Highlights of an overlooked decade in Camaro history
From: Camaro Performers, Fall 1998, Volume 3, No.
The Camaro spotlight has traditionally shined on first-generation cars, as
these are the machines that created the performance aura that made the F-bodies
famous. Lately, fourth-generation machines have started sharing in some of the
light, as they continue to prove how much performance potential is packed in
their high-tech package. Somewhere along the line, however, second- and
third-generation F-bodies have become somewhat neglected.
always felt that '70-73 Camaros were good, well-balanced performers, we have to
think that '82-92 machines offer some of the most overlooked potential as
performance machines. Think about it. There were hoards of these cars made,
which make them plentiful on the used car market today. Their contemporary
suspensions are easy to upgrade for canyon-carving agility. And factory V8
models offer reasonable performance, with plenty of after-market equipment
available to make them perform up to the standard of today's Camaros. In short,
we think third-generation cars are going to be coming on strong very soon. In
fact, our sister publication, Super Chevy, thinks so too, and might even embark
on a third-gen project car sometime soon. With that in mind, we thought it
appropriate to offer a short course in third-generation history by presenting
highlights in Camaro evolution from 1982-1992. These statistics should give you
an idea of which models make the best project starting points, and at what point
certain options became available.
- First year of the all-new third generation.
- Base engine was the "Iron Duke" four cylinder; production 21,802.
- Crossfire Injection (CFI) was new, borrowing the Cross Ram intake idea from
the 1968 and '69 302 option; production 24,673.
- Gone was the 350 engine, with the top engine offering producing only 165
horsepower LU5; production was 24,673.
- Another adaptation of first generation technology was the J65 four-wheel
disc brake application; production 6,254.
- The 1982 Camaro received many awards including Motor Trend car of the year.
- The 1982 Camaro was chosen as the first Indianapolis Pace car following the
first generation Camaros previous in 1967 and 1969; production 6,360.
- Quad headlights underscored the totally new rectangular shape.
- Aerodynamics played a big role in the new design. The cd (coefficient of
drag) for 1981 was .412 and for 1982 was .374 an improvement of 9-percent.
- Even though Chevy advertise a 500Lb weight reduction, it really amounted to
379Lbs when you compare an '81 Camaro with the base V6 engine and an '82 Camaro
with a V6 instead of the base four cylinder engine.
- Luggage space increased drastically from a minuscule 7.1 cubic feet to an
expanding hatch back area of 11.4 lockable storage to 31.2 cubic feet with the
back of the seat folded down.
- Four speed transmission was the only manual gearbox available but was not
available with the Cross Fire injection engine; production 34,170.
- Fully reclining seats were standard for the first time.
- The standard 305 - 5.0 liter - 4 barrel engine had 145 horsepower;
- Fresh air induction hood scoops were functional on the Z28 with Cross Fire
Injection; production 24,673.
- Ground effects became the styling rage first on the Camaro Z28.
- Twin needle speedometer read in MPH and kilometers at the same time. Top
speed was 85 MPH.
- Only two transmissions were available, the MM4 four speed manual or the MX1
three speed automatic.
- A new high output (H.O.) five liter engine called the L69 became available
with 190 horsepower. The High Output came with larger diameter exhaust with
2-3/4-inch front pipes and 2-1/2-inch tailpipes. A Corvette oval style
monolithic catalytic converter helped flow; production 3,233.
- The LU5 Cross Fire Injection engine produced 10 more horsepower; production
- A new five speed manual transmission became available with a 2.95 first gear
ratio and a .73 overdrive in fifth; production 32,162.
- The standard 5.0 liter V8 gained five horsepower to 150hp called the LG4;
- The old four speed was still available but sold poorly; production 3,839.
- A new overdrive four speed automatic from the Corvette was available, the
MXO; production 68,844.
- The Lear Siegler Contour seats came with Camaro boldly printed on the seat
cushions and door panels. It was available in orange, dark blue and charcoal.
- Stout 3.73 gear was available.
- Four transmissions were available: the MM4, MM5, MXO and MX1.
- New for 1984 was the digital dash for Berlinetta; production 33,400.
- A new roof console (RPO DK6) was available with overhead trip mileage and
departure mileage spools, removable flashlight and storage pouch; production
- Deletions were already taking place:
- The LU5 Crossfire Injection was dropped.
- The four speed manual transmission was eliminated.
- Functional hood scoops were closed permanently.
- Three speed MX1 automatic was completely replaced by four speed overdrive
- A new custom interior was available in black Zebra stripes in all colors.
- The new top of the line radio included a five band equalizer, seek, scan and
cassette YE2; production was 38,531.
- Radio delete option available for first time RPO C10; production 4,098.
- Only three transmissions were available, the MM4, MM5 and MXO.
- All manual transmissions now have an hydraulic clutch.
- Intermittent wipers optional - CD4
- Big news for 1985
- Introduction of the Tuned Port Injection (TPI) production 32,836. It was
available on the 305 engine RPO LB9 and produced 215 horsepower with the MXO
four speed automatic overdrive transmission only. The 3.32 rear axle ratio was
standard. 0-60 was 7.2 seconds. Quarter mile times were 15.2 (exactly the same
times for the 1984 L69 five speed).
- Introduction of the IROC-Z package RPO B4Z. Chevrolet obtained permission to
use the name IROC from the International Race Of Champions. The IROC package
included: Lower ride height, higher effort steering (same gear ratio as Z-28),
245/50VR-16 Gatorbacks on 16x8 aluminum wheels, Delco Bilstein rear shocks,
special valving front struts and fog lamps; production 21,177.
- The revised styling included a new front fascia more rounded in appearance
with a deeper chin spoiler and lower ground effects on the Z28 and IROC models.
These two models also got the much maligned hood louvers which gave the
automotive press something to criticize.
- A new split folding rear seat was optional on custom interior Camaros.
- The new speedometer became a single needle instrument but kept the 85mph top
- Gatorback type Goodyears were available on the IROC's 16-inch size while the
Z28 kept it's Eagle GT's.
- The L89 High Output only came with the five speed MM5 and only in IROCs;
- New for '85 colors included Maroon, Copper Metallic, Light yellow. The IROC
was available in only these colors: Yellow, Bright Blue Metallic, Black, Silver
Metallic and Red.
- The V-6 got a new Multi Port Injection raising the horsepower from 107 to
135; Production 78,315.
- The Camaro GTZ show car unveiled in June.
- Windshield washers located on wiper arms.
- Horsepower dropped on the TPI 305 LB9 to 190hp slowing down published 0-60
times from 7.2 to 7.4 and the quarter mile times dropped by the same margin. The
0-100mph dropped from 19.3 in '85 to 21.4 in '86.
- The 3.42 rear axle gear was now standard on the LB9 TPI 305 IROC.
- New for '86 was the high mounted brake light. It was mounted on the hatch
glass at the roof line.
- The Berlinetta production stopped in mid year for a total production of only
4,479 from 13,649 in '85.
- A new option was the automatic day/night rearview mirror RPO DD8; Production
- The Lear Siegler seat option now included power adjustments and was very
rare. Only 184 were sold.
- Rear window louvers became a new option; Production 6,058.
- The High Output L69 was available but only 74 were produced.
- Canceled from production was the four cylinder LQ9. Only 3,318 were made in
- Although no official production numbers are available, some 350 Camaro's
were produced. According to Chevrolet literature, 1000 were scheduled for
production without air conditioning. Only automatics were available.
- Some time during 1986 production some 140 mph speedometers were released.
- 305 LG4 lost 10 horsepower.
- Segmented rear tail lights changed the look of the rear end.
- 1986 was the first year for base coat/clear coat paint scheme as standard
- New automatic hatch closure.
- Fog lamps available for all Camaro's. Standard on IROC.
- Mid year introduction of 145 speedometer.
- Finally a convertible returns to the Camaro! The conversion is done by
Automobile Specialty Company (ASC) on T-Top equipped Camaro's in all versions
(SC, LT, Z28, and IROC). Even though the convertible could not be ordered with a
350, a few were built for special customers; Production 263 on non Z28's and 244
- Full production of the 350 5.7 liter RPO B2L V8 with air conditioning
available only with automatic; Production 12,105. Even though it was a detuned
version of the Corvette, it had cast iron heads and regular exhaust manifolds.
It produced 220 horsepower.
- Full production of the more realistic 140 speedometer was standard.
- New leather interior was available.
- New custom interior styling.
- New Delco Bose stereo available RPO UU8; Production 8,517.
- First year Tuned Port injection available with five speed transmission.
- Horsepower gained 10 to 165 on the base 305 LG4.
- Sadly, the last Camaro rolls off the Norwood Assembly line VIN#
- Beginning in '87 optional equipment came in packages. Many option could be
- A limited production of RS Camaros were produced for California and Florida
as a market test. These RS-equipped Camaros had the Z28 nose, ground effects,
rear spoiler, Z28 wheels and MFI V6.
- The center mounted stop light was moved to the rear spoiler on LT, Z28, and
IROC models. The Camaro Sport Coupe continued the center break light mounted on
the exterior hatch.
- Roller cams introduced.
- High Output L69 discontinued.
- Chevrolet dropped its Z28 name in favor of the IROC-Z.
- The new for '87 LT was dropped for '88 due to poor sales
- The standard Camaro was upgraded to the Z28 looks similar to the limited
production RS models in '87. A new attractive rear spoiler came standard and
housed the center high mounted stop lamp. The IROC continued using the spoiler
with integral center mounted stop lamp, as did the convertible.
- The 16-inch aluminum wheel had to be ordered as optional equipment and was
restyled for '88. The 15-inch Z28 wheel was standard on the IROC and the
Goodyear Eagle GT's no longer had the outlined white letters. Blackwalls were
- The LB9 305 Tuned Port Injection dropped 20 horsepower to 170; Production
- A new racing option became available in 1988 for showroom stock racing
called the 1LE; Production 4.
- IROC decals moved to rear of the door.
- New stripe and decal delete option RPO DX3.
- Vinyl seats deleted.
- Sport coupes and base V8 IROC have 115 speedometers.
- The RS becomes the new name for the standard base Camaro. It came with
ground effects, front spoiler, Z28 wheels, rear spoiler, sport suspension, quick
ratio steering and gauges, including a tachometer. It came with the V6 MFI and a
5.0 liter EFI engine was optional.
- The LG4 4-barrel carbureted 305 was discontinued and replaced by the new EFI
RPO LO3 (305 TBI); Production was 46,417.
- A new theft-deterrent system, called Pass Key, became standard equipment on
all 89 Camaros.
- A new dual catalytic converter system was standard on the 5.7 liter engine
and available optionally on the 305. The option boosted horsepower due to better
- Power for the 5.7 liter was increased to 230, a 10-horse increase over the
previous year's model.
- A three-point seat belt system was added to the rear seats.
- RS models were all one color.
- The 2.8 liter V6 grew in size to 3.1 liters (RPO code LHO); production was
- Another addition to the benefit of Camaro owners was a driver's side airbag.
A new steering wheel design was necessary to accommodate the airbag.
- The new instrument panel was standard equipment and included a tach,
voltmeter, water temp and oil pressure gauges. Two speedometers were available;
one with a 110-mph top speed, the other maxing out at 145 mph. Both included a
- The Delco Bose cassette stereo was new along with an optional CD player.
- Scotchguard fabric protection was standard on the seats and cloth door
- By eliminating the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF), Chevy engineers found an
additional five horsepower in the 5.7 liter. Power output reached 245 ponies
- Standard equipment now includes tinted glass, intermittent wiper control,
comfort tilt steering column, auxiliary lighting and Halogen headlamps.
- A new Delco CD player RPO V1C is available.
- The legendary Z28 moniker returned, replacing the IROC-Z nameplate and Chevy
decided to celebrate with a wild rear hardtop spoiler and one of the best
looking wheels ever available on a Camaro. New ground effects package added to
an even more refined look, especially without the bold graphics available on
earlier years. Off came the louvered hood and in it's place were a pair of
non-functional hood scoops.
- A new under hatch glass, center high-mounted third stop lamp was standard on
hardtops. Convertible lamp was still in the spoiler.
- Almost identical V- and Z-rated Goodyear Gatorback tires become available on
new 16x8 spoked aluminum wheels. V-rated tires are standard on RS and Z28
convertible. Z28 coupe gets Z-rated treads as standard, while they are an option
on the convertible.
- Instruments now have yellow graphics.
- B4C option now available for police cars.
- Delco Bose radio option is now Gold Series RPO UU8.
INTERIM 1991 CONVERTIBLE UPGRADES
- New three-point seat belts for convertible rear passengers.
- New lower effort convertible top.
- Color coordinated convertible rear quarter interior trim with courtesy
- More usable trunk space on convertibles.
- For Camaro's 25th anniversary, Chevy offered the Heritage Appearance
Package. It consisted of hood and deck stripes, reminiscent of the original
Z/28's, plus body color grille, black headlamp pockets and special interior and
exterior badging. The package was available in only three colors of either the
coupe or convertible model; black with red stripes, red with black stripes, or
white with red stripes.
- Chevy had a good idea when it considered building 602 (the same number of
original Z/28's built) limited production "King of the Hill" Z28's, replete with
30 more horsepower, six-speed manual transmission, 1LE brake package and air
conditioning. However, the price tag was prohibitive so the project never came
- Chevy announced the addition of a new body seam sealer that would not only
prevent squeaks and rattles, but would make the body more rigid, as well.
- New beige convertible top was available.
- Four new colors included: Purple Haze Metallic, Dark Gray/Green Metallic,
Polo Green II Metallic and Medium Quasar Blue Metallic.
- Z-rated tires only available on the Z28 coupe, not available on the