1989 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z28 5.7 Liter Tuned Port Injection from North America
They don't make them like these anymore... no, really, they don't..
Got my IROC-Z28 in late spring of 1993, it was about 4 yrs old at that time (was 89 model), and had about 48K miles.
Immediately it was leaking copious amounts of oil on the garage floor and performance was 'off' in general I could tell. Required head gasket(s), AND a few new fuel injectors, right off the bat.
Later on... needed alternator/battery; 4 new tires (cupped, loud road noise) ; a ridiculous brake grinding/groaning noise developed so it eventually needed new rotors and discs and pads; a water pump; and other miscellaneous at-home 'repairs' or temporary repairs for minor squeaks and rattles (which there were often many of). Also, if you want to keep it working, you have to always replace the little bulbs in the 3rd brake light on the fin/spoiler.
All of the above being taken into consideration, this car was (for its age and use), generally reliable once the bugs were worked out and some 'used car fix-up' money was dumped into it. I got many miles, lots of fun, and 4 yrs out of it.
I've had 3 Camaros and in my opinion this was probably the best of the lot overall. I love (still) the 3rd-generation Camaro look in general, but particularly the Z28's and IROC's of this generation. I used to be able to beat up my buddy's (mostly stock) 92 5.0 Mustang GT, from the light all the way up (after he used to be able to beat me handily in my former car -- 85 Camaro Sport Coupe V8).
This IROC did have a few mods on it, and with the 350 TPI it even used to hang with some other old friends' cars -- which were a 93 Formula, and a 94 TA respectively... although the IROC lost to them, it was a respectable showing, even taking them off the line sometimes and hanging on by less than a car length to the high speed ranges. I remember those guys were impressed by the IROC for that.
It sounded great also, especially with a 'straight pipe' instead of any muffler and a hollowed-out false cat converter (sounded like a cigarette boat!). Driving it was fun, overall, looking out over the black louvers on the hood. And I of course got very used to its (admittedly spartan -- to put it nicely -- & probably rather tacky) interior; a little Grant GT steering wheel, and that yellow-orange plaque on the passenger-side dash that said Z28IROCZ.
All in all, I recommend 3rd gen Z's or IROC's if you want a real American sports car with older-school looks and strong performance (for the $), decent handling (relatively speaking), and general reliability.
But look for the slightly lower-priced ones (5 grand or less), because you'll likely have to dump some $$ into it to get it into that 'generally reliable' state of operation. Some people are asking WAY too high for these now. Even with lower miles, remember it's still a 20 year old Chevy... They can still be head-turners though, especially when they're in great shape. Good first cars for younger guys, though insurance might still be on the high side with anything that has a "Z" in the name and is part of the Camaro family.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 8th June, 2009
9th Jun 2009, 11:28
^^ Maybe. As long as the government (the new principal owner) allows them to keep making them. I bet good money there won't be the 400 (or 425) hp V8 version for very long, now that it's Government Motors. They're all about "green" and energy efficiency and "oil independence" today. They're soon going to say, what's the need & market for a high 30's/nearly 40grand sports car with this kind of horsepower nowadays, when you already have the Corvette in the market, and you've got a 6 cylinder that looks the same and sells better. So they'll keep making the 6 cylinder Camaro secretary's car, as long as they can sell them out of Chapter 11, but those 8's won't be around for long, wait and see. The previously proposed 500+ horse Z28 is already as good as canceled I believe. At least back in the older days (80's & 90's) it was not in a state of bankruptcy and gov't ownership, they could make what they want, and so the cars could be as fast and flamboyant as they wanted them to be. The glory days of real Camaros are over.