Untouched 1985 Camaro with 9.5 Miles Found Under Tree
You might be asking yourself – what’s so special about a car with 9.5 miles? I can go to any dealership and find a car with the same or less, but we’re talking about a pristine 1985 IROC Z28 Camaro that’s been moved all over the country. Somehow, it’s managed to keep the odometer at 9.5. Are you convinced yet?
If not, let’s take a second to understand the complexities of this history. It all started when someone purchased the Camaro to drop a 427 in until they realized it wouldn’t fit. The original owner moved it under a tree for five years and then moved it into a truck bed for several more years, only to be forgotten. Yes, he forgot about it.
It began life out of the factory in New Jersey, and then transitioned to Houston where it was auctioned, and presently spends retirement outside of Nashville, Tennessee. With all that distance in between, the 9.5-mile claim sounds like there might be a catch. Newsflash: there isn’t.
It’s hard to believe a car of this caliber could be lost for 24 years with no explanation, but here we are with a cool story. So, what happens when a 1985 IROC Z28 Camaro doesn’t move or see the light of day for close to three decades? It means not a single dent or sliver of rust.
Owner Ken Thwaits showed us the car that sits in pristine condition in his showroom at Showtime Motorsports. It has the original plastic from the factory on the driver door, both seats, steering wheel, and the floor. All of which are absent of any dirt, grease, or imperfections. It even smells like the 80s.
The trunk bears the original documents that came with the Camaro, including the build sheet and receipts. The paint is a thing of beauty as it appears to be sprayed yesterday. The engine compartment is immaculate, and the A/C looks like it was just installed. It was never pre-delivery inspected (PDI) by a dealer and came straight from the factory floor, meaning this car is a true anomaly.
It even has the chalk marks from the factory that Ken claims he’ll never wash off, and all the numbers from the line are intact. There are so many variables that make this car unique, and with everything taken into consideration, the mileage still stands out the most. In order to maintain the 9.5 miles, Ken puts it on a dolly to be moved. “We have to be extremely careful about where we move it.” Despite starting it up on occasion, it doesn’t get driven, period.
As you can imagine, there’s an even crazier history to match that’ll leave you scratching your head.
The History of the 1985 Untouched IROC Z28
Now, you might hear New Jersey and a brand new Camaro found in the back of a trailer as, well, mafioso, but that’s not what happened. The story is even more than something you’d find in a movie.
After sitting under the tree for five years and getting placed into the back of a semi trailer, the owner forgot about the car, again. As you can imagine, if you forget about a car, you probably didn’t pay your storage fees. When the owner went to pick it up, he found out he owed $14,000 in rent for the last ten years. Since the car wasn’t even worth that much at the time, he sold it for $9,500 and wrote a check for $5,000 to the trailer owner to “make him whole.”
The second owner fixed it up and brought it to Mecum, where Ken found the car online by accident. He thought “this would be an awesome addition to my collection.” It led to an impromptu trip to Houston in 2014 with the sole intention of acquiring a piece of history. Luck was on his side that day, and his travels resulted in becoming the owner of this infamous and pristine 1985 IROC Z28.
Ken had been hunting for a third generation Camaro for quite some time, and he was familiar with the YouTube video of it getting removed from the trailer. It immediately piqued his interest, so you can imagine his reaction when he saw it for sale at Mecum.
Ken owns a massive collection of Camaro’s, and adding this particular car into the mix was something he could only dream of. We might be focusing on the miles, but Ken’s favorite part of the car is how it smells. “I feel like I’ve been transported back to the 80s whenever I sit in it. It’s nothing I can explain, you just have to know what I’m talking about.”
Steal of a Lifetime
A vehicle of this caliber doesn’t roll around very often. For something with historical value in showroom condition, we asked Ken what’s the most someone has offered for it? “Well, the highest number I’ve been offered was $100,000 from a guy in Australia. To be fair, I think he might have been drinking. You know how brave people are on Facebook. I told him sorry, it’s not for sale.”
POWERNATION wanted to know if he’d come across any other cars of this caliber. “The ’85 is so famous and it has 4.5 million views when it’s pulled out of the trailer. The only thing that comes close is an ’89 IROC I purchased with 189 miles that sat in a garage, but nothing compares to this ’85 IROC.”
The infamous 1985 Z28 IROC Camaro lives on with Ken, only to be moved with a dolly for the occasional photoshoot. For those who are lucky enough to witness it in person, they can attest to its smell and ability to transport you to a different and simpler time, all without increasing the mileage.