It doesn’t get more epic 80s than this slice of red-blooded American advertising.


Below is a commercial which will take certain people back, although Ford fans might want to either sit this one out or maybe grow up a little bit. That’s right, we have a bona fide 80s Camaro commercial. It’s actually for the super-hot IROC-Z, a muscle car that was cooler than feathered bangs and all-white Pony sneakers. After watching it, you might find yourself listening to Duran-Duran or Twisted Sister for a few hours while wishing you had some Aqua Net on hand instead of so much toilet paper.

Watch This 1986 Chevy Camaro IROC-Z Commercial

In the early 1980s people who hated masculinity declared with glee that American muscle was dead. It wasn’t really dead, it was just hibernating for a really long time. Thankfully that declaration turned out to be a jerk thing to say and Chevrolet helped prove that by launching the Camaro IROC-Z.

The whole point of naming the car after the International Race of Champions was to give the new range-topping Camaro model an image tied to Chevrolet’s racing exploits. It replaced the Z28, a model that before and after had been popular but had lost its luster (thank you, efficiency and emissions standards).

From 1985 through 1990 the IROC-Z was the top dog in the Chevy Camaro lineup. And you can glean from this commercial that if you drove one your hand would perpetually be at the 11 and 1 positions on the steering wheel while women with enormous hairdos and excessive eyeliner would stare as if you were a juicy stake. The fact you would park on foggy streets at night in front of the Jazz Café certainly helped, naturally.

In all seriousness, there was a lot to be excited about with the rebirth of American muscle cars, particularly the IROC-Z. While the 215-horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque squeezed out of the 305ci V8 is laughable by today’s standards, it was exciting for consumers who’d been subjected to some pretty ho-hum cars for years. Plus, the IROC-Z came with styling flairs like a deeper chin spoiler and ground effects, plus non-functional hood louvres.

If nothing else, the Chevy Camaro IROC-Z helped prove that if automakers churned out some hot muscle cars there was a hungry market for them. There’s no telling where we’d be today if American brands have completely given up on muscle back in the 80s.

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