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TPI 5-Speed: 1989 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

It only seems logical that third-gen (1982-1992) Chevrolet Camaros would start to come into their own. They are frequently overshadowed by first, second, and even fourth-gen versions. That being the case, this 1989 IROC-Z is a nice find, it’s what appears to be a solid car in good shape, so let’s investigate. This Camaro is located in Las Vegas, Nevada and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of  $9,499, reserve not yet met. There is a BIN price of  $10,500 available too. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!

By 1989, automotive performance had started to creep back into cars such as the Mustang, Corvette, Firebird, and Camaro. It was a welcome return as things had been trending downhill over the previous eighteen years or so. The Z28 was the designated Camaro go-fast trim level and starting in 1985, there was an IROC-Z model to commemorate the International Race of Champions and that’s what today’s example is. Total Camaro production for  1989 was about 110K units, a rather healthy output.

The engine lineup for the IROC-Z was a bit mixed. The standard powerplant was a 170 net HP, 5.0 liter V8, an engine employing a throttle body fuel injection system. Next up was a Tuned Port Injection (TPI) 5.0 liter rated at either 195 net HP (automatic transmission) or 220 net HP (five-speed manual gearbox), such as employed in our subject car. The 1LE optional performance package included a full dual exhaust system jumping the power rating to 230 net. Finally, there was a 5.7 liter V8, automatic transmission only, and rated at either 230 net HP or 240 with option 1LE. The seller makes no mention of this 103K mile Camaro’s operating characteristics.

This Chevy is advertised as a life-long California car “without an ounce of rust“. We have a lot of what I refer to as “twenty-footer” images, none are close up so it’s hard to get a real clear look at the finish or bodywork but it all appears to be fine. The appreciated aspect of this Camaro’s exterior is its stealthiness, the black finish, only accented by a thin blue stripe along the rocker panel line, is tasteful but hardly attention-getting as is so often the case with cars of this nature. The five-spoke aluminum wheels appear to be the originals.

Inside is a surprise, that being how clean and unworn looking the light gray fabric upholstery is – light gray can be a real bear to keep tidy looking. Chevrolets of this era, really GM cars in general, get knocked for cheap looking interior fabrics and materials, and this Camaro is in keeping with that belief, but it’s in surprisingly nice shape; all of it, upholstery, dash, carpet, door panels, and console, nothing appears to be in need of attention.

This is a non-reserve auction but with the BIN price being what it is, it’s not too difficult to get an idea of where this car will sell. I haven’t given this generation Camaro much attention and have actually been more dismissive than accepting. Perhaps, I should change my thinking, I genuinely like this IROC-Z and believe someone is going to get a fair deal. What do you think, a good buy?


  1. poseur Member

    i’d be tempted to hit the BIN on this at $10.5k.
    unless a closeup inspection reveals a pig in wolf’s clothing this seems like a solid buy in to the blossoming 3rd gen F-body hobby.
    big pluses for the manual, TPI and no t-tops

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      It probably is a nice car. I’ve been following this guy on eBay for a couple of years. When he was in LA, he bought a lot of 60’s cars, but now that he’s in Las Vegas he’s switched mainly to Bronco’s, Blazer’s, 4Runners, and 3rd gen F-body’s. This site features his cars on a regular basis, just like several other resellers, who all have a knack of tracking down interesting cars. Look at his current and completed listings, it will give you an idea of how prolific he his.

      Steve R

      Like 6
  2. PaulG

    The torque numbers on this gen are much more important than the horse power rating. Tire smoke is available under the right foot…

    Like 1
    • jwzg

      Yes….the later TPI roller motors with better cams were stout on the bottom end, but believe it or not, the torque arm rear suspension hooks hard without a bunch of tire smoke. Doesn’t take much to wake these cars up with some shorter runners, headers and the dual-cat setup.

      Like 1
    • Stan


      290ftlbs torque

      Anybody know the rear gear with this sweet set-up ?

      Like 1
  3. Jcs

    The dilution continues unabated.

    The term “survivor” is repeated all over these pages, mostly on cars with considerably less originality than this one. Does anyone have any idea why Barnfinds did not classify this one as a survivor?

    Like 10
    • Steve R

      I think it’s the choice of each author. Same thing goes with mileage, some push low mileage claims, others don’t.

      Steve R

      Like 2
  4. Stan


    290ftlbs torque

    Anybody know the rear gear with this sweet set-up ?

    Like 0

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