The third-gen Camaro created quite a sensation when it debuted in 1982. By 1985, Chevrolet upped the ante with the IROC-Z28 model boasting 16-inch tires, a ground effects package, and an exotic, tuned port-injected small-block V8. Thoughtfully penned by stylist Jerry Palmer, it was the first Camaro to ever have a hatchback and still looks fresh today.
It was a big hit and GM sold boatloads of ’em. Sadly, the build quality of Camaros during the mid-eighties was fair to middlin’, to say the least, and they seem to age quickly, especially when driven hard. By today’s standards, third-gen F-bodies are obsolete, but remain a perfect stepping-off point to create a restomod pony car.
What’s more, these old F-bodys take to modern performance upgrades like a fish to water. As with any custom car, restraint is the key to a timeless build, creating a machine that will remain cool over the years and not become a clown car.
While strolling the Central Hall at SEMA 2022, we spotted a 1985 Camaro IROC-Z Z28 that looked super tough, although it didn’t reveal all its charms until we got up close. If Chevrolet were to make a modern IROC, it would look like this. What really struck us about this build is although it was utterly massaged from stem to stern, it had no superfluous flames, stripes, or hokey doo-dads. It stood out in a sea of cars with its subtle mods and additions from Fiber Forged Composites. The build quality and execution of the car are absolutely top-notch as well.
Owned by Terry Kirven and built by Greening Auto Company of Cullen, Alabama, the IROC-Z shone brightly under the SEMA lights. Sporting a Detroit Speed suspension and Baer Brakes, this Camaro rides on one-off three-piece wheels and sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires.
Under the hood sits a 440 cubic-inch, Don Hardy-built LSX racing engine putting down a healthy 608 horsepower. A Bowler Performance 4L80E automatic transmission transfers the power to a Detroit Speed rear axle and is guaranteed to torture the rear tires.
Greening handled most of the build in-house but farmed out the interior to Mobile Toys in Texas. The result is a very nice update of the Camaro’s fighter-pilot-inspired cabin. The brittle dash, door panels, and cheap plastic bits have all been swathed in soft touch material and the tweaks bring the mid-eighties interior design into crystal clear focus.
The car was entered in the SEMA 2022 Battle of the Builders but unfortunately, did not garner a win. We think that was a misstep. The stance is perfect, the Glasurit paint is flawless, and the build quality is jewel-like. Not to worry though, as this Camaro IROC-Z Z28 hardly needs an award to justify the achievement here from Greening Auto Company. We think it is the benchmark of third-gen F-body builds and should be required viewing for anyone considering building this era of Camaro. In the meantime, Terry Kirven has the most bitchin’ third-gen Camaro on record.