As far as interesting stories go, this one is up there. Back in the 1960â€™s GM liked its engines big (nothing has changed there) and the baddest one of all was the all-aluminium 427 cu-in (7.0-litre) ZL-1 big block - built with the Can-Am racing series in mind. Pushing out 320kW / 430hp and 610Nm, only 200 of the monster motors were made with sixty nine being fitted to Camaros and two into a pair of â€™69 Corvettes.
The original cars fitted with the aluminium big-block now change hands at in excess of $US1 million. The â€œinterestingâ€ part of this tale is that the tooling for the blocks was left to gather dust and eventually shipped out to a Michigan scrap yard where it was, rather miraculously spotted by a member of the GM Racing team!
â€œSomeone who knew what they were doing was going through the scrap yard, recognized what the ZL-1 tooling looked like â€“ youâ€™ve got to appreciate that â€“ and said, â€˜We need to pull this out of the junkyard and see if we can fix it. And itâ€™s actually taken us several years and several hundred thousand dollars to refurbish that tooling so we can build 427 of our anniversary enginesâ€, said Jamie Meyer, product integration manager for GM Performance Parts
The upshot of this discovery is that a few years and several hundred thousand dollars later, the tooling has been refurbished in order to allow a limited run of 427 â€œanniversaryâ€ all-aluminium ZL-1 engines. Each â€œanniversaryâ€ engine will feature a unique serial number (from 1 to 427) and will produce the same outputs as the original.
Each engine will cost $US20,000 and the run is limited as the tooling actually wears out. The engine will be available for sale through the GM customer Web site and GM Performance Parts dealers.