1981 Camaro Restoration Information

1981 Camaro Parts and Restoration Specifications

This was the final year for the second-generation Camaros. The final 2nd gen Camaro was only slightly altered from the 1980 Camaro, sporting a new grille and newly styled side markers. The 350 small block V8 was now only an option on the Z28 Camaro models and only utilized an automatic transmission. Both horsepower ratings and production numbers were lower in 1981.

While the exterior of the 1981 Camaro was a carryover from the previous year, there were some significant changes under the hood. Most notably the CCC (Computer Command Control) emission system. This meant the 1981 Camaro was the only 2nd gen to have a “computer”, which controlled the carburetor mixture, along with a “check engine” light and ALDL connector. The transmission now had a lock-up torque converter, also controlled by the CCC.

In a bizarre move to appease consumers, the Z28 Camaro, powered by a 350 cubic inch V8 was now only available with an automatic transmission. After a 12 year run, the second-generation Camaro was heading for automotive history. A lot had been written over the years faulting the impracticality of the car in general; the poor headlights, lack of controls on the steering column, poor seats, poor fuel economy, poor trunk space… it was time.

Approximately 126,140 Chevrolet Camaros were produced in the year 1981 making these the last of the second-generation Camaros to roll off the Chevrolet assembly lines.

1981 Camaro saw the following additional changes:

  • The Rally Sport model was dropped.
  • VIN number significantly different (17 characters vs. 13) than in previous years.
  • Power brakes now standard
  • Space saver tire now standard
  • Halogen headlights debut
  • CCC emissions system
  • Lockup torque converter
  • “Check Engine” light

1981 Camaro OEM Brochure


1981 Camaro Model Options

Engine Options:

  • 3.8 L 229 cubic inch V6
  • 3.8 L 231 cubic inch V6 (California models)
  • 4.4 L 267 cubic inch V8
  • 5.0 L 305 cubic inch V8
  • 5.7 L 350 cubic inch V8


1981 Camaro Production:

  • 52,004 V6
  • 74,135 V8
  • 126,139 total


Dealer Introduction: 
9/25/80


Vehicle Identification Example:
 1GlAP87K6BN100001

  • First digit is Country of Origin: 1 = USA, 2 = Canada.
  • Second digit: G for General Motors.
  • The third digit is Division, 1 = Chevrolet.
  • Fourth digit is restraint system:
    • A = non-passive
    • B = automatic belts
    • C = inflatable restraint.
  • The fifth digit is the series:
    • P = Sport Coupe
    • Z28 Coupe
    • S = Berlinetta
  • Sixth and Seventh digits are for body style: 87 = sport coupe.
    Eighth digit is engine code:
    • A = 231ci V6
    • H = 305ci V8
    • J = 267ci V8
    • K = 229ci V6
    • L = 350ci V8
  • Ninth digit is a check digit.
  • The tenth digit is the model year: B = 1981
  • The eleventh digit is N for Norwood assembly and L for Van Nuys
  • Last six digits increased one with each car built at each plant


Dimensions:

  • Length: 197.6 inches
  • Height: 49.2 inches
  •  Width: 74.5 inches
  •  Wheelbase: 108.0 inches


Curb Weight:
 (in pounds)

  • 1FQ87 (V6) – 3326
  • 1FQ87 (Z28) – 3600
  • 1FS87 (V6) – 3374


1981 Ending VIN by Month

  • Norwood
    • Aug – 100576
    • Sep – 104729
    • Oct – 108603
    • Nov – 110502
    • Dec – 113739
    • Jan – 116764
    • Feb – 121261
    • Mar – 126138
    • Apr – 130560
    • May – 134765
    • Jun – 139491
    • Jul – 140012
  • Van Nuys
    • Aug – 102033
    • Sep – 108330
    • Oct – 114261
    • Nov – 119960
    • Dec – 124701
    • Jan – 128995
    • Feb – 136096
    • Mar – 144475
    • Apr – 152181
    • May – 163093
    • Jun – 178116
    • Jul – 186126

1981 Camaro Model Option Breakouts

Z21 Style Trim

Includes body-colored insert on door handles; bright roof drip, lock pillar, upper fender, hood panel and belt moldings plus bright accented parking lights.

Z28 Special Performance Package

No external differences between 1980 and 1981 models.

Total Production: 

  • 43,272
Engine:

165hp 305 V8 with 4-speed becomes standard Z28 power combination for 1981, with optional 350 reduced to 175 bhp and available with TH350 only. Heavy-duty radiator, dual exhaust resonators. All engines equipped with CCC emissions control, EXCEPT Canadian models. The Canadians could still order the 350 (non-CCC), 4 speed in 1981. 

Click here to see the specific LM-1 Engine Components. 

View Z28 LM1 as installed

Transmission:

Automatic transmission equipped with Lockup torque converter which locks in 2nd & 3rd gear. 

Clutch:

10.34-inch, Same as 1980.

Rear Axle:

Ratios were 3.08 (including California) for Turbo Hydra-Matic and 3.42 for 4-speed. (reverse of 1980). Optional automatic ratio (3.42) required an LM1 engine, MX0 automatic trans, and YF5 California emissions.

Brakes:
  • 11-inch, vented, cast-iron front discs with vacuum assist standard.
  • Rear 9.5-inch drums. (unchanged since 1970)
Steering:
  • Overall ratio 13:1 (stock 15.03:1 to 10.61:1 variable).
  • 2.61 turns lock to lock (stock: 2.41). Unchanged from 1980 (verify).
Front Suspension:
  • Spring rates 365 lb./in. Identical to and unchanged from 1977. (stock: 300 lb./in.)
  • Stabilizer bar 1.125″ (down from 1.2″)
  • Stock bar: 0.938, F41: 1.0″
Rear Suspension:
  • Spring rate 130 lb./in. (stock: 92-99 lb./in.)
  • Rear Stabilizer bar 0.594 inch. (stock: none, F41: 0.5625)
Wheels & Tires:

Standard Z28 tires were P225/70R-15 on 15 x 7″ wheels. 

Click here to see the specific 1981 Z28 Chassis Specifications.

Z54 Interior Decor / Quiet Sound

Includes glove compartment light and additional instrument cluster lighting; simulated leather accents on instrument cluster; special engine compartment, hood and interior insulation (Standard with Berlinetta)

Berlinetta

Included Custom Interior, bright upper and lower grille, bright windshield and rear window moldings, dual pinstripe treatment, body-color sport mirrors (D35), argent applique on rear panel, specific trim and either wire wheel covers (standard), now with locks to prevent people from stealing them or color-keyed aluminum wheels (N90, 14 x 7″) (optional). Amber-lite insulation blankets included in doors, rear quarters, roof/sail panels, behind the rear seat, under package tray and under carpeting (RPO Z54 interior decor/quiet sound). Option U05 dual horns and U14 Special Instrumentation were also standard equipment.

1981 Camaro Engine Codes & Specs

Available Engine Specifications

Type

Size

Carb

RPO

Horsepower

Torque

Bore & Stroke (in.)

Compression Ratio

V6

229

1x2bbl

LC3

110 hp @ 4200 RPM

170 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM

3.74 x 3.48

8.6:1

V6

231

1x2bbl

LD5*

110 hp @ 3800 RPM

190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM

3.80 x 3.40

8.0:1

V8

267

1x2bbl

L39

115 hp @ 4000 RPM

200 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM

3.50 x 3.48

8.3:1

V8

305

1x4bbl

LG4

150 hp @ 3800 RPM

240 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM

3.74 x 3.48

8.6;1

V8

305

1x4bbl

LG4/Z28

165 hp @ 4000 RPM

245 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM

3.74 x 3.48

8.6:1

V8

350

1x4bbl

LM1

175 hp @ 4000 RPM

275 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM

4.00 x 3.48

8.2:1

*Only available in California.

6-Cylinder Engine Codes

Code

Size

RPO / HP

Transmission

Notes

229

D7A

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Turbo Hydramatic

Export

D7B

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Turbo Hydramatic

Export

DAA

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Manual Transmission

-

DAB

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Turbo Hydramatic

-

DAC

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Turbo Hydramatic

-

DAD

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Turbo Hydramatic

-

DAH

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Manual Transmission

-

DAJ

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

Turbo Hydramatic

-

DAK

229 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LC3

-

Uncertain Usage

231

NA

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

Uncertain Usage

NB

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

California Emissions

NC

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

Turbo Hydramatic

California Emissions

ND

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

Turbo Hydramatic

California Emissions

NF

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

California Emissions

NJ

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

Uncertain Usage

NK

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

California Emissions

NL

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

California Emissions

NZ

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

California Emissions

RA

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

-

Uncertain Usage

RB

231 cid 1x2bbl

110 hp LD5

Turbo Hydramatic

California Emissions

8-Cylinder Engine Codes

Code

Size

RPO / HP

Transmission

Notes

267

D8H

267 cid 1x2bbl

115 hp L39

Turbo Hydramatic

Export

DFH

267 cid 1x2bbl

115 hp L39

Turbo Hydramatic

-

305

D6D

305 cid 1x4bbl

LG4

Turbo Hydramatic

Export

DHJ

305 cid 1x4bbl

LG4

Manual Transmission

-

DHK

305 cid 1x4bbl

LG4

Turbo Hydramatic

-

DHZ

305 cid 1x4bbl

LG4

Manual Transmission

-

DKB

305 cid 1x4bbl

LG4

Turbo Hydramatic

California Emissions

DKJ

305 cid 1x4bbl

LG4

-

Uncertain Usage

350

D5A

350 cid 1x4bbl

LM1

Manual Transmission

Export

D5B

350 cid 1x4bbl

LM1

Turbo Hydramatic

Export

DMA

350 cid 1x4bbl

LM1

Turbo Hydramatic

-

DMB

350 cid 1x4bbl

LM1

Turbo Hydramatic

California Emissions

DMF

350 cid 1x4bbl

LM1

-

Uncertain Usage

DMH

350 cid 1x4bbl

LM1

-

Uncertain Usage

1981 Camaro Transmission Codes

Code

Type

Plant

S

3-Speed Manual

Muncie

R

4-Speed Manual (Saginaw)

Muncie

B

Turbo Hydramatic 250

Parma

Y

Turbo Hydramatic 350

Toledo

J

Turbo Hydramatic 350

GM of Canada

K

-

Buick

1981 Camaro 3-Speed & 4-Speed Manual Transmission Ratios

LC3

LG4

C.I.

229

305

First Gear

3.50:1

3.42:1

Second Gear

1.89:1

2.28:1

Third Gear

1.00:1

1.45:1

Fourth Gear

-

1.00:1

Reverse

3.62:1

3.51:1

Clutch

10.34:1

10.34

Axle Ratio S

2.73:1

2.56:1

Axle Ratio P

-

3.42:1

1981 Camaro Turbo Hydramatic Transmission Ratios

LC3

LD5

L39

LG4

LM1

C.I.

229

231

267

305

350

Transmission

TH250

TH350

TH350

TH350

TH350

First Gear

2.52:1

2.52:1

2.52:1

2.52:1

2.52:1

Second Gear

1.52:1

1.52:1

1.52:1

1.52:1

1.52:1

Third Gear

1.00:1

1.00:1

1.00:1

1.00:1

1.00:1

Reverse

1.93:1

1.93:1

1.93:1

1.93:1

1.93:1

Axle Ratio S

2.56:1

2.73:1

2.56:1

2.56:1

3.08:1

Axle Ratio P

-

-

-

3.08:1

3.42:1

1981 Camaro Rear Axle Codes

Code

Axle Ratio

Notes

PA

2.73:1

-

PC

3.08:1

-

PD

3.23:1

-

PE

3.42:1

-

PH

2.56:1

-

PJ

2.41:1

-

PQ

3.08:1

Locking

PS

2.41:1

Locking

PT

2.56:1

Locking

PU

2.73:1

Locking

PV

2.41:1

Locking

PW

3.08:1

Locking

PX

3.23:1

Locking

PY

3.42:1

Locking

1981 Camaro Factory Options

Regular Production Option (RPO)

RPODescriptionQuantity1981 PriceEst. Current Price
1FP87Camaro Sport Coupe62,614$6,581.23 $18,737.32
1FS87Camaro Berlinetta Coupe20,253$7,356.23 $20,943.81
1FP87Camaro Z28 Sport Coupe43,272$8,025.23 $22,848.51
AN6Adjustable Seat Back, Driver Side16,688$23.00 $65.48
AU3Power Door Locks24,683$86.00 $244.85
A01Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows112,832$70.00 $199.30
A31Power Windows38,428$133.00 $378.66
B37Floor Mats, Color-Keyed Front and Rear65,490$25.00 $71.18
B80Molding, Roof Drip57,849$24.00 $68.33
B84Moldings, Body Side39,514$44.00 $125.27
B93Moldings, Door Edge32,516$13.00 $37.01
CC1Roof Panels, Removable Glass30,445$644.00 $1,833.52
CD4Windshield Wipers, Intermittent31,982$38.00 $108.19
C49Defogger, Rear Window60,058$99.00 $281.86
C60Air Conditioning96,095$525.00 $1,494.72
D35Mirrors, Sport Right and Left Remote Exterior54,317$43.00 $122.42
D80Spoiler, Rear33,101$57.00 $162.28
F41Suspension, Sport3,604$41.00 $116.73
G80Rear Axle, Limited Slip12,126$63.00 $179.37
G92Rear Axle, Performance Ratio933$18.00 $51.25
K35Speed Control, with Resume35,364$123.00 $350.19
LG4Engine, 305ci, 150hp V817,909$75.00 $213.53
LM1Engine, 350ci, 190hp V8 (Requires Z28)37,400

n/c

-

L39Engine, 267ci, 115hp V818,826$75.00 $213.53
MM3Transmission, 3-Speed Wide Range Manual (Requires LC3 Engine)

-

n/c

-

MM4Transmission, 4-Speed Wide Range Manual (Requires LG4, NA w/ YF5 CA Emissions)10,780$133.00 $378.66
MX0Transmission, 3-Speed Automatic TH350C (Z28, Converter Locks 2nd & 3rd Gear)

-

$58.00 $165.13
MX1Transmission, 3-Speed Automatic TH350C (Converter Locks 3rd Gear Only)107,760$332.00 $945.23
N18Locks, Wheel Covers (Berlinetta Only)4,964$32.00 $91.11
N33Tilt Steering Column69,837$75.00 $213.53
N90Wheels, Aluminum31,153$312.00 $888.29
PE1Wheels, Custom-Style1,800$142.00 $404.29
P01Wheel Covers, Bright Metal3,341$43.00 $122.42
QJYTires, P205/75R14 Radial Whitewall63,839$47.00 $133.81
QKLTires, P205/75R14 Radial White Letter16,364$60.00 $170.83
TR9Lighting, Auxiliary36,443$37.00 $105.34
TR4Headlights, Halogen8,715$36.00 $102.50
UA1Battery, Heavy-Duty21,504$19.00 $54.09
UM2Radio, AM/FM w/ Stereo Tape8,182$252.00 $717.47
UN3Radio, AM/FM w/ Stereo Cassette23,665$264.00 $751.63
UP6Radio, AM/FM Stereo CB and Power Antenna208$487.00 $1,386.53
U05Horns, Dual18,212$9.00 $25.62
U14Special Instrumentation4,214$111.00 $316.03
U35Clock6,740$23.00 $65.48
U58Radio, AM/FM Stereo26,008$178.00 $506.78
U63Radio, AM25,031$90.00 $256.24
U69Radio, AM/FM8,264$142.00 $404.29
U75Antenna, Power7,552$47.00 $133.81
U76Antenna, Windshield Type27,674$25.00 $71.18
U80Speaker, Rear Seat7,667$19.00 $54.09
V08Cooling, Heavy-Duty5,248$58.00 $165.13
YF5Emission Equipment, Required for California9,911$46.00 $130.97
ZJ7Rally Wheels47,478$93.00 $264.78
Z21Style Trim Group49,834$72.00 $204.99
Z49Canadian Equipment15,417

-

-

Z54Interior Decor and Quiet Sound Package12,266$63.00 $179.37

1981 Camaro Cowl Tag Info

1981 Camaro Example Cowl Tag & Breakdown
1981 camaro cowl tag

The Cowl Trim Tag, located on the cowl area identifies significant information about your car. 

Click here for further cowl tag decoding information

Line 1: Year, Build Date, GM Division, Model & Body, Assembly Plant, Sequence Number

Year

Build Month

Build Week

GM Division

Model Series

Body Code

Assembly Plant

Sequence Number

B = 1981

01 = January

A = First Week

1 = Chevrolet

FP = Camaro Base

87 = 2-Door Coupe

L = Van Nuys, CA

Starts at 100001

02 = February

B = Second Week

FS = Camaro Berlinetta

N = Norwood, OH

03 = March

C = Third Week

04 = April

D = Fourth Week

05 = May

E = Fifth Week

06 = June

07 = July

08 = August

09 = September

10 October

11 = November

12 = December

Line 2: Interior Trim, Paint Code, Norwood Stripe Code, Wheel Color Code, Paint Type

Interior Trim

Exterior Paint Code (Lower/Upper)

Stripe Code (Norwood)

Wheel Color Code

Paint Type

15R = Silver Standard Vinyl

11 = White

12A = Silver

14P = Argent

L = Lacquer

19R = Black Standard Vinyl

16 = Silver

18A = Charcoal

19P = Black

E = Enamel

26R = Blue Standard Vinyl

19 = Black

26A = Blue

57P = Gold Metallic

W = Water

64R = Camel Standard Vinyl

20 = Bright Blue

42A = Green

75R = Red Standard Vinyl

21 = Light Blue

55A = Gold

26B = Blue Standard Cloth

29 = Dark Blue

74A = Red

64B = Camel Standard Cloth

51 = Bright Yellow

78A = Orange

75B = Red Standard Cloth

54 = Gold

15N = Silver Custom Vinyl

57 = Orange

26N = Blue Custom Vinyl

67 = Dark Brown

63N = Beige Custom Vinyl

75 = Red

75N = Red Custom Vinyl

77 = Maroon

15C = Silver Custom Cloth

84 = Charcoal

19C = Black Custom Cloth

26C = Blue Custom Cloth

63C = Beige Custom Cloth

75C = Red Custom Cloth

Line 3/4: Seat Type, Roof Type, Power Windows, Accessory Codes, Dash & Steering Column Color, Internal Plant/Batch Codes

Seat Type

Roof Type

Power Windows

Accessory/Option Codes

Dash & Column Color

Plant Batch Codes

A51 = Front Bucket Seat

--- = No T-Tops

Blank / - = No Power Windows

Blank / - = Sport Coupe

Norwood = 3 Digit Code Examples

No Info

AN6 = Adjustable Driver Side Seat

Blank = No T-Tops

A31 = Power Windows (Norwood)

S = Berlinetta

BLK = Black

CC1 = T-Tops

3 = Power Windows (Van Nuys)

Z or Z85 = Rally Sport

BLU = Blue

8 or Z28 = Z28

SKN = Buckskin

CAR = Carmine

TAU = Taupe

Van Nuys = 1 Digit Code Examples

B = Black

U = Blue

T = Tan

C = Carmine

A= Light Gray

S = Silver

1981 Camaro Paint Codes

Exterior Color Codes

Paint Code

Color

Quantity

Interior Availability

11

11

White

16,137

B-Bg-Bk-C-R-S

16

16

Silver

10,359

B-Bk-R-S

19

19

Black

14,157

Bg-Bk-C-R-S

20

20

Bright Blue

9,464

B-Bg-Bk-C-S

21

21

Light Blue

11,516

B-Bk

29

29

Dark Blue

13,102

B-Bg-C-S

51

51

Bright Yellow

1,816

Bk-C

54

54

Gold

6,964

Bg-Bk-C

57

57

Orange

3,056

Bg-Bk-C

67

67

Dark Brown

10,745

Bg-C

75

75

Red

7,615

Bg-Bk-C-R-S

77

77

Maroon

8,302

Bg-Bk-C-R-S

84

84

Charcoal

12,907

Bg-Bk-C-R-S

Abbreviations: B = Blue, Bg = Beige, Bk = Black, C = Camel, R = Red, S = Silver

Interior Trim Codes

Standard Vinyl

Color Code

Interior Style

15r

15R

Silver Standard Vinyl

19r

19R

Black Standard Vinyl

26r

26R

Blue Standard Vinyl

64r

64R

Camel Standard Vinyl

75r

75R

Red Standard Vinyl

Standard Cloth

Color Code

Interior Style

26b

26B

Blue Standard Cloth

64b

64B

Camel Standard Cloth

75b

74B

Red Standard Cloth

Custom Vinyl

Color Code

Interior Style

15n

15N

Silver Custom Vinyl

26n

26N

Blue Custom Vinyl

63n

63N

Beige Custom Vinyl

75n

75N

Red Custom Vinyl

Custom Cloth

Color Code

Interior Style

15c

15C

Silver Custom Cloth

19c

19C

Black Custom Cloth

26c

26C

Blue Custom Cloth

63c

63C

Beige Custom Cloth

75c

75C

Red Custom Cloth

Interior Trim / Seat Type order code, availability & cost
V**2 = vinyl Bucket Seats, (N/A Berlinetta), no charge.
C**2 = Cloth Bucket Seats, (N/A Berlinetta), $26.

Custom Interior: Includes glove compartment light and additional instrument cluster lighting, special insulation, “Berlinetta” type seats, seat trim and door trim. Requires D35 sport mirrors.

X**2 = Custom vinyl Bucket, (no charge w/ Berlinetta), $304.
F**2 = Custom Cloth Bucket, ($26 w/Berlinetta), $330

Additional 1981 Camaro Links

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