1981 Camaro Parts and 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 big-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 Camaro’s to roll off the Chevrolet assembly lines.

Camaro saw the following additional changes:

  • The Rally Sport model 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 RPO Breakouts & Model Specifics

1981 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.


1981 Z28 Special Performance Package

Engines:

165hp 305 V8 with 4-speed becomes standard Z-28 power combination for 1981, with optional 350 reduced to 175 bhp and available with THM-350 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

1981 Z28 Carburetor (Rochester Quadra jet)
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 Z-28 tires were P225/70R-15 on 15 x 7 wheels.

Click here to see the specific 1981 Z28 Chassis Specifications.

Other Options, equipment, facts:

No external differences between the 1980 and 1981 models.

Total Production: 43,272


1981 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)


1981 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 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 Engine & Drivetrain Info


1981 Camaro Drivetrains

3-Speed & 4-Speed Manual Transmissions Ratios

Turbo Hydra-Matic Transmission Ratios

Axle Ratio Key:

  • S = Standard ratio
  • P = Performance (w/G92)

Engine Suffix Codes

* California only

Abbreviations:

  • At = automatic transmission
  • Ce = California emissions
  • Ci = cubic inch
  • Ex = export (Canada)
  • Mt = manual transmission
  • Uu = uncertain usage

Transmission Codes

Rear Axle Codes

Click Here for general axle info and tooth combinations


1981 Camaro Factory Options

* Option prices are retail for base model. Prices could be reduced or option could be had at no charge if it was included as standard equipment on the Z28 or Berlinetta model.


1981 Camaro Exterior & Interior Color Codes
Trim Tag (Norwood Built Camaro)

1981 Cam vin tag

The trim tag, located on the cowl area identifies significant information about your car. Click Here for general trim tag decoding information.

Paint Code Exterior Color Qty Interior Trim Availability
1111 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

1981 Wheel Color Code (P) 

  • 14P = Argent
  • 19P = Black
  • 57P = Gold Met

1981 Z28 Stripe Color Code (A) 

  • 12A = Silver
  • 18A = Charcoal
  • 26A = Blue
  • 42A = Green
  • 55A = Gold
  • 74A = Red
  • 78A = Orange

Click here to view Z28 stripe combinations


Interior Trim Codes

The code number is color:

  • 15 = Silver
  • 19 = Black
  • 26 = Blue
  • 64 = Camel
  • 75 = Red

Suffix letter is trim level:

  • B = Standard Cloth
  • C = Custom Cloth
  • N = Custom vinyl
  • R = Standard vinyl
Std vinyl 15r 19r 26r 64r 75r Std Cloth 26b 64b 75b

15R
S

19R
Bk

26R
B

64R
C

75R
R

26B
B

64B
C

75B
R

Custom vinyl  15n  26n  63n  75n Custom Cloth  15c  19c  26c  63c  75c

15N
S

26N
B

63N
Bg

75N
R

15C
S

19C
Bk

26C
B

63C
Bg

75C
R

Abbreviations:

  • B = Blue
  • Bg = Beige
  • Bk = Black
  • C = Camel
  • R = Red
  • S = Silver

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

Search 1981 Camaro Parts

Free 1981 Camaro Catalog