The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro is one of the most recognizable and highly sought after of all of the great muscle cars from the 1960’s. Despite the fact that General Motors sold nearly a quarter million Camaros during the final year of the 1960’s, a select few represent the pinnacle of this one year only body-style. No we aren’t talking about the famous iron-block COPO Camaros, but rather the very rare 1969 COPO Camaro ZL-1, one of which just sold for over $1 million dollars, making it the most expensive Camaro ZL-1 ever sold at Barrett-Jackson.
The seven figure car in question is #59 of the 69 total ZL-1 COPO Camaros that were produced. Unlike the 1,015 COPO 9561 package cars that were delivered, the 69 ZL-1 cars featured an aluminum engine block, the first ever utilized by Chevrolet. This aluminum 427 cubic-inch engine was originally designed by GM for Can-Am racing, and was utilized by Chaparral to great success. The big block V8 featured open-chamber cylinder heads and 12.0 compression, however, #59 is the only ZL-1 ordered with an NC8 chambered exhaust system. At the time the aluminum 427 was given an L88 V8 rivaling rating of 430 horsepower, though that figure is criminally underrated.
The power is sent through an M22 Rock Crusher 4-speed manual with a heavy-duty 4.10 rear axle featuring posi-traction located out back. This Hugger Orange car wears the Z21-style trim option, as well as a special ducted hood. It was this combination of rarity and highly sought after options that drove the price of the car up to $770,000 in 2018 at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction.
But what added so much value to the car before the most recent Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction? Well, that would be the original numbers matching engine block. According to Hagerty, #59 had its engine replaced early in its life, with a GM warranty administrator keeping the motor for personal use until recently.
The #59 1969 COPO Camaro ZL-1 is an original, matching-numbers example of one of the rarest muscle cars on the planet, and as such it isn’t too surprising that it fetched a $1,094,500.00 sale price, making it the most expensive Camaro ZL-1 ever sold at an auction. Despite holding a new price record for ZL-1 Camaros, #59 couldn’t quite fetch the same amount of coin as the Bullitt Mustang that recently sold at a Mecum Auction.