The 1969 ZL-1 all aluminum 427
cubic inch Corvette motor
was the most powerful engine that was ever offered in
an American built automobile. It was the direct
of the L-88 427 engine and the all aluminum Can Am racing engine of the same era.
Although factory rated at 430 HP, the actual output was
more like 585
HP after tuned
headers were installed
in place of the restrictive factory exhaust manifolds.
delivered from the factory, the standard exhaust
manifolds may have suited quick
assembly line techniques, but they only slowed the
Corvette's true acceleration potential.
So to resolve this problem, the factory contracted Kustom Headers to build several sets of
header/sidepipes for the true racing enthusiast, which
could be purchased via the local
Chevrolet parts department. But due to the low production
quantity of these headers, the prices
were extremely high. Hooker Headers quickly bent a set of their own and
at a much more reasonable price than the Kustom set.
established it's own niche with that marketing move.
A dome hood
was necessary for intake manifold clearance.
This hood was released in 1968 with the cast iron block
Cowl induction was used at the rearmost base of the
dome for improved air induction to the
Holley 850 double pumper 4 barrel carb.
This cowl induction trick alone cut seven seconds off
the car's zero to 140 MPH acceleration times!!!
experience this car's handling and acceleration
potential, it was to one's advantage to install the
factory designed fender flares, which were also available
through the parts department of the dealership. Larger,
wider tires could then be used for improved cornering and
Two factory test
mules were made available to the press. A white
convertible, which was set up for road racing duty, and a
red coupe, which was set up as a "Saturday Night
Special" for 1/4 mile drag racing action.
red ZL-1 was
equipped with a "beefed-up" automatic
transmission and 4.88:1 rear end gears. With 9"
and open headers, every automotive reporter at the
was running the 1/4 mile in 10.9 Sec. @ 132 MPH!!
This is an incredible feat considering that all you had
do was to get in a car, buckle up, load up the torque
converter a few thousand RPM's,take your foot off the
and in less than 11 seconds you've already driven through
the traps at the strip at a speed that most other street
could barely achieve with highway gears!! This red ZL-1
was set up by Corvette engineer Gib Hufstader.
white Zl-1 was
equipped with an M-22 "rock-crusher"
4-speed transmission and 3.70:1 rear end gears.
Even with this "road racing" setup, this car
could cut the quarter mile in 12.1 Sec @ 116 MPH! 200 MPH
could be attained with the proper higher rear end gears
This white car
was set up by chief Corvette engineer
One of the
most successful Corvette racers to use
the ZL-1 motor consistently was John Greenwood.
He achieved many victories in the SCCA, including a
national championship, and competed quite successfully in
long distance endurance racing. Here we find John
at the 1971 running of the 24 hours of Daytona endurance
If you want more info about the ZL1, then you need
to have this
book in your collection. Click here for more ZL1 photos and info!
Click on the Corvette links for more Corvette stuff.