Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 26, 2023
It can be tough to remember which Corvettes are supposed to be the king of them all. Around this time you had L88s, ZR1s, ZR2s, and ZL1s. The ZL1 was sort of a step up from the L88. It designated an aluminum-block 7.0-liter V8 with a aluminum cylinder heads, a redesigned crankshaft, improved connecting rods, revised pistons, and larger exhaust valves.
It required that you order a base Corvette – which was about $4,400 for a 1969 convertible. Then you had to add on the L88 option, which was just over $1,000. The ZL1 option could then be had on top of that for another $3,000. And that blacked out the options for A/C, power steering, a radio, a heater, and power windows. Pay more, get less.
But you also got more, horsepower anyway. Output was somewhere around 460 horsepower. Apparently only two were ever ordered, with this one being the only one delivered to a retail customer. RM estimates this one will bring between $2,6000,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 18, 2013
You’re looking at a very rare, very desirable car. In fact, this is about as desirable as Chevy Camaros come. The lot description here even describes it as having the “most exotic American-built production powerplant of the 1960s.”
What sets the ZL1 apart from any other Camaro – and any other COPO Camaro – is its all-aluminium 427 (7.0-liter) V8 rated at 430 horsepower, but in fact delivering far, far more (some estimates push that number to about 550). Let’s back up a little: COPO is GM-speak for Central Office Production Order. At the time, GM was not allowing themselves to use engines larger than 6.6 liters. To get around that, customers could use a special order process – usually reserved for fleet sales – to spec out their cars with options not available to the general public.
The ZL1 engine was developed in part with the Chaparral Can-Am race team. It was developed for drag racing but ended up being a terror on the streets. The engine reportedly cost $4,000 alone – about twice the cost of a base V8 Camaro.
Only 69 ZL1 Camaros were built (this is #23), making it exceedingly rare. Prices have come down from their ridiculous levels back in the 2006/2007 era where these were pushing a million bucks. A more realistic estimate would be about $400,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Mecum’s Indianapolis lineup.