ZL-1 was an option code on the Chevy Corvette and Camaro in 1969. It was a Regular-Production Order (RPO) for the 'Vette, but for the Camaro it was a Central Office Production order (COPO).
It consisted of an L88 427c.i. engine but replaced the normal cast-iron block with an aluminum one, and saved 100lbs. in the process. This lead to 50/50 weight distrubtion for both models. To make up for the fact that aluminum is weaker than iron, the block was beefed up substantially. A dry-sump oil system was used, and the stock camshaft was replaced with a longer duration one. The ZL-1 weighed just over 500lbs. total and could produce 585hp @ 7000rpm at the crank. Fuel shutoff occured at 7100rpm. Torque output was officially rated at 460ft-lbs, but it is/was actually over 500ft-lbs.
A complete ZL-1 'Vette, of which only 2 were produced, had a dry weight of just under 3,000lbs. In addition to the 2 Corvettes produced with the ZL-1, 69 Camaro's also recieved the engine. All ZL-1-equipped cars featured the M22 "Rock-Crusher" close-ratio 4-speed transmission, although one ZL-1 test car had a "beefed-up" 3-speed automatic.
A grand total of 500 ZL-1 engines were produced in order to homologate it for racing.
Zora Arkus-Duntov drove a ZL-1 Corvette down the 1/4-mile in 12.1 seconds at 116mph. This car was equipped with an M22 4-speed tranmission, a 3.70:1 Positraction rear-end, and road race tires. In order to fit the tires, a set of fender flares had to be installed. Both ZL-1 'Vettes came with a set of fender flares in the passenger compartment. The tires had to be bought separatley. Zora managed to pull a full 1.0g on the skid pad with this 'Vette.
Zora took another ZL-1 'Vette, this one with headers and drag slicks, which, I'd like to point out, are about as good as modern street tires, through the 1/4-mile in 10.5 seconds at 133mph.
The 1st car had a top speed over over 160mph. The 2nd could make it to 140mph. However, with dealer-installed 2.76:1 gears, to ZL-1 Corvette could push 200mph with relative ease.
The solution to all the mustangs lovers out there that say, "Camaros are faster than mustangs but not mustang saleens and GT 500."
The ZL-1 is just faster but, way faster.
The new ZL-1's are just like the LS-1 but with double the Horsepower.
Camaro SS vs. Mustang Saleen
Victor: Mustang Saleen by a few car lengths.
Camaro ZL-1 vs. Mustang Saleen
Victor: Camaro ZL-1 by more than just a few car lengths.