First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000

Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000

The first 1969 ZL1 Camaro ever built crossed the auction block at last weekend's massive Mecum Spring Classic auction event in Indiana. When the bidding ended the successful buyer had agreed to pay $400,000 for this important piece of muscle car history.

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Only 69 Camaros were built with the legendary aluminum ZL1 427ci V8 in underneath the hood in 1969. The first car was reserved by the man who sold Chevrolet on the idea of putting the massive engine in the Camaro—Fred Gibb—to be used as a drag strip terror sponsored by his dealership.

As the story goes when this car and the second ZL1 built arrived at Gibb Chevrolet in LaHarpe, Illinois on a snowy New Years Eve in 1968 they wouldn't start and had an unimaginably high price tag attached to them (Gibb agreed to a purchase order of 50 ZL1s as a condition of them being built without knowing the sticker price).

That didn't stop Gibb from getting ZL1 #1 prepped for the strip by Dick Harrell. A few short weeks later with the car prepped and both men's names on the side, Gibb proceeded to take this car on a cross country tour collecting straight line victories and sending the competition back to the drawing board wherever he went.

Considering this car's historical importance and extreme rarity we'd say $400,000 was a relatively reasonable price to pay. We could be wrong, but something makes us think the next time this rare car crosses the auction block it will sell for a whole lot more.

[Mecum via Hemmings]

Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000
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Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000
Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000
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Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000
Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000
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Illustration for article titled First ZL1 Camaro Ever Built Sells For $400,000

DISCUSSION

roofy
Roofy

I don't know... I do not consider myself a car snob AT ALL, but, while the car is definitely in great shape and undoubtedly fast, from a collector-car standpoint, it screams "ruined" to me.

Now before everyone attempts to draw me up and castrate me, let me state my reasoning.

For one, so much has been done to this car structual wise, that any attempt to bring it back to "factory spec" would further deteriorate the car. Main offense?? The car has been tubbed in the rear, meaning any factory sheet metal that was cut out has been scrapped and recycled into who knows what YEARS ago. You simply cannot correct something like that without thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of labor. Even then, you've put in aftermarket sheet metal, or sacrificed another original Camaro to repair this one.

Seconly, the interior is ruined completely. The rollcage and other safety equipment has damaged the original interior beyond repair. Sure, you can buy new panels, seat covers and padding, and cut/replace the floorboards where the rollcage was mouted, but once again, everything will be aftermarket or sacrificed from an original Camaro. Not to mention the hacked up dash and other/missing components are virtually unreplaceable unless it's aftermarket pieces.

Third, the engine is NOT original. I remember reading an article about this car YEARS ago in Super Chevy or something saying the original engine was replaced with an aftermarket 427.

So finally, to me anyways, while this car may have some significant historical value as a period-correct drag car, any of the "original ZL-1" bantering is pointless, because what made these cars special is gone from this car. Hell, you can't even drive this thing on the street!!!! Like I said, I don't hate the car at all, in fact I think it is pretty awesome as it sits, but not because of the ZL-1 history.