Dealer Classic: 1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z – “Ten With A Two”

When Willie Nelson released “Ten with a Two” in 1990, he wasn’t singing about shopping for a Camaro, but the concept of coming home with something that belies a drunken first impression isn’t indigenous merely to those who are accustomed to the art of the “Third Rate Romance.”  Smart used car shoppers will also preach the following: “Don’t buy a used car in the dark.”  Whoever buys this IROC-Z I recently found on the lot of a local Cadillac dealer would be well-advised to wait for a sunny day to do it in order to avoid any Sunday morning surprises.

Things may be different in other parts of the United States, but here in the Upper Midwest, 1987 hasn’t totally gone away.  Men and women who called that heady period their heyday still seem to visit the same hairdressers, clothing stores, and taverns as they did during those halcyon days of their youth.  Classic rock stations still abound and the IROC-Z has never gone out of style.  Mistakes are most assuredly still being made on those beer-stained dancefloors of corner bars throughout our pleasant peninsula; therefore, Willie Nelson certainly had his finger on the pulse of humankind, even if the years haven’t necessarily been kind to the message.

And that is why one must be on one’s guard when approaching this fire-engine red Camaro.  Aside from a flat tire and some unfortunate window tinting, it looks like a tempting piece of 1980s American boldness, if one appreciates that sort of thing.

Unhappily for our hypothetical Whitesnake-loving, Camaro-buying protagonist, however, the ruse is up as the door is opened.  These moldering spiderwebs are only the front line in what is a veritable battalion of wickedness.

One is greeted by the scent before the visual onslaught of rancid midwestern stereotypes.  A box housing a six-by-nine, a Mountain Dew twenty-ouncer, suspicious bottles of liquid that have emerged from beneath the driver’s seat?  Doc Brown’s DeLorean has been superseded by a blue-collar substitute, and it’s visited 2020.

The rear passenger compartment pales in comparison to the front, but nobody wants to know what has stained the front driver’s seat, nobody at all.  After all, there are no T-tops on which to blame water leaks.


On the surface, the Camaro seems to be wearing a tempting odometer reading, but nobody knows the truth of that number, and one might not know until it’s simply too late.

Once a potential buyer closes the door to stifle the stench, s/he might notice that the IROC has been repainted.  Aside from a small run, it’s a decent job, but sloppy.  Apparently, someone decided that masking anything below the beltline was an extravagance – note that even the tire was not safe from overspray.

An interesting feature on third-gen Camaros is the location of the trunk lock – it’s behind a hinged license plate bracket.  This was also the case on the second generation cars, but the license plate also obscured the gas cap, giving the design some meaning.  This just seems like a waste of time.

Regardless of the details, I first noticed this Camaro on a Saturday evening walk, and these pictures were appropriately taken on a Sunday morning.  In the cold light of day, one’s choices can no longer be justified by excuses, and I was fortunate to not be led astray by bad decisions.  No worries here, gentle reader – I am not the Camaro buying protagonist.

Lest one think that I have an inflated opinion of myself or that I couldn’t be led astray by a bright red F-Body, however, let me assure you that I too am guilty of a late night transgression of my own.  The next morning was rough, but when dealing with red F-Bodies, there’s nothing to say that one can’t turn a 2 into a 10 over time.