Photos & text courtesy of Mecum Auctions
Arguably the most desirable Camaro of all time is the 1969 COPO 9560 ZL-1, 69 of which were built. A groundswell effort developed in the early 2000’s to convince Chevrolet to build a new generation ZL-1, but it soon became clear the company had no interest in doing so.
In stepped GMMG, Inc., builders of the Dale Earnhardt “Intimidator” SS and other specialty performance Camaros. They built a prototype using a slightly modified 400 horsepower LS6 Corvette engine and Z06 clutch assembly, and replacing the brakes also using Z06 components. Suspension modifications included Penske adjustable coilovers, Eibach lowering springs, larger sway bars and modified link geometry. The finished prototype impressed those who saw and drove it, including several owners of original ZL-1 Camaros, whom GMMG had consulted on the project.
The car was packaged in three “Phases” in keeping with sixties nomenclature, the main criteria being the choice of engine specification. Phases I and II featured 400- and 475-HP versions of the 350CI LS6 V-8; the Phase III version incorporated a 427CI LS6 powerhouse built to deliver 600 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque. Fully thirty-one of the GMMG-built ZR-1 Camaros were Phase III cars. Twelve Chevrolet dealerships signed on to accept the run of 69 cars announced by GMMG, and the first cars were unveiled during a special gathering attended by, among other ZL-1 luminaries, Helen Gibb, who received car # 3.
This 2002 Camaro ZR-1 is one of the 31 very special ZL-1 Phase III Camaros with the 600HP 427, 4.10:1 rear axle, chambered exhaust, and special ZL-1 graphics and identification badges. Beautiful metallic Blue with White graphics, special Blue-bowtie grille and chromed Z06 wheels finish the car. As anyone who has driven one will attest, there is nothing else quite like it.