Capsule Review: 1985-1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
GM leased the IROC-Z name for the Camaro from the International Race of Champions starting in 1985 thru 1990. To befit this racing pedigree, the Camaro came equipped with the special 305 TPI 5.0L V8 engine coupled with a four-speed automatic fun sponge, as the regular 5-speed manual proved incapable of handling the 215bhp the motor burbled out. The fun didn’t stop there however; the upgrades continued in the form of revised springs, a lowered ride height, Tune Port fuel injection, and a body kit complete with 80’s awesome stickers to remind the SVO Mustang who was boss. The Camaro didn’t need no stinking double wing, a lip spoiler would do just fine.
All these efforts resulted in an incredibly wheel spin happy, hard riding, shaky contraption built to thrill from stoplight to stoplight. Toss the overboosted helm into a turn, and you’ll realize how advanced even the most basic of suspensions are in the 21st century, as the IROC-Z followed the mantra of “harder is better” to an absolute fault. However, the tuned bits from the Corvette helped out where it’s really important: smoky powerslides. Sure the Mustang might possess a bit more technical sophistication, but the Camaro always outran it. The sheer grunt of the engine and the indestructible nature of the 700-R4 tranny made for an easily tuned, reliable drivetrain; shame about the rest of the build quality.
The interior of the Camaro reflected more muscle car than the Mustang, with sport gauges complete with an interesting double-needle speedo showing mph on oneside, kph on the other (in orange). The sporty looks continued on the outside to culminate in one of the meanest looking “folded paper” designs of the 1980’s. White Trash no, future classic, yes.
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