Checkout this walkaround of a 1982 Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Pace Car:

Some highlights -

* Fifteen inch wheels
* 165 hp V-8
* Three-speed automatic transmission

This was the apogee of "high performance" in '82!

The car also lacks -

* Air bags
* ABS (but it's got rear drum brakes)
* Traction control
* Stability control

No wonder it only cost $14,112 - and this was pretty much the most expensive Chevy you could buy that year, next to a Corvette.

"Fuel injection" is displayed prominently on each door pull - because fuel injection was still a relatively rare feature in '82. However, the fuel injection system used here is very primitive - even though it looked cool. What you've got is basically a pair of throttle bodies spraying fuel into a more or less conventional intake manifold not unlike the manifolds used with carbureted cars. It would be another few years before really modern fuel injection - port fuel injection, with the whole system designed for FI from the get go - became available.

But the hood scoops do work. The little flaps snapped open under full throttle to admit air to the twin-cleaner assembly underneath. Note that even fuel injected cars still used round air filters, too.

The Crossfire Injection system seen here was only available with the automatic transmission. If you wanted a clutch, you got the even less powerful version of the little 305 V-8, with computer-controlled Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel.

Fast forward to now. A four-cylinder Miata is quicker than the '82 V-8 Z28 and a new base model V-6 Camaro would clean the floor with the old Z and get 10 MPG better while doing it, too.

Still, those early '80s F-cars were a lot of fun. They appeared during my high school years and we all wanted one. I finally got to drive one - on the sly - during the summer of 1985, when I worked as a lot boy at the local Chevy store. Compared to the stuff I was used to - the too-heavy, even slower Disco machines of the late '70s - the smaller, lighter third generation Camaro felt like a rocket sled. And for the period, they were quick - only a handful of cars could do better and most of them cost a lot more.

I would not mind reliving those days - maybe by owning one of these early '80s F-bodies. Maybe they're not the quickest things going anymore. Who cares? Heart - and style - matter as much as the raw numbers.

And that '82 Pace Car has both in abundance!