- Barry (the Carguy) Thomas
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Dec 8: Power Play
Looks like a plain Jane old 1969 Camaro, but you are looking at "gold". One like this sold recently at auction for $307,000 and that was considered to be very low. So what gives? This is the very rare (69 built) Camaro ZL-1 - it had an aluminium 427 cubic inch motor with an advertised 430 HP, which was extremely understated. These cars were built for 1/4 mile competition like this one driven by Dick Harrell from Illinois.....
As an aside, Dick Harrell also raced a similarly painted and sponsored fuel funny car and died from a crash at (I believe) the Georgetown, Ontario drag strip in September, 1971, when a front tire blew at speed (200 mph).
The ZL-1 was the car and motor combination you needed to have if you were planning to win. This package cost a mere $7200 US, but get this, the engine was a $4160 option charge. So while the base car was $3040, one paid $4160 for the motor! This was more than a new Cadillac at the time. As you can see, they were very subtle with no identifying logos or badging - you had to look for the hood bulge.
Over the years, the ZL-1 name became mythical and much revered. So much so, that when Chevrolet announced an ultra high performance version of the new Camaro, the name ZL-1 was dusted off. This time though, the car with this 550 hp motor will look the part.
Big wheels and tires, lowered stance and altered hood. And because this is now and then was then, these cars will actually corner. A far cry from the original which had one purpose only and that was to go very straight, very quickly.
When the rising insurance rates killed the original muscle cars, who would ever have thought that 40 years later, our muscle cars would be much more powerful, use the same names and use less gas! Now if only I could put my golf clubs in the trunk!
Until next time.........