Let’s just say it was an invitation that you couldn’t refuse.
Our friend Jeff from the Facebook group Simply Corvettes put together an event called “The Run to the ZL1” and asked if we wanted to come over and check out the 1969 Corvette ZL1 at Roger’s Corvette Center in Orlando, FL. Most Corvette enthusiasts have never seen one a ZL1 in person, let alone hearing it started up. So we took the day off and headed over to check it out.
There were around 50 people who showed up on Tuesday morning to see the ZL1 Corvette and it was like a mini Corvette show out in the parking lot.
In addition to being a great place to buy a pre-owned Corvette (he has 80 Corvettes in stock!), Roger Judski also owns several rare Corvettes that are not for sale. In addition to one of the two officially produced ZL1 Corvettes, Roger also has on display a 1968 L88 coupe, a 1967 L88 coupe, a 1966 427/425 big tank coupe and a 1988 Corvette Challenge race car.
Not many times does an L88 Corvette play second fiddle to another Corvette, but the rare ZL1 can do that. The ZL1 is modeled after the L88s but it features an all-aluminum V8 versus the L88 which was an iron-block with aluminum heads. The main takeaway behind the engine was to reduce the weight off the front end while still offering a ferocious amount of power. The drawback for the ZL1 was the cost. Roger’s 1969 Corvette ZL1 had an MSRP of $10,700 and the package itself was $70 cheaper than the price of the base 1969 Corvette. The ZL1 engine weighed in at 100 lbs less than the L88 and it would also weigh in at 25 lbs less than a Corvette with the base 350 ci engine.
So as the crowd was gathering in anticipation of hearing the ZL1 started, David Judski said they had a little surprise for us. After the ZL1 was started, they went down the row and started up each of the rare Corvettes in succession. To hear the sound of 2,155 horsepower in an enclosed showroom was something special and luckily we were able to capture it all for you to hear as well.
Before the engine start-up, I did a quick one-take walkthrough with the cars. My mouth sometimes runs ahead of my brain so I got a couple of facts wrong. I wrongly called the 1968 L88 as a 1969 and then gave the stats for the 1969 L88. I also referred to the L72 427/425 in the 1966 as the L79 which is the 327/350 engine. Hopefully those errors don’t distract too much but if you need to call me a dunderhead anyway, the comment form is below.
A big thanks again to Roger and David Judski from Roger’s Corvette Center for hosting the group and letting us get up close to the rare cars. Also, if you’re on facebook and enjoy Corvettes, Simply Corvettes is a fun group with nearly 15,000 members.