When the third generation Camaro was first introduced for the 1982 model year, it was heralded as a next-generation muscle car for a new era. Although the F-body cars always handled adeptly, they sported such forgettable engine combos as a 2.5L four-banger and the almost-perfectly named Cross-Fire Injection (many refer to the setup as “ceasefire injection” or “mis-fire injection”) pig of a 165-horse 305 ci LU5. While the newly redesigned “every man’s sports cars” looked awesome, they often lacked the performance to back up their good looks.
By the late ’80s, Chevy engineers had managed to add a little muscle to the previously anemic Miami Vice-era Camaros, but even the celebrated L98 Tuned Port Injection 350s still only produced around 250 smog-equipment-laden horses. For many, the third gen became a poster child of the clean styling but anemic muscle of the era.
At the same time, the initial pro street movement was growing in popularity—and suffering many of the same criticisms. Fairground queens with Roots-blown engines, multi-port nitrous, and huge rear tires oftentimes looked killer but ran like garbage. Coupled with all-show-and-nogo ploys like non-functional blowers, two-bolt main blocks with stock internals, and other such compromises that didn’t look bad but did more to harm performance than help, many folks turned on the movement, decrying the style to be nothing but a bunch of posers dedicated to looking—but not actually going—fast.
Long Island, New York native Harold Caron has always had a soft spot in his heart for the ’82-’92 Camaro body style. With the look of Lee Shepherd’s Reher-Morrison IROC pro stocker firmly planted in his grey matter, Caron acquired this 1984 model in 1990 at the impressionable age of 18, and although the build has taken a full 26 years to get to the point of street and strip perfection you see here, the project was nearly derailed before it even began. Short on funds, Caron had all but signed the Bowtie over to a family member when second thoughts got the best of him. He managed to hold out a while longer before finding a new job and shoring up his cash flow enough to hang on to the car of his youth. Some time later he commenced on putting together that Shepherd-inspired third gen his mind had conjured up….
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