1987 IROC Camaro
This story starts with Dave Martin's uncle's '75 Camaro drag car that made it to the pages of Popular Hot Rodding back in 1988. Dave fell in love with the car, but at 12 years old, he couldn't have one of his own just yet. He spent his summers and weekends mowing lawns and working construction until he had enough to buy a car. After checking out the magazines for a couple years, Dave realized he really dug the third-generation Camaros. He found a couple junkers to work on for under $3,000, but his father just wouldn't let him buy one. His protests turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because he found a red '87 IROC with 120,000 on the clock for free. That was a deal worth waiting for. Because he didn't have a license, his dad helped him out and drove it home for him. Of course nothing in life is free, and the alternator froze and the belt flew off the motor on the way home. Because it would still be a couple years before Dave could drive it, he started fixing it up. He repainted the roof where clearcoat was cracking, installed new tires, gave the rig a tune up, and of course, replaced the frozen alternator. Once he got his driver's license, he drove the car to his high school and managed to throw a main bearing while doing a burnout for his friends in the parking lot. This shelved the Camaro for a while as he scraped together enough money for a new long-block from GMPP.
After that repair job, he drove it to and from four years of college classes that put plenty of miles on the thing. Once he graduated, he started rebuilding the car as he wanted-a super clean street car customized just to his liking. He didn't want to subject it to the snow and commuting harshness anymore. Dave is definitely a hands-on, do-it-yourself guy, but he knew some things would be better left to the experts. He committed the Camaro to three months at Potter's Auto Body for paint after he prepped it himself. There it got a fresh coat of red and some custom stripes.
The first couple of shows he took it to brought a lot of praise and a couple trophies for the work he and his father put into the car. His favorite praise is when people would say, "That's the cleanest third-gen I've ever seen," which he heard a lot. It wasn't long though before his fun with the car was put on hold due to a bad front brake caliper, but Dave saw this an excuse to upgrade. He found a guy on thridgen.org who built brackets to mount C4 Corvette brakes to. Problem solved. Next on the list is a tubular suspension and one day a big rat motor to replace the tuned-port small-block.
By The Numbers