Chevrolet Reveals New Camaro ZL1 Engine
ZL1 was the code name for the 427-cubic-inch, all-aluminum big-block engine developed for Corvette race cars in the late 1960s, but found its way into a small number of 1969 Camaros.
The ZL1 427 engine was originally developed as a racing engine for the Can Am series, where early all-aluminum 427 engines had delivered encouraging results in vehicles such as the Chaparral 2F race car.
According to Chevrolet, ZL1 427 is similar to its L-88 427 engine, which had an iron engine block and aluminum heads, but the ZL1â€™s aluminum block reduced the engineâ€™s overall weight by more than 100 pounds.
Those original ZL1-equipped Camaros carried a special-order price of nearly $4,200 for the engine package, essentially doubling the total price of the car. Not surprisingly, those little-known and expensive Camaros with the new engine didnâ€™t sell quickly, although they were capable of running 11-second quarter-mile times.
More than 40 years later, the original ZL1-powered Camaros are among the most valuable collector cars. And because they were ordered and used as drag racers, few of the cars remain intact today - even fewer still have their original engine - making them all the more special to enthusiasts and collectors.
The ZL1 option was not found in any 1969 Camaro catalog, but the original cars hold a very special place in Chevroletâ€™s performance heritage - thanks to a few clever dealers.
Will the new engine enhance the automaker's customer satisfaction?
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