Auction Block: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ZL-1 ‘Holy Grail’

Photos: Mecum

With only two examples ever produced, the Stingray ZL-1 sits towards the top of the pantheon of ultra-rare and extremely valuable Chevy Corvettes. So, needless to say, when news broke that one of these American-made automotive unicorns is headed to auction, it instantly grabbed our attention. 

Photo: Mecum

For a brief time, the C3-generation of the Corvette was offered with an available RPO ZL-1 upgrade package, though was only obtainable after the buyer had already selected numerous other options — including the RPO L88 option. With the upgrade more than doubling the price of the already pricey base model, only two buyers in total opted for the top-of-the-line ZL-1-spec of the Stingray — making both examples some of the most sought-after ‘Vettes in history. 

Photo: Mecum

The exorbitant price ultimately got you a 560-horsepower derivative of an all-aluminum CanAm racing engine that was factory-built, completely road-legal, and fitted with a slew of upgraded internals such as stouter con-rods, a redesigned crank and pistons, bigger exhaust valves, a high-lift camshaft, and an upgraded “open chamber” aluminum cylinder-head design that sported four additional head bolts — elements that allowed the aluminum-block V8 to be the most powerful engine Chevrolet had ever created. Also included for the price was power-assisted, heavy-duty brakes, a heavy-duty suspension package, a Positraction rear axle, and a transistorized ignition. Bloomington Gold Certified, this particular one-of-two example also underwent a meticulous restoration in 2014 courtesy of Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair, Inc.

Photo: Mecum

Marking the first time since 1991 that a Corvette ZL1 has come up for public auction, this 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ZL-1 Convertible is scheduled to cross the auction block at Mecum’s upcoming Phoenix, Arizona sale on January 26th where it’s expected to fetch between $2,600,000 and $3,000,000 — which could very well place it amongst the top three most expensive Corvettes ever sold, alongside coupe and convertible ’67 L88 specimens that sold for $3,850,000 (in 2014) and $3,424,000 (in 2013), respectively.