This Le Mans-veteran ‘82 Camaro still looks the part

1982 Chevrolet Camaro IMSA GTO front 3/4

In 1982, a privateer team of Americans led by Billy Hagan campaigned a then-new third-generation Camaro built by Tex Smith at the 24 Hours of Le Mans against some of the premier factory teams in all of racing. The underdog team used NASCAR technology and a high-revving small-block Chevy V-8 to surprise a lot of teams and run well ahead of cars that should have been, at least based on the class they were running, much faster.

The Camaro did well against the B.F. Goodrich team’s Carrera 924 entry and the other cars in the IMSA GTO class, including a BMW M1. After leading the turbocharged Porsche for 23 hours, a mechanical issue slowed them down. The BFG Porsche was able to pass the #81 Camaro, earning a respectable and well-deserved second place in its class and 17th overall in a race in which two-thirds of the field failed to finish. (You can read more about that race here.)

The storied car went on to other solid race performances, including several first-in-class finishes. Now up for auction, it comes complete with invitations to the 1982 Le Mans race and other documentation, but also with the original molds that were used to produce those wonderfully flared fenders. If we’re lucky, a few sets of those fenders can be produced so more third-generation Camaros can wear that widebody look and carry on the legacy of the Camaro that took on the world.