Muscle-car enthusiasts have attentive eyes to thank for an all-new iteration of a classic and rare big-block V-8 soon to be available from General Motors Corp.
Beginning in spring, GM will sell for a cool $20,000 a modern interpretation of the highly prized, all-aluminum 427 cu.-in (7.0L) ZL-1 V-8. GM will make only 427.
The Anniversary 427 will be rated at 430 hp and 450 lb.-ft. of torque, just like the original that bowed in 1969. GM made only 200 of the engines over the next several years.
Sixty-nine of them were used in Camaros and two in a pair of '69 Corvettes. Today, those cars trade hands for at least $1 million apiece, Jamie Meyer, product integration manager for GM Performance Parts, says at the Specialty Equipment Market Assn. show in Las Vegas.
After these classic engines were produced, the tooling for the block was put aside, collecting dust for some 30 years, until a sharp-eyed member of the GM Racing team stumbled upon it in a Michigan scrap yard, Meyer tells Ward's.
“Someone who knew what they were doing was going through the scrap yard, recognized what the ZL-1 tooling looked like — you've got to appreciate that — and said, ‘We need to pull this out of the junkyard and see if we can fix it,’” Meyer recalls.
Every engine will be serial numbered from 1 to 427 and will come with documentation of authenticity.
They will be for sale through the GM customer website and GM Performance Parts dealers.
Meyer expects the engines to be used primarily in remanufactured '69 Camaros. “People may want to relive what they missed in 1969 and build a '69 Camaro that has a ZL-1 powertrain.
Whatever car gets the 427 Anniversary mill will need a reinforced suspension as well as “a big transmission, a big clutch and a good rear end,” Meyer says.
Based on the response from SEMA gearheads, Meyer is convinced the production run of 427 engines will sell quickly. “I don't think I'll have 427 engines on my hands for long,” he says.