Rare ZL1 427 V8: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro

Working through the COPO process at Chevrolet (Central Office Production Order), a racing-oriented Chevy dealer ordered 50 specially equipped Camaro’s. Core to these automobiles was a ZL1 light-weight 427 cubic inch V8 that was suitable for drag racing. This example is one of those cars and it was previously owned by baseball great Reggie Jackson. Completely restored, it’s about to make an appearance at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thanks to Barn Finder Larry D for this tip and more information about the special car can be found here on Barrett-Jackson.

Sources indicate that between 50 and 69 of these cars were produced under special order. Fred Gibb Chevrolet in La Harpe, Illinois took delivery of the car in March 1969. Besides the fire-breathing, all-aluminum 427 engine, the car had a column-shifted Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, a specially ducted cool-air hood, heavy-duty radiator, heavy-duty suspension, and a heavy-duty 4.10 posi-traction rear axle. The purpose of the car and its companions were to qualify for use in NHRA competition.

The car ended up being one of too many needed for the purpose it was intended, so it was returned to Chevrolet to be redistributed through their dealer network. The car ended up in the hands of Allan Green Chevrolet in Seattle, Washington where one of its employees ended up racing the car for a time. One thing led to another, and the Chevy was modified in error and could no longer be raced, so it was pieced back together using another Camaro body and now carries a non-OEM trim tag.

We’re told the Chevrolet has undergone a comprehensive restoration, including applying a new coat of the original Camaro color, Fathom Green. The black vinyl interior is brand new and is identical to how the car was built in 1969. Supposedly the cars came in only five colors and 10 each was built in each color, so this Camaro could be considered 1 of 10. The exterior appearance of the car is deliberately sparse, right down to the dog dish hubcaps. More details on these interesting and limited production cars can be found here on Motor Trend.

Comments

  1. Jamie

    Just a gussied way of saying it’s a re-body, with the not so legal VIN transfer glazed over at the same time.

    Like 19
    • jerry

      I’m not sure why you think there is something illegal here. Imagine you have a race car with a cut up body that you can’t race in the stock class. You go to a junkyard and buy a camaro chassis and transfer the parts from the racecar to the chassis you purchased. you now go racing. That is not illegal. Race cars do not need vin numbers. Decades go by and you want to sell it as a street car. The original junkyard tittle is gone. you can file for a new title in your state. as long as the car was never stolen, you are good to go.

      • Jamie

        I see your point Jerry, but you can’t tout a car as being something else without the original VIN. The original car was manufactured to be sold to the general public, which requires a VIN, and not specifically to be a drag car. Yes, it’s basically a drag car per se ,but manufacturers had to produce enough street examples to qualify for being able to run certain classes in NHRA/IHRA, etc, etc. No VIN, then no street driving. It also says that the trim tag doesn’t match, which means they switched the VIN from the clapped out body to this one, making it illegal. VIN numbers cannot be removed from the original body, plain and simple. If they are switched it’s fraud. There’s a whole load of court cases that have happened because of this. One that comes to mind is a 65 Chevelle that was passed off as a Z16, which are super rare, and the seller was dragged over the coals because it was originally a plain Jane car. Read up on this subject and about VIN transfers. State issued titles don’t happen when the VIN is transferred, they’d impound and crush the car before your get a piece of paper.

        Like 1
    • jerry

      My guess is that the vin is original for the donor car (not the COPO car).
      This means that the vin has not bee swapped and would explain why the the trim plate doesn’t match.

      Like 2
  2. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Reggie sold a couple of his 68 Z/28’s on BaT earlier this year…for large $$$ He must be thinning the Camaro herd a bit

    It was very cool to have Mr October participate in the comments.

    Like 4
  3. CCFisher

    What kind of moron swaps VINs but doesn’t swap the trim tag?

    Like 5
    • Matt G

      At the time it was probably just a disposable race car to him, not a major investment in American muscle car history.

      Like 5
  4. Keith

    How can this car be legal for license plates?Drag car only

    Like 6
  5. 433jeff

    Wow…Whoa…..Whaaaaaaat?

  6. Jay McCarthy

    There is a Cortez Silver 69 ZL-1 Camaro at Floyd Garret’s in Sevierville TN column shift automatic with poverty caps

    Like 2
    • 454RAT Member

      Sadly, Floyd’s museum closed down in November of 2021. Even more sad is that Floyd died about the same time. Words cannot describe Floyd or his love for old cars, especially Chevy’s.

      Like 2
  7. Brad

    To car the car just became a nothing Camaro do to not having proper trim tag! It’s just a 69 with a big motor at this point!

    • 454RAT Member

      IF it has the original vin, and it hasn’t been changed, the cowl tag doesn’t matter. This car would be verified from the GM paperwork showing the vin of all 69 ZL1 Camaros. This paperwork would show exactly how this car came, even without the cowl tag. It would be nice to have the original cowl tag, but not a deal killer. IF it had a reproduction tag, it would be very fishy. They are easy to spot.

  8. Ron

    “After the 1971 season, Dick took the car to a race shop to have the rear wheel wells slightly enlarged. The shop removed the entire trunk floor in error. Since he could not race the ZL1 in this condition, he found another body and pieced the car back together again.”

    What a crock.

    Like 5
    • Ron

      Also noticed that there is no mention of anything being matching numbers.

      Like 3
  9. joenywf64

    IMO, very odd to have column shift with bucket seats. & that the
    crazy-pipe-path restrictive sideways muffler was retained for this big motor.
    Now THIS is the car that should have been ordered with the 4 wheel disc brakes – not that 307 v8 ’69 camaro.

    Like 1
    • Thomas

      Drum brakes have less drag, can be an important factor running 1/4 mile passes. Every little bit adds up.

      Like 2
      • joenywf64

        Forgot about that. Might as well then have drums on the front too & no heavier power assist booster either.
        I do see the radio(heavy back then) delete plate.
        & oops – this might have the chambered exhaust pipes instead of big transverse muffler.
        I don’t see a PS pump.
        Back seat is quite heavy on these, compared to those on 2nd gen.

  10. R.Lee

    Without the hounds tooth trunk mat it is just another Camaro

    Like 2
  11. george mattar

    Reggie lost many cars in a warehouse fire years ago. The hobby has gotten so crooked in the last 20 years, you cannot trust anyone. Floyd Garrett owned a Garnet Red one in the late 1980s. Auction cars are about the worst you can buy. I covered auctions for years for Hemmings Motor News, so many fakes, so many replicas, just crooks looking to make a quick buck. I only buy cars from people I know with bullet proof documents. This car will sell, but not for the record ZL1 price, which I believe is $840,000 15 years ago at Mecum in Illinois. I personally called Ed Cuneen that day to report to him the hammer price, as I was writing an article about the Dusk Blue ZL1. These cars are so rare, nobody even sees them at events, let alone on the road. They cannot be driven on pump gas and with 4.10 rear, couldn’t keep up with today’s traffic with Nissan Rogues flying by you at 110 mph with a fat woman driver shoveling food in her face while talking on the phone.

    Like 2
  12. Camaro guy

    What fun it would be to race this ZL1 against the Hemi Cuda listed here anybody have any thoughts on that just for fun, my money would be no the Camaro, but then I am a Chevy guy

    • Mike Member

      See Sox & Martin vs Grumpy Jenkins, that covers that particular competition very nicely.

  13. Terry

    A rebodied car is no longer what it was originally. If the VIN tag was removed from the original body and transferred to this body that is a felony. The twin to this car sits in a collection of a guy I know. He has it in a bubble, climate controlled and a COPO 427 iron block also, along with two 69 Z28/RS Camaros, a Yenko Camaro, Yenko Nova and a few others.

    Like 1
  14. 454RAT Member

    It doesn’t say it was re-bodied. It says it was pieced back together using another Camaro body. If only body parts were used, it is good as long as it has the original cowl and the front of the body. I would take this to mean they used the rear clip. If it has been completely re-bodied, it is NOT a ZL1. It would be a regular Camaro with a ZL1 drivetrain. Not a real car, just a tribute car. Not hard to check by someone who knows cars and car bodywork. It is puzzling though, why it would have had the original cowl tag removed and lost. If car is a complete re-body, I don’t think Barrett Jackson woiuld sell it as a real ZL1. They are usually pretty picky about the details. But I could be wrong.

    • Jamie

      So all I’d need is the A pillar with the VIN on it, weld that onto another body, and presto! COPO

      • 454RAT Member

        That’s what you said.

  15. Thomas

    This car was sold at Barrett Jackson Scottsdale 2009 AS A REBODY. Last line of the description.

    https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1969-CHEVROLET-CAMARO-ZL-1-COPO-COUPE-70622

    Craig Jackson was pimping it as a legit car when it was on the block. Steve Davis was trying to work Ron Pratt with Rick Hendrick looking on by his side. If that car was legit Hendrick would have been all over it for his collection.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiLf56NlDPc

    There is also apparently a problem with the ownership time line in the auction listings. The link below has info on how the VIN has been on three different cars including the original car as shipped on purchased new. The original engine was sold off.

    Info here:

    https://www.camaros.net/threads/zl1-on-barrett.149505/

    Like 2
  16. Thomas

    It also re-sold at Barrett Jackson Scottsdale 2019 AS A REBODY.

    https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1969-CHEVROLET-CAMARO-ZL1-COPO-228095

    • Thomas

      Sorry for doubling up.

  17. 454RAT Member

    Whew. Mystery solved. It is not even a ZL1. No one knows what it is. Good only as a parts car, or a driver. Probably worth 100 to 150 thou for the good body and the rare parts on it.

    Like 1
  18. 433jeff

    So what i get out of all this is , keep the cowl with Vin , Hidden Vin and trim tag intact . You can disassemble the rotted body and reattache the donor body, and everyone , judges beancounters, the peanut gallery is OK with the political correctness???!! For a camaro? With a Chevelle same procedure? What about frame Vin, Hog out a section of frame and transfer that too to the new rust free donor? Chances are this will be corralled off so noone can touch it, Even at shows……. we wont get close enough to tell what Vin it wears, Who knows they may keep the original vacum sealed and send a body double and noone would know.

    • Thomas

      Thing is this car in question only has the original VIN tag which was put on the donor body. From what I have read the cowl and heater box numbers do not match the VIN. I would love to see a fresh current MacNeish appraisal on this car.

      It will be interesting to see if this one will be shown on the broadcast or will they go to commercial. I’ll be watching the BJ live feed to hear the declaration when it rolls up on the block.

  19. R.Lee

    Klone Karr Lots of baggage with that car.

    And there is nothing wrong with having a car as you want it. The problem I have is misrepresenting a car for what it isn’t.

    Retagging cars years ago was not such a big deal unless you were selling them for profit.

    I have to wonder how many cars are out there without proper VIN’s. I think the number of cars out there would surprise many owners who do not want to know that their car is not genuine.

    Many cars were wrecked, engines with rods hanging outside the block, or just scrapped. I worked in a salvage yard as a kid in the 60’s and the number of wrecked condition insurance cars getting shredded was amazing.

    Cars that if known today for what they are would of been fixed right away, but the insurance companies wanted them gone. I would pull drivetrains and keep for myself or sell for cash. I think I lost money working there and sold the parts to feed me. I still have on pallet shelves engines that I got then. 375 HP 396 from a 70 Nova SS I put into my first truck, Still have it, still using it. But the car ended up at about 6 inches tall, dropping 10 ton steel block on it with the crane.

    Like 1
  20. R.Lee

    Car has the hidden VIN behind heater plenum of a 6 cylinder Camaro.

    • Thomas

      And from what I have read the hidden cowl stamp as well.

  21. Thomas

    And once again when the car was on the block Craig Jackson made the clone price comment pimping the car. TV coverage went to commercial when it was rolling up on the block, they ran a commercial on their live feed when Craig was pimping it, Steve Davis compared Craig to the Wizard of Oz. What a mess. All in $159,500 this time around.

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