The most expensive Camaros to sell at auction, by generation

Mecum Auctions

With the Camaro nameplate retiring soon, we’re honoring the beloved two-door with a series of love letters, fun lists, and memories that you can follow here. Many performance cars, especially nowadays, aim for an anodyne version of perfection that only a few can afford. The Camaro is for the rest of us—and it’s always ready to party.

Part of the Camaro’s appeal has always been its accessibility. Chevy made a boatload of them over the decades, and each generation guaranteed a model for everybody who wanted one, from bare-bones six-cylinder coupes to fire-breathing stoplight kings. Inexpensive examples are everywhere; it’s the top dogs that you often have to wait—or fight—for. As the Camaro waves goodbye, and as we close out our deep dive into the beloved pony car, here’s a look at the most expensive Camaros from each of the first five generations. (Some caveats: For this exercise, we’re looking solely at auction sales, we’ve excluded modified Camaros, as well as those sold for charity, and we also ignored the sixth-gen cars—they simply haven’t hit the auction scene yet).

1st Gen: 1969 Camaro ZL1 COPO Coupe, $1,094,500

1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1 COPO front 3/4

Just 69 COPO Camaros were produced in model-year 1969, and this original, matching-numbers Hugger Orange car is #59. It’s powered by an all-aluminum 427-cubic-inch V-8 mated to an M22 “Rock Crusher” four-speed manual, stopped by disc brakes. It was the only ZL1 ordered with a chambered exhaust. Rare and desirable cars always bring the money with respect to their “lesser” counterparts. This one had great performance options and also included plenty of documentation, with a complete ownership history. It had sold in 2018 for $770K, but when it sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January 2020, it went over a million, which was more than $300,000 over our guide price for a #1 (Concours) example at the time. The key to its price jump between sales? The owner had managed to track down the car’s original engine block.

2nd Gen: 1970 Camaro RS Z/28 Coupe, $137,500

1970 Chevy Camaro front 3/4

In the realm of second-generation Camaros, the 1970–73 “split-bumper” cars tend to bring more than their later counterparts. The elegance of that front end is hard to argue. This car sold at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction in January 2022. The listing says it had been treated to a mild restoration with one repaint in the original Hugger Orange. The matching-numbers 360-hp 350-cubic-inch V-8 was paired with a four-speed manual, with front disc brakes and a 12-bolt Posi rear end. A Hurst shifter and perfect houndstooth upholstery competed the look. At the time of the sale, we valued a #1 condition Z/28 with the RS package at around $86,000. There was a lot to like about this car, and at least two bidders needed to have it, which accounts for the big result.

3rd Gen: 1990 Camaro IROC-Z Convertible, $102,300


Three V-8 engines powered the IROC-Z in 1990: a 305 making 210 hp; a 305 making 230 hp, and a 350 making 245 hp. Ordinarily, the biggest engine attracts the biggest bucks. This particular Camaro only featured the high-output 305 with its 230 hp and an automatic transmission, so why the standout price? Mileage. This one had just 557 original miles and was as clean as they come. Fewer than 1300 ragtop IROCs were built in 1990, and it’d be easy to make the case that this is the best of them. Finished in Bright Red over a gray cloth interior, the car showed a clean black top and was nicely appointed with power options, cruise control, and A/C. When it sold at Barrett-Jackson in January of this year, we valued the best in the world at $56,700, so this price certainly raised some eyebrows. It’s a good reminder, however, what low mileage can add to a car’s value.

4th Gen: 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary Coupe, $95,700

1997 Chevy Camaro SS 30th LT4 front 3/4

This guy had everything going for it. Anniversary edition, check. Big engine, check. Low miles, check. Original plastic on the seats, check. Double-digit mileage always attracts collectors, and this car’s 76 original miles certainly brought bidders to the table. It was also just 1 of 100 anniversary Camaros fitted with the 330-hp LT4 engine, the most powerful lump offered in a Camaro that year. Finished in white with Hugger Orange stripes over houndstooth upholstery, this car felt as “throwback” as it gets. It sold at Mecum’s Indy sale in May 2021, and at the time we valued pristine examples at a shade over $39,000. It’s hard to imagine the car was purchased to drive, so the next time we see it at auction, it may very well be in the exact same condition. And it will be priced accordingly.

5th Gen: 2011 Camaro SS Indy Pace Car Convertible, $148,500

2011 Chevy Camaro Indy Pace Car rear 3/4

Camaros have paced the Indy 500 on 9 occasions, including a three-in-a-row stint from 2009 to 2011. This fifth-generation Camaro Pace car was the first of 50 built for the purpose and was driven for the parade lap of the 2011 race, which coincided with both the centennial anniversary of both the 500 and of Chevrolet. Its Summit White exterior with orange stripes and interior accents is a nod to the ’69 Camaro Pace Car, and the inside of the trunk was signed by the ’69 winner, Mario Andretti. When it sold at Barrett-Jackson’s 2012 Scottsdale sale, the 400-hp convertible showed just over 100 miles on the odometer. Regular year-old Camaros were little more than used cars at the time, and the best 2011 Pace Car in the world is still only worth about $46,000 today, but, this particular example, with it’s on-track pedigree and low mileage clearly set it apart.




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    Chevrolet was only able to build the 1990 models from September through December 31, 1989 before losing their IROC license. So any Camaros built on January 1, 1990 and later through the model year became 1991 models. Very unusual circumstances resulting in 1990 being a really short model year for the Chevrolet Camaro.

    End of first paragraph:

    “(Some caveats: For this exercise, we’re looking solely at auction sales, we’ve excluded modified Camaros, as well as those sold for charity, and we also ignored the sixth-gen cars—they simply haven’t hit the auction scene yet).”

    Back in the day, I had ’69. Always pined for a ’70 Z-28. When kids grew up and moved out on their own I looked again but prices were way outta my league.

    I have a 69 Z28 Camero that my older brother bought new when he was in high school. Car has been in our family ever since. I have the original window sticker. Cool car! Glad we still have a part of him. He loved that car ❤️
    I’d like to know of a person in Green Bay WI who would do some bodywork on car.

    With something like that, I would be very careful who you choose to do any bodywork. I formally lived in Elm Grove, WI and know someone who could steer you in the right direction, being one of the foremost authorities on first generation Camaros. He lives in New Berlin, WI. Email me if you are interested.

    4th Gen most expensive car sold was not the LT4 SS you posted. 2002 GMMG Dick Harrell edition sold at Mecum Indy 2021 for $165k including fees. Same auction , a second Dick Harrell brought $159.5k with fees.

    The 70 Z was the prettiest Camaro, IMO.

    Problem is, there’s a lot better looking cars out there for what a split bumper Z is going for these days. Perfect styling, great chassis, but not worth it.

    I expect prices to fall as the original consumers for these vehicles retire from the market. Third Gens (another excellent design) will rise as a result.

    Lather, rinse, and repeat for all cars until we cease owning/collecting them.

    1990…short model year…last year of IROC…updated dash/gauges. The automatics only made 210 hp though, you needed the 5 speed with the dual cat exhaust to have 230 hp. Still no way should a sane person spend that much on an IROC…yet.

    Agreed (and I owned one, a 1984 Z28 L69). Third gens are on the rise in value and have been for a number of years now after a couple of decades of no love…or to be more direct, a contempt of the image of a gold necklace Italian owner, the IROC-Z specifically (even Eddie Murphy made a joke about it in 1987’s Raw).

    That said, triple digits (and even north end of five digits) is too much even for a factory fresh limited production ragtop Z. But everyone knows the old saying: something is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Several wanted that Z really bad to push it that high.

    Hey, I was one of those Italians! And I also live(d) in NJ. No gold chains or club music though. I was more the t-shirt and Iron Maiden type. I had the better Camaro….the Firebird, lol. 1990 Firebird Formula TPI, 5 speed. Also a short run.

    I often question super low mileage cars from a leaks and “sitting problems” standpoint. But I guess if it was stored properly and somehow fired up and ran a little each year maybe.

    I was very fortunate to purchase the 2024 Camaro ZL1 Collector’s Edition (#151 of 350). I cannot imagine another 6th Gen Camaro going higher. (One recently sold at Mecum auction for $135,000, and that’s just the beginning.)

    Interesting what the original Z‘s are selling for. While waiting for my 22 ZL1 to be built I bid on a 69 silver Z 28 on BAT. It eventually sold for 150,000; I had bid in the 60- 70k range. I have never come across a 70 or 71 Z28 worth bidding on, these were really good cars and ran great. I think my sixth generation car will probably never be worth less than what I paid for it, given the current state of affairs. A very interesting article, thank you.

    I thought the 1992 B4C/1LE police package Camaro would be #1 for third generation Camaros but yes the 90 Iroc camaros are rare in convertibles.

    Good maybe my 84 with 60k will be worth something but it hasn’t been on the road for 20+ years don’t ask why

    The ones showed are all very overpriced and in my humble opinion not worth that kind of money, you can by a real car for that $$$$$

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