Live Auctions

Rare 19K Mile 1LE: 1989 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

A $44,500 Gen 3 Camaro! What, really? Seriously, yes and it’s a real looker but read further. This 1989 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 1LE is in magnificent condition, located in Keller, Texas and for sale here on Autotrader for $44,500. Thanks to Wayne L. for the tip!

I can remember back in the Autumn of 1981 when Chevrolet fans anxiously awaited the introduction of the new, 1982 Gen 3 Camaro. The Gen 2 had become very long in the tooth and was suffering from a serious case of malaise and power loss. The new Gen 3 was determined to rejuvenate the Camaro’s image. The totally new design and supposedly lighter weight, it was a marginal improvement, would be the kick in the hind-side that the Camaro needed. As for the power issue, no real improvement at first. As a matter of fact, Chevrolet took a step backward and offered a four-cylinder engine at first. As the ’80s wore on, however, the Camaro progressed too and performance and road manners returned. In 1985, Chevrolet introduced the IROC-Z (International Race of Champions) option for the Z28 and that’s what we have here in 1989 vintage.

What sets this particular example apart from more pedestrian ’89 Camaros is the 1LE performance option. How rare is it? Well it’s so rare that the GM Historical site has no mention of it and I spent hours cruising it looking for a reference. The thrust of the 1LE package is the 230 net HP, 5.0 liter V8 engine along with additional components which, according to Paul Stenquist at Hagerty, include: bigger front brake rotors with improved calipers, baffles in the fuel tank to preclude cavitation, a five-speed manual close ratio transmission, modified suspension bushings and an aluminum driveshaft. There were also subtractions like no power windows, no AC, no cruise control and no fog lights. Rarity comes from this example being one of only 111 1LE’s constructed for ’89. With much of the rarity of this IROC-Z focused on the engine, I find it unusual that there are no images under the hood for review. There is, however, a shot of the Service Parts Identification sticker and the 1LE RPO code is listed in the eleventh column, fourth row. This is the start of what’s driving this Chevy’s asking price. Further enhancing this Camaro’s value is the fact that it only has 19K miles on its odometer. Through all of this, however, there is no mention made as to how this Camaro actually runs and drives.

Camaros, and Chevrolets in general, were known for having cheesy upholstery in this era. While this IROC-Z is no exception, the interior appears to be in great condition. The Charcoal gray hue contrasts nicely with the “Bright Red” finish. There is the typical ‘80’s blocky design and typical hard plastic surfaces but it’s rare to find a 30-year-old Chevy with an interior this nice.

Ditto for the body, it appears to be original and untouched, a strong deep finish over straight body panels. As I have found before, for a car of this age with so few miles, it has clearly been well stored. GM’s workmanship in this era wouldn’t generally win any awards but this Camaro shows as good as it gets, no excuses here.

Usually, the collectible Camaro subset seems to be the 1st Gen (’67-’69) and the first three years (’70-’72) of the 2nd Gen; interest and value trails off after that point. The 1st Gen averaged 233,000 copies per year, 2nd Gen was good for 161,000 per year and 3rd Gen, like this ’89, averaged 139,000 examples per year. It’s hard to say if the run-down is due to the Camaro’s evolution or changing buyer demographics; more than likely it’s a little bit of both. I usually pan 3rd Gen Camaros but this one is a very desirable model from that era, equipped just right, and there is no denying its condition. But $44 large? It has to be more than just this Camaro’s pristine condition driving the price which leaves the rare 1LE performance option as the mitigating factor. Let’s have a discussion, too much or priced right?


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Very nice IROC-Z. I always liked this body style. I have often thought that I would like to have an IROC in my stable someday before I’m put out to pasture, but definitely not for 44K! Nice example though.

    Like 12
  2. Flmikey

    This car will be worth 44k someday, but not today….that being said, it is beautiful and collectible…my guess it is worth maybe 25k…

    Like 8
  3. Arthell64 Member

    I like these cars but I see used hellcats for 44k.

    Like 8
    • Superdessucke

      And a new Charger/Challenger Scat Pack, and the Mustang PP2, and a brand new Camaro 1LE for that matter. All can be had for about this same money or even less, and would blow this car away in every category, to an embarassing and cringe-worthy degree.

      Nice example but waaaay too much money. Most 1LEs were bought as future collectables and largely salted away, so this is on the high mileage end for one of these, believe it or not. I’d say 20-25k but there’s a lot of stupid money out there right now so maybe he gets above that? Hard to say.

      To get that, the seller might want to improve the photos though. I took better and more detailed pictures of my ex girlfriend’s 2003 Nissan Sentra GXE that we advertised on Craigslist for 1,200 bucks.

      Like 8
  4. Frank S

    its a shame they installed a twin tip single exhaust system on it. That was not factory

    Like 6
    • Andrew

      This IROC has an option – * Performance exhaust (N10) – which is dual catalytic converters and twin exhaust. It is factory
      For 1LEs.

      Look in the console option sticker for verification.

      Like 1
      • al8apex

        ummm, to clarify … the N-10 performance exhaust was an 89 model year (and later) feature that was INCLUDED when one ordered either the L98 or the LB9 coupled with the G92 performance axle, it also would include the 4wdb … so, cars other than a 1LE can also have the N10 exhaust.

  5. Landis Pratt

    This 1LE actually is 1 of 34 that was built for the U.S. S.C.C.A racing series.
    The red is a more rare color as most were built in white to adorn racing graphics of the day.
    I would be real leery of this example because the seats are wrong for the year. They should be the base cloth but look to be out of an earlier model. With that being said I would have this Camaro inspected for evidence of a roll cage, that would indicate an ex-race car.
    Also more provenance is a must when asking a high premium as such.
    Same year, twice the mileage can be bought for under $20k.
    Please do your research or hire an expert before making this big of an investment.

    Like 14
    • al8apex

      I noticed the seat material wasn’t correct as well. I then went to the actual listing and read it, all of it.

      The closing of the text sates:

      “Includes window sticker, paper work, new tires, >>> new interior<<< and racing modifications left as found. Racing history was five, 1st place finishes and on, 2nd place finish by Al Mitchell in SCCA regionals."

      Al Mitchell was a Solo Cup recipient in SCCA in 2004:

      He must've run the car in local/regional events, I don't recall the car at the SCCA Solo Nationals (or at least in the top places, there were typically 40-50 cars in the class back then) and I ran this class (F Stock) those years that the car was competitive

      Like 2
  6. Chevy Guy

    If you search 1989 Camaro Iroc Z 1LE it pops right up. Seriously people.

    Also what is the GM Historical site called? Is it just the GM Heritage?

    Like 4
  7. ace10

    You should demand a refund.

    Like 10
  8. David

    These era camaro rims look great on so many other cars. Interesting car here, but darn that 1LE should have packed a bit more horsepower

    Like 2
    • mike

      from what i’ve read they did pack more hp than 230..if i recall some testers had them in the high 13s..probably 260 to the wheels

      Like 1
  9. Doc

    I would rather spend $44k on something else. 1LE is just a fancy low option BS slow ass F body still

    Like 10
    • Steve

      44k buys you a nice Ferrari Mondial with 12k left over for your first service.

      Like 3
  10. jwzg

    They also had 3.42 gears and dual catalytic converters. The cars were almost as fast as a Mustang in a straight line, but would smoke it on the race track. This machine really re-opened the door for all of the performance variations after it including today’s 1LE and it ultimately forced Ford to build the ’93 Cobra with all of the SVT goodies. Fun times.

    That said, it’s an interesting car, but $44K is crack pipe territory.

    Like 8
  11. Troy s

    Lots of money for a Camaro I saw too much of. Maybe not a rare one like this but they all began to look the same.
    The car itself looks to be in great shape, fans of the third generation Camaro will drool over it.

    Like 2
  12. Michael

    Bit high priced. Someday maybe, not now.

    Like 1
  13. Keith Keith

    It’s funny how 3rd generation Camaro owners think their cars are worth the big bucks? I own a fourth generation Corvette LT1 with only 16k original miles but I would be lucky to get 15k for it! I have owned Camaros and I can tell you the Corvettes are way better, faster, and handle way better.

    Like 10
    • Superdessucke

      And for some reason the market despises the C4 Corvette. Doesn’t seem fair but it is what it is. The third generation f-body performance versions will virtually always sell for more than a Corvette.

      • Frank Sumatra

        @Keith- Unless yours is a late C4 (95 or 96) with a six-speed, you are more likely in the $12,000 range. Good news for buyers of these wonderful cars. Not so good news if you are selling. They are also great cars to keep as you will never be able to duplicate the performance and comforts of a late C4 at that price point with any of the Camaro/Firebird pretenders that are displayed here. Enjoy the ride?

        Like 5
      • al8apex

        yeah, my wife passed 8 years ago and her 50k mile 96 Z51 Z15 6 speed coupe (yeah, for 96 that means LT4) is worth, maybe $10k, all options, both tops and built with the last few weeks of the 96 production. It isn’t worth clearing all the boxes stored on top of it to move it along.

        Like 4
      • Superdessucke

        Sorry about your loss. You can always drive it and enjoy it though. At least it didn’t end up getting stuck in Belgum to remain an ’80s fish out of water for all eternity like another unfortunate example posted on here did not long ago because the cost to ship it back would have practically exceeded its value!

        Like 1
  14. Bobby Miller Member

    Lazy? Do you know what they pay theses writers? It is essentially volunteer work, it pays so little. Since you are “so tired”, why not stop reading? They are probably tired of your negativity, too.

    Like 7
    • Ralph

      Volunteer work badly done is still bad work, even if it is for free.

      Maybe they can learn from their critique and get better?

      Like 1
  15. Bruce Johnson Bruce Staff

    For the knowledgeable Camaro expert, this is the ultimate Camaro. Rare, super low mileage, the right colors and incredible performance. I’ve seen 1LE IROCs with more mileage go for $40k so this one should get just above that mark.

    Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      Then you need to do a follow up on this story. No way will it sell at that price. Did you notice the comments about the car’s racing history in the AutoTrader ad? If that is correct do you want to spend $44K on that? Something doesn’t quite add up here.

      Like 1
  16. Landis Pratt

    Back in the day thrse were not the run of the mill Camaro for sure! I had a 92 1le brand new and five others from 89-92.
    With weight reductions, high performance parts they would run with the best.
    Ran a best 1/4 mile @ 14.1 with the original gaterbacks smoking…a definite high 13 second would have been achieved with traction.

  17. Superdessucke

    Here’s the link to the 1989 Camaro brochure that shows the seats…

    The brochure pic isn’t good and the standard seats are much less common than the custom seats, so not a lot of photos of them online. But here’s one I found…

    I too don’t think they’re the correct seats for the car. Pretty big oversight at 44 grand!

    Like 2
  18. Jerry

    I have a 92 25th Anniversary Heritage Edition Z28. 5.7 TPI L98
    Has run a 13.79 @100.2 mph
    Have been offered $15,000 for the car. A friend has been trying to sell a 94 Convertible Vette for the past 4 years for 15k with a best offer of 12k.
    Very hard to find a 3rd Gen Camaro unmolested.

  19. jimmy the orphan

    Keith is right. Way better Corvette deals as nice or nicer as well. I say 12k would be good. I don’t care what code it has. I don’t collect cars this new as a rule but 44k grand for a 1LE code that nobody’s ever heard of? NO. Later ………………………………JIMMY

    Like 2
    • al8apex

      Jimmah, just how old was your 1st “collector car”? This car is 30 years old … that is like buying a 55 Chevy in 1985 …

      The fact that you DON’T know what a 1LE is should disqualify you from even commenting …

      and there are plenty of people that do know what the “code” (option) means

      Like 5
  20. JoeNYWF64

    Car looks great on the outside, but they shrunk it too much, making it hardly a 4 seater – ever since(mite as well have deleted rear seat with this option). Mickey mouse rear end, unless it’s the aussie one(for which replacement parts are expensive). Front end can be troublesome, unlike the bulletproof one on the prev gen(when greased regularly).
    Prefer prior gen t/a interior(tuck & roll std – not delux seats) & colors available. Would be more impressed if RADIO was deleted/optional & antenna was hidden in the windshield.
    No door map pockets or proper dash glove compartment.
    Excellent visibility & handling, though.

  21. jimmy the orphan

    I bought my first collector car in 1968 Just guessing but long before you were born. I still don’t care about your stupid code. LOL. Don’t cry to much. Later ……………………………….JIMMY

    • al8apex

      Jimmah, 1967 is when *I* bought my 1st collector car, one year before you hit the big time. It was a 1928 Model A Ford Fordor leatherback. I then bought a 1940 Ford DeLuxe woodie wagon, and – gasp! – it was only 30 years old when I bought it (1970), same age as this 1989 Camaro is today … shocker!

      Jimmah, you can show yourself to the door, go comment on other cars you might have some knowledge of

      Like 3

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