Like A CD At The Bank: 1986 Camaro IROC-Z

My travels took me by the bank today for a withdrawal, as it always seems to be, and I noticed that they were offering around 2% interest on long term certificates of deposit.  Of course, this advertisement was not aimed at me.  They get mad when you try to open an IRA with pennies and lint.  However, it made me think of collector cars and how the landscape is shifting when it comes to looking at them as investments.  Some cars that were previously considered solid investments, such as 1955-1957 Thunderbirds, seem to have lost a bit of that luster, while the hotter cars of the eighties and nineties are financially on the rise.  One of the best examples of rising prices are IROC-Z Camaros like this 1986 model, found on craigslist in Jasper, Tennessee.  While the $13,500 asking price is steep, the spectacular condition may warrant it over the long run.

The seller tells us that this T-top equipped Camaro has just 36,000 miles on the odometer, and it has been a one owner car.  Furthermore, the car has benefitted from always being garaged, and has been well cared for.  While the seller tells us that it has always had regular oil changes, there probably haven’t been that many of them with the car having traveled so few miles.  What is for sure is that the car has been well taken care of.

From the rear, we see that the car has benefitted from an aftermarket sun shade for the rear hatch.  Certainly this would be a welcome addition for both cooling down the interior in summer months and doing quite a bit to prevent the interior area under the hatch from fading.  Many of the GM cars you see from this era suffer from UV deterioration, and the aftermarket has not yet made huge strides in offering replacement interior parts and fabrics.  One good thing we see in the photo above is that this car has tuned port injection, which was only offered in the strongest small block V-8 in the Camaro engine lineup.  Packing 305 cubic inches, these engines put out 190 horsepower and 285 lbs.-ft. of torque.  Considered anemic today, IROC-Zs were one of the fastest cars made in 1986.


Inside, we see that the owner’s obsession with keeping this car in perfect condition extended into the interior as well.  Everything we can see in the picture is in perfect condition, from the seats to the carpet and the dash as well.  The only drawbacks are the manual windows and door locks, and the automatic transmission.  As for the gearbox, if you ordered the V-8 with the tuned port fuel injection system, the four speed automatic was all you could order for a transmission.

I wish we knew more about the other options this car was equipped with from the factory.  Chevrolet offered some interesting selections for Camaro buyers in 1986, such as four wheel disc brakes, a limited slip differential with a performance axle ratio, heavy duty suspension, and a heavy duty cooling system.  If it is a one owner car, then the seller surely has the window sticker, or can at least provide a list of the options the car was sold with.  When you analyze the values of first generation Camaros, the option list pretty much determines the value, with all other things being equal.  As time passes and more people feel the need to put one of these in their garage, well optioned cars in excellent condition will soar far above lesser cars in price.  This Camaro could be an excellent investment, but more information is needed.


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  1. Alan (Michigan) Member

    Automatic transmission.

    But still, the wheels remain as some of the most favorite for style ever put on a GM car.

  2. john s.

    Sigh…still faster than a manual

  3. Ryanf

    I had an 85 iroc anybody that considers these a future investment is crazy that thing was a boat anchor

    • Dan

      The rear window lovers on the ’86 in the artical ARE NOT AFTERMARKET. They could be ordered from the factory as an option. If your going to do reports, check your info out more thoroughly Barn Finds

      I ordered an ’87 5.7 (350tpi) loaded in December of 1986, this motor was a mid year option for 1987. And the lovers were part of the upgrades available. I sold this car in 2005 with 20,200 miles for $15,000.

      • Mark

        I was looking like that is not aftermarket my uncle came with shade

      • RobQc

        You are so right Dan after I purchased my car the sun was so bad coming from the rear glass that I ordered the louver for my IROC you had to assemble them but it was worth it

      • Jeff Bennett Staff

        I was aware that rear window louvers were an option for $210.00. However, what looks to be a brand sticker on one of the side louvers made me think that it was an aftermarket unit that was either installed by the customer after purchase or one of the many accessories that dealers add to build up their profit on car sales. Usually Chevrolet factory accessories don’t have stickers on them.
        I apologize for my ignorance. I’ll try harder next time.

      • TriPowerVette

        +Jeff Bennett – Don’t apologize Jeff. Your reasoning was inassailable. As I said at the beginning of this article, I wish all BF Staff were as coherent and meticulous as you. Thumbs up.

    • RobQc

      I don’t no what engine was in your 85 but the high output 5.0 was a blast my cousin had a 85 with 190 HP auto and it was fast I think that engine was still available until 86.

  4. TriPowerVette

    +Jeff Bennett – This was the PERFECT writeup for this car. “…for the time…one of the fastest” & “anemic” both apply. Your scrupulous attention to identifying “then” and “now” correctly, as well as the absolute of timeless attributes is flawless.

    190 H.P., backed with an automatic would have made me cry in my breakfast food. Back then, I had my 2nd TriPower Corvette, which cost a fraction of what a new one of these would have cost, and could spank one, even had it one of the aftermarket superchargers.

    About the only advantages it had were pure stock handling, and some interior refinements. Otherwise; (as I’ve said before), the Automotive Dark Ages For American Automobiles (or, ADAFAA – I coined it), lasted from the mid-late 1970’s, through the mid-late 1980’s.

    • Scotty

      Yea that may be true on your Corvette. But the women of the 80s liked this car a lot more

      • TriPowerVette

        +Scotty – “Women of the 80’s” were not women, they were high school girls, who liked anything their high school (or college freshmen) boyfriends came up with. Sadly, there were a lot of stupid parents who bought these for their children.

        As for my Corvettes, they were (and are) some of the most startling performers ever built. However; I got few girls with those Corvettes that I had. However; when I got my Porsche 911, I had my pick of the women. 911’s are, when all is said and done, chopped and channeled, full race Volkswagens. I began to realize that most (certainly not all) women have absolutely no automotive taste whatever.

        In essence; they are looking for the guy with the most expensive car, NOT the best car. In fact, in the end, cars mean very little to women. They learn early on that financial security is top on the list of priorities. For that, I have never blamed them.

    • Dan

      Not sure what your smokin, but I’d gladly have taken you up on your “spank one of these with my vette” claims. Then your next claim would be, “it’s not running right for some reason”!!

      • TriPowerVette

        +Dan – I have never had a drink of alcohol, nor any illegal drug of any sort. That said; I have never made excuses when I lost. However; that very excuse was offered to me so often it became dull. Or… “Next week, I’m gettin’ sum hedders (or, fill in the blank)… then ah’ll kick yer a**.”

    • Jeff Bennett Staff

      Thank you for the kind compliment.

  5. Billy

    Yes, the market for Baby Boomer cars is almost over. We are using walkers or pushing up daisies. How much longer will the rich boys be able to buy late 60s or early 70s muscle and expect to make a profit? Hard to say. The market is emotion driving, not based on solid fact and with so many of the memories being lost to the grave, I feel the market has to greatly soften. My son wants a 90s Japaneses car, not my 1970 high performance Plymouth that I had in high school. But, on the bright side, with the prices finally falling, maybe some of us geriatrics can finally afford a car of our youth, just like they were before the rich boys ruined that opportunity. Of course, it would have been better to get it a decade or two ago back when we still had more time to enjoy them.

    • Stephen

      Agreed. This “collector” car “investment” bubble is for the birds.

  6. Bobsmyuncle

    What’s with the constant preoccupation of investment potential?

    • Mark S. Member

      Don’t know Bob the hobby used to be for the most part for the love of the hobby. Unless your talking about super rare exotic cars that the rich folks buy. Cars by Inlarge are a losing proposition, that’s why the lions share of the unrestored cars you see on here will never get restored, it is also why patina rust buckets are so popular.

  7. Robbie R.

    Despite performance, this is a sharp looking car. With the owner taking so much care for it over the years, I don’t understand why they would post it on Craigslist, rather than a collector car page, or even eBay motors. Craigslist is for selling your ragged out 1997 Cavalier or Ford Escort. It draws the lowest human specimens out of the closet.

  8. Jerry

    If its a TPI engine, the 305 made 205hp and like 300tq. I had a ’91 Z28 with the 5.0L TPI. The IROC moniker was dropped in 1990. Nice third gen in this article, brings back memories.

  9. Albert Cerf

    I would have no problem paying his price. The car looks like it is fabulous condition.

  10. Bob B

    That’s Jasper Georgia not Tennessee.

  11. Miguel

    I don’t think any car, especially a Camaro, is a good investment.
    It costs money every month for upkeep, storage, insurance and plates so how much can you really make after years of having the car sit there doing nothing?

    • Pa Tina

      You can make exactly zero. Nobody wants these cars and to top it off there are too many of them. Forget about investment upside. Find a car you like and drive the bejeesus out of it.That is the only way to win that game.

  12. Coventrycat

    The only CD that would compare is Twisted Sister.

    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      That car scream AC/DC to me.

      • TerryC

        Def Leppard or Poison.

      • TriPowerVette

        It is hard to understand how a decade that was filled with some of the best music and bands of all time could produce such underwhelming cars.

  13. James Walker

    You are wrong about a few points. You could get the Iroc with a 5 speed manual in the Tuned port on the 5.0 305. The 5.7 350 was ony offered with the Auto.

    • DG

      You could in 1987. This is an ’86.

  14. Scotty

    I’m with Jeff that we could still see a huge upside on these car. I hope so! I bought a 1987 iroc 350 car with 30K miles two years ago for $12500. Have not seen any movement upward since. So happy waiting for now as the car is a blast to drive. Have not had to do a thing to it yet. The factory exhaust is starting to show it’s age however.

  15. Reid Hall

    We have a very good original, and very clean car, with low miles, good maintenance records,and a known 1-3 owner car .Although the colors are not the most desirable, and not 89-92 car.We still have a good car.I can’t see 13-15k maybe 5-10k on a good day. I would recommend checking this real good before I sign anything. I could be wrong but I don’t think I have seen this type of car in this good of condition in a long time.

  16. Sam

    There is a better optioned and lower mile 1989 iroc with a 5.7 liter on Lima Ohio Craigslist

  17. Deryl

    I don’t think alot of you have done your homework. I’ve owned 2,3 and 4th generation Z28’s. You need to look Flemming’s or Gateway classic cars and you will see all the Iroc Z holding a price tag high $20k-39,000 of course the cars have anywhere from 6K to 20k for mileage. You want to see some beautiful Iroc’s that look like they just came off the showroom floor. Check it out. You guys will change your mind.

    • Dan

      My “ordered new” 1987 5.7 IROC, sold for $15,000 in 2005 w/ 20,200 original miles

      • TriPowerVette

        +Dan – What is wrong with you? I have NEVER understood 1000 miles per year. Honestly. What causes someone to buy a perfectly nice car, then never drive it? It happens a lot… I just don’t get it. +Connie – has the right idea.

    • Scotty

      I see a lot of asking prices that high. I wonder how many actually sell as I have seen the same two on eBay since I got mine. Their asking price of 30k. Would be interesting to see one of them go through Barrett Jackson on prime time, maybe they would clear $35000. Then I’ll convinced.

    • Miguel

      People can ask anything they want for their cars.

      The actual sale price is what is important.

  18. Scott

    They did make a manual 5.0 tpi.. Its rare but hod a hotter cam out of the 350.. And that car was alot faster than the auto…

  19. RobQc

    I purchased a new IROC in 87 no I didn’t have a automatic I had a 5speed the car wasn’t the fastest but it could out handle most of the cars on the road and it was a lot of fun and very reliable I had every option available except the tuned port 5.7 it was not available with a 5speed trans I had the car for about 14 years and wish I never sold it with 165,000 miles and it still had plenty of power

  20. irocrobb

    I have had a 1988 Iroc convert for 24 years. Original 305 tpi and 5 speed that have never been opened. I drove it very hard the first 5 years or so and the motor still pulls very well when wanted. Raced a lot of 5l Mustangs in the 1990s and usually took them,especially top end. Fantastic road cars and underated in my eyes

  21. Connie

    I have a 1988 Camaro IROC-Z with the tuned port injection. I am the original owner. Best running car that Chevrolet made that year. Just driving it makes me feel good. I have 284,000 miles on it with the original engine.

    • TriPowerVette

      +Connie – Your story just makes me feel good. I gave you a thumbs up.


      Connie, it looks like you definitely got your moneys worth!

  22. RobQc

    Irocrobb I agree with you I drove my IROC hard also at first and it was a sleeper I never understood why some had such a problem with this car it was good for me all the years that I enjoy it and even when I sold it someone said it was on its last leg so after I took the guy for a ride he was all smiles and said he couldn’t believe how much power the car had with 165000 miles on it,and yes I think it still could have gone another 100000 .

  23. Solocus

    I hope the IROCs increase in value, I’ve held on to mine since I bought it new. I went for all the performance options, A/C delete, AM radio only (turns out to be the rarest option if I recall) and Leather. This was the most fun car I have ever owned including 4th and 5th gen Camaro’s. The torque through the automatic when in shifted from first to second would spill your coffee every time.

  24. Solocus

    Interior pic.

  25. Dan s

    A little off the beaten path but, I didn’t realize my sister had this still.its been garaged for 8 yrs. It’s a 2000 Monte Carlo SS and it’s got things I didn’t realize were available. For 18 yrs old, it’s show room quality and it’s now mine !

    • TriPowerVette

      +Dan s – I rarely say anything like this, but; pretty color. It is the exact same color of my 1968 Mustang. That was a long time ago, though. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve always thought these millennial SS’s were sharp looking designs.

      I wish to heck they were 6-speed manual, rear drive LS3’s, though.

      If the Pontiac GTO of the slightly more recent time period had looked like this, they wouldn’t have been able to keep them in stock.

  26. glen

    My brother had an ’86 with a 6cyl., not fast, but even with that engine, it was fun to drive.

  27. Bill

    13,500 with no options! Not much of a deal there. I’d sell him my mint 35K 85 Mustang GT convertible fully loaded for that.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @Bill – Please consider listing your Mustang here on the site: Thanks!

      • Bill

        I’m not trying to use the comment section to sell my car. Just putting their asking price into perspective.

  28. Joe

    Had an 85 IROC and an 86 Mustang SVO. Although I didn’t have them at the same, I always felt the SVO had comparable power to the IROC. The Stang was a turbo which made up the difference I guess. I recently bought a Z06 which puts things into perspective what 32 years of automotive technology can do. Hope to be around to see what happens in the next 30+ years
    P.S. I know I’m not comparing apples to apples but the IROC and the Stang were both wonderful vehicles to drive.

    • Bill

      The 85 Iroc came with 190hp and the 85 Mustang came with 220hp and weighed a couple hundred pounds less. In 86 the Mustang added fuel injection that gave it about 10 more hp.There is a video on YouTube from 1985 where they compare the 5.0 Mustang, the 350 Iroc and the 305 Trans am. I think it was Motorweek. The Mustang was the fastest. Interesting never the less. All three are pretty pathetic by todays standards.

  29. Unclebuck001

    I ordered an 87 IROC 5.7 the same color scheme as the one here. Asked many times to check for sure I couldn’t get a manual transmission. GM were worried of losing the Corvette market. Which cost 30 thousand dollars more at the time. They were willing to give Camaro the Yvette engine But not It’s manual transmission.

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