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Two New ZL-1 Camaros in 1969

In 1969 the ZL-1 did not have badging but the 2012 ZL-1 does.

Rosenthal Chevrolet 1969

I was helping to work my way through college as a mechanic at Rosenthal Chevrolet from 1968-70.

Two New ZL-1 Camaros

Rosenthal got two (2) 1969 ZL-1 Camaros.  One was sold and the other car was parted out.  Yes, the second car did not sell so the decision was made to replace the engine and transmission in the remaining car and sell the car.

The Details

Rosenthal was big into racing and high performance at that time.  Gene Altizer (a racer) was the shop foreman who also did put his hands on transmissions.  Mousie Brown (also a racer) if memory serves me correctly did the workover on the ZL-1.  What is most memorable was the Last Drive of the ZL-1.  Mousie aggressively drove the ZL-1 in our large service area.  The F70 x 14 raised white letter tires could not handle the power.  It was fitting for this car to have its true character demonstrated, by a professional, before its dismemberment.  This one and only demonstration of the power and performance of this special car is something that represents a cherished memory.It has been reported that 12 cars had the engines removed.  This car would logically be one of the 12.

Final Thoughts

Yenko Chevrolet and Baldwin Motion Chevrolet built their own 427 powered 1969 Camaros

I have many memories of these 2 cars and many other great products in that era.  Specific reason for this post is to relate my recollections associated with these very special cars.  One car that was sold and one car that was effectively parted out by replacing the engine and transmission to sell the car and then to sell the ZL-1 engine and transmission independently.

 A Ghost Remembered

Of the two cars, the one that I remember best was the one that was in the Rosenthal showroom.  It was a “plain vanilla” silver with black interior Camaro ZL-1.  It sat s;ightly higher and squarer than the other 69’s which would be consistent with the heavy duty big block springs and lighter weight of the all aluminum 427.  Basic hub caps provided an appearance reminiscent of the 1963 Biscayne 409.No center console for the four speed floor shift.  It did have the cowl induction hood, however.  And, a placard board on top of the car proclaiming All Aluminum 427 with 550 Horsepower.  If memory serves me correctly,  the window sticker price was around $7,700.

These were very special cars.

Here is a road test on the 1969 ZL-1 Camaro.

SuperBird Pace Car

October 18, 2009 Automotive Topics No Comments

SuperBird Convertible Paces The Race

SuperBird Pace CarThis SuperBird Convertible served as pace car at a recent SCCA event held at the Miami Homestead Speedway.

SuperBird Convertible

There never was an OE convertible SuperBird.  Research indicates that there are at least a dozen now.  This particular car was built from a Satellite convertible.

Resto-Mod Cars

Resto-Mod Muscle Cars are the rage today, as was clearly evident in the October 2009 Barrett-Jackson Auction from Las Vegas.  These high performance collectibles are highly desirable because original vehicles can be priced “off the scale” or original cars can be very difficult to drive and maintain.

SuperBird On Pit RowResto-Mod Muscle Cars are updated versions of originals that can be fitted with Original Equipment (OE) or fully modernized technology including anti-lock brakes, better seats and seat belts.  These modern parts can make the car much more enjoyable and safer to drive than if the car were fully built with all OE components.

Reproduction Cars

Reproduction cars are available in many different configurations.  It is possible to have a brand new old car.  Carroll Shelby through his Shelby Automobiles Company has, from time to time, come up with some old chassis and ends up delivering a new automobile with a new vehicle identification number.  The Shelby saga and legend has been the source of many books.  From a resto-mod and reproduction standpoint, Shelby products can definitely qualify.

Superbird Convertible

440 CIDIt has been a while since I have gotten the story about this unique SuperBird.  If memory is correct there were a lot of original Superbird parts and a fairly good convertible body.  Everything was combined and then painted with Plum Crazy purple.

Unique Front and Rear

Uniqueness associated with the front and rear of the SuperBird are documented and they are unique.  This wing car has a number of adjustment points in addition to the special support members to carry wing forces into the vehicle frame. 

Front and rear modifications are a great deal more than simple  bolt on parts.

OE Remembrance

Original 1970 Superbirds and 1969 Dodge Charger Daytonas were a tough sell back then.  These cars were unique and after the high performance cars of the 60’s there was simply a lot of big engine high performance iron.  I remember the first Superbird I saw on the dealer’s lot.  This car was very visible and going back and forth to college I would pass the car.  I am absolutely certain that the dealer had to substantially discount this car to sell it.

ZL-1 Camaro

From 1968 to 1971 I worked during time off from college at Rosenthal Chevrolet in Arlington, VA.  In 1969 Chevrolet produced 69 ZL-1’s.  Rosenthal had two of them.  One sold and one was parted out.  The parted out car had the all-aluminum 427 engine and special automatic transmission removed and the powertrain was replaced with something less exotic.  These unique cars will be the focus of a future article in the Automotive Tribune. 

However, the point is, that we simply did not know how fantastic these ultra high performance cars were to become going forward. 

SuperBird Convertible

This unique car was built by Jay Vitagliano.  It features a 440 CID feeding power to a torqeflight transmission.  The car is very drivable and is a total attention getter at parades, automobile events, and just going down the highway.

Every Superbird Gets Attention

SuperBirds always get attention.  They are a remarkable piece of history.  This unique SuperBird convertible is history.

Automotive Tribune would like to thank Jay Vitagliano for sharing these photos and information about his SuperBird Convertible.

Random Photos From Automotive Tribune Site

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