Your car has the same tranny...the 4L60E. I had the same issue.....here is the reason!
Your car must be an LT1/4L60E auto w/ 2:73 rear gears (std.). The EPA tests a vehicle for noise emissions at (I think) 50 MPH in the lowest possible gear. With the 2.73 rear gear, that means that the testing would have to be done in 1st gear. Since the car wouldn't pass the noise emission test, GM had to "lock out" 1st gear on 2.73 gear camaro Z's. (3.42 rear gear equipped Z's had to be tested in 2nd, hence the selectible 1st gear).
To eliminate this "lock out", it is really easy. Follow these steps:
1.) Pull up the shifter plate cover off the console (it just snaps up in the back).
2.) You will see in the "1st" position, a gray plastic block molded into ribbed shift selector (the thing that locks the shifter into the gear detents).
3.) Get a sharp knife (a serrated steaknife worked well) and carfully cut off the molded plastic block.
4.) WALA! You now can select 1st gear. If you want, you can purchase then new lens with "1" on it from Chevrolet...but it isn't necessary...
Hope this helps,
Steve McCorry - Central Ohio Camaro Club
'69 Camaro RS/SS-350 - Daytona Yellow
'95 Camaro Z-28 - Sebring Silver
click here to see my car ---> www.mindspring.com/~mccorry
[This message has been edited by mccorry (edited 07-26-2000).]