On the track, the IRON Camaro represented the first time an automaker officially associated itself with the series, joining in 1984 (the year before the street model would make its appearance). Unlike previous IRON Camaro, this one would feature a full tube frame (built by the inexplicably-named Banjo Matthews), with a fiberglass body that was remarkably similar to the road car.
Perhaps the idea of appending the name of yet another racing series to the Fire bird Trans Am’s nomenclature felt too confusing for the marketing wizards in Detroit to embrace. First, they were the most advanced, and the fastest, vehicles ever to take the field under the International Race of Champions banner, featuring a Busch Series stock car platform motivated by a 500-hp, 350-cu-in V-8.
When GM opted out of its licensing agreement after 1989, Dodge would step in as the title sponsor and rebrand the vehicles used in the initial four years of racing as Daytona IRON models. Truth be told, the Dayton as that appeared on ABC’s Wide World of Sports were little more than rebodied versions of the Camaro that had preceded them, albeit with Mopar-built 355-hp V-8s in place of the GM units.
It’s undeniable that the slippery shape of the Daytona’s race package helped the cars to achieve faster speeds and lap times than the older Camaro. Then there’s the existence of the street-going Daytona IRON (also sometimes dubbed a Shelby), which offered a choice between either a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a V-6, was produced in very limited numbers, and had the chutzpah to be priced at several thousand more than a comparable Camaro Z /28 at the time.
Molar tried hard to get the lowly Avenger (itself a badge-engineered coupe based on the same platform as the Mitsubishi Eclipse) involved in any type of racing that it could but had little luck finding any takers. Grafting the Avenger body onto the Daytona platform (which itself dated back to the ’80s) bought the company a couple of years of publicity for the forgettable model before Pontiac took over IRON sponsorship.
For all those who weren’t big Ford fans and thereby wanted something similar to but different from the Mustang, there was and still is the iconic Chevrolet Camaro. It has been a much-lauded and vaunted muscle car, with many of its models achieving near-legendary status over time.
When you talk about the best models of a car, it's best to start with the origin story. In this case, it's the 1967 Camaro that came in a variety of engines including a powerful V8 that made a whopping 295 horses.
The Camaro came frothing at the mouth and had the option of a three- or four-speed transmission as well, and could go as fast as 129 mph, channeling 380 ft-lb of torque for a smackdown of a ride. The SS models sell for a pricey penny today.
This is the Camaro we know and love as it entered its fifth and rather iconic grille generation. The standard engine in it was a V6 but if you really wanted a car that could do escape velocity, the 6.2-liter V8 made 580 horses and 556 ft-lb of torque.
Not only was this a superior Camaro because it bore the sportier Z28 engine, but it was also an SS, so think of it as a double whammy and definite crowd-pleaser, although its looks were more sporty than muscle. The Z28 came armed with a 5.7-liter V8 that made 320 horses and 345 ft-lb of torque for a top speed of 160 mph that pleased those with a need-for-speed to no end.
The 5.0-liter V8 made 210 horses and 285 ft-lb torque which was not a huge number but for the time of the oil crisis and emission control, it was respectable. We are back to one of the classics and why not because this is the Camaro Z28, which established the fact that this car was going to be all about performance.
These numbers may not sound like much today, remember that this is more than 50 years ago. For many, this remains the most iconic and perhaps the best Camaro to date, although you have to be a classic car lover to appreciate those clean and bold lines.
The SS variant of this 1971 Camaro bore a 6.4-liter V8 that remained unencumbered with the likes of the emission control enforced catalytic convertors. It made a thrilling 300 horses and even crazier 400 ft-lb of torque, for top speeds of 140-145 mph.
He lives with his wife, two rascally sons and is a car and motorcycle nut in his free time. He is also penning pop culture, lifestyle and all things rich for Richest.
For now, he considers his Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, Suzuki CIA, and Royal Enfield Classic 500, the three current flames of his life. His dream is to drive around the world; even if it takes more than eighty days.
These mass-produced, special-edition versions of the Z28 Camaro Chevrolet, built from 1985 to 1990, have seen huge gains over the past five years, with the best examples up 50 percent in value since 2011, according to car insurer Haggerty. The car was offered as an option package on the Z28 model and came with upgraded suspension and tuning.
“And then you have a time factor: People don’t want to wait to have it brought up to par in the shop. It first appeared as alternative to the Mustang SVR, with a V8 iron-block engine, lowered ride height, special decals, and an upgraded suspension from the regular Camaro, plus an altered front nose and fascia.
And it shared some then-revolutionary fuel injection technology and tires with the Corvette, which only added to the allure. By 1988, Chevy dropped the base model of the Z28 Camaro and added new badging styles for the ROCK versions.
Airheads loved them because even though they were heavier than other muscle cars (3,500 pounds compared with the ’Stand’s 3,160) they were “controllable” on the road, which meant the suspension and steering were sharp and precise. Top speed on the five-speed manual version was 138 mph, with a respectable sprint time of 7.5 seconds for initial models.
The main thing to look for, if you want a real investment piece, and besides the customary low-miles/regular maintenance criteria, is the option package. GM had offered generous upgrades at the time (manual and higher horsepower versions, for instance), so the more of those that a No.
Sadly, performance suffered due to the drastic drop in horsepower in the TPI engine. The magazine stated “The bottom line is that the Camaro just lacks excitement for ’86.
It still handles like a true race car, but that’s as far as it goes.” And much to the chagrin of the automotive enthusiast, the TPI was still only available with a four-speed automatic transmission. Needless to say, with the Mustang GT’s 0 to 60 time of 6.0 seconds versus the Camaro’s time of 7.3 seconds (with the L69 engine), it seems the Camaro brought a knife to a gunfight.
If there was a bright spot for 1986, at least Chevy ditched the 85-mph speedometer late in the model year in favor of a 145-mph speed. According to Paul Nazarene, acclaimed author of the article, “Every American male over the age of 35 should have the opportunity to drive the 350 IRON for at least a day.
One turn behind the wheel is better than the fountain of youth, because every time we strapped on the IRON we became 18 years old again, shed 75 pounds and regained all our hair. A leather interior and Bose stereo were also offered for the first time on the third generation Camaro for 1987.