How the Chevrolet Camaro Became an IROC-Z
From 1985 until very early in 1990 Chevrolet produced the IROC-Z Camaro. It began with its inception in 1985 as an option add-on to the Z28 model then becoming its own model in 1988, eliminating the Z28 model, to its eventual cease of production in early 1990 and Chevrolet reintroducing the Z28.
The IROC-Z model of the Chevrolet Camaro first made its public appearance
in 1985 as an add on option to the 1985 Camaro Z28 model. But its origin began
long before that.
IROC stands for International Race of Champions which is an automobile
racing series similar to what NASCAR is. The IROC racing series started in 1974
racing Porsches prepared by Robert Penske. After one season of racing
Porsches, Penske realized the cost to maintain the Porsches for racing was to
expensive so in 1975, the series switched to the Chevrolet Camaro. IROC
used the Chevrolet Camaro from
1975 to 1991. Because Chevrolet would race the Camaro under this
sanctioning body, in 1985 Chevrolet entered into a licensing agreement to with the racing series and as a result, obtained the right to use the IROC
name on its production Camaros.
Thus in 1985, the IROC-Z was born and introduced as an add-on option package to the 1985 Camaro Z28. It was produced for a little over 5 years. By the beginning of the 1990 the last of the IROC-Z's were produced as Chevrolet's licensing/sponsorship agreement was about to expire and Chevrolet made the decision not to renew it. Because of this expiration and nonrenewal, Chevrolet had to immediately stop production of the IROC-Z and reintroduce the Z28 as the performance model of the Camaro lineup.
This was a mistake in my opinion because of the huge popularity of the IROC-Z. But in retrospect, the IROC-Z has now become a legend in the automotive world because they were only produced for just over 5 years. There were only 166,976 total IROC-Z's made during the years in production. If you subtract the ones that were totaled in accidents and the ones stolen and parted out, you don't have many left. They are fast becoming the modern era's vehicle of choice among collector's.
Dodge then replaced Chevrolet as the licensee/sponsor of the IROC racing series. Dodge then came out with its own version of an IROC car called the IROC Daytona named after the Dodge Daytona. This car did not and could not compare to the now legendary IROC-Z Camaro. Very few were made and production was stopped because of lack of interest.
At some point, Pontiac replaced Dodge as the primary sponsor for the series which is where we are at today. The IROC series currently races the Pontiac Trans AM. With all the success of Chevrolet IROC-Z Camaro, you wonder why General Motors would reacquire the rights and not go back to the Camaro.
In any event, this should tell you that IROC-Z Camaro's are rare and becoming valuable because of the limited production. Do you remember the Camaro SS? They were only produced for 6 years and then stopped (until the recent reintroduction in 1996). How valuable is a 1960's SS Camaro or an early 70's SS Camaro in any condition? That's my point.
If you own an IROC-Z, keep it, give it to your children when they get older. Think of how you would feel if your dad saved his 67 SS Camaro for you. And if you don't have one, by all means go and get one. Then come back here and tell me about.
I have two of them myself. They are the second and third ones I have owned and I could kick myself in the a!@#$% for getting rid of the first one (had to buy a house). I am looking for a blue one for my wife and I would like to find two more to put away for my sons when they grow up.
Anyhow, that is a brief history of the IROC-Z Camaro. Please check out the write up below. If you have any information on the IROC-Z Camaro, please email me.
1985 to 1990 IROC Racing Series Articles
|1985 IROC Racing Series 12 Page Write Up||1985 IROC Racing Series 3 Page Write Up|
|1988 IROC Racing Series 1 Page Write Up||Tubs 1986 Factory IROC-Z Setup to Run SCCA IROC Racing|
|IROC Racing In Japan|
IROC Racing Series Results from 1985 to 1990
|Champion||Harry Gant||Al Unser Jr.||Geoff Bodine||Al Unser Jr.||Terry Labonte||Dale Earnhardt|
|2nd||Darrell Waltrip||Bill Elliot||Al Unser Jr.||Terry Labonte||Al Unser Jr.||Al Unser Jr.|
|3rd||Bobby Rahal||Cale Yarborough||Bobby Rahal||Scott Pruett||Rusty Wallace||Martin Brundle|
|4th||Tom Sneva||Al Unser||Wally Dallenbach||Bill Elliott||Dale Earnhardt||Mark Martin|
|5th||Terry Labonte||Darrell Waltrip||Darrell Waltrip||Dale Earnhardt||Scott Pruett||Terry Labonte|
|6th||Derek Bell||Harry Gant||Bill Elliott||Geoff Bodine||Bill Elliott||Emerson Fittipaldi|
|7th||John Watson||Bobby Rahal||Michael Andretti||Al Holbert||A. J. Foyt||Dorsey Schroeder|
|8th||Cale Yarborough||Klaus Ludwig||Scott Pruett||Al Unser||Danny Sullivan||Rusty Wallace|
|9th||A.J. Foyt||Hans Stuck||Mario Andretti||Chip Robinson||Hurley Haywood||Darrell Waltrip|
|10th||Jochen Mass||Hurley Haywood||Dale Earnhardt||Chris Cord||Geoff Brabham||Bobby Rahal|
|11th||Mario Andretti||Jochen Mass||Al Unser||Bobby Rahal||Rick Mears||Geoff Brabham|
|12th||Tom Gloy||Rick Mears||Derek Bell||Roberto Geurrero||Richard Petty||Danny Sullivan|