1984 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe

Bring a Trailer recently featured a 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe that was generally original except for the wheels and tires. It sold for $8,000.

“Looks. Performance. Price.”

For 1984, the Chevrolet Camaro Sport Coupe had relatively few changes. A four-speed automatic became the only automatic available (1983 Camaros had three-speed and four-speed automatic options). Steel-belted radial tires were newly standard on all Camaros, and all manual transmission vehicles received a hydraulic clutch.

The Sport Coupe continued with the LQ9Iron Duke” 92 bhp 2.5 liter inline four with fuel injection as standard, paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Optional engines were two: the LC1 107 bhp 2.8 liter V6 with a two-barrel carburetor ($250) and the LG4 150 bhp 5.0 liter V8 with a four-barrel carburetor ($550). Both a five-speed manual ($125) and a four-speed automatic ($525) were optional.

Sport Coupe pages from the 1984 Camaro brochure

With the standard powertrain, the Sport Coupe was all show, no go. 0-60 tests of four cylinder F-cars are rare to non-existent, but reasonable estimates are in the high 12 to high 13 second range. For all that trouble, mileage wasn’t that impressive: 24 city/36 highway by the day’s standards, which would now be 19/26. With a 15.5-gallon gas tank, a four cylinder Sport Coupe owner could expect a range of 315 to 415 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The hot setup for the Sport Coupe, such as it was, was the LG4 V8 paired with the four-speed automatic (five-speed manuals with V8s were Z28-only in 1984). For a total of $1,075, this combination changed the car’s character, with the 0-60 time dropping by more than three seconds compared to the base four. These changes did not mean that a V8 Sport Coupe was going to see anything but the taillights of a Z28 with the 190 bhp “H.O.” V8. Fuel economy ratings with the V8 also dropped significantly to 18 city/29 highway, but a slightly larger 16.1-gallon fuel tank reduced the range penalty—a V8 Sport Coupe owner could expect a 260 to 340 mile range.

Perhaps the most engaging Sport Coupe—but certainly not the fastest—was the LC1 V6/five-speed manual combination. At $375 over the base car, it was about a second faster from 0-60 mph. Fuel economy ratings of 20 city/31 highway along with a 16.1-gallon fuel tank meant a 275 to 370 fuel range.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment for the $8,097 Sport Coupe (about $22,500 in today’s dollars or about 10% less than a 2022 base 1LS Camaro coupe costs) included dual black side mirrors, fast-ratio power steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P195/75R14 radial tires (a size still reasonably available) on 14-inch body-colored wheels with hubcaps. Inside, reclining front vinyl bucket seats, a floor console, and an AM radio were included.

Options & Production Numbers

Options were many and included body color Sport mirrors ($139), a rear deck spoiler ($69), tinted glass ($110), removable glass roof panels ($850), and four-wheel power disc brakes ($179 and V8-only). Inside, buyers could add a gage package with a tachometer ($149), Deluxe luggage compartment trim ($164 and including a locking rear compartment storage cover), Custom cloth bucket seats ($359 and including quiet sound group), and air conditioning ($730).

Six different optional radios were available, with the top-of-the-line being an electronically tuned AM/FM stereo radio with seek and scan, cassette tape, clock, and graphic equalizer ($493). A well-equipped Sport Coupe could easily sticker for substantially more than a base Berlinetta or Z28.

The 1984 Sport Coupe sold quite well—Chevrolet moved 127,292 units, making it about 49% of overall Camaro sales. 1984 would be the peak for Sport Coupe sales in the 1980s, and it isn’t obvious why.

The View From 2022

Third-generation Camaros have substantial forum support and they attract collector interest. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1984 Camaro Sport Coupe with the V8 in #1/Concours condition is $13,400, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $6,000. V6 versions get a 30% deduction, while four cylinder cars go for half price.

Make mine Charcoal Metallic, please.

Other third-generation Camaro hatchback coupes I have written about include the 1982 Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition, the 1985 IROC-Z, and the 1986 Berlinetta. I have yet to write about any of the 1987 thru 1989 Camaro convertibles.


1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition hatchback coupe

Every May, the Indianapolis 500 race is a “tentpole” event in the international racing schedule. Since 1911, there have been designated pace cars, with replica pace cars often being sold. A 1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition with 2,630 miles sold for a $35,000 hammer price at the 2021 Mecum Indy. Are these distinctive and good-looking (I think) cars finally attracting significant interest?

“Even its shadow boasts performance”

The 1982 Chevrolet Camaro could reasonably be described as all-new. This moniker applied to the “pleasing and exciting” exterior, the interior, much of the chassis, and most of the engines. As Road & Track stated, the new Camaro was “keenly anticipated.”

The Z28‘s standard powertrain was the LG4 145 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a four-barrel carburetor paired with a four-speed manual transmission. An optional LU5 Cross-Fire 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with throttle-body fuel injection and 165 bhp set the buyer back $450 and required the $396 three-speed automatic transmission. 0-60 took just under 10 seconds with the base V8 and the four-speed manual and shortened to 9 seconds with the top-of-the-line Cross-Fire motor and the automatic.

1982 Camaro Commerative Edition flyer
1982 Camaro Z28 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition flier

The Z28 had a base price of $9,700—about $27,700 in 2021 dollars or about what a base 2021 Camaro coupe goes for. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on all 1982 Z28s included front air dam, “ground effect” lower body extensions, a rear spoiler, body-color dual Sport mirrors, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and 215/65R-15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15 x 7 inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels. Inside, every 1982 Z28 came with full instrumentation, an electric quartz analog clock, courtesy lamps, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Standard equipment specific to the $10,999.26 Z50 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition included Silver/Blue two-tone accent paint, specific commemorative edition decals, Custom interior trim, and blue Custom cloth bucket L/S Conteur (Chevrolet’s spelling) front seats.

Options and Production Numbers

Among the many options available for the Camaro Z28 were tinted glass ($88), removable glass roof panels ($790!), power windows ($165), a power door lock system ($106), an electric rear window defogger ($125), automatic speed control ($155), air conditioning ($675), a Comfortilt steering wheel ($95), and a host of radios ($111 to $390).

Chevrolet sold 6,360 Indy 500 Commemorative Edition cars in 1982, in addition to 63,563 “normal” Z28s. However, the most popular Camaro was actually the base Sport Coupe, which moved 78,761 units. The somewhat more luxurious Berlinetta sold another 39,744 copies.

Reviews of the new Camaro were decent. Road & Track liked the Z28‘s exterior and the handling but bemoaned the interior packaging and the fuel mileage (EPA rated at 17 mpg but rarely attaining that in real life). Car and Driver famously accused the Z28 of being “Emily Post polite” but later retracted the remark.

The View From 2021

Third-generation Camaros attract plenty of collector interest, and there is substantial club support. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1982 Camaro Z28 hatchback coupe with the Cross-Fire motor in #1/Concours condition is $24,700, with a far more normal #3/Good condition version going for $11,100. 1982 Camaro Commemorative Editions are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, Hemmings has three listed for sale, all in the $25,000 range.

Other Camaros I have written about include the 1980 Rally Sport coupe, the 1980 Z28 coupe, the 1985 IROC-Z hatchback coupe, and the 1986 Berlinetta hatchback coupe. Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams with blog entries here include the 1981 coupe, the 1982 hatchback coupe, the 1984 15th Anniversary Edition hatchback coupe, the 1985 hatchback coupe, and the 1989 20th Anniversary Turbo hatchback coupe. Unlike with the Camaro, I have yet to cover anything but the top-the-line Firebird.

1980 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport coupe

At Barrett-Jackson’s 2018 Northeast auction, a bright blue metallic 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport coupe with black vinyl seats, a 3.8 liter/229 ci V6 with a two-barrel carburetor, an automatic, and 45,000 miles crossed the block. The hammer price was $4,700 for this honest, reasonably original car that no one ever tried to turn into something resembling a Z28. I find these non-top of the line cars interesting because they are rarely saved, leading to something like what we have with 1957 Chevrolets, where you’d think 90% of them were Bel Airs.

“It’s an escape from the ordinary.”

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For 1980, Chevrolet featured four versions of the Camaro. The base model was the Sport Coupe, followed by the Rally Sport, the Berlinetta, and the Z28. This post is about the Rally Sport, which cost $5,916 (about $19,800 in today’s dollars) and got a few changes in the final year of this particular iteration. A new blacked-out grille and a new three-tone striping package were visible, while inside sat a new standard V6.

Rally Sport and Sport Coupe pages from the 1980 Chevrolet Camaro brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures pages.

That new standard powertrain on the 1980 Rally Sport was the LC3 115 bhp 3.8 liter/229 ci V6 with a Rochester M2ME two-barrel carburetor paired with a three-speed manual. EPA fuel economy was 20 city/26 highway by the standards of the day—with a 20.9-gallon gas tank, a Camaro owner could expect to go 430 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. The trade-off was performance that belied the Camaro’s sporty looks: 0-60 in a little under 13 seconds with a top speed of 112 mph.

Optional powertrains included two V8s, both of which required power brakes ($81): the L39 120 bhp 4.4 liter/267 ci with a two-barrel carburetor ($180) and the LG4 155 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci with a four-barrel carburetor ($295). An automatic ($358) was available with all three engines, while a four-speed manual was only available with the larger of the two V8s. The LG4/four-speed combination yielded notably better performance than the base powertrain: 0-60 in about 10 seconds. It didn’t make mileage that much worse—16 city/24 highway by 1980 standards.

Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on all Rally Sports included High Energy ignition, power steering, front stabilizer bar, sport mirrors, rear spoiler, concealed windshield wipers, front disc/rear drum brakes, and 205/75R14 steel-belted radial ply tires (a size still available thanks to Hancook and Kumho) on 14-inch color-keyed Rally wheels. Inside, flow-through ventilation system, contoured full-foam vinyl bucket seats, a “centre” (as spelled in the brochure) floor console, and cut-pile colour-keyed carpeting were included.

Exterior and mechanical options included removable glass panels ($695) and 14 x 7 aluminum wheels ($337). Inside, air conditioning ($566), intermittent windshield wiper system ($41), electric rear window defogger ($107), automatic speed control ($112), power door locks ($93), power windows ($143), a Custom interior ($68), a gauge package with a tachometer ($120), Comfortilt steering wheel ($81), and an AM/FM stereo radio with stereo cassette tape ($272) were all available.

Though the Z28 wasn’t the most popular Camaro, the Rally Sport did not hold up its end of the bargain (likely why it was gone in 1981). The leading seller remained the entry-level Sport Coupe (46% of production), followed by the Z28 (30%), the Berlinetta (16%), and the Rally Sport (8%).

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Camaro Rally Sport with the LG4 V8, a four-speed, and T-tops in #1/Concours condition is an astounding $21,600, with a far more typical #3/Good car with same equipment going for $12,800. Values slide down substantially with the base equipment—a base V6 Rally Sport in #3 condition is only worth $7,600.

This generation of the Rally Sport maintains some presence in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—as I write this in August 2018, there’s a beige/metallic brown 1979 with 78,000 miles for sale asking $29,000.

Make mine Bright Blue Metallic, please.

1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe

I saw a white 1980 or 1981 Z28 with blue graphics (I believe the only way you can tell them apart is to get close enough to see the VIN’s length) out driving today, not once but twice. It wasn’t quite in show condition, but it still looked pretty sharp, and you so rarely see these cars on the road in 2014. We’ll go with the 1980 version for this post because it had slightly more horsepower.

“The Maximum Camaro.”

For 1980, the aging second-generation Chevrolet Camaro (the title of Car and Driver‘s road test for the 1980 Z28 was a cruelA medieval warrior on the path to a rocking chair“) received some updates, including exterior styling changes and a more powerful engine for the Z28. Not much could be done about the general lack of space efficiency (the EPA rated all Camaros as subcompact cars), the relatively high weight, and the fairly primitive technology.

The standard (and only) Z28 powertrain for states other than California was the LM1 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with a four-barrel Rochester carburetor and 8.2:1 compression matched with a four-speed manual transmission. At 190 bhp, this engine had the most horsepower seen in any Camaro since 1974 (sigh). For 1980, Chevrolet engineers added a solenoid-driven air intake to the back of the redesigned hood scoop.

Car and Driver managed to get the 3,660 pound Z28 from 0-60 in 8.5 seconds with a 120 mph top speed. Fuel mileage was predictably bad—14 city/21 highway by the day’s standards. With a 20.9-gallon gas tank, a Z28 owner could expect a range of about 330 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

The Z28‘s base price was $7,121; about $26,600 in today’s dollars and just about what a base 2022 Camaro 1LS goes for. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included heavy-duty shocks and springs, body color Sport mirrors, a front air dam, a rear spoiler, and P225/70R15 white-lettered radial tires (a size still readily available) on body-colored 15-inch wheels. Inside, power steering, full gages, center console, cut-pile carpeting, and vinyl bucket seats were standard.

Options & Production Numbers

External options included 15 x 7-inch cast aluminum wheels ($184), tinted glass ($68), and removable glass roof panels ($695). Inside, you could add air conditioning ($566), an intermittent windshield wiper system ($41), an electric rear window defogger ($107), automatic speed control ($112), power door locks ($93), power windows ($143), a Comfortilt steering wheel ($81), and nine different radios including an AM/FM stereo radio with a stereo cassette player ($272).

Z28 sales were good in 1980, though they did not match 1979’s numbers. Chevrolet sold 45,137 Z28s in the 1980 model year, making them almost 30% of total Camaro production.

Z28 pages from the 1980 Camaro brochure, linked from the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The View From 2022

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Long neglected by the collector market and with most now used up, late second-generation Z28s in good or great shape now get interesting numbers at auctions. A largely stock Black 1980 Z28 went for $45,000 at Mecum’s January 2022 auction in Kissimmee. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Z28 in #1/Concours condition is $47,600. A more normal #3/Good condition version is valued at $21,000.

Make mine Red, I think. Surprisingly—at least to me—the most popular Camaro color in 1980 was Dark Blue.

Other Camaros I have covered include the 1980 Rally Sport coupe, the 1984 Sport Coupe, the 1985 Berlinetta hatchback coupe, and the 1985 IROC-Z hatchback coupe. Why am I concentrating so much on the 1980 and 1985 Camaros?

Updated March 2022.

1986 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta hatchback coupe

“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. There were few changes for the 1986 Berlinetta—among them the appearance of the federally mounted center high mounted stop lamp, new colors, updated interiors, and a new automatic closure for the large and heavy rear hatch.

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 $450 LG4 155 bhp 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor which was paired with a $425 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 3,065 pounds. With a 16.2-gallon fuel tank (for some reason 0.7 gallons larger than with the V6), a V8 Berlinetta owner could expect a range of 275 to 305 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Camaro Berlinetta print advertisement.
Camaro Berlinetta print advertisement.

Your $11,902 base price (about $27,500 in today’s dollars—just a little less than what a decently-equipped 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT hatchback coupe goes for) bought standard mechanical and exterior equipment including power brakes, power steering, dual horns, and P205/70R-14 blackwall steel-belted radial tires (a size still readily available) on 14 x 7 inch wheels with Berlinetta-specific full wheel covers. Inside, custom cloth reclining seats with adjustable headrests, a Berlinetta-only steering wheel, intermittent windshield wipers, a roof console with a removable flashlight, a fold-down rear seat, a locking rear storage cover, Quiet Sound Group, and an AM/FM stereo radio with clock and four speakers were included.

Of course, the most notable interior component in the Berlinetta was the “Welcome aboard Starship Camaro.” (yes, that was a real advertisement) electronic instrument 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.

Among the many exterior and mechanical options were four-wheel disc brakes ($179 and only available with the V8), t-tops ($846—ouch!), a rear spoiler ($69), halogen headlamps ($25), electric rear window defogger ($145), and nice looking Berlinetta-only aluminum finned wheels ($225). Inside, you could add cruise control ($185), Comfortilt steering wheel ($115), power door locks ($145), and Berlinetta-specific electronically-controlled air conditioning ($775). The Berlinetta could get expensive: I had no trouble getting getting a V8 version up to $15,400—about $35,600 in 2019 dollars or about what a loaded 2019 Camaro 3LT/RS hatchback coupe goes for.

The View From 2019

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1986 Berlinetta in (rare) #1/Concours condition is $13,400, with a more normal #3/Good 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. However, Berlinettas of any year (Chevrolet first brought them to market in 1979) are rare—though a couple showed up at auction in early 2019. There was a Bright 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 February 2019.

Make mine Black, please.

Thanks to the GM Heritage Center for some really specific information on the 1986 Berlinetta.

Updated February 2019.


1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z hatchback coupe

“Make the earth move.”

In 1985, Chevrolet kicked the third-generation Camaro up a notch (or more) with the release of the IROC-Z, inspired by the International Race Of Champions race series. The IROC-Z was an option package (B4Z) for the Z28 and cost $695.

Suspension upgrades specific to the IROC-Z were Delco/Bilstein shock absorbers for the rear wheels and 16-inch wheels all around with Goodyear Eagle GT P245/50VR16 tires—large for the day and a size still readily available.

The IROC-Z also included louvered hood inserts and more aggressive ground effects and spoilers than the Z28. Finally, it was lowered half an inch compared to the Z28.

1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, courtesy of M62 from the Wikimedia Commons.

Three engines were available in 1985 for the IROC-Z, all sized at 5.0 liter/305 ci: standard was the LG4 carburetted motor at 155 bhp. The optional engines available depended on transmission—if you chose the five-speed manual, you could get the High Output carburetted L69 with 190 bhp (not available on the garden variety Z28) while if you went with the four-speed automatic, you could choose the Tuned Port Injection LB9 at 215 bhp.

If you cared (and I think most of the target market did not), mileage wasn’t great: the EPA ratings of the day were 16 city/22 highway for the LG4, 15/24 for the L69, and 16/22 for the LB9.

According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1985 IROC-Z in #1 condition is $19,400. IROC-Zs make regular appearances in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds. As I write this in November 2013, there’s a red 1986 with 89,000 miles for sale for $8,000. Please make mine Blaze Red, with the optional and expensive when new ($821) t-tops. I know they often leak, but I like the look.

Interestingly, Hemmings also has a white 1985 IROC-Z for sale. It has 765 miles, and the seller wants $50,000 for it. At first, this seems ridiculous, but then this particular IROC has special provenance: it is one of the two Live Aid cars from July 1985, with almost 100 signatures of folks such as Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, and Jimmy Page preserved in clear coat.