Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The ZL1 offers serious power for pre-1978 GM cars and trucks. If you want the boost of 520 horsepower, the ZL1's 10.2:1 compression ratio can deliver it with no problem. There could be a problem, however, in finding an available ZL1 since only about 200 have been planned for production.

That scarcity should create an overwhelming demand for the engine, which is modeled off the original all-aluminum cylinder block released in 1969. Collectors have been waiting for the re-release of the ZL1, and most are willing to part with the more than 15,000 dollars it costs to procure one. From its performance to its price tag, the ZL1 is definitely not for the faint of heart.

More ZL1 Specs

Though the ZL1 made its way into a few select Camaros and Corvettes the year of its release, it remains an otherwise elusive engine. Since production is so limited, each valve cover comes emblazoned with a unique serial number as a badge of authenticity. And, of course, it comes fully furnished with a water pump, fuel system, starter, and wiring harness, among other parts.

The ZL1 takes advantage of a great fuel-injection system cribbed from the Ram Jet 502. With it, you receive outstanding throttle response and power, but not at the cost of drivability. At the same time, this big-block engine is not intended for everyday recreational use, as its numbers--and limited supply--clearly reveal.

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