The Toronto Fall Classic Car Auction

Lot : SP122
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1

Offered Without Reserve

Auctioned on Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sold at $178,750

  • Engine Displacement: 427
  • Transmission: 4 Speed

This very rare and desirable ZL1 Camaro has had the same owner for the last 31 years. It is 1 of only 69 produced COPO ZL1 aluminum block 427 Camaros. Originally delivered to Fred Gibb Chevrolet of LaHarpe, Illinois.
The present owner purchased the Camaro as a shell in 1982 at an auction in Georgia.
The Camaro then sat among his many other cars including 18 other 1969 Camaros for years before they discovered about 7 or 8 years ago via the VIN that it was a ZL1 Gibbs Camaro.
Many collectors and experts searched for this “missing” Gibbs car and couldn’t find it because due to a typo back then the 9 was typed in as a 1 so all title searches failed to turn up the car.
Thousands if not tens of thousands of titles were typed in wrong upon ownership changes by state/provincial employees who didn't care (it’s just a job) or double checked everything they typed in and with no computers it just went into a file. This error has now been corrected at the Ministry of Transportation and has a clear Ontario ownership with the corrected VIN. Photos were taken of the hidden VIN’s on the cowl and a bare metal one behind the heater box along with the dash VIN.
Finished in its correct Lemans Blue with a black interior this ZL1 is now an outstanding rotisserie restored example with an aluminum 3946053 GM issue 427 ZL1 engine, M21 4 speed transmission, chambered exhaust and a reproduction trim tag.
In 1969, Fred Gibb Chevrolet ordered 50 ZL1 Camaros. The first two ZL1 Camaros arrived at Gibb's dealership on a snowy evening in the last days of December 1968. The window sticker price was over $7,200. Needless to say, not many Camaro enthusiasts were eager to step up and pay a price that was almost twice the cost of the COPO 9561 cast iron 427. Due to this "sticker shock", negotiations transpired between Fred Gibb and the Chevrolet factory managers. It was agreed that Gibb could return most of the cars. It was the first time in history that the factory took back cars from a dealership. The unsold cars were re-invoiced at the factory and redistributed to other high-performance Chevrolet dealerships.
In addition to the original 50 ZL1 Camaros shipped to Gibb Chevrolet, an additional 19 ZL1's were ordered through the 1969 production year by various other high-performance Chevrolet dealerships. This ended the 1969 ZL1 Camaro production run at a total of 69 cars. Fred Gibb Chevrolet did manage to sell 13 of the original 50 that he ordered.
The rest of the cars went to other dealers in an attempt to sell them. About 20 cars were prepped for NHRA Super Stock class, and others were sold to private owners. Many dealers who ordered a ZL1 Camaro wound up removing the ZL1 engine and replacing it with a cast iron 396 or 427 in an effort to sell the car. Interestingly, it took until 1972 for Fred Gibb to sell the last 1969 ZL1 Camaro sitting on his lot. It sold with a $1,000 rebate from Chevrolet. Several cars are still unaccounted for, but enthusiasts around the world are still searching for this rare factory race car. Today, it is known that 50 cars still exist. Many have been accounted for, and a few are back on the racing circuit, showing today’s generation what 1960s drag racing was all about.