No. 30 of 69 Produced: '69 ZL1 Camaro Heading to Mecum's Denver Sale

No. 30 of 69 Produced: '69 ZL1 Camaro Heading to Mecum's Denver Sale

July 20-22  at Colorado Convention Centre

1 of 13 ZL1 Camaros sold new by Fred Gibb Chevrolet
1 of 50 ZL1 Camaros ordered by Fred Gibb Chevrolet (other 37 returned to GM)
One of the few surviving examples with the original all-aluminum 427 CI ZL1 engine
Factory 4-speed car
First in Class, Best Paint, Best Engine Compartment at 1993 Camaro Nationals
Scored 986/1,000 points at 1993 Camaro Nationals

Documented with original Manufacturer's Statement of Origin and Protect-O-Plate
Cover feature car in the November-December 1993 issue of "Camaro Enthusiast" magazine
Raced in Super Stock competition for many years by Pizza Hut franchisee Larry Kreigh

Despite unrelenting resistance from GM management, in the late 1960s, Chevrolet Product Promotions Manager Vince Piggins regularly teamed with a small cadre of faithful dealers to produce insanely powerful limited-production muscle cars.

The instrument of this insurrection was the Central Office Production Order program (COPO). Designed to facilitate fleet orders for commercial fleet vehicles such as taxis and police cars, the COPO system provided Piggins and his dealers the means to circumvent the corporate racing ban (and its limits on displacement and horsepower-to-weight ratios) and supply factory-built racers and speed equipment to their customers.

Arguably the most sensational of these forbidden fruits was the 1969 ZL1 Camaro, a simple yet devastating combination of heavy-duty suspension, brakes and driveline and Chevrolet’s all-aluminum 427 CI big-block engine developed by racers Bruce McLaren and Jim Hall for the Can Am racing series. The ZL1 was the brainchild of Fred Gibb, owner of Fred Gibb Chevrolet in La Harpe, Illinois, and a leader in Piggins’ network of Chevrolet performance dealers.

Gibb first attracted national attention when Herb Fox, a Gibb Chevrolet salesman, bought a 1967 Z28 through the dealer and began racing it in NHRA D/Gas. Fox ended the 1967 season with a perfect 35-0 record, and Gibb was hooked. Fox soon thereafter met Chevrolet tuner and drag racer Dick Harrell, and immediately introduced him to Gibb, facilitating one of drag racing’s most famous partnerships and directly leading to the creation of the COPO 9560 ZL1 Camaros.

ZL1 Camaros dominated NHRA and AHRA Super Stock and Pro Stock racing, beginning with the Gibb-Harrell-Fox Super Stock Eliminator win at the 1969 NHRA Winternationals. Produced under COPO order number 9560, all 69 ZL1 Camaros produced were equipped at the factory as big-block-specification cars with F41 heavy-duty suspension, power front disc brakes, ZL2 cowl-induction hood, a choice of heavy-duty 4-speed manual or Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic transmissions and Chevrolet’s extra-strength 12-bolt Positraction rear end with 4.10:1 gears.

Gibb ordered the first 50 ZL1 Camaros, however all but a handful were returned to the factory or other dealers for distribution. This ZL1 is one of only 13 that were sold by Fred Gibb Chevrolet, making it a rarity amongst an already rare car. Based on the architecture of the all-conquering Corvette L88 racing engine, the ZL1 engine made extensive use of aluminum in the block, heads, intake and ancillary pieces, employing steel only for the forged crank, connecting rods, pushrods and camshaft.

The result was the most exotic American production engine ever built to that time. The ZL1 weighed little more than a cast iron Chevy small-block engine while generating approximately 550 HP, a figure that far exceeded its preposterous factory rating of 430 horses. This Hugger Orange-on-black 1969 ZL1 Camaro was sold new at Fred Gibb Chevrolet and was subsequently raced in Super Stock competition for many years by Pizza Hut franchisee Larry Kreigh, never seeing duty on the street. Number 30 of the 69 built, it is one of the only surviving examples with its original factory-installed all-aluminum ZL1 powerplant and 4-speed manual transmission. The car was expertly restored in 2004 when the odometer showed just 8.4 miles. It remains in virtually perfect condition today—now showing only 328 original miles—having amassed several impressive awards including First in Class, Best Paint, Best Engine Compartment and a score of 986/1,000 points at the 1993 Camaro Nationals.

This ZL1’s provenance is backed up by documentation including its original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin and Protect-O-Plate. The cover feature car in the November-December 1993 issue of “Camaro Enthusiast” magazine, it is an exceptional example of Chevrolet’s “Super Camaro.”