Friday, June 19, 2020

Cars in Yards: 1978 Chevy Camaro Type LT

1978 Chevy Camaro Type LT in silver with red interior


A Camaro with abandonment issues? Someone in the market for a nice Camaro made a really good choice somewhere between mid-1977 and 1978. Out of all the choices, and there were several, they wound up with a decked out Type LT. One of our favorite Camaro packages. This one eventually got left behind. Cue… Junkyard Life!

1978 Camaro featured first year of restyled, larger, wraparound tail lights.
1978 Camaro featured restyled, larger, wraparound tail lights.


See the USA in your…in your…um, tow truck?
As the world turns, we really don’t know very much of the story behind this silver Type LT. It reels us in with more questions than we have answers. We gave it a Hardy Boys worthy investigation and found that it was born in California and lived most of its life in southern Tennessee. After several different mechanics liens, unpaid repairs, towing expenses and storage fees, it found its way to North Alabama and is now finally going to a new home. Just not ours. We had aspirations and momentary illusions of  jumping camp and rescuing this 1970s icon. Someone beat us to it. 

1978 Camaro Type LT sits in the high weeds beside a roadside near Smith Lake in Alabama.
This Type LT Camaro was loaded with options, including a 350-V8.


And So Begins the Questions
This Chevrolet showed signs of leading a pampered life until the last few years. What happened? If you are thinking it donated some of the missing parts to someone’s Z28 project, it didn’t. Everything that was removed was essentially still there. Why? The interior was in good shape. All still there. Although, someone had gone to the trouble of removing the bezels on the dash and only started to remove the factory tach. It was all still there. Other than showing signs of a repaint and a factory wheel missing, this car was all present, including 95% unmolested power train. Why 95%? The A/C had been converted to R-134 several years ago. Does that even count? Why the disassembly? Perhaps by intent of restoration?


Custom cloth Carmine interior in the 1978 Camaro Type LT.
Custom cloth Carmine interior is in great shape in the 1978 Camaro Type LT.


One for the Money or Two for the Show?
Junkyard Life’s roundabout way of asking if it had a posi rear differential. We could not verify due to the darn ground being so close to the car. But being the Sherlocks that we are, Keith and I (Ron) played a quick game of Rock/Paper/Scissors to see who got to take a belly flop in the ant beds and tall grass to investigate. Keith won and I did verify a rear sway bar. Cool! 


A blue Type LT horn button on the red steering wheel is an uncommon sight.


What You See is What Someone Else Got
A quick glance over the car, there is much to see. A very original interior in a rare deluxe pattern. We quickly spotted the tachometer and all of his friends. Rear defrost, power windows, power door locks, tilt wheel and cruise control meant the driver didn’t do a lot of work themselves. We found the F41 suspension with a rear sway bar following out back and a beautiful sport steering wheel with “Type LT” badging to guide you. The code 15 silver paint was sans pinstriping (Note: it may have been wearing some sporty stripes on at one time, because we did note that it had been repainted). 

The “L” in the VIN indicated that it was a 350-V8 engine. Rated at a wheezy 170 horsepower, we hope it doesn’t have the California emissions that would have robbed another 10 horsepower, which it could not afford to lose. Amazingly, it was all there-down to the AC belt!  It even had most of the 14-inch wheels (only three). The only things we did not see here were T-Tops and a rear spoiler. 

Original custom urethane/steel wheels on the 1978 Camaro Type LT.
Three of the original custom urethane/steel wheels are still mounted on the Type LT.


Goodbye for now
Though not destined for our stash, we are really okay with that. The silver f-body vanished from the roadside yard where we found it parked. We do hope the new owners realize what they have and make the effort to save this luxury Camaro. It really doesn’t appear to have far to go to get back on the road. We would have to add a little more punch under the hood and I always loved the fin style wheel introduced on the Z28 that year. I could go on and on, but I will leave those decisions to the new owner and we at Junkyard Life wish it only the best of times ahead.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust


Detail of red deluxe door panel in the Type LT Camaro.
The top of the line interior has the coolest pattern in a Camaro, more so in Carmine Red.


Junkyard Life’s Camaro Fun Facts

  • “Type LT” stands for “Luxury Type”. In this model you were more likely to find options associated with high end cars. 

  • 1978 was the first year for the new bumper cover in front and wrap around tail lights in the rear.

  • Technically introduced in 1976 on certain Firebirds and a few other GM cars, T-tops found their way onto the Camaro. By 1978 T-tops hit the market with raving success. T-Tops… the option you are often glad you have, but at times wish you didn’t. They were prone to leak and the car required proper storage or the rust monster would have a better chance of getting you. Still, so much fun.

  • 1978 was the LAST year for the Type LT package wearing that name in a second gen Camaro.

  • The Type LT package was replaced by the Berlinetta option as the luxury-appointed Camaro in 1979.

  • The Type LT could be combined with the Rally Sport package, which gave you a groovy two-tone paint scheme. This was the rarest of all models in 1978. A total of 5,696 units sold. 

  • The Type LT Rally Sports would have “Type LT” on the steering wheel and door panels. In some cases the “Type LT” emblem on the sail panel was also present.

  • Although this car does have an AM radio, I somehow think it may not be the original radio to this car. Fear not, Van Halen, for we have your back always. 

  • 1978 Camaros were equipped with a 130 MPH speedometer. The 130 MPH face carried over one more year to 1979, but the needles were thinner on the 1978 and looked a little more muscle car appropriate than the thicker 1979 needle. The government mandated an 85 MPH speedometer for the 1980 models. Boo! 

  • 1978 was the last year “Camaro” was written in script on the glove compartment. 
  • The Z28 was back on the market after a brief disappearance in 1975 and 1976. Chevrolet built enough to advertise in the latter part of 1977, but they indicated they would not make many. It is speculated that many early 1978 buyers did not know the Z28 was available. On that line of thinking it is understandable that the Type LT outsold the Z28 in 1978. A total of 54,907 Z28s sold compared to the Type LT’s at 65,635. You can’t buy it if you didn’t know about it.

  • The Z28 had about 15 more horsepower and readily available with a street fighting 3:42 rear gear ratio on automatics and even a 3:73 rear gear ratio behind the manual four speed. It didn’t do much for fuel mileage, but came in handy for red light to red light street battles. 



A 350-V8 under the 1978 Camaro hood.
A 350-V8 under the 1978 Camaro hood. Even though it is the lower 170-horsepower option, plenty of buyers would line up for a V8 Camaro. 


Chrome Type LT emblem adorns the grill.
Chrome Type LT emblem adorns the grill.



Faceplate that covers gauges has been pulled away. Oh, a tilt column and cruise control.



Engine bay looks untouched and original. Sometimes that's a good thing.



Type LT emblem on sail panel.
Type LT emblem on sail panel.


Another shot of gauges. A 130MPH speedo and a tach is under there somewhere.



The Z28s got all the glory but this Type LT survived for that same reason.



Carmine Red everywhere inside the Camaro. Check out the power windows.



Loaded inside and under the hood. A/C, power steering, power brakes.



Trim tag decoders have a shot at it. We needed a better photo but too late now.



Do you have a cool Car in Yard find? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.





3 comments:

BoH said...

I hope the new owner took good care of the Camaro....

Helen said...

Selling my used junk car to Copart was easy and they beat the competitive prices I recieved. I didnt expect much as my car does not run or drive but cranks. Good little car sad to see it go

Greg Prosmushkin said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us. It was great to read the facts that you provided. We can't wait to see more from your blog soon. Have a wonderful rest of your week.
Greg Prosmushkin