I ought to want an IROC Camaro. I'm 42 and that was my first car, so I'm about at the point where I should grow a mullet, put on a Starter jacket, and stalk Craigslist for a black 1985 model with TPI and rear-window louvers. I have many fond memories of my IROC exploits, from the first time I was pulled over for doing a burnout to the second time I was pulled over for doing a burnout to the time it shifted into second gear so hard that the ass end snapped sideways, which caused me to get pulled over. Oh, I ought to covet an IROC. There's only one problem: They're dumb. When you rev an IROC, it doesn't go "vroom!" It goes "DUURRRRR!"
Before I get eviscerated by the Camaro Owners Official League of Dedicated Unwavering Devotion to Extreme Superbness (COOL DUDES), let me say that the IROC isn't to blame for this. Having drifted a Tesla Model 3, given myself whiplash in a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, and done a blocklong burnout in a Kia Niro EV, it's hard for me to get excited about a 215-hp V-8. We've crossed a divide, a technological break, and I want to go forward, not back.
During my formative years, the cars people got nostalgic about were also simply the better cars. If you were 40 years old in the late '80s or early '90s, your midlife-crisis machine could probably stomp its modern equivalent. You wanted the 1968 Chevy Nova, not the 1988 Chevy Nova. You wanted a Shelby Mustang, not a Shelby K-car. Children of the '80s internalized the idea that old cars were generally cooler and faster, and to a large extent, that was true. All the Positraction stripes in my neighborhood were painted by a 454 Chevelle, which, at that point, was already a 25-year-old car.
Over time, that dynamic changed, and we came to take it for granted that performance only ever improves. But until very recently, the changes were in degree rather than kind. Ten years ago, if I wanted an IROC with modern power, I could drop in an LS3 and be done. But an LS3 no longer constitutes modern power. Have you seen the video of the Rivian truck doing a tank turn? That's modern power. And I have a hard time getting nostalgic when the future that sci fi promised me is so near at hand.
I'm like a guy born in 1880 who grew up reading Fast Horse magazine. Just as he turned 28 (your midlife crisis happened earlier then) and was ready to relive his glory days by getting a horse like he had when he was 14, everyone started driving cars. Damn! Sure, he could cruise past his old schoolhouse in a new '08 Holsman high-wheeler, but it wouldn't be the same. And yet, the automobile didn't need hay or to have its stall mucked. It was faster (probably) and could carry more people. It wouldn't kick you in the face or die. So that guy shelved his nostalgia, got in his car, and enjoyed the life-changing impact of superior technology, until the day he took a wrong turn and drove into a tar pit, thus setting off one of the earliest arguments about asking for directions: "Surely the fishmonger in the boater hat three furlongs back could've pointed the way to Toledo if you'd asked."
The solution to my problem is obvious. I need an electric IROC. But right now, there's no straightforward way to create one. You'd have to either scavenge a motor and battery from a junkyard car or cobble together your own components. Neither scenario is ideal from a not-getting-electrocuted standpoint.
My best bet is to root for GM to follow through with the excellent idea it debuted at last year's SEMA show, where Chevy rolled out the E-10, a 1962 pickup powered by two Bolt motors. The 450-hp package, dubbed Connect & Cruise, uses a four-speed automatic transmission and puts the batteries in the bed. Theoretically, you could yank out a V-8, drop in a motor, and be on your way.
That's the future I want: cruising town in a Bolt-powered IROC Camaro, cranking Jock Jams, doing brake stands, and generally being just a total embarrassment. Give me a timeline, GM, on when these electric crate packages might be ready. I need to know when to start growing my mullet.
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