Sunday, June 27, 2021

IROC-Z Camaro: Chevrolet's 1980s Road Course Legend

 

Camaro IROC-Z



IROC-Z Camaro 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 Race of Championship) Racing Series. 

The good idea was pushed forward when Chevrolet signed on to be the official sponsor of the IROC Racing Series. This move gave Chevrolet permission to use the name IROC on their Camaros, which in turn spawn the birth of the road course king, "IROC-Z Camaro".


The IROC-Z Start

Starting in 1985, the new IROC-Z became available to the public and would go on to 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 with 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, Chevrolet would drop the Z-28 from production for the years of '88, '89, and '90. The IROC-Z would become your primary choice if you wanted a performance-based Camaro. 

When Chevrolet halted production for the IROC-Z because of their licensing agreement end with the IROC Racing Series, they also had to drop the IROC-Z nameplate. After a few years on hiatus, the Z28 performance package was brought back for 1991.  


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. 

5.7 Liter Camaro Engine



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
  • 3.42 positraction rear-end 
  • An aluminum driveshaft
  • Large 12" front rotors
  • Aluminum calipers
  • Engine oil cooler
  • Gas tank baffles 
  • Larger anti-roll bars
  • Specially valved Delco-Bilstein shocks
  • Larger diameter sway bars
  • Steering/frame brace known as the "wonder bar" and
  • More aggressive springs that lowed the Camaro by .05 inches.


1989 IROC-Z Camaro



The special Camaro would also get 16-inch rims, an upgrade from the smaller 15-inch rims, more aggressive side-skirts for 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 trim options are mentioned above. 

Important? It should be noted that although the 5.7-liter IROC-Z Camaros are the most common and sought-after Camaros of all the IROCs, if you're looking to buy an '85, you can find them with the bigger 5.7-liter engines, but they will not be original. In '85, they only came available with the smaller 5.0-liter engine.

5.0-Liter Camaro 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 in the mid-to-late '80s 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 connection to the IROC Racing Series and its road course capabilities. 

Shopping for an IROC-Z Camaro

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 effects options were available for order on regular Camaros, Z28s, and can be bought as aftermarket pieces. So check the VIN numbers and do some research via. some reputable sources before you go laying down big money.

Red IROC-Z



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.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

First Camaro Ever Built: #N100001 Found and Restored

 

First Camaro before restoration.


First Production Camaro

All restorations of iconic vehicles and their facts are very important to the history of the model's bloodline. Where a vehicle's been, who has owned it, special stories of the vehicle, and what makes a vehicle worth restoring in the first place are all things that are very important to the restoration process. 

When Camaro #100001 (the first Camaro ever built) was found, and the attempt to restore it back to its original condition was on its way, just finding out the whole 50-year history of the Camaro took two years alone. Tracking down the owners and recording all their backstories and adventures they had with the vehicle was just part of the process of restoring something so important to automotive history.  


Why The First Camaro Matters




This special 1967 Camaro started out as a 230 cu.-in. 3-speed sports coupe with a Bronze exterior color and tan interior. It was a far cry from what it ending up being before its restoration, a beat-up old-looking '80s style drag car with a roll-bar, slicks, a hood scoop. 

First Camaro Ever Built


The restoration would include all the options the Camaro had on it back in 1966 including the original engine, trans, whitewall tires, push-button radio, front antenna, and a deluxe seat-belt package. 


For a Deeper Look at the First Camaro Ever Built, Check Out the 18 min. Video Below. 








Thursday, June 17, 2021

2022 Corvette IMSA Special Edition Stingray

2022 Corvette C8.R



2022 Corvette IMSA Special Edition

The 2022 Corvettes are pretty cool as they are, but to pay tribute to the success Chevrolet and Corvette had with the C8.R in the 2021 IMSA inaugural racing season, a special edition Corvette will be available in 2022. Corvette's C8.R and the Corvette team did exceptionally well for Chevrolet last year, winning the manufacturers', drivers', and team titles in the IMSA sportscar championship series. 


2022 Corvette Stingray R8.6


IMSA Corvette Appearance Package

The 2022 Corvette Stingray ISMA GLM Championship Edition sports/supercar comes with a unique appearance package and all the small mechanical upgrades the Corvette will receive for 2022. Unforntelty, at least I was led to believe, that Corvette was not just going to settle on the C8 the way it was, but from what we know now, not many changes are going to find their way to the 2022 Corvette. Hopefully, mid-way through 2022, talks will start getting fired up about some of the major changes that have been discussed in the past e.i. eRay LT2 AWD hybrid and single and twin-turbocharged versions of the Vette.


2022 C8.R Corvette


The IMSA Corvette Stingray appearance package will include two color combinations: Accelerate Yellow with Gray corvette racing graphics and Hypersonic Gray with yellow accents. These special Corvettes will be outfitted with the larger rear wing and mirrors crafted in Carbon Flash.


2022 C8.R Rear Spoiler


They will also include black rocker guards and splash guards, yellow brake calipers, and Black Trident wheels with "Jake" logos on the center cap. On the interior, you get a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque along with an interior design that follows your chosen exterior look. Yellow seat belts will come with Corvette's GT2 seats, or you can opt for the competition bucket seats for the all-around racing feel and vibe. 


2022 Corvette Interior

 


All special edition Corvettes will be sold as a 3LT model with the Z51 package, which is Corvette's highest trim. You will also get a special edition indoor car cover that matches your special edition color scheme. Expect to pay an extra $6,595 for the package along with the extra cost of the 3LT Z51 package. There will only be an official 1,000 models made, so expect for the price tag to be high and the car to be rare to find. 



C8.R Corvette


What's New for the 2022 Corvette Stingray

As mentioned above, not much will be changing. Even the horsepower and torque rating will be staying the same for the 6.2-liter LT1 (490 hp and 495 torque), which is still a good number. 

According to Chief Engineer Josh Holder, the Corvette injection system will be operating at a higher pressure which will help the 6.2-liter small-block get better emissions and better stability at idle RPMs. There have also been some other changes to the enhanced "Active Fuel Management" range. 

The Corvette will now deactivate cylinders over a broader range of RPMs and in lower gears. Although the hope would be to get better EPA ratings, there has been nothing noted yet.   

The few last changes will be aerodynamic changes that probably won't be too noticeable. So if you were wondering if the C8 was going to be another long stretch of similar-looking Corvette's year-after-year like previous generations, that's the way it's looking.  



Sunday, June 6, 2021

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition (LT4)

1997 SS Camaro SLP 30th Anniversary


1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary  SLP Edition

Anniversary Editions are always fun. Special stripes, badges, and performance upgrades find their way onto a limited number of stock versions of a vehicle to celebrate the special year. 

Although anniversary additions usually see minor changes, that wasn't the case when it came to the 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition. All of the 30th Anniversary Camaros (RS, Z-28, and SS) seen an eye-popping color scheme and 30th Anniversary badges placed throughout the interior, but a few SS Camaros (US 100 – Canada 6 – Prototype 2) got much more than just a few minor upgrades and a cool looking color scheme. Those few special Camaro SS received a stout LT4 5.7-liter engine installed by SLP.



1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Card


Where Did The Color Scheme for the Anniversary Edition Camaro Come From?

The color scheme is a throwback to the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Camaro. Just like in '69, the '97 30th Anniversary Camaro was painted Arctic White accompanied by a set of Hugger Orange racing stripes that graced the hood, deck-lid, and roof of all of the 1997 Anniversary Editions (unless it was a convertible). 

The All-Important 330 HP Badge

They all may have looked the same and had the same embroider badges on the seats and the floor mats, but only a select few got to wear the all-important 330-hp badge indicating an LT4 under the hood.

Almost all of the Anniversary Editions came with stock engines that matched their trim package except for those few lucky SS Camaros that got to take the trip to SLP Engineering after they rolled off the assembly line.

SLP Engineering was able to get their hands on extra leftover LT4 motors that were used in the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport a year earlier. Before SLP bolted these LT4 motors into the Camaros, they broke each of the engines down and had them balanced and blue-printed. 

LT4 Camaro SS engine



On paper, the LT4 was documented to get 330-hp at 5,800 RPM and reached its max torque at 4,500 RPM. But many car enthusiasts and automotive professionals believe this motor that had 10.8:1 compression was definitely underrated.



SLP SS Camaro


More SLP Camaro Upgrades

The 1997 Camaro SS with the SLP LT4 upgrade also received a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission, a performance exhaust, a lightweight driveshaft, Bilstein sport suspension (optional level III Bilstein suspension package), and a Torsen limited-slip differential. All those extras were good to get you from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. 

With the explosion of technology in the auto industry, that may not seem so amazing in this generation, but back in 1997, that was the fastest production American sports car on the market. There were no American sports cars at that time that could be bought from a dealer that went that fast.

330 HP Badge SS Camaro



Identifying a 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT-4 SLP Edition

So how do you tell if what you're looking at or what you own is one of these rare 30th Anniversary SLP LT4 SS Camaros? Regular SS 30th Anniversary Camoros are commonly mistaken for these very rare SLP Editions, and that's because they're easy to pass off as one. 

All of the SLP LT4 Editions rolled off the line and out of the factory as an LT1 before being shipped off for the special treatment. That means even SLP LT4 SS Camaros will still indicate that it is an LT1 Camaro SS in the Vin#. 

First, to either begin or end the discussion of is it a true SS or not, look at the trim options. If it's anything other than a white SS hardtop with Huggar Orange stripes, your SS is not an SS LT4 SLP Limited Edition.  

There are a few places on the Camaro that will definitely give you the information you want if it wasn't removed post-SLP Treatment. Right above the rear bumper on the opposite side of the SS emblem, a special edition 330-hp badge will let you know if it's an LT4 SLP, but these can be easily applied to regular SS Cmaros. 

To get to the bottom of your research, you want to look inside the driver's side door and or inside the glove box to find the RPO code. This should indicate if it has been in the hands of the SLP engineers. But if you're still not sure what you are looking at, you can always call SLP Engineering, they are sure to have records of what Camaros they got their hands on.

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT4 SLP Edition



If you do have a true LT4 SS 30th Anniversary Camaro in your sights, you're looking at a true collectible. These cars will eventually sell on the Barrett Jackson block like the COPO Camaros do right now. They're good-looking, powerful, rare, and fun to drive.

Happy Hunting!