Affordable Driver: 1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS

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Buying a classic car requires deep commitment because, for many, it represents a luxury purchase. Cost is often prohibitive, meaning some abandon their dreams. However, this 1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS may ride to the rescue, as it is undeniably affordable. It could serve as an equally effective weekend cruiser or a daily driver, and it is ready to find a new home. The seller has listed the Camaro here on Facebook Marketplace in Appleton, Wisconsin. It could be yours for $6,500, and I must say a big thank you to wonderfully named Barn Finder Lothar… of the Hill People for spotting this tidy classic.

The RS badge rejoined the Camaro range in 1989, serving as the entry-level offering. Chevrolet value-added to the Camaro range in 1989, with the RS receiving similar aerodynamic features like the spoilers and side skirts found on the more sporting variants. The strategy worked, with 83,487 buyers ordering an RS Coupe and 3,245 driving away in a Convertible. This RS makes a positive impression in Dark Red Metallic. The seller doesn’t mention repairs or restoration, and the prone surfaces, like the front bumper and spoiler, are remarkably free from chips and marks. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and there is no evidence of leaking T-Top seals. One thing this Camaro lacks is rust. The seller supplies several underside shots showing nothing that could cause its new owner sleepless nights. The plastic and glass are in good order, and the factory alloy wheels show no signs of stains or physical damage.

One aspect of classics from the 1980s that is prone to deterioration is interior trim. There was nothing inherently bad about many of the materials utilized during the era. It is simply that over three decades of use and exposure to UV rays can take a toll. This Camaro is no exception, although its presentation is okay for someone seeking a survivor or driver-quality classic. The carpet, particularly in the front footwells and rear cargo area, exhibits stains that are probably beyond deep cleaning. A replacement set retails for around $280, and fitting this would make a significant difference. The state of the front seat upholstery under the slipcovers is unknown, with the remaining vinyl and cloth looking pretty respectable. There are no issues with the dash or console, and the CD player appears to be the only addition. The new owner doesn’t score power windows. However, the air conditioning, cruise control, and tilt wheel should make life on the road quite comfortable.

Lifting the hood reveals what might cause some potential buyers to turn their backs on this Camaro. Those expecting a V8 will be disappointed because the engine bay houses the entry-level 2.8-liter V6, teamed with a five-speed manual transmission. The powerplant should produce 135hp and 165 ft/lbs of torque, launching the car through the ¼-mile in 17.2 seconds. That isn’t fast, but the situation could be worse. The ET would have nudged eighteen seconds had the first owner selected the four-speed automatic. However, there is another factor to consider. The V6 may not be a powerhouse, but it is relatively fuel-efficient. Therefore, this RS could function as a practical daily driver. The seller states the vehicle recently received a new exhaust system and distributor, listing an odometer reading of 45,000 miles. They don’t mention evidence confirming the originality of the reading, so it must be taken at face value. The car is a turnkey proposition, making flying in and driving home a viable option.

This 1989 Camaro RS won’t appeal to buyers seeking a high-performance model, but it is an undeniably affordable, tidy classic. It would be ideal for someone contemplating dipping their toe into the water of classic car ownership who doesn’t want to get in above the neck. There is another alternative that some may find irresistible. Slipping something more potent under the hood is possible, and with a ready supply of candidate engines, that is a tempting idea. What would you do if you found this RS in your garage?

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Big and beautiful even with the 6. One of GM’s finest.

    Like 17
  2. Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

    This is nice, and I would just drive it and enjoy it with the 2.8 V6 and the 5 speed. All the traffic we have now, where are you going to be able to go fast anyhow. And to get decent gas mileage would be nice too.

    Like 17
  3. Matt

    In November of 1989 i walked into our local Chevy dealer where they had several 89s on the lot highly discounted as the 90s were also present. $10,995.oo plus sales tax for a V6 5 spd charcoal gray. My sis already had an 85 sport w this V6 and it hadnt required anything in its 100K miles except an injector cleaning. The deal was nearly done for something like $236/month with my 1000.oo down payment. Dad reminded me i needed to call his insurance agent,which i did. They wanted $3100 a year,even with the highest deductible. Which would have been a higher monthpy than the car itself. Had to walk out.

    Like 12
    • Greenhorn

      And what ads do you see on TV as much as pharmaceutical ads? Car insurance. If I had 1% of the money they spent on ads…

      Like 8
  4. Eddie Pennsylvania

    $6500 is a steal with the 6, particularly given the condition of the rest of the car. Great color and intact T-tops? Sign me up. I mean, hell, the 305 (302?) only put out, what, like 30 more HP? Buy it, enjoy the hell out of it, and maybe dig up a V8 to install some boring winter. An LS would be cost prohibitive, but I bet you could find an era-appropriate 8 for pennies on the dollar, possibly one that will mate to the existing transmission with little issue. GLWTS!

    Like 9
  5. Big C

    If I found this RS in my garage? I’d call the police to evict the squatter. Because I sure as heck didn’t buy it.

    Like 2
  6. Nelson C

    Sharp looking RS with good features. The six won’t win races but the stick should be fun and it has that snarky exhaust note. Drive and enjoy.

    Like 8
  7. James

    Calm down, no one is forcing you to buy it.

    Like 7
  8. rbig18

    Had a Camaro (88 Z car), these were not well built, rattle traps, electronics failed, interior fell apart quick. They did however look decent and handled ok. To make this worth it to me, the engine, tranny and rear go bye bye. Simple 350 SBC with mild roller cam, AFR heads, Moser 3.73 rear end and Tremec 5 Speed. Be underwater water, but finally one of these that’s fun to drive (and listen to).

    Like 3
  9. zchris87v

    I daily drove one of these for a few years in the late-2000’s, albeit a 1991 (so it had the 3.1L V6. It’s light enough that it’s not a bad car to drive (just load the back up with sandbags in winter). The dual air intake is a nice addition which I added to mine, and helps it breathe much better. I really have a soft spot for third gens as I was the only kid rolling around in one at 21, and people always thought of me when they saw one. Was with me through some very defining points in my life and really felt like the movies when people saw it parked outside and knew I was there. Luckily I still have mine and it’ll be restored.

    Like 7
  10. Org ... of the Bog People

    That Lothar really comes up with some good barn finds… He’s one of the best.
    ~ Org… of the Bog People

    Like 2

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