Fast Lane Flashback
The Chevrolet Camaro came roaring to life in 1967 in an effort to compete with the Ford Mustang. By the late 1970s, there was quite a bit of debate over how the next Camaro should appear. Though many pushed for it to move on to front-drive setup, the Camaro’s chief engineer determined that the third generation Camaro’s first priority was handling, and therefore it necessitated rear drive. While retaining rear drive, the Camaro also kept its traditional live rear axle, while replacing the old leaf springs with coils and double control arms with a pair of struts and springs. The car’s unibody was optimized as well, resulting in handling described as the best available during its time
By 1985, the revolutionized Camaro had a new name and an even newer design—now the Camaro IROC-Z. This new car was named after the International Race of Champions, a race car series sponsored by Chevrolet from the start of IROC-Z’s production, up to 1990, when Dodge took over sponsoring the series.
The 1985-1990 IROC-Z was originally option B4Z on the option sheet and appeared only as a performance and appearance package on the Z28 until it became its own trim level in 1988. The Camaro IROC-Z was truly the most iconic Camaro of the 80s. It was designed to ride fast with Tuned Port fuel injection (TPI), a lowered ride height complete with unique front struts, Delco-Bilstein rear shocks, and chassis reinforcements. In addition, the Camaro’s interior was pure muscle, including sport gauges and a speedometer with double needles depicting mph on one side, and kph in orange on the other. The muscle look carried over to the body kit complete with rocker panels with IROC-Z decals.
The IROC-Z made several developments through the years before eventually rolling to a stop in 1990. With each year of its production, the muscle car underwent several changes, including option choices, modifications to its brake lights, model color, gears, and wheels. To take a closer look at these changes, we’ll examine the Camaro year by year through its lifetime as the IROC-Z.
The 1985 - 1990 Chevrolet Camaro Iroc-Z
By: Lawren Dame \ Associate Editor \ May, 28 2014
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To start, as aforementioned, the IROC-Z’s birth brought forth several new changes to the Chevrolet Camaro. For example, like the other Z28s, every IROC-Z came with black painted headlight inserts; however, its ground effects were the same color as the body, whereas the Z28’s paint scheme were two-toned.
Other key defining elements of the first IROC-Z models were a lower ride height than the Z28, showcasing Bilstein rear shocks, 16-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle 245/50/16 tires, performance-calibrated front struts and springs, and skidpad numbers ranging within .90g. Out of everything offered under the hood, the Tuned Port Injection 305 (LB9) was by far the greatest feature, with 215 horsepower and 275 ft/lbs of torque, making the IROC-Z the most powerful automatic trans equipped IROC ever offered.