A unique 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ZL-1 Convertible is set to cross the block at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Phoenix, Arizona, on Jan. 16.
The Monaco Orange drop-top is the only one of its kind. And it’s one of just two factory-documented ZL-1 Corvettes built for 1969, and the only convertible to get the ZL-1 treatment, an option that added a race-derived 427-cubic-inch V-8 engine to the C3 ‘Vette.
Based on the L88 engine, the ZL-1’s 427 features aluminum block and heads, the latter with an “open chamber” design aimed at increasing power, plus redesigned and beefed-up engine internals. Based on engines used in Can Am racing, General Motors offered the ZL-1 option for homologation purposes, and didn’t really intend to sell any road cars to customers.
Helping to dissuade customers from checking the ZL-1 box on their order forms was the $4,718 price ($3,000 of which was the ZL-1 package itself), which was more than twice the cost of a base Corvette in 1969. In addition to the engine, buyers got power-assisted heavy-duty brakes, heavy-duty suspension, and a Positraction limited-slip differential. Creature comforts available on lesser Corvettes, such as a heater, air conditioning, radio, and power steering, weren’t available on the ZL-1.