We meet up with an IROC owner who shares his story of how his second Camaro came to be the emboldened ride it is.
David Lee had an IROC-Z28 in high school in the late ‘90s. "It was my first car and I loved it so much," he recalls. "Unfortunately, after I graduated, we had to sell it. I went through several years really missing my Camaro." In 2010, Lee’s years of longing to have an IROC-Z28 again were over. After a lengthy search process, he found a dream IROC. "My first Camaro from high school had a ‘RIPPS’ [supercharger company] sticker on the rear windshield. When I got my second Camaro I had to tribute my original so I named it RIPPS 2 in honor of my first love," he beams. Here, Lee shares his story of how RIPPS 2 came to be the emboldened ride it is.
How did you acquire your second Camaro?
Lee: After pouring over classifieds, a 1989 Chevy Camaro IROC-Z28 with T-tops and a five-speed caught my eye. The ad was only minutes old when I came across it, but I was the first caller. The next morning I met the seller and as soon as I saw the vehicle, I envisioned all its potential. After driving it, I was pleased with the overall performance and bought it.
What have you done to make it a bolder ride? My goal is a spitting image of the Camaro that I had in the ‘90s. It took about twenty different 3rd generation Camaros to yield the interior I have now, and the seats came off a 4th generation Camaro. Then I got a 3-inch cowl induction bolt on hood from Harwood. Then came the paint - Metallic Silver - and some bodywork, done by Upland Paint and Body. Next, I purchased low profile Nittos from a performance shop, and a set of 17" Torq Thurst II’s from American Racing. I used an Eibach Sportline suspension kit that lowered the car 2.25 inches all around. New polyurethane bushings and suspension arms were installed as well. Then it was onto the new turn signals, grill, fog lamps, badges and emblems, limo tint, a Hurst shifter, Autometer gauges, and other small things that made an overall significant contribution to the car’s appearance. After one year of enjoying my Camaro, the stock 305 engine blew out. This called for the biggest modification and I went with a 383 carbureted engine from Summit Racing.It’s now just like the Camaro I owned in high school.
What was most challenging about the restoration process? Going from a 305 TPI to a carbureted 383 was by far the most challenging and trying experience of the restoration. It’s hard to properly explain just how much went into this to get it going.
Tell us a funny story from the restoration phase. Once I finally dropped in the 383 and successfully fired it up several times, I decided a test drive was in order. I opened the garage, cleared a path and was very excited to see how it would run. As I pushed in the clutch pedal, I noticed that I couldn’t get into gear. Apparently, the flywheel had been shaved down too much when it was resurfaced. I couldn’t even drive out of the garage.
What’s your favorite place to drive your Camaro? I have so many favorite locations that provide some great natural scenery for picture taking purposes. I get so many thumbs up from drivers who pass by my car while I’m snapping away. I would absolutely love to drive my car in a movie or something along those lines. That would be something else.
What’s a dream accessory you'd love to get for it and why? A supercharger would be quite lovely, for fast and furious reasons!
THE BASICS Make: Chevrolet Model: Camaro Year: 1989 Price (base when new): $17,076 Engine: 383 Stroker Horsepower: 355 hp @ 5500 rpm Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm Car Type: Coupe, Muscle Car
THE MEASUREMENTS Overall length: 192 in. Wheelbase: 101 in. Height: 50.3 in. Width: 72.8 in. Curb weight: 3,100 lbs.