Photos by Jerry Heasley
Like too many “farewell tours” by bands and aging singers, many “lasts” don’t last. That was the case with the last convertibles. Over at General Motors, the “last” convertible was supposed to be the 1976 Cadillac Eldorado. Pity the “investors” who paid premium prices for those bloated parade floats.
Camaro convertibles disappeared in 1969. The lackluster Cavalier became available in convertible form in 1983. The Corvette convertible returned in 1986, and Camaros added an open-air option in 1987. The availability of convertibles greatly increased the number of potentially collectible eighties and nineties Camaros.
Two years prior to the reintroduction of the Camaro convertible, Chevrolet added a specially-equipped model known as the IROC-Z. It was inspired by the International Race Of Champions (a limited series for top drivers from different venues who competed in identical Camaros). The name had great recognition.
IROC-Zs had high performance suspension, gas-filled shocks, 16x8-inch aluminum wheels, and special Goodyear tires. There were 190hp and 215hp versions of the small-block 305 V-8 with either an automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual. The IROC package was slightly more than $600 over the base Z28 price, so it proved immensely popular.
The 350ci V-8 (225hp) returned along with the new Camaro convertible in 1987. The optional 350 V-8 was only available in the IROC-Z. The IROC-Zs were available with three option packages. Content increased through the third package, which included items such as cruise control and power seats. When searching for a collectible IROC-Z, try to buy a Package 3 car if you can find a nice one.
The car in the accompanying photos is a 1990 IROC-Z, but any 1987-1990 IROC-Z convertible would be a good bet. The condition of the car and its equipment are more important than the year. The IROC name was dropped after 1990. Chevrolet lost the name rights to another manufacturer who took over the race sponsorship. That gives the 1990 models a little added interest as the last of an era
The 1991-1992 Z28 convertibles were similar cars, but without the IROC graphics. IROC-Z coupes are excellent, reasonably priced cars, but they don’t have the collector car potential of the convertibles.
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Collectible Camaros that Don’t Require Selling the Farm.
1969 Camaro Pace Car Convertible
Leading the Pack
1969 Camaro SS 396 Coupe
375hp of L78 Big-Block Muscle
1970 Camaro Z28
Beauty, Brawn and Balance
1979 Camaro Z28
Resurrecting the Z28
1990 Camaro IROC-Z
Top Down Rockin’ in an IROC Convertible
1993 Camaro Pace Car
The Fourth Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car
2002 Camaro Convertible
After 35 Years, the Camaro Exits In Grand Style