IROC-Z Camaros are extremely recognizable by almost all Camaro lovers and general car enthusiasts alike. 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 in turn, Chevrolet would sign on to be the official sponsor of the racing series, giving them permission to use the name, which in turn spawned the birth of the IROC-Z.
Starting in 1985, the new IROC-Z became available to the public and would be produced and available to the public up until 1990. This is when Chevrolet’s licensing agreement with the IROC racing series would be up for renewal. Chevrolet had other plans for the future of the Camaro and decided not to renew sponsorship of the race series and dropped the IROC-Z from production.
What a lot of people don’t know about the Camaro is that the Z-28 would be dropped from the production line-up for the years of ’88 and ’89 and the IROC-Z would be your only high performance option until Chevrolet halted its production and reintroduction the Z-28 in 1991.
What mostly stood out about the IROC-Z is its 5.7/350 TPI motor, which was bigger than its sister motor — the 5.0/305. 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 rear end, an aluminum drive shaft, large 12″ front rotors, aluminum calipers, engine oil cooler, larger anti-roll bars, gas tank baffles and there were also numerous spring rates available giving it a much more aggressive look by lowering it by .05 inches. The special Camaro would also get 16-inch rims, an upgrade from the smaller 15-inch rims, more aggressive body kit skirts, large IROC-Z decals on the doors and special trim.
Although throughout the years there were different options released from the factory like t-tops, 5-speed transmission and other trim options, the most common option are mentioned above. It also should be noted, that even though 5.7/350 is the most common and sought after IROZ-Z, if you are looking to buy a ’85, you should know that you can find them with 5.7/350 motors, but they will not be original, because in ’85 they only came available with the smaller 5.0/305 motors.
Although the IROC-Z 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 would get laughed off the race track with today’s technology putting it to shame. 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 the reasons Chevrolet put it into production in the first place.
If you’re searching for an IROC-Z, you must be careful for there are a lot imposters out there. A lot of the exterior IROC-Z options such as the vented hood, front spiller and ground effect options where available for order on regular Camaro’s and Z28 as well. So check the VIN numbers and do some research on the Internet 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 ’69 Camaro SS.