Better Act Fast! 1988 Camaro Iroc-Z

I know the late ’80s Camaros aren’t the most sought after generation of Camaro, but these are actually really fun cars to drive. And with some work, they can actually be decent performers. It has some issues, but it’s currently bid up to just $1,400 and only has a few hours left to go! For that price, this is an absolute steal. Even if it’s the 305 V8 and not the good old 350, this seems like a lot of fun for the money. You can bid on this Iroc-Z here on eBay in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, but if you want it, you best act fast!

By the time this Camaro was built, GM had discontinued the Z/28 package from the options list, making the Iroc-Z the highest option available. This one sadly isn’t a 1LE car, but having the Iroc-Z package will definitely increase the fun factor. Now if only it had a 5 speed instead of the slushbox automatic. For this kind of money though, I could easily live with an automatic. Heck, at this price I could do a manual transmission swap and still not break the bank. I do however, wish the seller’s photos of the engine were higher quality so that we could actually see the engine.

As early Camaro prices continue to climb, it’s only a matter of time before these 3rd generation cars become more collectible. The fuel injection might scare some people away, but as long as the engine runs smoothly, it should actually make this a much more practical daily driver. So do you think this one is worth taking a risk on and buying quick?

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Comments

  1. Charlie

    Not an IROC-Z, this is a base car with an L03 engine.

    • Josh Staff

      I knew it was too good to be true!

  2. erikj

    I will bet the price will wind up being ridiculously high. The days of a old school ride for a fair price are gone. Unless you have deep pockets, we will have to build it ourselves.

  3. Paul Cook

    I traded my I-Rock clone, notifying the person ” This is a Clone ” , to a 3 spd 69 mustang! The person was just starting college & wanted a sporty ride but didn’t wanna have to shift. You never know what might happen. It left me $750 in the 69 , with nothing hidden.

  4. SunbeamerStu

    Boss bought new a Camaro of this generation. It was truly a beautiful car, and was he proud. Two tone paint – coffee brown and creme (hey, it was the 80s), with a buckskin leather interior, and that deep V8 growl. Very fast for its day.

    Then a few weeks later came a phone call with word that his wife wrecked it. Never saw an adult throw a complete meltdown temper tantrum like that before or since.

    These cars have not aged well, IMHO. But in their time, they were a standout.

  5. Bill

    I think BF should do a little research before posting these things. that is obviously NOT an IROC Z IROCS said “IROC-Z” on the car… not just Camaro lol

    • Josh Staff

      Normally we would do a fair amount of investigating before we write up any vehicle, but it had less than 3 hours when I started on it. It looked like such an amazing deal, I took a risk and featured it going purely off the seller’s ad and what info I could find quickly online. That was my bad, but I wanted to get it posted before it ended, just in case it was the real deal.

      • Charlie

        No worries, Josh!

      • Jason

        Could you correct the title?

  6. George

    Not an IROC. And yes they did offer the Z-28 that year. I had an 88 RS. it was charcoal grey with silver grey ground effects and light grey cloth interior. Remember the car Patrick Swayze drove in the movie Next of Kin? Identical, other than the minor point that his movie car was. Z-28. Not an RS like mine, or an IROC.

    • nessy

      There was no Z28 in 88,89,or 90 George. There also was no RS in 88, the RS was new for 89 to replace the base Camaro that we are looking at here. The base Camaro with the new for 88 body skirts had different color skirts while the 89 RS now had matching color skirts to look more like an IROC-Z. It is very easy for anyone to get mixed up with all these changes Chevy made every year with these cars. Also, after 87, all Camaros, base or RS now had the 15 inch Z28 wheels to mix us up even more. The IROC-Z always had it’s unique wheels and of course it say IROC-Z on the doors.

      • Andrew

        My first car was a 1988 Chevy Camaro RS. So that’s wierd.were you around in 1988? Just wondering if your getting your facts from wiki or poor memory.

  7. Charlie

    Base car. Body damage. High miles. Rust bubbling up. That’s a $2500 car on a good day.

    • JRATT1956

      It sold for $1,701. More than I would pay for it. If it was something special it would of had a reserve.

  8. Rob

    This is a nice car however it’s just a z28 not an IROC z and it’s just a 305 about 145 HP that’s it

    • al8apex

      It is NOT a Z28, just a plain Jane Camaro

  9. Rustytech Member

    18 minutes left and has only reached $1475. Doesn’t look like a bad deal, but this car has been rode hard and put up wet way more than once. There’s going to be a lot of work needed here so be ready if you are the successful bidder. And be ready to wait a few years to profit on that investment.

  10. Charlie

    This car is NOT a Z28. It’s a BASE Camaro. The Z28 was discontinued as a separate model in 1987. In 1988, 89, 90 the IROC-Z WAS the Z28. After 1990 the IROC-Z was discontinued and the top model was renamed Z28. You guys need to brush up on your 3rd gen history. ;)

    • nessy

      About time someone here spoke up with correct Camaro facts. I thought I was the only one who knew. Base Camaros for 88 now came with the body skirts to look like a Z. No Z28 or Iroc came with that base steering wheel or a ventless hood. Well done Charlie.

      • Charlie

        Thanks!

    • JRATT1956

      I will not waste brain power knowing anything about 3 Gen Camaro’s 1,2,4 Gen or later for me. Night Rider ruined it for me when I knew they had to fake all the stunts, because the cars were so under powered. LOL.

  11. erikj

    Josh, cant get everything all the time!! I am no exception!! I feel I know a fair amount of classic car info,but by no means do I know it all. I learn something everyday. That’s a big reason I really enjoy B?F. Great web site. for us car aficionado’s.(hope I spelled that close LOL).I post a lot of comments on B/F and more time than I,d like to admit, I should look and read more before I comment.But that’s just me, and I do get a lot of thumbs up, and a few thumbs down.Dont care, just nice to voice my thoughts.
    I like this Camaro even though 2nd gens are my favorite. And it will be a collectable worth more as the years go on. They do drive nice, and put a good old 350 in it that’s warmed over and tear up the streets better then when it was a new z. This looks like just a reg. z-28. I seem to remember the Irocs had wheels close to these, but bigger and a lot cooler looking.

    • Charlie

      It’s NOT any kind of Z28. It’s a base Camaro.

  12. erikj

    Sold for $1701. Less than I would have guessed, a good deal.

    • Doug Towsley

      Still, $1701 is pretty cheap! It looked pretty decent and would not take much to spice it up, Anyone who thinks you did not have to do some work to get them during this era to perform is delusional,, but for a platform for a hot rod, its excellent material,. Would not cost much at all. Cams, headers, exhaust, some tuning tweaks, and you get a nice hot rod and with a little elbow grease and DIY you have a real performer for under $4k, $5k if you go crazy. Show me any other hot rod you could get those results with. $1701 was INDEED a bargain!

  13. JW454

    Yes, a base Camaro with a 305… Had a new one.

    • JW454

      Here it is.

  14. edh

    IROC, Camaro, Z28, RS whatever it is, you will be seeing the taillights of even the most humble econobox as they pull away from you when the light changes.

    • nessy

      Ahh, edh, if you think the most humble econobox will pull away from one of these cars, I guess you were never behind the wheel of a 350 Tuned Port Injected IROC-Z right? The base cars were one thing, an IROC-Z with the right drivetrain was a fast car. I still have my black 88 IROC-Z Convertible. It’s a hot looking car and plenty of power.

      • Ryan f

        Nessy I had an 85 black and gold iroc-z growing up it always drew a lot of attention and looked beautiful that’s pretty much where it ended as far as hype that thing was an overweight underpowered slug that rolled like a barrel in the curves and I even had aftermarket bushings,bars and shocks on it don’t hype these cars too much I don’t think I would use the word fast in the same sentence as iroc-z lol

      • nessy

        Well Ryan f, that’s because your IROC-Z had the base LG4 305 carb with the high speed rear as many of them did. Am I correct? You know I am. Tuned Ports and the H.O. first year 85 IROCS were fast. I’m not saying they were rockets but they did move out very well. Go drive a healthy Tuned Port 350 IROC-Z or 350 Trans Am GTA, you will be impressed with the power. One of the fastest cars on the road at the time. Go look up the old road tests and you will see. Just make sure the car you are reading about does not have the base LG4 305. Another IROC-Z myth, not all of them were fast but some really were. It depends on what drivetrain you ordered.

  15. DAN

    disposable cars

  16. JCW Jr.

    My wife had a 87 tuned port 350 with a chip. Even with the automatic it was an amazing car. I have had a few muscle cars and hers ranked right up there. After the original trans went never could get one built to hold up. So it went bye bye. She still misses that car. Looking back realize should have had it built by someone building race transmissions.

  17. Daniel

    I own an 88 IROC 350 TPI. The previous owner swapped the auto for a 5-speed. After fixing the combed up clutch, and giving the 5.7 some proper maintenance, it’s surprisingly quick, and the handling is fantastic.

    Granted, there are faster cars out there these days, but the overall balanced performance is impressive, and the presence the car has, along with the reaction I’ve gotten from many when they see it tells me that the car was worth every penny I paid for it.

  18. Brian Joseph

    Although this car is not an actual IROC, I bought one of the first IROCs in 85 with a tune port 305 engine and automatic. The car handled great,and looked killer. It wasn’t all the fast,ran 15.15 in the 1/4,exactly what the 1984 L69 z28 ran,that I bought new in 84..Good memories. ..

  19. Doug Towsley

    Couldnt give away cars like this a few years ago, but a lot of people grew up in the 1980s and now starting to have careers and a little money which is always a recipe for nostalgia so, YES,, these ARE climbing in value.
    I too prefer a stick shift but auto trans are no slouch either with a few tweaks. I have never been into the stall converter thing but have installed a number of Transdapt and B&M Shift kits and other upgrades and had really good performance. I always used the B&M Shifters as well. With the shift kits you can shift manually or let it it Autoshift. I have gotten a LOT of compliments on them so dont “Automatically” discount an auto tranny.
    When I was living overseas I spent time in Incirlik Turkey at the Air Base there (1980s). (39th CAMS) I had my 63 Nova SS and it was hotrodded but I had a neighbor off base in the village who was security Police and he had a mid to late 80s Blue w/ Silver IROC, that was a NICE CAR! It turned a LOT of heads. He had a lot of offers to sell it and finally did.

  20. Charles

    I own two of the thirdgen Trans AM cars, and they are not bad cars. The first car is an 82 WS7 with the 145 HP 305, a turbo 200 C trans, and a 3:23 10 bolt posi diff. The car is a little sluggish, but will hold its own with the econoboxes that most people drive these days. Think of Knightrider, only in white and you have the idea. The car is like new, original, unmolested, and well documented with 25 K actual miles on the clock. It is good for a 15 second quarter mile any day of the week, which by the way, is faster than most econoboxes. Although not fast by today’s standards, the car handles well and is fun to drive.

    The other car is an 86 WS6 with 31K miles on it. This car is also unmolested, and well documented. The 86 has the 305 Tuned Port, engine, 700R4 trans, and a 3:27 Nine Bolt posi diff. This car is good for mid 14’s in the quarter and will smoke both rear tires on command. The 305 Tuned Port is good for 205 HP, but produces good torque. We updated the computer and ended up with 227 RWHP from an otherwise stock car. The car is fun to drive and surprised me by holding it’s own in road rally conditions on winding mountain highways running with modern high performance cars. Where the drivers of modern Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers were probably using 30-40% of their cars potential to maintain speed as a group, my car was using 85-90% of its potential, however it managed to stay with the pack for over 130 miles with zero problems.

    My performance car is a 2015 Mustang GT Premium with all sorts of mods producing 475 RWHP, however I still have a blast every time I take one of the two old thirdgens out for a ride.

    The haters always discount these cars as disposable, low performers, and label them as junk without knowing anything about them. The truth is that the cars are well balanced, handle well, have decent quality, have unlimited potential for modification, and are constantly going up in value. Aftermarket support is good, and performance options are limitless. Show up at a Camaro or Firebird show and you will find all sorts of interesting specimens. You will find a few purest like me who keep low mileage originals, people who build on a budget, and the serious racers who install LS based engines and related running gear often producing 400-600 HP.

    Thirdgen cars are already catching the attention of collectors and builders all over the world and are considered to be the next on the list of desirable muscle cars. Of course the cars that are commanding the best prices are the low mileage unmolested highly optioned cars.

    You may want to think twice before challenging the owner of an 87 and up L98 powered thirdgen to a race. The Turbo T/A Pace Cars are also nothing to sneeze at. A running base Camaro with a V-8 and decent options for less than 2g’s is a decent buy. Many LS powered thirdgens started off as base cars with LG4 or V-6 engines.

    • mars2878

      I have a black & gold ’84 w62 t/a lg4/auto t-top car. its not as nice as yours, but I’m happy w/ it.
      my problem is finding w62 parts or doeskin interior pieces.
      my car came w/ doeskin interior, but people try to rape you on the prices because they think you are making a KITT clone & if you don’t pay the prices, somebody else will.
      the w62 pcs were on the ’83 dt500 cars & optional on the ’84 t/a’s. which is about 25000 cars total w/ that package.
      now add 33yrs & peoples disposable mentality.

      there is a lot aftermarket support for the 3rd gen models, which is good.
      bad for me & some others is that one reproduces the w62 parts.

      I have noticed over the last couple of years that the 3rd gen are rising in price, no matter the condition.

  21. Doug Towsley

    Thumbs up for Nessy, George & Charles for real knowledge and experience. Can I ask for some advice on overdrive trannies?
    I have considerable experience with powerglides and T-350 & T-400 doing shift kits, modulators and improved clutches and related bits in them but my experience is dated. 70s to early 90s.
    I want to upgrade and upcoming projects and want to use GM overdrive type trannies. Researched to some degree the 700R4, but have seen some ads in some magazines extolling the wonderful benefits of the 200C trans.
    What I am looking for is a 65 GMC truck that mixes farm duty to long distance hauling to events with a SBC V8, A late 60s Muscle car (Chevelle) and some rat rod projects that are fairly light but would be nice to mix off the line performance with good fuel economy and some freeway mileage.
    80s and 90s Camaros, Birds and other GM products are cheap and plentiful as donors for Posi rear ends, disc brakes and other parts. Any advice on what to look for regarding good years and models for Transmissions?,
    Also the same applies to 5 and 6 speed conversions? This would be really helpful to get some feedback from knowledgeable brain trusts. Thanks in advance!
    ( I have a 74 260Z Datsun with a kit car body and looking to do a V8 SBC conversion. I want to use a manual trans)

  22. Charles

    Hi Doug, The T-56 is the manual transmission used in most GM cars, however all T-56’s are not created equal. Transmissions internals are matched to the HP and torque of the engine it was originally installed in. For the best bang for the buck, a later model LS engine is the way to go. Many people use the 5.3 light truck engine for street rod conversions. The engines are similar to an LS, inexpensive, and bullet proof. A 4L80 truck trans is good if you want an automatic. The 700R4 can be built to be tough and handle 4-500 HP, and does not require a computer to operate. The lock up torque converter can be plumbed to a vacuum operated switch used in the early 80’s trucks. It all depends on what you want from it and how much you want to spend. Tremic makes five and six speed conversion kits for most vehicles, and are tough as nails, but are not GM. The posi rear ends used in the F-body cars are either 10 bolt GM units or 9 bolt Borg-Warner units. The BW’s are a little tougher, but harder to find, and frankly there are better diffs available. A 12 bolt GM or a Ford 9 inch converted to GM specs are the best choices for rear-ends. A 305 GM engine is pretty limited for mods, and if you are going to use a small block go for a 350. And of course all 350’s are not created equal. Some people love the T200’s. I think that they are a piece of junk, however everyone has an opinion. The 200C in my 82 TA runs like a clock, however the car does not get driven hard, and only sees a couple of hundred miles each year. The 145 HP stock 305 is not making enough power to stress the unit. There are people who build 200’s for major power for racing, but for my money I would use a powerglide for drag racing and a T350 or 400 for a HP street car. You also have the option of a Gear Vendors or US Gear overdrive unit, although the 700R4 can be made to work well with the right internals.

  23. Ryan f

    Actually since the time limit has expired for me to respond to mr. IROC nessy himself you are wrong sir I dropped twenty grand in my IROC rebuilding it from the ground up and it did not have a carbed engine i put a later model tpi 350 in it junked the crappy 700r4 tranny and ten bolt rearend put a 9 inch rear end with an auburn posi-trac unit and a turbo 350 tranny with an upgraded Ecm bilsteins shocks and struts and poly-urethane bushings throughout the entire car and stronger,thicker bars on it front and back and it was nothing I would take to a street race or auto cross event unless I planned on losing I grew up around fast cars and street rods my whole life I’ve owned every generation of camaro I’ve owned vettes and drove about anything that had speed attached to the name I now own a 2017 roush mustang and aside from the crappy handling it’s one of the fastest cars I’ve ever driven aside a Porsche 928 and an nsx I’m starting to wonder if you fellas have ever driven something that truly handles well and is fast ?

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