'92 Quasar Blue Z/28 Camaro In Greeley, CO Was More Than It's Second Ever Owner Expected that In This Immaculate, Factory Built Gem
As the desire for more substantial factory performance started to build after awakening from its Malaise Era hibernation, Chevrolet decided to crank out some track-ready Camaro's. Today, 1 of the 30 ever made calls Colorado home.
There's no question it's easy for most goatherds and race fans to remember the first-gen Z/28s and their dominance on the SCCA circuit, and the '69 ZL1s and COPO iron-block 427 cars that were fixtures at the dragstrip. What many don't know about were the factory-built 1LE cars from 1989-92 that originated just a little north of the border before moving onto their final completion at the historic Van Nuys plant in California.
As consumers, collectors and race teams desire to shed the previous "no power, just a pretty paint job" mantra the last two decades had seemed to produce, therefore giving the SCCA to make tracks announcing the Showroom Stock Racing series which literally stage for GM and other Big Five Automakers to "start their engines", and burn rubber into a more powerful new era.
Within days, the Canadian-basedMotorsports Division Players Challenge and GM Motorsports Race Series took advantage of the opportunity that ended up producing the powerful and rarest of rare code R7U Camaro. This build took the 1LE-prepped Camaro, and added a hand-built LB9 305 (205 hp in 1992), special heavy-duty five-speed manual trans, and a performance chip for the TPI-equipped engine computers. Each engine was dyno tested at the factory after assembly, and then the bolts were paint-marked to note it was a sealed piece.
These rare beasts were then assembled in Van Nuys, California, alongside their red-haired step-sister Pontiac TransAm's. Unlike the more common 1LE, the R7U code interiors had certain options declared verboten to make installation of roll cages easier and keep weight down. No question this would definitely catch the eyes of true race driver but to also help promote the series and the new "power trend", Chevy made the vehicle also attainable and affordable to a good portion of the general public as a "street legal" coupe.
That's where our features ride comes into play being one of only 30 built for the last year of the Canadian racing series, but it never did make it to the track. Subsequently, the vehicle we are speaking of was sold to a close 22 year old relative of GM's lead engineers north of the border who ended up making his way to Northern. Colorado over the period of two years, getting married, starting a family and then trading his prized possession in for a more "practical" vehicle in January of 1994 at Korf Chevrolet in Windsor, CO.
At the time, the passion and overall consumer demand for used third-gen F-bodies had dramatically decreased as the launch of the more sleek, more powerful design was taking over showroom floors. The cabin reaction continued right down to the dealers sales desk and offered it for sale at $11,999 when a 15 year old cattle feeders daughter stumbled upon it and noticed something MUCH different about this Camaro in comparison to other Z/28's they'd test driven.
At the time, it's second ever and current owner, had no idea why this particular car had the factory installed options other comparable models didn't. This continued for years as it seemed no GM technician or car guru could either. In 1997, after graduating from high school, it's owner parked the blue beast still in pristine condition and headed off to college. Time and the evolution of the Internet helped this once naive small town kid identify the exact answer to the questions so many had wondered or written off long ago.
With only 31,091 miles on the clock, the profile F-body now resides in a 15,000 square foot muscle car hideaway close to the now defunct dealership our owners journey began.
When new, these 1LEs could be bought for less than $20k and used for much less. While they don't boast high horsepower numbers, they'll be remembered for relative simplicity, affordability, and connection to the dawn of the new performance era.