Throwback Thursday: 1986 Camaro IROC Z VS a Helicopter

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1986 helicopter camaro iroc z ad

This week’s Throwback Thursday video features a commercial for the 1986 Chevrolet Camaro IROC Z. With the then-new “Heartbeat of America” jingle playing in the background, this bright red Camaro IROC Z appears to be locked in a pretty casual game of cat and mouse with a police helicopter. As the two rush along the road, the camera pops inside to dramatically show the speedometer – with the needle exceeding 50 miles per hour.

After some time, the pilot of the helicopter races ahead, seemingly to cut the slow-moving Camaro off at the pass. The chopper gets up ahead, lands and the pilot jumps out to confront the driver of the Chevy. As it rolls past, the tinted driver’s side window rolls down and – unexpectedly – the officer was also driving the Camaro.

It is an odd commercial, but let’s keep in mind how odd pretty much everything was in the American 1980s.



A lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years, Patrick Rall is highly experienced in the automotive world. He has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now auto journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

“Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500,” says Rall. “He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car: a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16. Meanwhile, I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

“Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group,” adds Rall. “While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

“Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

“My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

“Being based on Detroit, I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.”

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