“Elegance With a Technical Touch.”
1986 was the last model year for the Berlinetta semi-luxury version of Chevrolet’s Camaro, and they were by far the rarest of the three Camaros types available. With only 4,579 Berlinettas built in 1986, Chevrolet sold more than eleven times as many IROC-Zs alone.
The base powertrain for the Berlinetta was the LB8 135 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci multi-port fuel injected V6 with a five-speed manual transmission. Optional power was the $750 LG4 155 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor which was paired with a $465 four-speed automatic transmission (the five-speed manual was not available with the V8 on the Berlinetta).
Fuel economy with the base powertrain combination was 17 city/26 highway by the standards of the day (15/24 by modern standards). Moving up to the V8 dropped mileage ratings only slightly—to 17/25, and reduced the 0-60 mph time to a respectable 9 seconds in a car that weighed approximately 3,250 pounds. With a 15.6-gallon fuel tank, a V8 Berlinetta owner could expect a range of 265 to 295 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
Your $11,902 base price (about $27,600 in today’s dollars or about what a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT coupe goes for) bought standard mechanical and exterior equipment including power brakes, power steering, dual horns, and Berlinetta-specific wheel covers. Inside, a custom interior, intermittent windshield wipers, a roof console, a locking rear storage cover, and an AM/FM stereo radio with clock and four speakers were included.
Of course, the notable interior component for the Berlinetta was the “Welcome aboard Starship Camaro.” (yes, that was a real advertisement) cluster with dual adjustable control pods, a vacuum-fluorescent digital speedometer, and a bar graph tachometer. To an aspiring young audiophile, the killer feature of this interior was the optional (an extra $242) AM/FM stereo on a swivel with a “proper” upright (no slot) cassette deck and a five-band graphic equalizer. For 1986 only, the stereo received substantially improved backlighting.
Exterior and mechanical options included four-wheel disc brakes ($179), t-tops ($846—ouch!), a rear spoiler ($69), halogen headlamps ($25), rear window defogger ($145), and nice looking Berlinetta-specific aluminum finned wheels ($225). Inside, you could add cruise control ($175) and Berlinetta-specific electronically-controlled air conditioning ($750).
According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1986 Berlinetta in (rare) #1 condition is $13,400, with a more normal #3 condition car going for $6,200. In general, third-generation Camaros have good club support and are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and eBay Motors, but Berlinettas of any year are rarely seen. There was a red 1984 Berlinetta with tan cloth seats, a V8, and 34,000 miles available for sale in Hemmings for $11,000 when I last checked in December 2018.
Make mine Black, please.
Updated December 2018.