9,800 Mile 1LE: 1991 Chevy Camaro

When it comes to vintage cars you can use for track days and high-performance driving events, most enthusiasts who aren’t millionaires focus on standard-bearers like the E36 chassis BMWs, or a challenge series that features showroom stock Mazda Miatas. Rarely does their exist a car like the Camaro 1LE, a factory-built track car that offers tremendous performance upside without the price tag associated with the likes of a Porsche 911 or Mustang Cobra R. Find this Camaro 1LE here on Hemmings for $19,900.

While the 1LE may seem like a familiar name to you given it was available with fifth-generation Camaros, the initial offering on cars like these was very limited. Similar to ACR Neons and hopped-up SVT cars, you had to be in the right circles of HPDE-drivers to know to walk into your local Chevy dealer and ask for a Camaro uniquely set up with a heavy-duty suspension, weight-savings measures, an aluminum driveshaft, fuel tank baffles, and re-worked gearing in fifth on the manual transmission cars. An engine oil cooler was also added.

What’s interesting about this 1LE Camaro is that it went straight to a privateer from new. Many of these cars were immediately sold to racing teams straight from the dealer, which isn’t a bad thing but also means you’re buying a car that was likely heavily massaged for track day use. This example does have some upgrades, like the Recaro-style bucket seats, full roll cage, and Momo steering wheel, but it otherwise remains in the condition it left the factory in with just 9,800 original miles. The seller claims the Camaro has no issues keeping up with 911s when the track turns twisty.

You could order your 1LE with the 350 paired to an automatic or the 305 mated to the 5-speed manual, like this car. The seller notes some further tweaks at the hands of a recognized performance shop: “I had Morrison Motorsports do a major upgrade in 1995. 305 replaced with a upgraded L98 World Challenge motor, Centerforce clutch, Hurst shifter, Dana 44 complete 3.54 HD rear axle, shock tower brace, ceramic coated headers, etc.” While it’s not stock, it’s been meaningfully upgraded, and remains just original enough to ensure a special car like a 1LE will never lose its value, even as it’s used as intended.

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Comments

  1. poseur Member

    Ultimate mullet-mobile.
    I want it!

    6
  2. 68custom

    should come with every Van Halen and Ratt cassette ever recorded, ahem and a radio and speakers! seriously, these are no joke. cool ride! a genuine race car!

    6
  3. Ike Onick

    But it is not a 1LE anymore, is it? It’s just another Camaro in a world of “Just Another Camaro(s)”

    2
  4. YankeeTR5

    I don’t know Ike, I’m guessing the options list still list it as 1LE. Besides the 1LE package for these cars were all about handling and braking on the assumption that, as a meant to be raced car, drivetrain would be breathed on to whatever regulations would allow. For instance, the L98 installed in this car was an option available when this car was new (just not with a manual). Its mostly all there and in really good condition.
    This is a pretty rare car. Total Gen 3 Camaro 1LE production numbers:
    1988 – 4
    1989 – 111
    1990 – 60 (IROC only number)
    1991 – 478
    1992 – 86

    The 90 and 92 numbers may be off a bit due to how the data was parsed. In any case, given all the track specific parts added make these a very interesting car collectorwise. Certainly the release of the new 1LE Camaro as very purpose built has made enthusiast take a new shine to these.

    7
    • Ike Onick

      @Yankee- I stand in awe of your Camaro knowledge and it is always good to learn something everyday. I was trying to point out, and did not do a very good job, that if one really wanted a 3rd generation 1LE, there are probably more “original” copies available.

      2
      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Maybe, Ike, maybe. But not many, eh?

        1
  5. YankeeTR5

    Not my knowledge…..my son and I are supposed to pick up an 87 Trans Am GTA and while looking into Gen 3 I came across this (scroll down a bit to get to the numbers, although I like the initial write up too):

    https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/history-originality/494204-read-me-before-asking.html

    The cool thing about the low production cars are they were/are all purpose built for some type of performance(like the 1LE), not just accessory packages. Gen 3 had some pretty cool things going on, all in all. I guess when I look at my cars (two coachbuilt Alfa’s and the TR5) I like those low numbers thing and there’s some pretty low numbers in there.

    1
    • Ike Onick

      Very cool. Thanks for the info. I was also mistaken in thinking the 1LE was the “Police” package. Not doing too well tonight! Back to Corvetteville where I know just enough to get into trouble.

      2
  6. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    The original engine is missing? Surely this has to hit it hard.

    3
  7. Last 1LE

    RPO 1LE was also available on Firebirds and was offered on both $th-generation Camaros and Firebirds into very early 1999. Several 3rd-gen 1LE Camaros were sold at the recent Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. They well all unmolested originals and the prices were double to triple the ‘ask’ on this car. 1LE Firebirds are much rarer than the Camaros (total 3rd- and 4th-gen 11-year production of 236 vs. somewhere around 1,400-1,700 Camaros). Details and components changed or evolved every model year, and differed between Camaros and Firebirds — while there was one F-Body Chief Engineer there were separate engineering teams for Camaros and Firebirds. Multi-time SCCA National Champion John Heinricy was the last F-Body Chief Engineer, and his engineering skills are very evident on the ‘late’ 1LEs. All of the 1LEs are hardcore, street-driveable yet ready to take no prisoners at an autocross or rip off some fun hot laps at a track day.

    I’m fairly well acquainted with these cars — I own one of the 20 Firebird 1LEs built in model year 1999. It’s the pewter car that was in several period magazines including a ‘FIRST DRIVE” in the April 1999 Road & Track and ‘ACCELERATION NATION’ in the July 1999 issue of Popular Mechanics ( ran 13.15 at 108.27 mph at Pomona, on the original equipment 275/40ZR17 Goodyear Eagles. And as to the 1LE’s racing cred’s, a ’98 1LE Firebird won the IMSA Motorola Cup series in 1998.

    4

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