18. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1
Back in the late ’60s, Chevrolet was under a racing ban General Motors proposed. This meant no official Chevrolet products could race. It also meant Chevrolet as a manufacturer couldn’t participate in any racing activity. But, nobody stopped Chevrolet from helping racing teams through its backdoor programs where they developed special engines and components.
In the late ’60s, Can-Am was a popular racing series featuring prototype-class cars with V8 engines. Chevrolet wanted to purpose-build a power plant for this championship, so they produced an all-aluminum 427 big block called ZL-1 in 1969. It was a high-revving, 7.0-liter V8 with around 550 HP in mild tune. Chevrolet produced around 200 of those engines. While most of them went to Can-Am racing teams, they installed 69 ZL-1s in C.O.P.O Camaros, selling them to drag racing teams.
The Camaro ZL-1 was the same as a regular 1969 Camaro on the outside, but it was so fast, it was barely street-legal. Chevrolet literature in 1969 didn’t mention the ZL-1 option for the Camaro. However, if you were a successful drag racer or dealer, you knew about this expensive option. That is why they only produced 69 Camaro ZL-1s.
These are the top 18 quarter-mile terrors – the greatest drag-racing muscle car specials of all time. They broke records and introduced new engines and upgrades. These cars are forever an important part of muscle car history.