Thursday, March 24, 2016
Taking A Look Back At The IROC-Z Camaro
Camaro IROC-Z History
Back in 1984, Chevrolet wanted to produce a Camaro that would closely mimic the Camaros that were being used to race in the IROC (International Racing of Championship) series. So to help promote their new business idea, Chevrolet signed on to be the official sponsor of the IROC racing series. This move gave them permission to use the name IROC, which in turn spawned the birth of the road course king "IROC-Z Camaro".
Starting in 1985, the new IROC-Z became available to the public and would be produced as a Camaro performance option until 1990. The turn of the decade brought up the end of the licensing agreement with the IROC Racing Series. Chevrolet had other plans for the future of the Camaro and decided not to renew the sponsorship of the race series and dropped the IROC-Z from production.
For those years that the IROC-Z was in production, they became such a staple in the Camaro lineup that Camaro would drop the Z-28 from production for the years of '88, '89 and '90 and made the IROC-Z your primary high-performance option. Eventually, the Z-28 would come back into play in 1991 when Chevrolet halted the IROC-Z's production because without the licensing agreement they were no longer aloud to use the IROC name.
The IROC-Z: A Better Camaro
What mostly stood out about the IROC-Z is its 5.7-liter (350-cu.-in.) Tune-Port Injection (TPI) engine which was bigger than its sister motor, the 5.0-liter.
The 350 TPI came with a four-speed 700R4 automatic transmission and a special suspension package better known as the 1LE package that included: 4 wheel disk brakes, a 3.42 posi-traction rear-end, an aluminum drive shaft, large 12" front rotors, aluminum calipers, engine oil cooler, larger anti-roll bars, gas tank baffles and more aggressive springs that lowed the Camaro by .05 inches.
The special Camaro would also get 16-inch rims, an upgrade from the smaller 15-inch rims, more aggressive side-skirts on the body-kit, large IROC-Z decals on the doors and special trim.
Although throughout the years the IROC-Z was released from the factory with a few different trim options and setups like t-tops, controvertible, and even a 5-speed transmission, the most common options are mentioned above. It also should be noted that even though the 5.7-liter IROC Camaro was the most common and sought-after Camaro of the IROCs, if you are looking to buy an '85, you should know that you can find them with the bigger 5.7-liter engines, but they will not be original because in '85 they only came available with the smaller 5.0-liter TPI engine.
Unfortunately for the IROC-Z, it was produced in a time when power was not a priority and the horsepower and torque numbers it boasted back in the mid-to-late '80s, in a nut shell, sucked in comparison to today's sports cars. But the reason why the IROC-Z is a collector car and will stay a collector car is not because of its power outputs, but because of its limited production and its ties to the IROC racing series - plus the fact that when it was produced their competition had about the same lack of performance problems.
If you're searching for an IROC-Z, you must be careful for there are a lot of impostors out there. A lot of the exterior IROC-Z options such as the vented hood, front spoiler and ground effect options were available for order on regular Camaros and Z28s as well. So check the VIN numbers and do some research via. some reputable sources so you don't get screwed.
If you already own one, I would suggest saving it and passing it on to someone in your family, because in time they will be just as valuable as a Camaro from the Muscle Car era.