For the most part, barn finds today are almost as elusive as Yetis and honest politicians, yet we are fortunate to come across an absolute gem now and again (cars, not politicians). As time goes on, though, cars we once considered “garden variety” and not really worth much are suddenly attracting lots of interest. And that’s been the case since cars have become a collectible commodity. But now there’s a new generation of automotive enthusiasts coming up that consider cars of the late-’70s as potential collector’s items.
While the term “barn find” has a tendency to be stretched or slightly exaggerated on occasion, this late second-gen Camaro lived up to the hype. It was found in an actual barn following a 30-year slumber. Typically, 1979 Camaros aren’t considered collectible unless they carry a unique trait that sets it apart from every other ’79 F-body. Case in point for this Z28 comes by way of the scant 9,050 miles on the ticker.
The history on the car goes back to June 29, 1979, when Donald Sisler bought the T-top Camaro from Vic Canever Chevrolet in Fenton, Michigan. A few days later, Donald had the car Ziebart-coated in order to prolong its life while living through the rugged northeast winters of snow-covered and rock-salted streets. Word has it that Donald and his brother David frequented car shows with the Z, and the low miles indicate the car was used more as a weekend cruiser than a daily driver. In 1986, Donald passed away and the car went to David. Distraught over his brother’s death, David jacked up the car, put it on dollies, rolled it into his barn, and then proceeded to build a wall around the car with the intention of it never being touched again.
In 2016, David sold his Michigan estate but refused to include the car in the purchase. Coincidentally, the buyer of the estate’s daughter is married to David’s son so they were able to talk him into selling the car along with the house. But over the course of time, the dollies’ wheels had sunk into the ground, so one side of the wall had to be completely removed in order to get the car out with a tractor … sideways.
The barn-rescue Camaro was then trailered down to Florida where Chris Burrowes purchased it in December 2016. As Chris conveyed to us, “This thing is immaculate! It’s a true time capsule that looks like it just came off the production line with original tires and everything.” Chris goes on, “All the markings from the production line are still present. We found tons of paperwork on the car and it even has the original, custom mini-space spare tire.”
As of this writing, Chris had yet to title the Camaro in his name as he likes the fact that it’s a one-owner classic car. To him, that keeps this “diamond in the rough” way more appealing.