The 1981 Camaro received an improved second-generation Delco Freedom II battery that never needed water, had more staying power and had improved resistance to damage from vibration compared to earlier Freedom batteries. All Camaros were equipped with the Delco Freedom II, which had a unique two color case. The lower section (Base section) of the case was translucent polycarbonate, having the appearance of being almost white. The upper cap of the battery case (Top) was blue. It also had the unique "Green Eye" which reported on the batteries condition. The decals were red, white, and blue... providing a striking appearance which is easily distinguishable. All Delco Freedom II batteries placed in the Camaro were side post and similar in appearance, although the specification label varies slightly depending on the warranty of the battery and its cold cranking amps. There were four models that appeared in the 1981 Camaro, the 83-60, 85A-60, 87A-60, and the 89A-60. The 83-60 was installed in Camaros with a V6, the 85A-60 was standard with a V8, and the 87A-60 or 89A-60 were provided with the UA1 Heavy Duty Battery option.

There are several reputable manufacturers of reproduction auto batteries, UNFORTUNATELY NONE OF THEM REPRODUCE THE DELCO FREEDOM II battery. In speaking with the manufacturers, they all report that the unique characteristics of this particular battery (Translucent case with blue top and color corrdinated graphics) would make it extremely expensive to reproduce, and it is likely that the reproduction would not be very accurate. Apparently, no suppliers of battery cases (Most of which are in Mexico) have the ability to produce the translucent polycarbonate. They all produce black cases only. Additionally, the battery's limited years of production limit the overall demand for reproductions. These factors combined suggest (Based on my conversations with the reproduction manufacturers) that an accurate reproduction of the Delco Freedom II will never be available.

Despite all of this bad news, die-hard collectors and restorers of concours quality cars should not be deterred, for in my quest for an original battery I was told by hundreds of experts that I would never have an original, functioning Delco Freedom II battery and yet the photos included on this page speak for themselves. The battery you see in the photos is a fully functional and 100% accurate Delco Freedom II 89A-60 battery, installed in a 1981 Bright Yellow Camaro Z28. It was found in the warehouse of one of the original manufacturers for Delco, Atlantic Battery in Watertown, MA.

There are currently two ways to possess a battery which is accurate in appearance. One is to find an original case which has never been energized as a battery, and have it completed as a functional battery. In ten years of searching... which included the national distribution of "Want adds" and literally hundreds of phone calls to swap meet junkies, battery gurus, and everyone you can possibly imagine... I have only found two such battery cases. One of them is the battery you see in the photo on this page. An alternative way to possess a battery which is accurate in appearance is to find a used battery, have it gutted by cutting an access panel into the bottom of the battery, and inserting a smaller high amperage battery into the case. This is a slightly complicated procedure, and must obviously be done by a professional. One example of a professional build such as this was completed by a gentleman I will refer to as "Greg". You can see Greg's battery installed in his 1979 Pontiac Tran Am at . Greg also has some nice photos of the restoration process that he might be willing to share. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no reason to keep an old (Dead) battery around for 30 years and most Delco Freedom II batteries were discarded many years ago. In all of my travels I have found only six surviving Delco Freedom II batteries which could be gutted and converting to "Accurately appearing" batteries. Greg has one of those batteries in his '79 TA.

It may seem odd to dedicate a link to a singular topic like "Battery", but when we display the Bright Yellow '81 Z we almost always get more questions about the battery than any other feature of the car, as most Camaro and Corvette (It was also used in the Corvette) enthusiast "Freak out" when they see the battery.

Also included on this page is a link to a 1981 Delco Freedom II Battery Manual. Note that the manual does not specifically list the 89A-60 on the Camaro page, but does note that it is used interchangably with the 87A-60 on another page within the manual.

Don't give up... I'm sure batteries are out there and someday maybe someone will adopt the cause of an accurate reproduction!

1981 Delco Battery Manual



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