Streetwalker: 1988 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

I’ve shot a lot of cars for this site, and a large number of those have been American cars strewn around the Finnish small-town landscape. Again, wintertime snow humps are receding, and the stateside-born metal is revealed, either by people bringing out their priced V8 behemoths or the melting snow just showing you what it has hidden for months.
This 1988 Camaro IROC-Z belongs to the latter camp. A friend remarked he has seen the dreamy red T-Top beast buried in snow for the whole winter long, and now you can see it in its perfect ’80s glory. And it doesn’t even seem that much worse for wear.

The IROC-Z is pretty much the essential third-gen Camaro, with a meaner front lip and chunky five-spoke wheels declaring its might, while the handling department is beefed up by suspension upgrades. You got Bilstein shock absorbers, stronger sway bars, a steering brace, you name it: they really wanted the IROC-Z to appeal to international champions looking for some Camaro kicks.
And the package worked wonders, to the extent that in ’88 you could choose between two Camaros: the IROC-Z or not. The other option was just the base car with no frills, and all Z28:s got the IROC-Z goodies thrown in.
And it’s a really ridiculously good-looking car, isn’t it? There’s something about the ’80s Camaro that deserves to be cherished, not in an ironic eye-rolling way or with an arsenal of mullet jokes in your back pocket. The dimensions work, the creases are sharp, the entire car declares it’s got potential.
And with the 305 TPI engine developing all of 220hp, it wasn’t exactly post-malaise era slow at its worst. Granted, the automatic ones were rated at only 195hp. You could also have the IROC-Z with a 5.7-litre 350 TPI, and the ’89 ones with that engine and dual exhausts put out 240hp, but this ’88 car is just the five point oh.
IROC-Z cars also got Goodyear Gatorback rubber, but this one has been rolling on Cooper Cobra for a while now.
And as a little reminder of some 3rd gen Camaro screentime, here’s a clip from the 1994 TV adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand.
[Images: Copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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  1. neight428 Avatar

    Love me some 3rd gen Camaro. I had a ’91 Z28 and remember it fondly. The Cooper Cobras on this example are among the very few 15″ name brand tires still produced not made for boat trailers.

  2. CraigSu Avatar

    T-Tops under winter snow seems more like it would spell disaster when the melting occurs. Bring a wet vac.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      From living in New England, I can tell you it’s far better to let the car sit in a snowbank all winter than it is to drive it.But, yeah, only if your weather stripping is “cherry”.

      1. CraigSu Avatar

        Having never lived outside of North Carolina I’ve never experienecd a New England winter or anything close to it. By far the worst winter weather we have to deal with here is ice storms and when that happens we just stay home.

  3. Batshitbox Avatar

    These were new when I was in high school, and my mom still had the 1968 convertible Camaro she bought in ’70. I have always thought they were ugly, but I had a high standard. Stuff like this looks terrible when it’s surrounded by better looking stuff like my mom’s car and any number of Daily Driver O.G. muscle cars; but start to look good as even crappier looking new cars start to surround them.

  4. JayP Avatar

    Mis-matched tires on a Camaro.
    Rednecks are world-wide.

    1. OttoNobedder Avatar

      Mis-matched, but 245/50/16 ‘s are probaaly not tot easy to find in Finland

  5. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    I must say, 3rd gen Cameros have been growing on me lately. They still put out a little bit of a redneck vibe, and I’d still rather take it’s more exotic looking sister (Firebird), but it does have some nice lines.

  6. salguod Avatar

    Those look like earlier plain Z28 wheels. I thought all IROCs had these wheels: