Saturday, December 03, 2016

the long-lost first 1967 Camaro Z-28 has been found and restored

The car you see pictured here is the very first Z/28 made, and is now owned by Jon Mello.

 Jon has sports car racing in his blood. His parents were tech inspectors for the SCCA and, as a family, all attended Can-Am and Trans-Am races back at Road America from 1970 to 1974.

His 1st car was a 69 Z/28 Camaro with headers and 4.10s

In late December 1966, the first batch of Z-28s rolled down GM’s Norwood, Ohio, assembly line. With the exception of air conditioning and an automatic transmission (or a convertible body), it was possible to equip a Z-28 with just about every option on the extensive 1967 Camaro list.

Jon agreed to examine a car in San Francisco for a friend living in Florida about a dozen years ago. He bought it not knowing it's significance. Jon noted signs that the vehicle had likely been used for professional racing, rollbar mounting holes etc.

When he started sanding down the body, he discovered racing stripes and lettering that indicated that one of the car’s drivers was named John Moore. In his book The Great Camaro, author Michael Lamm was able to list the recipients of the first 25 Z-28s to come out of Norwood, thanks to documents he received from Vince Piggins. “Z-28 #1 was shipped to Aero Chevrolet in Alexandria, Virginia,” Lamm wrote, “where it was groomed as Johnny Moore’s entry into the Daytona 24-hour Continental.”  It turns out Jon had received a copy of Lamm’s book years before as a Christmas present.

Jon talked with Moore, who pointed him to Hugh Heishman, who owned the local VW/Porsche dealership and a racing team at the time. Heishman was the car’s original buyer, purchasing the car through Aero Chevrolet. As unbelievable as it seems, Heishman  still had the car’s original dealership sales invoice in his possession—35 years later.

In 2003 he got confirmation from Lamm as to where he got his first 25 Z-28 list.” Vince Piggins himself had given Lamm the list of the first 25 Z-28s.

He learned the car’s Trans-Am race history was limited. It was used for just six Trans-Am races in 1967 and 1968 in addition to several SCCA-sanctioned, non–Trans-Am events, a total of eight races driven by Moore and owned by Heishman.

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