It’s hard to believe that the IROC Camaros of the F-body’s third-generation are now considered classics, and qualify for collector plates and insurance policies. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that the market is rising for them as many of the potential owners have now slipped past the half-century mark, possess more disposable income, and are empty nesters… or close to it. As did older enthusiasts, many potential IROC owners are now succumbing to the nostalgia of their youth and the cars they either owned or lusted after during those times.
Third-generation Camaros were produced from 1982-’92 in prodigious quantities and myriad configurations, from base models to Rally Sports and Z28s to IROCs. Production numbers notwithstanding, finding a good one these days can be a daunting challenge as many of them were rode hard and put away wet. Low mileage, rust-free examples with performance options are commanding the most attention and, consequently, the highest prices. Look hard enough, though, and you might still find a great Camaro at a great price, but you’ll need to move fast because the market for them is on the move.
We recently decided to make our own move on an ’88 IROC convertible. What caught our attention was the five-liter TPI (Tuned Port Injection) engine (220 hp) backed by a five-speed manual transmission. The diminutive engine may not have represented the pinnacle of Camaro performance, but we felt the gearbox would allow us to extract the most performance from it. This IROC also has the rare G92 option, which included a “performance” rear gear (3.27:1 Posi) and opened the door for a high-flow exhaust, four-wheel disc brakes, and engine oil cooler, which were also present on this Camaro.
The IROC had lived its life in Texas, so it is rust-free and its ragtop was recently replaced, plus all the accessories worked like they should. The engine, however, ran rough and lacked power, but didn’t smoke, knock, or act stupid, so we attributed the shortcomings to the fact that the owner had let it sit for a couple years and the gas had gone bad during that time. We managed to drive it on the trailer and dragged it home to Tennessee