International House Of Champions
January 16, 2019 6:13 PM   Subscribe

The Camaro IROC-Z “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.”

When it comes to IROC-Z the apostrophe usage is the mullet of grammar, pure no rules rock and roll.
posted by nikaspark (61 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
How did some dick who brings a gun to school get his hands on one of these?
posted by Space Coyote at 6:26 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Needs a Bitchin' tag
posted by jamaro at 6:26 PM on January 16 [31 favorites]


I worked for a large hardware/farm supply store when I was in high school. We had a regular customer who had an IROC-Z. Dude had a huge feathered mullet and for some reason, he was in this store every single day. I don't think he bought stuff on most of his trips. We called him Captain IROC.

Anyway, given the choice, I'd take a Buick Grand National over an IROC-Z.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:31 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Gen 3 Camaros were awful. When the IROC brand moved to Chrysler it was considered a step up. Let that sink in...
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:55 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


My memory of the IROC is Idiots Racing On Central (Avenue). That being said, I do have a nostalgic feel for these cars.
posted by sundrop at 7:08 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I started high school right around the end of the IROC-Z's production and it was the dream car for all the girls. It was the car we wanted when we turned 16 and the car we wanted our imaginary boyfriends to drive. Then long about the time that I actually turned 16, the new Ford Mustang styling came out, and the IROC-Z was firmly replaced in our heart of hearts.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:16 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


When I was 12 I thought these were bad ass, so I sort of get the nostalgia. But mostly I associate them with super cheesy guys (yes, with mullets) and I'd never want to be seen in one.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:17 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Duuuuuuuuuude
posted by ergomatic at 7:18 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


When I was 12, super cheesy guys with mullets *were* bad ass.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:19 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Compared to the Pontiac Fiero, the IROC was super-awesome. Same mullet drivers, tho.
posted by ashbury at 7:26 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


From the article:
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.

Do not do this. My dad was a car man, I think about being left any of his bombs and feel very lucky he didn't. Like, skin of teeth lucky. It's a terrifying idea.
posted by deadwax at 7:26 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


As usual, people's notions about what's worthy of being "collectible" are stupefying.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:39 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Not a muscle car person myself but if I was: Z28 woo.
posted by ovvl at 7:55 PM on January 16


Mullet on the beach!
posted by Naberius at 7:56 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]




I hope this isn't threadshitting, but I am 99% sure the writer of this essay has a conflict of interest in wanting these cars to become collector's items. Then again, I suppose there is a sector of society where a production run of 1/6 of a million cars qualifies as "rare." I guess I'm confused, or that Camaros are a land of contrasts. I'll take my answer off-air.
posted by rhizome at 8:35 PM on January 16


deadwax: Do not do this.

Don't worry about the two sons, deadwax; the author's a television repairman. He's got this ultimate set of tools.
posted by MarchHare at 9:34 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Millions of 1st gen Mustangs were produced. Even plain jane versions are getting pretty rare. 16.5 Million Model Ts were produced, I've never seen one outside a parade/museum. That's pretty rare. Cars depreciate and get used up. Anything popular and accessible is going to become rare eventually.

Pretty cool to see a site linked here that is older than Metafilter.
posted by Mitheral at 9:39 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Every now and again a third-gen F-body shows up for sale here in South Australia on sites like Gumtree, and I used to think "Hey... that could be a thing." After all, anything mechanical that can go bad can be had easily through the aftermarket or through companies like Rare Spares. And if its SBC died, well LS swaps are plentiful these days. But then, one day when I was working at a major classic car insurer who shall go unnamed, I had the chance to sit in one as I appraised it for a change in its insured value. And good god almighty they're AWFUL. Cheap materials, poorly put together ergonomic basketcases. Just a terrible car, even by the standards of the day, comparing it to the Commodores and Falcons being built in Australia at the time, and *especially* compared to the R30 Skylines and A60 Supras coming out of Japan. I mean, I'm pro-union all the way, but it was at that moment I understood at a visceral level why the UAW gets such a bad rap (not to take the blame away from the designers and beancounters, that is).
posted by MarchHare at 9:42 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


(Y’all, don’t take this post too seriously please)
posted by nikaspark at 10:05 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


And also I’m here to talk about how cool skylines are.
posted by nikaspark at 10:06 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Y’all, don’t take this post too seriously please

Yep, everyone seems to be confusing this with an article about the Camaro IPOB (International Plate of Beans) and overthinking it a little.
posted by ambrosen at 10:36 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


If the mullet drivers don't work for you try installing zubaz-dev from rpms and then recompile from source.
posted by benzenedream at 10:58 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


If the mullet drivers don't work for you try installing zubaz-dev from rpms and then recompile from source.
posted by benzenedream at 10:58 PM on January 16


Eponysterical.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 11:15 PM on January 16


I didn't name it and I forget where I heard it, but there's a genre of music called Butt Rock. It doesn't have anything to do with butts, it's just hard rock between Black Sabbath until Heavy Metal became its own subculture (i.e. the period when Ozzy didn't have a band). This car's speakers would be a primo source of Butt Rock.

3rd Gen Camaros are one of the few cars from the minitruck era that were often lowered, but did not look better because they start to look squashed. They had a lot of room in the hatch, so you could put a big big stereo in there, but keep the wheels down and it'll be better for everybody.
posted by rhizome at 11:36 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0">
Oh fuck yes!
posted by The Tensor at 1:19 AM on January 17 [14 favorites]


The whole point of IROC was to let a certain kind of guy say, "See them cars racing on the TV? See my car in the driveway? Same car."
posted by aurelian at 2:31 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Back in the day we always said that IROC stood for “I Run Over Children”
posted by wenestvedt at 3:14 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


When I met my wife as a sorority girl in college she was driving an 84 Z28 with T-Tops. Great looking car, which was good because look at it was all you could do the 20% of the time it wasn't running. Our preference for Japanese cars can be traced directly to the number of times that Z28 left us stranded somewhere.
posted by COD at 5:10 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


The other day I went searching for Ocean Pacific t shirts on ebay.
posted by srboisvert at 5:52 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I’d rather have my old baby blue, 1969 Plymouth Valiant, slant-six 225 back again. :-(
posted by darkstar at 5:59 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


In the song Jump by Van Halen there’s a lyric that goes “I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen” and I think the Z-28 could be described that way.

“So you might as well Jump”...
posted by nikaspark at 6:00 AM on January 17


Iconic. I can practically smell the weed from here.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:53 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Peak '80s.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:19 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I owned one - only years later, when it was a car to make fun of, and I only bought it because it was the cheapest car on the lot. Shit, I wish I would have kept it now.
posted by bradth27 at 7:23 AM on January 17


I grew up in the Bible Belt and would have started counting my age in double digits around when these cars were at their peak and let me tell you, looking at them on a web site even today gives me some vague sense of creeping dread. Everything mentioned upthread (and more!) is there in a gross ball of childhood nostalgia: mullets, teenagers, butt rock, dragging the strip, beer, rednecks, bullies, hollerin, s - e - x, cigarette smoke, and certainly never found in the church parking lot. If you had asked me a few minutes ago, "Hey what consumer product would sum up for you the feeling of "oh man I never ever want to grow up to be that" that you had when you were a kid?" I would have had no answer, and yet here we are.

and yet somehow this post instead sent me down the rabbit hole of researching the Mazda RX-7 from the same mid-80s period and I can't figure out why, but that car is badass. I'm sure it has nothing to do with a couple of cool kids that I knew talking about how different it was because it had a rotary engine.
posted by komara at 7:40 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


I was one of those kids who loved the Firebird* and so absolutely hated the Camaros.

* And this was before Knight Rider came out, but I truly loved that show when it happened.
posted by suetanvil at 8:29 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


genre of music called Butt Rock. It doesn't have anything to do with butts, it's just hard rock between Black Sabbath until Heavy Metal became its own subculture

Butt rock got its name from the radio station identifiers that the stations that played butt rock made "we play nothing but rock" (which distinguished from disco or pop), and it's not really between Black Sabbath and heavy metal but more like everything that rocked as hard as say Aerosmith in the 1980s, so like Journey, rocking REO Speedwagon, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, all the way to Quiet Riot and maybe Metallica's Black album at the end. So butt rock was actually kind of ironic, since it generally lumbered more than rocked.

Butt rock asides aside, you are correct about what music would be flowing from the IROC-Z. I had a friend and an uncle who had one. The best thing I'd say about them is the outside color was nice and they were rear wheel drive.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:38 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Just wait till I find a Web 1.0 site honking out about the Fiero.
posted by nikaspark at 8:38 AM on January 17


Also the firebird/camaro split camps was real as fuck to the point that my dads drunk friends probably got into fist fights over how hard they dunked on each other’s cars.

That said the 1978 corvette stingray guy always seemed above the fray and his acid wash jeans were always that perfect mix of too new just old enough and his hair was totally Tom selleck.
posted by nikaspark at 8:43 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


So what you're saying is, this is Johnny Waterbed's ideal car.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:18 AM on January 17


COD: Our preference for Japanese cars can be traced directly to the number of times that Z28 left us stranded somewhere.

My aunt & uncle were pretty cool; they had (IIRC) a Datsun 280Z back in the day.

One Minnesota winter day they opened the garage door, hopped in the car, , drove out, and immediately tobogganed it up on top of the fresh snowfall where it sat stranded like an upside-down turtle.

They called someone for a ride, and went out and bought a Volvo wagon.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:26 AM on January 17


how different it was because it had a rotary engine

Piston engine goes (boing boing boing) but the Mazda goes (mmmmmmmmm)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:34 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


That said the 1978 corvette stingray guy always seemed above the fray and his acid wash jeans were always that perfect mix of too new just old enough and his hair was totally Tom selleck.

On of my best kid memories was of hanging out outside a convenience store with my BMX gang drinking glass bottle coca-cola that we got for free (we broke the lid markings for the cola under the cap contest - what a super caffeinated summer that was!) just watching the world go by and every now and then someone would stop in to buy their smokes.

This totally radical corvette stingray with all kind of body mods gleaming a deep custom painted metallic burgundy pulled into the parking lot and gunned it right at us and then skidded to a stop. It would have been really cool and impressive except the driver misjudged it and his custom fiberglass air dam slammed into the concrete parking barrier and tore off taking almost the entire left side of his car's custom flared wheel wells underworking with it.

We were stunned for a few seconds and then it was uncontrollable teenage mob belly laughing that lasted probably for about a week. I can't remember what the driver looked like but in my mind it was emilio estevez wanting to be charlie sheen.
posted by srboisvert at 11:07 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


From the Iroc-Z.com main page, there's a snapshot of U.S. pop culture of the late 80s.

Today I learned: Dan Quayle's full name was J. Danforth Quayle
posted by hydra77 at 11:13 AM on January 17


but in my mind it was emilio estevez wanting to be charlie sheen

I think this may actually establish much of the mouthfeel of the 1980's in general.
posted by nikaspark at 11:16 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


In high school, the "coolest" guy in the next town over (read 21, in grade 12, balding, steroids, mean) drove an IROC with the license place "IT ROCKS".
posted by Cosine at 3:44 PM on January 17


I'm here to queer IROC-Z for the transboi dykefemmes
posted by nikaspark at 4:33 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


the Mazda RX-7 from the same mid-80s period and I can't figure out why, but that car is badass.

Far and away the most beautiful car of their era, as even Skyline and Supra buffs concede. They weren’t as fast as all that but they can rev incredibly high and handle like a knife.

Until the rotary engine grenades on you. Which it will.

There’s a lively market in RX-7s these days, all generations. The remainders are definitely collectibles now and well sorted examples with well maintained rotary motors (often 2d, 3D, or more motors) are expensive AF. They were finicky and fickle beasts that got terrible gas mileage. But just design perfection.

Here’s a recent Jakopnik article about the experience of driving a perfect bone stock 1993 RX-7 that Mazda keeps in the library. Author William Clavey describes it as “the most intense” driving experience he’s had in bone stock car.

Look at that yellow beauty and tell me a prettier car.

When I let my innermost desires be spoken, that car is near the top of the list.
posted by spitbull at 6:02 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


That rotary engine was the baddest shit on the market and everyone who knew anything knew it but it was just too different and that’s really a shame because there was an RX-7 that would tear Ass down Garland Road in Dallas Texas back in the day and my shit would flip every time I saw it peel a left turn out across a 4 lane strip and tat-tat-tat away.
posted by nikaspark at 6:53 PM on January 17


Man, I'd forgotten how rounded the first model(s?) were - I was remembering the later ones that were more creased and pointed. Still not my favorite looking car, but I can see the appeal.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:55 PM on January 17


Omg. I grew up poor, but my elementary & middle school classmates thought we were rich. Partly because my mom spent well beyond our means to make sure it never looked like we were poor, but definitely also because my mom and stepdad both worked at a Chevy dealership for awhile and both drove IROC-Zs as their dealer cars for a couple years. Stepdad's was black. Mom's was red, with t-tops! As a pretty blonde lady driving a red sportscar, she got pulled over a lot.

At some point into early adulthood I dismissed these as obviously not nearly as fancy or special as we'd thought they were at the time--figured it was the automotive equivalent of people thinking Red Lobster is fine dining. And then I forgot about them entirely until this post, which is telling me clearly I was wrong.

What a ride into nostalgia, man.
posted by rhiannonstone at 7:17 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


(I should probably mention that my "rounded" comment referred to spitbull's RX-7 comments...)

this post, which is telling me clearly I was wrong

I'm not convinced you were wrong, actually.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:27 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I'm not convinced you were wrong, actually

You’re not wrong, the IROC-Z is pure daddy issues and there’s nothing redeeming about them beyond working out whatever dad feels are reverberating around.
posted by nikaspark at 8:12 PM on January 17


Maybe so; I just never liked them very much is all. (Frankly I was too busy pining after classic British 2-seater sports cars...)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:18 PM on January 17


(Frankly I was too busy pining after classic British 2-seater sports cars...)

(i.e. early midlife crisis)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:20 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Do go on?
posted by nikaspark at 9:38 PM on January 17


Oh, I have, believe me. At this point I count a total of 3 midlife crises, though thankfully I've avoided the following:
- The British sports car silliness (mostly)
- All muscle car purchases
- The embarrassment of a torrid relationship with a younger woman
- A combover hairstyle

(Full disclosure, I did fall prey to a temporary fondness for an old VW bus for a few years, so I'm no saint)

So I'm declaring the whole thing a nearly-unqualified success! Next we'll see how the senility thing goes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:59 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


/me salutes in honor
posted by nikaspark at 12:13 AM on January 18


Man, I'd forgotten how rounded the first model(s?) were - I was remembering the later ones that were more creased and pointed

The earlier RX-7s were pointier. You may be thinking of the RX-8. Which is also a wondrous and gorgeous car that should, alas, only be owned by people capable of rebuilding motors or buying any car they want. The first gen RX-7 FBs (1978-85), still the most raw and coveted, looked like this.

I’m too old for GenX fast and furious nostalgia. I was born right on the cusp of the baby boom/genx boundary. I grew up liking both Chargers and Corvettes and MGs and Jaguars, but my family was very early in making the conversion to Japanese cars with a 1974 Subaru, so I was more aware of them than most of my suburban peers.

But when midlife crisis time came upon me I might as well have been born ten years later, or maybe I pretended I was, because I only have eyes for Japanese iron. Period. I get Jaguars and BMWs just fine. But I’d rather have any of a dozen Japanese sports cars. And I will, eventually, be taking care of that itch. But for now as a city dweller working on retiring early, I make do with a Mazda3. It isn’t a bad compromise for normal folks if you love slow-car-fast driving that is really the essence of Japanese performance aesthetics.

TLDR: Wouldn’t be even slightly interested in a Camaro but can’t take my eyes off the Miata RF.
posted by spitbull at 5:16 AM on January 18


The first gen RX-7 FBs (1978-85), still the most raw and coveted, looked like this.

Ahhh, that's what I was remembering.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:01 AM on January 18


« Older Many of the best stories are waiting to be written   |   🔇 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments