Why the IROC-Z is the Best Camaro
To start, imagine a 14 year old going through some tough times and "Fast and Furious" and other racing games were the only escape. His dad moves into a twin house with another house sharing a driveway. This 14 year old notices this boxy and straight lined car sitting next to this house behind him. Over time, he learns about it. Starts getting creative and imagining it was his. Eventually, the owner is moving and looking to sell it for the low-low price of a reasonable $500. At this time the 14 year old is about to be 16 and let's his dad know that he really wants to get it. He promised he will save the money up to buy it and make this car his first. His 16th birthday and prom comes around. This now 16 year old's father gives him a piece of paper. As it turns out, the dad bought him the car as a gift for his birthday. The 16 year old is excited to know that this car is finally going to be his. The owner was the first and sold it to him. It was exciting for the 16 year old. If you haven't figured it out already, that sixteen year old is me.
That car I have been talking about is my first car. It was a 1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z. It was black but the paint was faded heavily. It has T-tops that did not leak but the headliner was saggy. It had a 5 speed manual transmission behind a thumping tuned-port injected 5.0L V8 making a whopping 215 horsepower. It had 16 inch IROC wheels and suspension. I had to wait though, until I was 18 and already graduated high school to get to finally drive it because of repairs that needed to be done to make it run. One day, it got rod knock after have driven it for a little over a year. So, I bought a newer 5.0L engine off of a friend of mine. That ended up blowing a head gasket and hydro-locking. I went to save up money to get it fixed but sadly, it was stolen. So, a little over a year later I bought a white IROC because I missed the old one so much and I do not regret it whatsoever. This IROC has a 5 speed and it has been slightly modified. But, instead of it having tuned-port injection, it is carbureted. Its modifications are a the carburetor, intake, and exhaust. I still have the white one after buying it back in 2014. Both cars I have invested a lot of money in due to parts failing but I love the IROC. And here is why.
Driving it put a smile on my face. Sure, I have a BMW, and it has a manual transmission, but it doesn't compare to raw and untamed American muscle. Yes, the 80s were a time when everything had as much power as some of today's 4 cylinders, and just as much good in fuel economy, but boy were they torquey and sounded nice. My favorite memory, since it has been a while, is driving south down I-95 from New Hope, PA and taking the Betsy Ross Bridge exit.The road turns into a hard left hand turn and not every car is made to handle corners that well. I could do this turn doing an easy 70 miles per hour without having the tires squeal or have any sort of drama turning. The acceleration in any gear would throw my head back in the seat and shifting through the gears were easy. Visibility in the IROC was great. The third and fourth generation Camaro's had to have had the best visibility in the Camaro family so far. Braking was just as good as accelerating. The best thing though, was having the T-tops off on a beautiful brisk spring or autumn day driving through the mountain roads near Peddler's Village with the exhaust thumping and the engine roaring. The suspension was tight and rough on horrible roads but I didn't mind because it prevented body roll and I did not know better. In my world, it was perfect. Which is the reason why after this one was stolen, I bought another one to replace it.
But why is it the best Camaro? Because there has been so many people on the internet either demanding Chevrolet to make a new one or people buying used ones that are in either pristine condition or belong in the scrap yard just to relive the glory days. That, and there have been so many renditions of the IROC-Z. No other Camaro has been glorified like the IROC-Z. There has always been a Z/28, RS, and only missing for one generation of Camaros, the SS. It is my belief the IROC will always be cherished and loved by many like the beloved "Bandit" Firebird.
Images in the second set of pictures were taken from Google.