IROC-Z Build Brings Fifth-Gen Vibes to Eighties Styling

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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.

1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

“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.

1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

“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.

1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

“[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.

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Since launching her professional writing career nearly a decade ago as a fashion blogger, Cameron Aubernon has written for a handful of online and print publications on a wide variety of subjects, including expat issues, fashion, music, and, of course, the automotive industry. The automotive expert was even the editor-in-chief of a popular online lifestyle publication, where she reviewed luxury cars and interviewed fellow automotive enthusiasts.

A graduate of The Evergreen State College Class of 2005 with a bachelor's in liberal arts, Aubernon took a left turn from fashion writing into the automotive realm when she asked a fellow writer via Facebook if she could write for their site. Following an internship, stints with a couple of hyper-local online publications, and a move to Seattle, she made her then-biggest impact with The Truth About Cars, writing full-time for the publication from 2013 to 2015.

Currently, the highly-regarded automotive journalist is a frequent contributor to the high-traffic Internet Brands Auto Group websites Rennlist, Club Lexus, LS1Tech and Mustang Forums, among others.

Aubernon’s expert knowledge of all things Ford trucks has also made her a mainstay as one of the most prolific writers on Ford Truck Enthusiasts and F-150 Online.

Aubernon can be contacted via email at [email protected].

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