It was in late 1989 when Richard Hubbard purchased this ’88 IROC-Z for the sole purpose of having fun and getting in some track time while retaining a balanced level of streetability. After all, with the third-gen being touted as the best-handling F-body right off the assembly line by the hard-core third-gen enthusiasts, this Camaro would be the perfect candidate for Richard’s needs. Having a love for early and late-model muscle cars, the second-generation Chevrolet dealership owner is quite familiar with the ’88 Camaro’s handling capabilities, and on the flip side, he’s certainly aware of its shortcomings.
With just 318 actual miles on the ticker, the car was sent out to the race shop (an area of the dealership dedicated to performance upgrades) where an aluminum Donovan V-8 and Doug Nash five-speed took the place of the stock mill and transmission. We believe Richard had every intention of getting the car out to the local autocross and road course, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the car sat rooted in Richard’s collection for the next 23 years without ever having the opportunity to strut its stuff on the track, or anywhere else for that matter.
In 2012, Richard felt the need to do a little “house cleaning” so he decided to sell off a few cars from his collection at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The motionless IROC-Z would be part of the purging.
This is where Shaun Dove checks in. Shaun is a car guy through and through, so it was no wonder he and his dad were doing a little “car stalking” at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Auction. Hip to the auction scene, the father and son duo weren’t looking to hook a half-million-dollar Yenko or insanely rare ’69 ZL1, but they did catch wind that the Hubbard group of cars included a big-horsepower third-gen, which they hoped to snag for a bargain.
Carrying a low lot number, they knew stout F-body would be auctioned off early on Friday as opposed to making a prime time appearance on Saturday night, so Shaun and his dad were counting on being able to nab what is commonly referred to in the industry as a “well-bought” vehicle—a car that sells for a lot less money than it would actually cost to build. Besides, compared to a rare first-gen … or any first-gen for that matter, third-gens have yet to command the amount of coin as their early predecessors.
They were pretty hot on the ride since it fit their needs perfectly: an exciting car they could field at some of the new crop of street car driving events that have been popping up the past few of years. “There aren’t many guys running third-gens at these events,” said Shaun. “So we figured we could shake things up a bit with this car. Third-gens handle great out of the box, and by having a good amount of horsepower, this thing should really kick some ass! On top of that, it will be a really fun car to drive on the streets, too.”
Power? Yep. Sucking up 100-octane swill, the 410ci all-aluminum Donovan runs a dry-sump oiling system and belts out about 627 hp at 6,500 rpm and 598 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm.
Having yet to dig into the motor, Shaun informed us engine specs are a little on the light side, but we do know the stout combo features a modified Holley 850-cfm with dual power valves, and a K&N element hovers on top to inhale fresh atmosphere.
A 3-inch primary single to 2½-inch custom dual exhaust system inherits the turbulence manufactured by the 1¾-inch Hooker headers and relies on a set of Flowmaster 80 series mufflers to slightly wane the small-block’s hostile tone.
More than capable of handling every ounce of grunt the Donovan can dish out, a Doug Nash five-speed transmission manages the gear changing, and 3.73:1 cogs and Detroit Tru-trac are housed in a Ford 9-inch rearend.