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Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

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Old 08-26-2018, 01:57 AM
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Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Hi all. I'm in Phoenix, AZ and am thinking about getting a TPI 3rd gen, preferably IROC to have and hold onto for a few years. I prefer hard top cars. My Grand National is a T Top car, so I learned my lesson lol. Looking for lower miles and no major cosmetic issues. My favorite 3rd gen is the 88 Firebird Formula, but would like an IROC as I feel they will appreciate more due to the name factor.

Today I looked at a '90 IROC and walked because of the price, but figured I'd check here to get some feedback. It was a blue 350 group 2 car with a G92 axle and had 80k miles. The issues were that it was a little rough. The hood had some dings and a little rust, but he had a spare that could be painted. The seats had no rips, but looked faded and the foam seemed worn. The radio didn't work. The dash had cracks. The headliner was sagging. I didn't drive it, but the motor knocked bad when I blipped the throttle. I'm guessing bad injectors. The AC compressor rattled bad when the AC was on. Lenses were fogged over. Interior and exterior trim parts were brittle. The owner said the shocks were bad. I'm sure tie rod ends, ball joints need attention too. Otherwise it was decent. The hatch motor worked, panels lined up decent, and no rust anywhere. Seemed clean underneath. He was firm at $8500. Seemed high given what I'd have to put into it, although 90 IROC's are really rare. Are 90's worth enough more to rethink this one? I'm actually not a fan of the 90's. I like the gauges and steering wheel on the other models.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:41 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

If it's gotta be an Iroc, an 89-90 car with dual cats is what I'd look for... But really, if you think you'd enjoy a Formula more, buy a Formula. They largely haven't been effected (infected?) with spiking collector values, so you'll get a better buy for your money. Who cares about potential resale value? Cars are lousy investments. About the only advantage of buying an Iroc over a Formula, is that the Iroc might almost appreciate enough that you'll be able to put money into the car and possibly break even. I wouldn't plan on making a profit.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:32 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

8500 sounds like a bit much for that car. Sounds more like 5K to me. You did good to pass on this one. If you only want it for a few yrs you should look for something with a little less miles and in better shape something you don't have to sink a ton of money into.. this will be your best chance to not lose money when it comes time to sell as these cars are increasing in value but it seems just the lower mile "creampuffs". Good luck with your search. There is a low mile CA car listed in one of these posts you may want to look at.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:19 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Thanks for the replies. I was wondering if the '90 brings that much more appeal than the older ones because there were not than many made, but to me it seems like it would be the less popular option since it has the different graphics, gauges, and steering wheel.

I figure if there is anything that will appreciate just a little, it will be the IROC out of all 3rd gens. Maybe GTA's to a lesser extent. Of course a heritage edition would be a great buy for the right price. I've been in the Turbo Buick world for 20 years now and I find it funny how the only cars that get attention are the GN's and GNX's. I would love a '89 TTA, but am unsure where those will end up collector car wise. When I talk to people I know in their mid to late 40's and ask them about what nostalgia car they would buy, it is usually the IROC or GN. I ask if they would go for any other car in that platform and the answer is usually no. Brand recognition is huge for them I guess.

I'm sure if you all have been into these cars for a long time, it sounds odd that someone is coming into the game looking for one that will appreciate, but this is happening more and more. All the Turbo Buick forums are filling up with guys buying low mile all original cars. When folks post resto mods, or upgrades of any type, there is a ton of flack over "hacking up the car". It's hard to come to terms with 80's and 90's cars becoming classics.


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Old 08-27-2018, 10:50 PM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Your problem with a TTA is finding one. Only 1500 were made. That might be why not as many people remember them. All of us in our 40s and 50s knew someone with an IROC. TTAs were a lot rarer. And unless it's beat to pieces a TTA is already going to cost you a premium price.

The reason there are fewer 1990 IROCs is GM lost the rights to the IROC name on Jan 1, 1990 so it was a half year production year that ended in Dec 1989. The 1991 models were badged only as Z28s. Thirdgen prices in general are rising right now. Because those same 40 and 50 year old guys are now looking for their first car back and are willing to pay for it. The best you can do is keep looking for the one that meets your criteria and pay what it takes. As others have said, cars are a bad investment anyway if you expect to make money just by holding it. Lottery tickets have about the same odds of making you a profit as any used car purchase on the buy low sell high theory.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:12 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

I've come across a few TTA's, but it was never the right time or price. They seem to be the red headed step children of the F Body crowd even though they have stupid amounts of potential. I'm not looking to make a bunch of money off a car, but don't want to come out behind either. That's why I'm looking for something that will hold its value. I'd be happy with something that I can have fun with for a couple years and move for the same money. I've owned 23 cars and have broken even or came out ahead a little on most. I've had a few duds, but they did not have any niche value. My GN would lose me money if I sold it due to all I put into it. That's why I still have it after 20 years lol.
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Old 08-28-2018, 07:35 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Originally Posted by BuickMike View Post
I've come across a few TTA's, but it was never the right time or price. They seem to be the red headed step children of the F Body crowd even though they have stupid amounts of potential. I'm not looking to make a bunch of money off a car, but don't want to come out behind either. That's why I'm looking for something that will hold its value. I'd be happy with something that I can have fun with for a couple years and move for the same money. I've owned 23 cars and have broken even or came out ahead a little on most. I've had a few duds, but they did not have any niche value. My GN would lose me money if I sold it due to all I put into it. That's why I still have it after 20 years lol.
These third gens are going up in price no matter what anyone thinks. I think if you find a well optioned Z28 or Firebird that does not need a lot of work you will be fine. Not sure what your budget is but you should have no problem finding something nice for the 6k-8k range. You may not make a fortune but you will have some fun along the way. If you buy something that needs a lot of work, parts are expensive and add up, you could lose money as the appreciation rate seems to be slow. These cars have a niche...just look at all the members here. There are also a ton of bargains out there in the 3rd gens, that is one thing that is appealing to someone wanting a F body. This is not the case with other "collector" cars out there, your GN for example. In my personal experience in owning my car for 3+ yrs now has been nothing short of awesome! If I was to sell my car now I would make a few grand on what I paid. I will say this about these cars, once you start driving these, they really are a fun car to drive and it seems like everywhere you go someone will come up to you and talk to you about the car, it seems most everyone has their own 3rd gen story from back in the day. It is a cool feeling!
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:10 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

I agree with Vinny, 5k tops. Had a friend just buy a time capsule 92 z28 with like 30k miles that was owned by some dude from Switzerland and kept the car here as his driver when he visited. I mean the car looks perfect, only non stock item are tires. He paid like 11k for it. You give that heap you are talking about a cheap paint job and fix the rust you are already over that price. I always liked the style and interior better on the Firebird. Nice thing about Az cars is the rust is minimum. Keep looking and you'll find the one that you don't have to settle on. I had my Grand National for 20+ years, finally sold it for one of those 1000 horsepower Supras. Thought I'd own the GN forever, held on to it for sentimental value.....but after a while realized I was done with it and wanted to experience other cars. Just got another Mecham car that I fell into, thus the rust free deals in Az are out there, this one had new engine, trans, suspension. I am in Gilbert and I'll keep an eye out for you. What part of town you in?

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Old 08-30-2018, 02:37 PM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Originally Posted by drdan1341 View Post
I agree with Vinny, 5k tops. Had a friend just buy a time capsule 92 z28 with like 30k miles that was owned by some dude from Switzerland and kept the car here as his driver when he visited. I mean the car looks perfect, only non stock item are tires. He paid like 11k for it. You give that heap you are talking about a cheap paint job and fix the rust you are already over that price. I always liked the style and interior better on the Firebird. Nice thing about Az cars is the rust is minimum. Keep looking and you'll find the one that you don't have to settle on. I had my Grand National for 20+ years, finally sold it for one of those 1000 horsepower Supras. Thought I'd own the GN forever, held on to it for sentimental value.....but after a while realized I was done with it and wanted to experience other cars. Just got another Mecham car that I fell into, thus the rust free deals in Az are out there, this one had new engine, trans, suspension. I am in Gilbert and I'll keep an eye out for you. What part of town you in?
You talking about Heath? He's a buddy of mine. His new car got me kicked off on my 3rd gen hunt. That and the fact that I have a free bay in the garage and some money after selling my CTS-V Wagon. He's giving me a lot of pointers too on my hunt. Heath showed me a Mecham TA he has, but it is rough and more work than I can handle. I was going to look at a '85 TA that seemed clean, had a 305 TPI, and a ton of spare parts. It was a fair price, but I came to my senses and realized I don't want another T Top car. Budget is 10k max depending on the car. The IROC I looked at would have been good if he was in the 6k range, maybe low 7k.

I'm on the Queen Creek / Gilber border, so very close to you.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:54 PM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Yep, talking about Heath.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:51 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

When I scoured the earth for my IROC looking at all the years, options, etc, I found that if you had a mint, low mile IROC the year and even the motor didn’t affect the price that much if you had TPI. I was not a fan of the 86 so much because of the high mount brake light and the loss of power that year, but even the 86’s in mint condition go for pretty much the same money as the other years even though they are known as the lowest horse power year.

87 was a great year, but I decided to focus on 88-89 myself. I prefer the 80s steering wheel and gauges that my first Camaros had. If I found a really good 1990 I’d have bought it, but many people I talk to have an issue with the airbag wheel and gauges.

I could probably sell my IROC now for $10k more than I paid, but that’s not why I bought it. I wanted an IROC and always loved how the verts looked so I made a list of criteria and this one made the cut. I hadn’t read any articles yet about how these cars were getting attention from collectors and hot rod hunters.. I just wanted one..

One of the articles I ended up reading was written by a collector who said the best advice is to “buy what you really like”.. not what you “think” will be worth the most money.. because if the market tanks, at least you love the car..

I’d think about looking at Formulas. I think the prices are more realistic and even though they are lower now, they may appreciate more in 10 years than an IROC bought at a peak.. You know, buy low, sell high..

All it takes is some movie to come out with some bada$$ character driving an 89 Formula and then the prices will jump..

Every idiot back in the day “wanted an IROC”.. It seemed like Formulas, T/As and GTAs were bought by people interested in thirdgens, but did a taste test and found the birds to be superior and didn’t blindly follow the IROC crowd.

Unfortunately for the birds, the IROC was more talked about, more remembered and nostalgia translates into sales.. in every business there’s nothing more powerful than that.

Still, over and over again the experts say “buy what you like”
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:40 PM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

Are you guys possibly talking about a Heath that had an affinity for Simmons wheels on Turbo Buicks and making it into magazines? Just wondering.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:16 AM
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Re: Looking for advice - looking for IROC or other TPI 3rd gen

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Are you guys possibly talking about a Heath that had an affinity for Simmons wheels on Turbo Buicks and making it into magazines? Just wondering.
Yep
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