1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1
The 1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1 was a Central Office Production Order, or COPO car. The ZL1 option, COPO #9560, included an all-aluminum 427 cubic-inch Big Block engine rated at 425 horsepower (rated at well below terminal RPM, with actual peak output closer to 500 horses), 450 pound-feet of torque, stronger axles, disc brakes, cowl induction hood. All but twelve of the Camaro ZL1s came with the three-speed Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission. Camaro ZL1 production totaled only 69 units. When they do trade hands, it is for well north of $500,000. Our hero car is equipped with the three-speed automatic trans, and a 4.10 rear gear. She tips the scales around 3,400 pounds.
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
The challenger for this race is a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. This Challenger was equipped with the extremely potent 440 cubic-inch engine topped with three two-barrel carbs, AKA the Six Pack. Output from the 440 Six Pack was 390 horsepower and an impressive 490 pound-feet of torque. Backing that massive mill was a TorqueFlite three speed slushbox. The rear diff was stuffed full of 4.30 gears. The Challenger R/T didn’t have the weight benefit of an all-aluminum engine, and tipped the scales at 3,571 pounds.
Now that we have both cars bona fides, let’s see how things turned out. On the single pass throw-down, the Camaro ZL1 got out of the gate a split-second after the Challenger, but by mid-track had reeled in the Challenger and was headed for home. By the far end of the strip, the mighty Camaro went a half-second (a virtual eternity in drag racing) quicker than the R/T’s very respectable 11.68 elapsed time. The Camaro ZL1’s speed through the traps was 122.78 mph versus the Challenger’s 116.4. Neither of these cars is a slouch by any measurement, and both of those times would be faster than most modern cars. It just goes to show what a monster the ZL1 was and continues to be.