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Aluminum 427: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

No signs of barn dust sully this immaculately restored 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, but the animal under the hood contains more than 400 horses. With dealers like Canonsburg, Pennsylvania’s Yenko Chevrolet ordering up COPO (Central Office Production Order) Camaros with 427 engines, Chevy decided to up the ante with a batch of Can-Am style ZL1 aluminum block 427 Camaros. This Camaro comes to market here on eBay after a comprehensive restoration. No claims or documentation and a bogus VIN suggest it’s no factory ZL1, but a solid restored car closely duplicating the ’69 ZL1 experience, right down to a rebuilt aluminum-block 427. Some sellers would never list a car without explaining its provenance, and some would. Seven bidders have the Camaro’s market value over $50,000 with five days remaining as we go to press.

What’s essentially an aluminum-block L88, the ZL1 powered Can Am cars fielded by Bruce McLaren and Jim Hall, Trans-Am Corvettes, and a host of drag-racing Chevrolets, going out the door mostly as crate engines. Factory built cars include 69 VIN-documented Camaros, not counting the COPO ZL1s.  Thanks to MotorTrend for some details. Rated at 430 HP and 450 lb-ft of torque, stock ZL1s have made 550 HP in dynomometer tests. Wow!

Gleaming Olympic Gold paint and the two-tone interior with white seats match this car’s original color scheme, according to the listing. The ’69 Camaro sits high on the list of many bow-tie enthusiasts, especially as the body stamping existed only one year before the all-new 1970 Camaro hit the streets.

A proper Muncie M22 four-speed manual transmission handles the gear changes, sending power rearward to a 12 bolt differential with 4.10:1 gears. You’d better have that steering wheel pointed straight ahead when you uncork the lightweight big block.

An original “western” floor pan and everything visible shows incredible care and originality and comprehensive use of correct replacement parts. That said, buyers should do their homework and get their questions answered before bidding. Would you drive this aluminum-block 427 monster or park it in the vault?


  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    Hmm, no one told me it is ’69 Camaro 427 Day.

    Like 11
    • John

      Yes I always get a kick out of the “super rare” and crazy prices when we see dozens of the “super rare” just on here … Hmmm I wonder how many “super rare” are out there if you search the Internet? I just can’t see how the crazy prices are justified.

      Like 3
  2. Chris Cornetto

    If this is your dream, fake or not. It looks like they did a bang out job on this one and since it not an original, you can enjoy it. Cars that are part of a portfolio, to me suck. Ride on people.

    Like 29
    • Don Sieger

      u got it!!!!!!

      Like 0
    • Greenhorn

      Chris, I’d rather have this than a real one. At least you’d want to take it out every weekend. Insurance might be a little wonky, but who cares?

      Like 19
  3. Frank Sumatra

    It’s “COPO Friday” ! I can hear Barry Manilow’s “COPO-Cabana” playing in the background!

    Like 19
    • Allen L

      The hottest cars north of Havana!🎶

      Like 8
    • KH

      That’s a good one Frank.

      Say hi to Deano for me.

      Like 2
  4. Mike76

    Would you drive it? Yes…til the wheels fall off. “Investment” cars are not in my vocabulary. If I had the financial means to hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars, they would all be driven. If not, what’s the point in owning them?

    Like 24
    • Lee F

      Absolutely spot on Mike76. I don’t care if I over pay for it, it looks too good to get dirty or God forbid scratch it. I’m taking it on the road regularly and if it has muscle I’m gonna find out just how much. I don’t wanna show it off, brag about it or anything like that I’m putting that sucker on my pavement, it’ll wash and if I scratch it it can be fixed.

      Like 12
      • Brian suggs

        I totally agree Lee F. This is a dream car for me, not just because it is a rare car, but it’s also the year I was born, and like me it’s not perfect but it is an original.

        Like 0
    • David Michael Carroll

      Definitely drive it!! IT’S A CAR for God sake!!

      Like 13
    • Frank Sumatra

      Spot on! Buying a car as an investment is like going to a casino. The odds are against you and you will rarely hear anything from the losers. Drive them early and often.

      Like 7
  5. bill

    I don’t see it. You can get a more powerful,efficient and reliable new crate engine,if it’s not the real deal what’s the point?

    Like 1
  6. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

    I’m selling a 69 COPO Camaro for a client and the reason he’s selling is that he doesn’t want to drive it. When he started the restoration, he didn’t know he had a COPO car, so he built it the way he wanted.. then found out it was a COPO. All he wanted was a big block, 4 speed Camaro. So, we’re selling it and then he’ll buy a big block Camaro to go drive the wheels off of.
    I agree, these cars were built to be driven, not coddled. The one we’re selling was literally driven to the track, up and down the 1/4 mile strip and then back home, multiple times… Only amassed 846 miles before the car was parked. Long story.

    Like 4
  7. Warren Elliot

    Boy that’s a nice car. Kudos to the decision not to add console/guages, most of these cars were low option. And Todd, technically the 69 stampings were used longer than a year, hence the term 70 and a half Camaro.

    Like 3
    • Ffred

      Besides a strike late 1969/almost all of 1970 which is discounted the die shops were having fits. Stamping problems kept coming up.

      Because they had trouble filling orders, 1969 models were being sold up the end of the year. No doubt many ’69s were still on the lot in 1970 and maybe 1971.


      Like 0
  8. Ed

    That is one beautiful machine.

    Like 4
  9. Greg

    Why park it in a vault? As nice as it is it’s still a clone,a very nicely done clone l might add. No this car should be driven and admired for what it is.l myself would love to have a classic like this that l could actually drive and not worry about depreciation of value and that’s how it should be for mere mortals like us.

    Like 9
    • Fred

      Spot on pov. Greg. If you can’t drive it just get a die cast model and stare at that. If you get a driver and take the proper care of it in 10 year’s you’ll probably get more than you paid originally

      Like 2
  10. Pwilly

    Beautiful car, fabulous write up.
    ZL1 was not the Can-Am motor. In 1971 you paid $30k for a 500 inch nikasil block with pistons. At the Shadow team that motor made 1400hp with twin turbos, 735 injected.

    Like 0
  11. Mike Y

    First time comment,if it is not a factory ZL1 it is a FAKE and not worth the price

    Like 0
  12. Skystone Jim

    I agree. Drive it! Had a ’69 Eldo. My son and I would hop in and drive it 150-200 miles to car shows and meets all over the state. Would get there the day before, wash all the bug splats off and place it on the show field the following morning. A lot of great memories!

    Like 7
  13. Tooyoung4heyday Tooyoung4heyday Member

    Nicely done car, even if not a ZL1 by GM its still a Camaro with a ZL1. How many car shows or drive ins or ice cream stands can you go to and even see just that motor. Rare enough on its own, somebody just happen to put it in arguably Chevys most popular wrapper. Although modern power is also fun in its own right, those who have turned the key on something like this just know theres a difference. If you know, you know….

    Like 4
    • Frank Sumatra

      @Tooyoung- You, sir, have absolutely nailed it!! And I quote-

      “A lot of great memories!” That it what it is all about. I never heard anybody talk about sitting around the garage with dad looking at his 56 mile Chevy.

      Like 0
      • Frank Sumatra

        OOPS! Kudos to Skystone Jim intended. @Tooyoung- Your comment is also a winner.

        Like 0
  14. Frank Scott

    Someone commented on the Hagerty site recently “Drive what you love and love what you Drive, forget about the money. Follow this advice and you’ll be happy!!” I agree! Hagerty Ins. post from Aug, 2022.

    Like 0
  15. Crawdad

    As I remember it , all the real aluminum block 427’s were white. The only one I ever saw, ( Nov. 1969 ) was at an Autocross at Riverside Drag Strip, Proctorville OH. I have a brief shot of it on track on a super 8 home movie.

    Like 0

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