The Legendary Camaro ZL1

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As the world waits for the 2017 Camaro ZL1, we look back on this magnificent car from its first inception.

The car was originally intended as a lightweight racer for Can-Am road racing and not for production.
However, the COPO (Central Office Production Order) ordering system allowed Fred Gibb, an Illinois car dealer to conceive what is now the Camaro ZL1.

Gibb had to order 50 vehicles to get the COPO 9560 package approved, which was a big risk, especially when the car cost over $7200, much more than a compatible 427 COPO. Only 13 were eventually sold with the rest returned or exchanged with other dealers.
A total of 69 ZL1 Camaros were eventually built, making them one of the most sought-after muscle cars of its generation.

The heart of the car featured an aluminum ZL1 427ci. engine, 100 pounds less than an iron big block, with 12.0:1 compression, flat-tappet camshaft and a Holley 850-cfm double-pumper carburetor. The official hp rating was 430 HP, but was more like 525-550Hp in the real world.


Versions of the ZL1 (originally ZL-1 with a hyphen) have come and gone over the years, with a reintroduction in 2012. Now there promises to be a 2017 version, track and road ready, available at the end of 2016. This latest version of the ZL1 should weigh 200 pounds less than the fifth generation ZL1, has a new 10 speed automatic transmission and is estimated to produce 640Hp and 640 lbs. ft. of torque.

Since those early days of the first delivery on December 31st, 1968 the Camaro ZL1 has been a legendary GM staple and long may it continue.

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