Apparently, back in 2016, Bloomberg claimed that if you were to invest in a Camaro one way or another your best bet would be a mid eighties third generation Chevrolet Camaro. Specifically, the IROC-Z variant of the Z/28 Camaro which was unique to the third generation exclusively. Now this wasn’t a new trend as similarly “ordinary” cars were becoming better long term investments without having to go ultra deep in the pockets. A Camaro of that era wasn’t exactly known for… well, being special. They were daily drivers for most and those that weren’t were just drag raced or wrecked to a unfortunate end, so the idea of finding one at a reasonable price in a good state and keeping it while all the other third gen Camaros falter away, not a bad idea.
Hell, the 1985 Camaro IROC-Z was Car & Driver magazine’s car of the year and understandably so. The 1980s aren’t known for good cars throughout the decade, it was mostly a decade of a solid two thirds of the US having to come to terms that dad’s ’74 Chrysler New Yorker was genuinely killing the wallet and a new little Omni or Aries had to come in and replace it. It was a decade of failed prototypes, automotive giants slipping up and falling literally as they had just slipped and fallen down.
And spontaneously through that decade, we got a series of revamped beasts we still owe our love to: the Buick Regal, the Oldsmobile Cutlass, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang, the Pontiac Firebird and well, it’s a honorable mention cause it was literally the first crossover, the AMC Eagle but y’know nevermind that I’m just getting side-tracked. Those cars were the sort of surprise successes of the decade and for the most part held up a lot better than their cheaper cousins. For the most part, at least.
What hasn’t held up well? MPC’s tooling of the updated post-1985 Camaro. You see, both AMT and Revell put out a 1982 Camaro Z/28 kit to coincide with the new generation coming to light and both of those kits were genuinely good. AMT’s kit had strong points and so did Revell’s, neither did a bad job whatsoever. Though fortunately AMT has re-released this kit once more in 2004 and it’s a upcoming release again for the last quarter of 2017, so knowing full well how good of a third generation Camaro kit there is, it’s all the more crappy knowing Ertl took their tooling and ran with it until 1992. I’ve built two of the kits so far and this is my third and there’s one tiny solace – the AMT released versions of this tool are slightly better.
You see, Ertl bought MPC over in 1985 and began pushing out these kits under both AMT’s name as well as MPC’s. AMT Camaro kits of that generation were the ’88 Z/28, ’88 IROC-Z and ’92 25th Anniversary Z/28 while MPC put out the similar ’84 Z/28 for the ’85 year, ’87 IROC-Z and ’88 IROC-Z. All with the same engine configurations, all with the same interior and all with largely the same body just with different spoilers. And all were cast… awfully. I don’t really mind a shoddy kit so much anymore after having dealt with MPC’s glorious early seventies kits that were literal finger aches to build, I’m okay with it provided the outcome is somewhat decent and that’s largely true for them.
However, with their take on the third generation Camaro, it’s just the body that is fine and even that is mediocre at best. The windows are just awkwardly glued to the frame, the rear window has no supports even whatsoever, the whole thing is brittle as all sin and has no reinforcements on the T-top part so the slightest push and it caves like a crème brûlée. The interior isn’t horrible, just plain. Horribly plain. The very faint details on the doors, the just featureless dashboard(although, the detail on the passenger side of the dashboard for some reason isn’t too bad) and once again, even though by this point not one single fucking company still did this: chrome headlamps instead of clear. I know I’m bitching my socks off here but you have the shapes, you have the tools – cast the Goddamn things in clear plastic! I suppose part of my problem is that for the most part this we do for fun, right? And it ain’t fun when it’s a frustrating mess that has no pretty reward when you’re done with it unless you give it some ungodly amount of attention that these, let’s be fair, just aren’t worth it.
Though, despite literally all the flaws – I wanted it done. I made a decal sheet to mimic the 20th commemorative anniversary edition from 1987 but it came with none of the decals I needed even though they are on the box art model, and the ones that do come with it are so milky and badly printed that it became white blobs on the side of the model so I just… figured, screw it let’s just go without.
Under the hood, I did very little. The three configurations it can come with all are nice but go together about as well as forcing a round peg through a square hole so I just stuck with the default injected 5.7L V8. The other two, the twin-turbo carburetor and Weber carburetor engines are nice but just, man the effort that would go into getting those damn things to stick together is way too much. One of the highlights for once is the tires, even though the lettering on them is way too big, they are nice quality and could easily be white lettered with an acrylic pen.
And the tail lights, while too embossed to match the squared yet flat proper tail lights are nicely detailed enough to bring the individual lights out. Plus, some spray painting on the T-tops and boosh, tinted glass. All in all, with some work on my end, it’s a somewhat if not reasonably if not at the very least a honest attempt at a 20th Anniversary Camaro. Even though that car is maroon… and a convertible… and twin-striped instead of single… and has IROC-Z logos on the doors… Well, you know what, I tried. And with this, I’ve completed the entire line-up of anniversary Camaros, so I got that going for me.
’87 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 20th Anniversary Edition specifications:
Skill Level: N/A
Molded in: White