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24th of November 2017

Automotive



Someone is selling a real Chevrolet ZL1 427 engine

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Long before the Chevy Camaro ZL1 was an official part of the Chevy lineup, those three characters represented the pinnacle of GM performance. When you went to a Chevy dealer to buy a ZL1, you’d have to back your Apache pickup to the parts department to haul away the crate carrying an all-aluminum 427 cubic inch V8 for your Can-Am racer.

Eventually a Chevy dealer named Fred Gibb managed to get the automaker to drop the then-race-only engine under the Camaro’s hood. The all-aluminum V8 turned the already potent Camaro into a showroom-ready race car. Much like non-factory-backed race cars of the day, it also became incredibly expensive. Gibbs reportedly only sold 13 ZL1-equipped Camaros, with 69 hitting the public in total -- with a few Corvettes in tow.

ZL1 engine for sale image

The all-important casting numbers of the ZL1 mill for sale. Photo by Hemmings

First Drive 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE is the ultimate track ready Camaro2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE

This particular ZL1 engine won’t do for a Corvette or Camaro restorer, as it appears to be an earlier variant of the engine. The block numbers appear to match the numbers reported for Can-Am engines. Still, the seller’s asking price -- $75,000 -- is not unreasonable if you’re restoring a vintage McLaren race car. The seller says it’s freshly rebuilt, but is short on pictures and doesn’t mention receipts in the ad.

You probably won’t fool too many people slapping one of these into a Camaro or Corvette and trying to pass it off as an original ZL1 car, but it’d be as close as you’re going to get if you’re trying to make a clone. If you’re in the market for an uber-expensive all-aluminum vintage race engine, head to Hemmings and seal the deal.  

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