Many times, here in Resto Shop, we have included information about low-production and/or rare-optioned first-gen COPO Camaros. The introduction of the fifth-gen COPO and ZL1 Camaros makes it obvious that there are other Camaros that will be produced in relatively low numbers and will be collectible in the future. What about the low-production third-gen Camaro dubbed the California IROC (or 1C5)?

The California IROC was a special (one year only) 1985 IROC promoted as a special edition and only available in California. The 1C5 designation comes from the RPO code associated with the $75 credit on the Monroney/window sticker due to the absence of the IROC decals, IROC badges, the louvered IROC hood, and rear spoiler. Other than these items, they were IROC-Zs. The only IROC-Z lettering was on the wheel center caps. Out of 180,018 ’85 Camaros built, a total of 502 California IROCs were produced. They were available in two colors: black and red (supposedly 101 black and 401 red). Two were made for promotion (one in each color) and 500 were made for public consumption. All of them were produced at the Van Nuys GM plant. There are many urban legends about why these IROCs were built. While doing research, I found that the GM archives office had minimal information on these cars. Only the people involved with designing/optioning the California IROCs at the plant know the real history.

I recently found a couple of California IROCs for sale online. One was well-used and had been repainted two non-factory colors with many paint defects. The engine had been rebuilt, so it’s possible the VIN had been machined from the deck of the block. Many other parts were damaged and would have needed replacement to bring the car back to decent condition. The owner thought it was worth $9,000. Another one was found for $12,000 with a moderately damaged quarter-panel and over 100,000 miles on the odometer. I could understand these prices if these cars were pristine and all original with less than 30,000 miles, but I’m not sure the market is ready for these inflated prices for high-mileage cars that need a lot of restoration.

Should these cars be restored and put into collections? What’s the collectability and value of a restored or pristine original California IROC? When it comes to restoring these IROCs, do they deserve the level of restoration one may reach when restoring a rare ’69 COPO Camaro? Will these cars ever be worth a lot more than a standard ’85 IROC?

If you have any additional information about California IROCs or know someone who worked at the Van Nuys plant in 1985, please email camaroperformers@racehome.com so research can continue.

Special thanks to Charley Grove and thirdgen.org for research help.

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