IROC-Z Build Brings Fifth-Gen Vibes to Eighties Styling
Powered by a big LS under the hood, 1987 IROC-Z is an autocross hero with touches and hints of 2015 Z28 throughout.
There’s nothing that can’t be improved with an LS: Mustangs, RX7s, 911s. But there’s nothing like dropping an LS into a more familiar engine bay, whether it’s that of a Corvette, a Trans Am, or an S-10.
Or, in this case, a 1987 IROC-Z. Bruce Hawkins, owner of F-body aftermarket supplier Hawks Motorsports, recently featured a build owned by Brad Bedsaul, which takes its cues from the 2015 Camaro Z28.
“This car is a pretty neat car,” said Hawkins. “It was an 8,000-original-mile IROC, a factory manual transmission car, no-option car, kind of a stripper, if you will from back in the day. It’s pretty much a time capsule.”
After his Camaro returned from Detroit Speed, where it received a suspension upgrade, Bedsaul and Hawkins went to work dropping some LS7 power under the hood, using the 2014-15 Z28, itself “a stripper,” per Hawkins, as a template for what was needed out of the Eighties time machine.
“We, of course, took the 427 out of a ’14-’15 Z28 salvage car, done cam and cylinder heads,” said Hawkins. “The car makes right at 650 horsepower… The car has Forgeline 18 by 10 VXR1 wheels on it. This is a monoblock wheel that very, very closely resembles the ’14-’15 Z28 wheel.”
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Hawkins notes where were some challenges fitting the 18-inch wheels over the 15-inch carbon brakes, which were resolved with some remade brake brackets and other tricks to make it work.
“Although it’s an original paint car, and the car really looked very, very good for its age,” Hawkins says, “the engine bay just didn’t quite look up to par. So, our friends over at Kolorworks took the car, and pretty much stripped the engine bay down. We did a full base clear on the engine bay alone.”
The result not only look amazing in its own right, but is the only way to properly display the big LS7. The engine itself sounds excellent, gurgling and ticking away as it waits to motivate the Camaro through the cone-lined autocross courses Bedsaul tackles every chance he gets.
“[We] incorporated a couple cues from the Z28,” said Hawkins of the interior. “We brought the seats in, we totally redid the bottom of the seat brackets to where there were a bolt-in deal… We also went ahead and wrapped the shift knob and the steering wheel with Alcantara leather.”
This “1987-slash-2015 Z28” is quite the badass machine, drawing eyes wherever it goes. We can’t wait to see it at the next autocross event.