s mandated regulations but the longevity outweighs any performance issues.




Alan decided to paint the car in 1993 when it became a 2nd stringer daily driver. At that point a truck made more sense in his daily world so Alan decided to give the old Camaro new paint. Alan sanded down the peeling factory finish and discovered that he had kept the Chevy rust free thanks to his high standards of maintenance.




He painted the Camaro in his garage and the only setbacks were a few door dings so his backyard paint booth pumped out a nice finish.



Possible future upgrades may be flattop pistons to upgrade the compression in the old 305 but at this point Alan is happy to keep in his former driver bone stock. As he reports:”I’m thinking about it but it will still be stock specs”. Other than that, the only mechanical issues with the Camaro were a heater core, two radiator rebuilds and a master cylinder. That’s a decent record for a 31-year-old car and as Alan reports, “it still drives like a million bucks”.




Clearly Alan has babied this Chevy since his first day as owner and the end result is a show car because he admits, “that he wins at least one trophy a year”. He still has most of the paperwork for the car with the exception of the window sticker-clearly he didn’t think 31 years down the road with the Camaro.


The car endured some real life experience when a misguided thief broke in to steal his then-new sound system but the Camaro looks better than Cher did in 1980 or…. 2011 with remarkably less bodywork.

At this point Alan had owned 5 vehicles2 Camaros and 3 trucks but there is no way he’s interested in replacing his 1980 car buddy.

That’s like selling your car soul.


Jerry Sutherland


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