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.
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