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72 Z with 383- good build?

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Hi Guys,


Found another Z, this time a bit of a drive from me- I'd have to drive the truck there and trailer it back.

Currently non-op, but I can register it here with the title later.


383 SBC build with 5 speed (I assume a T5).


The guy bought it from the previous owner who daily drove it, but it's been non-op on his property ever since.  I guess she has a big ranch and drives his toys around there (must be nice, I'd have a motorcycle track!).


He claims everything works to the best of his knowledge, but it hasn't been on long trips.   Dash cover is glued on (I assume cracked dash), gauges swapped for aftermarket.


He says the clutch chatters on easy launches, probably has some aggressive race-y clutch on there, I've experienced that before.





What do you guys think?    Pluses for me is the body is relatively solid (I could live without the hood bulge, but I think it's needed to clear the carbs/filter), he claims no rust, and it's supposed to be mechanically solid.

Interior work I can handle slowly.  Carpet kit, steering column, maybe a better wheel to match the car.


I'm assuming the side pipes are damn loud (my cobra kit was), so that'll need some work later on, maybe replace with a more traditional layout. 

I'd plan for a full fluid change too- brakes to oil to radiator.   And to play the CA registration game.  At least I have AAA.






Edited by saki302
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Find all the parts you're gonna need to replace on this car to get it running and in a condition that you can live with. Then add up all the parts you're gonna need to get it to exactly where you want it to be. Assume the car now has all those parts on it and it's great working order. How much would you pay for THAT car? Subtract your parts total from the value of your theoretical completed car, and see how close you are to the price of what he's selling it for. If it's less, offer him less. If it's over or the same, buy it.


That's a non-running car though. With an older heavy engine in it and an older 5 speed transmission. I personally wouldn't give him 9500 for it. But that's just me.

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Seller says it's running and fully functional, he just didn't street register it for use.


Assuming everything works as he says it does, I'd be happy with it for now with a carpet kit and a new wheel and shift knob.

The motor does have aluminum Edelbrock heads, which is a plus.   I'm assuming T-5 trans, though I'd have to look to be sure.  A TKO would be a nice surprise :D


Out here in CA, you can't even touch a rough one for $9k :(


The last one I looked at locally was a disaster- and the one up North needed a bunch of work.   This one looks like minimal work to ready for use, I just wish I could see it up close.   The seller is an older guy and not very computer/internet savvy.


I'm figuring it'll cost me ~$500 for gas and trailer rental to get it home.



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I think the car is worth it provided there isn't rust or hidden rust under the body work. Photos look good but you really won't know until you get there. SBC with Chinese heads is very cheap to build and I'm certain it's over-carbed, especially with what looks like exhaust manifolds instead of headers.


It's a great starting point provided again the body is decent, shows no signs of an accident, rust or being twisted from a claimed 460hp and the "custom suspension" isn't as hacked as it looks.

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I like the car, what I would say is that the customization gives you some leverage in bartering. The front bumper mod, the exhaust, the hood are all things that are very particular to a persons taste and therefore limits the number of potential buyers. I know you said it's a great deal for California and someone else said they'd offer 9k. I'd probably offer 8,000 and not feel like I was low balling. They really are limited to number of potential buyers. The engine makes it worse. I love the 383, I have a 350 myself but the SBC engine appeals to less and less buyers. You're taking some risk with all the customization, don't feel bad about paying as little as you can.

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I zoomed in on the engine pic-  those are Edelbrock Performer RPM heads.   Unless they're fake.  Looks like the whole top half is Edelbrock.   I had the same heads on my Mustang about 20 years ago :D



I agree the HP numbers are high.   Unless it's running at 100% tune.  I had a Cobra kit years back which dynoed around 350 RWMP, so about 405-410 HP at the engine with a Ford crate 351W.  With manifolds, I doubt it.  Maybe 375-400 at the motor if you're lucky.


The carb combo is funny.. I wonder if it was something someone had lying around.  I would have tossed a 700-750cfm 4150 4-barrel on there and been done with it.   On my 351, the 700cfm 4150 was not a limitation.

There were guys on the Cobra forums that went with 8 stack fuel injection.   Not that it made more power, but because it LOOKED cool (that it did!).


Twin Edelbrock carbs and their intakes seems like a more expensive and complex

way to go about it.


I wonder why they would go with manifolds- maybe clearance?  I'd swap them later if headers fit. 


If I get this I'd definitely do:


Carpet kit (looks like some missing in the footwell)

Steering column cover

Add back some of the missing rubber bumper bits, maybe front bumper.

Coat those side pipes black.   The chrome isn't doing it for me


And a steering wheel and shift knob later.  Those things are crying 'Autozone' :D



Seller claims the previous owner drag raced it once with slicks.   I'm assuming it has the 280 or 300 rear end If it didn't grenade, and at least a World Class T-5 trans.




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Just talked to the seller again. 


Car does have coil over suspension, adjustable shocks, and most likely upgraded sway bars.


It will need new carpet in the trunk too (probably original).


The engine does have manifolds, and he agrees with me- it's over carbed, probably better served with a 4150 on an RPM Air gap manifold.  I could probably sell these for more than the single plus manifold combo (though the duals do look cool).   He was going to swap headers too if he kept it.


The engine fan is the motor mounted clutch fan, not electric.  I'm assuming the motor is set back pretty well, otherwise this shouldn't fit.




Edited by saki302
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Went to see and pick up the car today.


In person, it was a sh%^$^ show.


crack in the front bumper, window seals are toast, and driver's door doesn't close right.   And it was the worst amateur paint job I've seen in a long time.   The flats were fine, but the masking job was one of the worst I've ever seen.


ENTIRE interior needs replacement.   EVERY FU%$#^ING piece.   Headliner was sagging down (pushed it back up- it sort of stuck).  Trunk isn't old carpet.  More like old crumbly dusty foam garbage.  And..  dun dun... no seatbelts.


It did have coil overs, which were probably hit by paint overspray.   I didn't see any bad rust on the body but.. it had the most hideous thick undercoat I've ever seen.  What's under it?  Nobody knows.   Swaybar bushings are cracking- I didn't bother looking at the other suspension bushings.


Now- if it ran strong and good, I could maybe work with it.  


I take it for a ridiculously short test drive.. and.. motor won't rev pst 3000-3500RPMs.

460hp?  My ass.  More like 165.  I'm being generous.

Seller says the carb is running 'fat'.   BULL.  Trust is down the toilet at this point.


It's either the ignition system, the distributor, the whole carb setup, or something is jacked with the engine.   Does not pull like a 383 stroker should, even down low before it gagged on itself. 


That sucked- search continues...


The seller had the gall to talk to me about the gentlemen's agreement I made him to buy the thing.   YES, YOU BROKE THE MF AGREEMENT when it didn't meet the description, JERK!!


He said it's already sold to another CA guy.   I hope the buyer isn't on here, he's going to get a surprise.

Edited by saki302
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Not surprising. The car looks (meaning aesthetic choices) like it was built by an amateur. Additionally, I noticed the over spray on the gas tank immediately. I didn't really want to say anything, but the whole thing kinda looks like shit in the CL ad, and that usually means it looks even worse in person.


I've bought two cars sight unseen, and I won't be doing it again for good reason.

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I was really hoping the mechanicals were in good shape- and the seller made it sound like the car ran well.


I noticed a paint defect in the engine bay in his pics.



I get the impression he's the kind of guy that buys old junkers, resprays them, and flips them fro profit.


Oh well- at least I got to eat at Cracker Barrel!!

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