This is number 126 of the 427 examples of the Anniversary Edition Chevrolet 427 crate engine that were made, to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the introduction of Chevrolet’s big-block V8s.
Each of these engines starts with a ZL1 aluminum block which is made using the same tooling as the original back in 1969. Once the 427th example in this series was produced they retired the tooling forever.
The original 427 cubic inch ZL1 engine was developed as a lightweight racing engine for the Can Am racing series – a series in which American V8s had been a dominant force throughout the 1960s.
The ZL1 was never intended for use in road cars, but didn’t stop Illinois dealer Fred Gibb from using Chevrolet’s COPO (Central Office Production Order) system to order a series of Camaros fitted with the ZL1 for public sale.
The ZL1 Camaro would become a legend in its own lifetime, but it very nearly didn’t happen. Chevrolet was originally against the idea of fulfilling the COPO order and it took some serious diplomacy by Vince Piggins – the chief of Chevrolet’s undercover racing operations which was deceptively titled “Product Promotion.”
Thanks to the aluminum block, the ZL1 V8 was almost 100 lbs lighter than the iron block 427 V8 and in motorsport, every ounce counts. Chevrolet would bring back the ZL1 designation in later generations of the Camaro, always resulting in a car that was so quick its road legality seemed somewhat questionable.
The Anniversary Edition Chevrolet 427 Crate Engine
The Anniversary Edition Chevrolet 427 crate engine was developed as a send off for one of Chevrolet’s most iconic V8s. Each engine has the aluminum block and heads of course, fitted with a forged steel crankshaft, forged steel connecting rods, and forged aluminum pistons with a 10.1:1 compression ratio.
The ZL1 engine has oval-port heads and a matching high-flow aluminum oval-port intake with a GM-tuned Holley 870 CFM carburetor with vacuum secondaries and an electric choke. A high-performance cam is fitted with a hydraulic roller, with valve lift number of .527” on the intake and .544” on the exhaust.
It has 1.7:1 aluminum roller rockers, a bore x stroke of 4.250” x 3.750”, cast aluminum valve covers, an HEI distributor, and a cast aluminum coolant pump.
The engine is rated at 430 bhp at 5,800 rpm and 444 lb ft of torque at 3,800 rpm, just like the original from the late 1960s, and just as with the original, these numbers are grossly underrated. Back in the ’60s they were underrated to avoid the ire of the government and insurance companies, though the ploy didn’t work for long.
The Anniversary Edition Chevrolet 427 crate engine you see here is a completely unused example that was bought new by the current owner, now seller, back in 2008. It has remained in its crate and original plastic wrap since then, only being uncovered to take some pictures for the listing.
A very limited number of these engines remain in unused condition, most seem to have found their way into cars by now, so this is a unique opportunity to get your hands on one.
If you’d like to read more or register to bid you can visit the listing here, it’s being offered for sale on Bring a Trailer out of Scottsdale, Arizona, and it will come in its original wooden crate.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
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