Unmolested Mullet Machine: 1988 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

For folks of my generation, IROC Camaros, Mustang GTs and Corvettes were the most coveted rides of all.  While Camaros occasionally become objects of ridicule on account of some of their owners and their sometimes objectionable ways, they are one of the better cars to emerge from the eighties.  They were handsomely styled, the drivetrains were both great for the time and still have a lot of fans, and they handled exceptionally well.  Many were used and abused in almost criminal fashion since they became common as used cars, so finding one in good condition is becoming a challenge.  Found on Craigslist in Tunnel Hill, Georgia, this 1988 Chevrolet Camaro is still in very good shape.  Furthermore, it is the coveted IROC model, named after the then functional International Race of Champions series.  With a price tag of $5000, you have to ask yourself if it is time to start looking for a good Camaro to sock away for the proverbial rainy day.

As a collectible, third generation Camaros have a lot going for them.  They were very popular in their day, and were coveted by far more people than the lucky ones who picked a new model off the dealer’s lot.  The styling was original, ground breaking, and has stood the test of time well.  With the legendary small block V-8 under the hood, owners who wish to pick up a few horsepower have a cornucopia of speed parts to choose from.  The aftermarket can also set you up with almost any part on the car, and there are still thousands of these languishing in the picturesque junkyards of rural America.  This model has both a heritage and a racing history.  Camaros have enjoyed a huge fan base since 1967, and, as evidenced by the decal on the door, they were raced both in IROC and in all manner of SCCA and IMSA competition.  Furthermore, as stated before, the number of well cared for examples is shrinking both through natural attrition and because collectors have begun scouring the Earth for the survivors with the most desirable options and in the best condition.

Which brings us to this 1988 model IROC Camaro.  The two most obvious flaws are large dents in both the left and right front fenders.  Whether it would be best to simply replace and paint these fenders, or have a body shop work its magic on them is open to debate.  Other than that, the rest of the finish looks good in the photographs.  Inside, the seats look to be intact and free from the ravages of sun fading.  The carpets and floor mats could use a thorough scrubbing though.  As far as options go, I can identify cruise control, a power drivers seat, power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, and  a stereo with a cassette deck and an equalizer.

Under the hood is the tried and true Chevrolet small block V-8 with 305 cubic inches of displacement.  This engine is nothing to write home about, but it can be replaced with a much more powerful version.  People are getting incredible amounts of horsepower from later model small block V-8s, and you could build yourself quite a “sleeper” with this car as a base.

However, if it were mine, I think I would leave it alone under the hood.  My work would be limited to a thorough cleaning, fixing the fenders, and going through it to replace any worn parts or fluids.  The odometer reads a little over 85,000 miles, and the seller states that it has been sitting for a long time.  With the condition of the paint and the interior, it would be reasonable to assume that it has been resting in a garage or large carport.  Considering that it shows no signs of abuse at the hands of the stoplight warriors, who were traditionally abusive owners of Camaros of this vintage, this one deserves to be kept in stock condition.  In ten years, we might be sitting around talking about how we passed up on a clean IROC Camaro for just $5,000.  A lot of muscle car stories still start that way, and they likely always will.

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Comments

  1. al8apex

    pass

    no tuned port engine, this is oddly equipped with the deluxe interior and power things but the bare, base LG4 engine

    pass, get an 89 with the N10 dual cat exhaust

    Like 1
    • Steve

      The LG4 ended production in 1987. This car has a L03 with TBI .

  2. rdc

    In Kentucky, the only people who bought and drove these cars, even new, were of questionable character. :) Just saying…

    As used cars, even worse. Used to see a lot of them just parked with for sale signs.

    Like 1
  3. Andre

    These cars have grown on me over the years.. To the point where I’m fairly actively looking for a clean convertible model as a summer daily.

    Check a lot of boxes and the prices are still alright (ish)

    The window louvers on this one are gross. Gotta go.

    • james burton

      a friend of mine has a convert. conversion one of these in white for sale. if interested email me and i’ll get you contact info. his phone num. is 3045893378 or 3045866032 in bluefield w. va.

  4. Miguel

    Did you not notice the wrong wheels on this car?

    It can hardly be called unmolested.

    Like 1
    • Steve

      15″ were the base wheels in 1988 and 1989.

      • al8apex

        true

        In 89 they made a 15″ version of the IROC wheel, a pretty hard to find wheel … if you wanted to find any

  5. Dan

    I have a garage kept, 52,000 miles, original owner IROC I bought new, with the tuned port 350 and original paint, I have been offered 3 times this amount and wouldn’t sell……the 305 is a puss but this car well worth this kind of money……and no ugly T-Tops…..

    • Steve

      A manual 305 with an N10 (230HP), and G92 (3.45/3.42 gear) is just as quick as a 350 N10 (240/245HP) and G92(3.27/3.23 gear). And faster than a 350 (230HP) with the standard 2.73 gear. In 1987 t-top 350 cars came with 3.27’s and in 1988 2.73’s were standard. In 1989-90 you could not get a 350 with t-tops and the 3.27. No N10 on the T-top cars either.

      • al8apex

        true ^

        The G92 LB9 was the best combo for fun

  6. Steve R

    I didn’t think you could get an IROC with a TBI engine and 15″ wheels. If so, whats it offering more than a generic camaro with the same driveline. The asking price is out of line for the way it’s equipped and its condition.

    Steve R

    • Miguel

      You couldn’t get 15″ wheels in 1988. I worked at a Chevy dealer that year and all IROCs had IROC wheels.

      Also did you notice the painted hubs at the center of the wheels?

      Somebody has had their hands in this car and is certainly not unmolested.

      • Steve

        Yes you could. They came with the 15″ RS wheels standard and in 1989 they came with the 15″ dual stripes.

    • Steven Thomas

      I have a 85 with that combo. The 85 iroc drives the best

  7. nessy

    No TPI, no T Tops, missing the 16 inch correct wheels. Been sitting for a long time the seller said? Dirty interior and dents? 5000? Next. As much as I like IROC-Z cars, not this one.

    • al8apex

      no t-tops is a good thing …

  8. David H.

    I thought the IROCs came with 16″ wheels? Those look like the 15″ wheels that came on the Z-28 starting in 1982…

  9. Pa Tina

    As “meh” as it gets. These cars are getting easier to dislike every day. I will spare you gentle people any further comments on this generation of Camaro/Firebird. You are very welcome.

  10. Miguel

    Wikipedia reminded me that in 1988 all Camaros were either a Camaro or an IROC. There were no Z-28s this year.

    The base IROC did come with these base 15″ wheels, which makes this a base model car.

  11. al8apex

    the engine, wheels, brakes were all options, this is a base car with an optional interior and optional power options (doors, windows, auto tragic transmission, etc)

  12. irocrob

    Have owned 7 Irocs and still own 2. The 305 TPI with a 5 speed is no puss. My convert has the tpi 5 speed with 4 wheel disc brakes and factory oil cooler,This one just looks beat to me and there is good examples out there and the prices are starting to go up. They are a great handling car and I beat many GT Mustangs in my younger years.

    • Sundaydriver

      What year? I have an ’87 ‘vert with the 305 five speed. No puss.

      • nessy

        Ah, a black convertible first year 87. Very nice. My IROC-Z is a black 88 convertible with the factory bright blue stripe between the body and the skirts where yours is gold. It’s been in my family since new. Mine is a TPI automatic with mild mods, larger exhaust, headers, chip, larger injectors, shift kit, 411 rears, ect. It moves along just fine. More than fine, it’s fast. I’ll post a photo.

    • Steven Thomas

      I agree I have one nice 85 and a bad 85 iroc and I would definitely rate this one as not worth it. But to drive one like new you can’t beat it.

  13. Tyler

    I’ve owned probably 30 or more Camaros in my life, still own a 68 SS, a 80 Z/28 & a 96 Z/28, but I’ve never had the desire to own a 3rd gen. Then I see one like this, & nope, still no desire to have one…

    On the plus side, these don’t have near as many blind spots as the 5th & 6th gen.

  14. Greg

    This car has a history of molestation.

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      Looks like the owner parked by ear!

  15. Troy S.

    Back some years ago when I had my ’86 5.0 5 speed mustang it was not the new camaros that had me worried, it was those dang turbo Buicks I tried to avoid. Especially those sleeper T-Type regals. I always liked the 2 generation camaros better than these.

  16. Larry

    Yep..as troy s said…it was the turbo regal that we were drooling over but to the point these camaros had a lot to offer and still do

  17. Nick G.

    I’m really wanting one of these for my “play car” But like most people have said, no t-tops take the fun out good weather cruising. Also, I could never have this or a Mustang without a manual… even if the automatic has the 5.7 attached to it. Plus, the TBI, while more reliable, is a very boring motor – especially with the automatic. It seems to run out of steam way too early.
    My preferred find would be an RS with t-tops, a manual and the Turned Port 5.0. This IROC just seems too boring.

  18. al8apex

    the ONLY way you could get an RS with a TPI was to get a 91-92 B4C police car. All B4C’s came standard with the 1LE package. No B4C came with t-tops (they were smarter than the consumers by not allowing them to be built).

    If you like flexi flyers, get a convertible. If you enjoy crisp handling, get a hardtop. If you like compromise get a t-top car.

  19. Steve

    This car seems to be a base IROC…Hmmm.. never seen an IROC WITHOUT a TPI engine. As if having an IROC didn’t make you enough of a poseur…One with an even more gutless powertrain… I’m sure thae base wheels and engine make it “rare’, but the old addage of “rare doesnt always mean desirable comes to mind. ie, it’s rare that I crap my pants. It is never desirable.

    I grew up in the 80’s, graduated high school in 89. I never had the desire to have an IROC or a Monte Carlo SS. Reason being is I had a 71 El Camino SS with a warmed over 355 that would lay waste to them. I couldn’t see getting into a cr payment, only to have to do an engine swap… Later on I got into G bodies…I would like a MC SS, especially an aerocoupe, but still not a fan of the third gen Camaro. I guess too many leaking t tops in friends cars turned me off. My family was a “Chevy family’, but I did like the 5.0 Mustang for its speed and light weight. I lusted after the Grand Nationals, especially the quickest intercooled 86/87 models, but didn’t have the coin at the time. If I would have stayed out of trouble I probably could have afforded one!.

    This B4C would be a lot more fun, and rare DOES equal desirable in it’s case….

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1992-Chevrolet-Camaro-RS-B4C-1LE-/192309579528?hash=item2cc68b4f08:g:nhYAAOSwIylZvxJp&vxp=mtr

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