This is one of just 1,000 or so examples of the Autoform Roadster that were ever built. At the time, Chevrolet didn’t offer a factory Camaro convertible, so Autoform stepped up and developed their own roadster conversion.

The Autoform Roadster had the roof and rear seats removed, a fiberglass rear deck with twin humps was then added, chassis bracing was welded in, as well as a manual folding soft top that folds down under the rear cover. The conversion cost $5,500 USD in 1980s money, and the cars could be ordered through some official dealers.

Fast Facts – The Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster

  • The Autoform Roadster was built by Auto Form Sales Corporation between 1983 and 1986 as a convertible version of the Chevrolet Camaro. This was during a time when Chevrolet did not offer a factory-made Camaro convertible of their own. Approximately 1,000 units were produced, and they were available through official Chevrolet dealerships.
  • The conversion from a standard Camaro to an Autoform Roadster was extensive. It involved removing the roof and rear seats, reinforcing the chassis with a new rear steel bulkhead welded to the unibody, and adding a bolt-in chassis brace under the car for additional stiffness. A fiberglass rear deck with twin humps was installed, and a manual folding soft top was fitted, which folded down into the rear cavity where the back seats had been.
  • The conversion cost $5,500 in the 1980s, a significant amount that added about one-third to the price of a new Camaro. Auto Form converted various Camaro models, including the Z28, Berlinetta, and IROC-Z, as well as Firebird models like the Formula and Trans Am.
  • The Autoform Roadster business declined rapidly after Chevrolet introduced its own factory-built convertible in 1987, manufactured by ASC (American Specialty Cars). The Autoform Roadster is now a unique and sought after piece of 1980s American automotive history.

The Origin Of The Autoform Roadster

The company name Auto Form Sales Corporation sounds almost like a firm you might order from if you needed parts for a 1970s-era automatic pickup truck transmission. But the company was actually building some of the most desirable Camaro-based American roadsters in the world back in the 1980s, for a brief few years anyway, before Chevrolet stepped up and created their own factory convertible.

Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster

Image DescriptionIt has to be said, the Auto Form conversion was well-designed, the new rear cover with its two humps suits the lines of the Camaro perfectly, and many think it looks better than the “official” convertible that debuted in 1987.

These Camaro-based convertibles built by the Auto Form Sales Corporation were called the Autoform Roadster. They were built between 1983 and 1986 (some say 1987), and far from being just a simple roof chop and fabric roof install, the conversion process was in-depth – the quality was so good Chevrolet sold them through their own dealerships.

Auto Form was based in Elkhart, Indiana and their primary focus was on converting Camaros (including Z28, Berlinetta, and IROC-Z variants) and Firebirds (including both Formula and Trans Am variants) to two-seat speedster-style roadsters.

Customers could order their cars through their local Chevrolet dealer, if they participated in the program, and it cost an additional $5,500 over the coast of the new car, adding approximately an additional 1/3 to the price.

The conversion process always started with a brand new car that was delivered directly from Chevrolet. The conversion involved the original steel rood being cut off and scrapped, the rear seats were removed along with the trim and fittings, and a series of bracings were added to bring back the stiffness that the car lost with the roof now gone.

These bracings consisted of a new rear steel bulkhead behind the seats that was welded directly to the unibody. A bolt-in chassis brace was added under the center part of the car to add some further stiffness, a similar solution was later used by Chevrolet for the convertible version of the C4 Corvette.

Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 7

Image DescriptionHere you can see the rear cover , it’s made of fiberglass and it covers both the rear trunk and the empty cavity where the backseat originally was. It lifts up to allow access for folding down the top and there’s an additional hatch for accessing the trunk.

Once all the bracing was in place a new manual folding soft top was added. This soft top folded down into the rear cavity where the back seat had originally been, and a new fiberglass rear cover was then added with two “humps,” one behind each of the two seats.

In total, it’s believed that approximately 1,000 examples of the Autoform Roadster were built in total, across both the Camaro and Firebird models and their sub-variants.

The business essentially dried up overnight when Chevrolet began selling an official convertible version of the cars in 1987 built by ASC (American Specialty Cars) under contract.

The 1983 Autoform Roadster Camaro Shown Here

The car you see here is a first-year Autoform Roadster based on a red Camaro powered by the 5.0 liter LG4 V8. The car originally had a four-barrel carburetor, but a more modern fuel-injection system has now been added.

Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 16

Image DescriptionThe forward part of the interior looks much the same as the standard production coupe on which it’s based. There’s a new fiberglas rear firewall cover that conceals the tubular steel chassis brace that’s welded into place.

Power is sent back through a 4-speed automatic transmission and the car rides on 14″ 5-spoke wheels fitted with 205/70 Toyo Eclipse tires. It has the original front disc, read drum brake arrangement, and it has both air conditioning and an AM/FM stereo.

This car is now being offered for sale on Bring a Trailer out of Gulfport, Mississippi with no reserve price, a Carfax report, a clean Mississippi title, and ~12,000 miles shown on the odometer. If you’d like to red more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 17 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 15 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 14 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 13 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 12 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 10 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 9 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 8 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 6 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 5 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 4 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 3 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 2 Chevrolet Camaro Autoform Roadster 1

Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Published by Ben Branch -