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First Camaro ZL1 Goes for $250,000

Charity auction aids YMCA.

by on Sep.26, 2011

The first retail Camaro ZL1 crosses the auction block at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Las Vegas.

The first Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 garnered a cool quarter-mil when it went across the auction block at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Las Vegas over the weekend.

The most powerful version of the Chevy muscle car ever built will reach showrooms early next year at a decidedly more affordable price – anticipated to be somewhere around $50,000.  But the very collectible first retail Camaro ZL1, offered by a Sin City dealer, was aimed at raising money for the YMCA of Southern Nevada.

Curiously, it was another dealer who anted up the winning bid.  Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of the Hendrick Automotive Group, took the gavel at $250,000.  He’ll have to pony up the money now though he’ll only take delivery of his new Chevy Camaro ZL1 sometime during the first quarter of 2012.

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The wait should be worth it considering the ZL1 Hendrick will get will be the only one produced with a Carbon Flash Metallic exterior. It will be the 69th ZL1 to roll off the line at the Oshawa Assembly Plant, in tribute to the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1, of which only 69 were produced.

The ZL1 is the long-awaited Chevy response to the likes of the Mustang Shelby GT.  The Camaro ZL1’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 will make a jaw-dropping 580 horsepower and 556 lb-ft of torque.  That is, incidentally, 24 hp more than the same LSA V-8 makes under the hood of the Cadillac CTS-V thanks to improvements made to the intake system, supercharger and intercooler.

The car Hendricks will drive home will come with a 6-speed manual gearbox, though the ZL1 will also be offered with a 6-speed automatic.

“Our family has been involved with the YMCA for more than 25 years,” said Greg Heinrich, president of Fairway Chevrolet, explaining the Las Vegas retailers decision to put the one-of-a-kind ZL1 on the auction block.

The 69 original Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s sold during the 1969 model-year retailed for $7,200. – closer to $45,000 adjusted for inflation today.  But one of those rarities commanded a record $840,000 bid when it went up for auction in 2005.  So, maybe Hendricks got a steal after all.

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10 Responses to “First Camaro ZL1 Goes for $250,000”

  1. roelfe1 says:

    This is yet another example of blatant excess among the moneyed class and the uninformed hoi polloi. This car is all about the past glories of the Detroit Big Three and their profligate wastefulness. As it becomes clearer each day that we need to shift to a green economy, the more mindless such causes celebre will become. There can be no return to “horsepower no matter what the cost.”

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Hi, Roelfe,
      I think a visit to any of the major classic auto auctions would likely generate a sense of excess for those who don’t like to see so many zeroes affixed to an automobile. As for glorifying the past, you’d probably also find many who agree, despite the fact that the new ZL1 gets mileage a midsize car could only hope for a dozen-odd years ago. One question: do you also find products like the Mercedes-Benz SLS or the various BMW M models equal examples of profligate wastefulness? I am not countering your argument but just curious how broadly you apply it. One good bit of news is that the latest DI and turbo technologies permit significant improvements in horsepower even as those same engines yield marked increases in fuel efficiency.
      Paul A. Eisenstein
      Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

  2. roelfe1 says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your question. My rant is not about high priced cars or that some makers build cars with powerful engines. There will always be those who have the wealth to buy a $200K SLS, etc. as well as the wherewithal to drive it on the Autobahn, as intended. My complaint is about this grandiose celebration of an American muscle/pony car with pedestrian origins. Such displays seen to me to encourage domestic buyers to stuff the biggest V8 into their daily commuters for nothing more than ego gratification, a phenomenon the Detroit three have exploited for decades, and one that has produced an enormous waste of resources, not to mention thousands of LIVES from excessive speed and relatively shoddy equipment.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Hi, Roelfe,
      I understand your concerns, as mentioned before, but I find it difficult to separate Detroit from other makers. Yep, the Big Three have more of a history of this but is a Nissan GT-R thus okay, or the soon-to-return Toyota Supra, never mind some of the relatively mainstream performance products from Europe? Is it okay for a wealthy buyer to aspire to serious performance but not an average Joe (plumber or not)?
      Paul E.

  3. CarmineF says:

    After reading this entry, I read the story on the 1884 De Dion Bouton Steam Runabout and was struck by this:

    “It won what is claimed to have been the world’s first automobile race; and though it was the only entrant it nonetheless reached a top speed of 37 mph and averaging 18 mph over the 20-mile course.”

    So it would seem that the-need-for-speed isn’t a post WWII idea, or uniquely American either. I’d say it’s human nature. Accordingly, it has been said that competition improves the breed.

    It’s very easy to sit on the sidelines and demand that other people “do something green”. Some might even think you’re very enlightened.

    The problem is, the people who actually DO STUFF aren’t sitting on the sidelines worried about what other people are doing. If improvements in range, speed or economy are made to the “greenest” of vehicles (thereby making them practical) it will likely be done to conquer a rival… Not because some enlightened person cast a scornful look, baited a stereotype, or used a dismissive term regarding someone else’s accomplishment.

    And if that doesn’t convince you, then recall “the past glories of the Detroit Big Three and their profligate wastefulness” are what gave you modern emissions control systems, e.g. catalytic converters, EGR, evaporative containment, etc. All of this pioneered from those horrible people in Detroit, not a PPM of it coming from Asia or Europe (which didn’t even adopt modern emmissions control standard until 1993).

  4. roelfe1 says:

    Reply to CarmineF: I’m bashing Detroit for its pathetic historic record. You are praising them for something that people like me, not the geniuses there, pushed for: “modern emissions control systems.” Detroit stonewalled, engaged in denial, and lobbied vigorously for years in order to block any mandated emissions standards. That is a fact.

    Obviously your bias is also preventing you from seeing that Europe didn’t need to adopt those standards until ’93 because of the very issue we are debating: Detroit’s persistence in building and selling thirsty land yachts and pony cars instead of practical, efficient AND, yes, competitive cars like the competition in Europe. In fact, to this day the vast majority of cars sold in Europe are efficient fuel misers with small displacement engines.

    Contrary to your pontificating, there’s a sound reason for caring “about what other people are doing.” Actions have consequences, and the result of the profligate wastefulness of America is that we, comprising 5% of world population, are consuming 25% of the planets resources and creating 25% of the waste. Not only is this not sustainable, it makes us, we Americans, the greatest contributors to climate change. Is it wise to urge our fellow citizens to reign in their consumptive habits? Is it sensible to insist on energy efficiency in our products? Is it prudent to require our manufacturers to do a better job at producing competitive, energy saving products? (Btw, the new Camaro ZL1 is produced in Canada. My 2010 Acura TL is 100% American from Marysville, OH.) The answers are Yes! Yes! Yes! Now if you happen to be a human-caused climate change denier, don’t even reply because we have nothing to discuss.

  5. CarmineF says:

    Just a few points roelfe1, even though you’ve declared I’m not “allowed” to discuss anything because I don’t subscribe to your climate change theories…

    If you think that legislation is the only force that prompts action, then I would ask you how did automobiles ever become faster, more reliable, SAFER AND CLEANER from the early 1900s until the early 60s, when they were no more regulated than a can of beans?

    To your point of “Other nations didn’t need emissions standards because they drove efficient cars”, well now you just sound silly and simplistic. If you think size is the only function of efficiency (and thereby emissions) I would suggest running a brand new lawn mower in a closed garage, while I run a Camaro ZL1 in the same sized garage. Whoever passes out first loses (obviously). But the smaller engine produces less emissions! No, it does not… It depends on combustion efficiency, and the ability of the catalytic converter to remove unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NoX).

    Here’s another way to check… Find out how many (small) European and Asian cars were legal to sell in the US without emissions equipment…? By your logic, they should have sailed right into the US and Europe’s cities would know nothing of acid rain and smog. Too bad neither is true.

    I might add that this was emissions equipment they DID NOT use in their home markets, despite the knowledge that it produced cleaner exhaust? But aren’t they more moral than horrible Americans?

    Only two companies were granted exemptions from catalytic converters after 1975, Honda for their CVCC engine (which often carboned-up in the field and then polluted) and Chrysler for their Lean-burn combustion system, which was a drivability nightmare because of the limited computing power available in the 70s, but did form the basis for modern engine controls that adjust fuel/spark from exhaust inputs. Honda’s CVCC system is in the dustbin of history.

    The REAL reason Europe had no emmissions regulations until 1993 was because European companies lobbyied against them more successfully than American companies. Don’t beleive me? Read this book:

    http://www.grin.com/en/e-book/116754/the-european-automobile-industry-lobby-against-the-european-emission-politics

    By 1993, the air was so polluted from small-engined Communist-block cars that the public demanded a clean up. This was Euro I, a very basic standard, well with levels of HC and NoX far beyond what was legal in the US.

    If I’m “pontificating”, then what do you call the sermon about consuming 25% of the resources, and creating 25% of the waste? BTW, how are those numbers equal? Are we just producing office paper, then throwing it straight into the trash without ever using it, or have we found a way to create matter? If you want to be taken seriously, research your points a little deeper, or don’t use such laughable statistics.

    Finally, no car is “100% American” as you claim. If you’re speaking to point-of-assembly, I have no qualms about buying a Canadian (or Mexican) assembled vehicle because those two nations (and Israel) are the only ones which do not place an additional tariff on American imports; consequently American-made products sell quite well in Canada. Several American vehicles are at the top of Can/Mex sales charts. Contrast this to Honda’s home market of Japan, where the auto industry is so protected by the government that only 501 Hyundais were sold in 2008, prompting the otherwise red-hot company to give up on Japanese sales.

    Anything left to discuss?

  6. roelfe1 says:

    Just a couple of points, CarmineF: You said, “I don’t subscribe to your climate change theories…” I don’t theorize about climate change. Those data are from the highly respected Worldwatch Institute based in Washington DC, and they have been widely quoted. The fact that you call these “laughable statistics” and also indicate that you don’t know that the percentage for using resources and that for creating waste come from two different set totals shows me what I’m engaged with here. I suggest that you might want to learn some basic logic and study what the scientific method is, then there might still be a chance for you to catch up. That is unless you believe that they (logic and science) are also part of the communist take-over conspiracy that you seem to imagine I and others (Obama, maybe) are plotting.

    Btw, the Japanese still consider persons of Korean decent that have been living in Japan for three generations the be “gaijin” i.e. foreigners (literally people from outside the country), thus showing that they take their insularity to an extreme. Do you think that might have something to do with their rejection of Korean automobiles?

    Good day and good bye.

  7. CarmineF says:

    I’m not surprised that someone who espouses man-made global warmi… Excuse me, “climate change” would cherry pick data in an attempt to make a point. It was just as obvious to me that your 25%/25% claim was from different sets of totals. Most people would see the contradiction, and wouldn’t attempt to create a defense from such.

    Ironic that you’d choose to use the term “scientific method”, since the climate change community has been so openly hostile to peer review. Instead, they’ve choosen “fear” as a motivator.

    Part of a Communist plot? Hardly… Rather the latest manifestation of capitialism/consumerism. When planned obsolecense based on new styles/colors/etc. isn’t getting the job done, why not convince me to buy a new refrigerator based on “greeness”? And by the way, the same people who sell it will be happy to recycle my old one into scrap metal, rather than take the chance it will be reused by someone else (the most efficient form of recycling). That’s good ol’ captialism, and it has zero to do with whatever name is in D.C. this week. I’d suggest you stop trying to marginalize others by placing them into groups.

    Speaking of stereotyping, you’ve chosen to attack “Detroit” for offering a subset of high-performance image vehicles, yet I’ve shown that Europe and Asia have been laggards historically when it came to improving tailpipe emissions. In fact, they’ve even fought against it when GIVEN the technology. (GM never collected a dime in patent royalties for its work on catalysts)

    In your final paragraph you’ve given me a neat history of Japanese discrimination, and (I assume) offered it as an explanation for their unwillingness to open markets, allow foreign ownership of corporations, allow foreign companies to access motor vehicle registrations, and numerous other government-sanctioned, corporate-backed methods of blocking imports… be they from Detroit or Seoul.

    In fact, I reject your argument of Japanese custom because factual data says otherwise. As recently as 1953, more than 50% of Japanese new-car sales were US made vehicles. By 1960, that number had shrunk to less than 2% as a result of the Japanese government (not ancient custom) closing the door on imports.

    You denounced the “profligate wastefulness” of Detroit and later mentioned your ownership of a 2010 Acura TL. According to the EPA, the V6 Acura TL achieves between 17/18 MPG in city testing and 25/26 on the highway (depending on AWD/FWD). Combined efficiency is 20 MPG. So let’s compare the “profligate wastefulness” of Detroit to your own purchase decision:

    A 2010 Chevy Camaro V6, which offers a signifigant horsepower advantage (oh no!) is rated at 18/29, with a combined score of 22 MPG.

    A 2011 Mustang V6 is good for 19/31/22 combined. Even a 2011 Challenger V6, a signifigantly larger car than either of the above, or your Acura, is good for 18/27/21 combined.

    If it’s your desire to maintain moral high ground, you’d better start car-shopping roelfe1. It must hurt to learn you’re not as superior to the rest of the proletariat as you had assumed.

  8. roelfe1 says:

    OK CarmineF, let’s look at each of your points starting with:
    “…the 1884 De Dion Bouton Steam Runabout…won what is claimed to have been the world’s first automobile race…So it would seem that the-need-for-speed isn’t a post WWII idea, or uniquely American either. I’d say it’s human nature.”
    I see that you are of the opinion that the need for speed is human nature. Fine. You are entitled to that or any other opinion. It misses the point I’m making. Next you state, “Accordingly, it has been said that competition improves the breed.” This, or anything else, can be said, yet that doesn’t make it true, or in this case relevant.
    I’ve already replied to your assertions about Detroit’s engineering prowess, but I will add that unfortunately engineers weren’t running the corporations. CEOs who were focussed on quarterly profits were, hence the stonewalling, etc, against the efforts to clean up emissions.
    To your obvious rejection of the overwelming scientific evidence for human caused global warming: This opinion, albeit sadly uninformed, is certainly within your rights to hold. Nevertheless, my statement, “…if you happen to be a human-caused climate change denier, don’t even reply because we have nothing to discuss.” is an acknowledgement that it’s pointless to discuss an issue when two people fundamentally disagree on the basic premises of the argument.
    In your latest reply you state, “the climate change community has been so openly hostile to peer review. Instead, they’ve choosen “fear” as a motivator (Could this be another one of those conspiracy theories the far right is so fond of?). I challenge you to provide evidence to back up both of these statements. The Union of Concerned Scientists would like to know about what you’ve discovered that they’ve missed. Also, I would suggest that many, particularly those in less prosperous countries than ours, do have things to fear as CO2 and menthane continue to warm up the climate. Things such as more devastating floods from melting glaciers and collapsing fisheries from food chain die-offs due to ocean acidification. Hard evidence for these changes has been gathered all over the world, and this is definitely not the fearmongering that you claim it is.
    “If you think that legislation is the only force that prompts action, then I would ask you how did automobiles ever become faster, more reliable, SAFER AND CLEANER from the early 1900s until the early 60s, when they were no more regulated than a can of beans?” The pointlessness of this statement in this context is obvious. I didn’t state, “…legislation is the only force that prompts action…”, nor did I even suggest that technology doesn’t move forward–speaking of strawman arguments. Again, we seem to have an irreconcilable disagreement on a fundamental issue. It was because of Detroit’s intransigence that the federal government, in promoting the general welfare, found it necessary to step in and establish emissions standards. That is a fact, and those who reject that kind of role for our government have the right to that opinion, the Constitution notwithstanding. Nonetheless, it is Detroit’s intransigence that is at issue here. Again you missed the point.
    “If you think size is the only function of efficiency…” I am guilty of making a statement without proper elucidation, so thanks for pointing that out. I did not mean to suggest that smaller (as in lawn mower) is inherently cleaner, however, let’s make sure we are comparing apples to apples, OK? My point was that given the task of moving X number of people around, a compact with a small displacement engine is a more efficient way to do so than one with a large displacement V8, because in a large displacement engine the larger volume of air and fuel it consumes produces more emissions than in a smaller one. When people rationally choose to down-size to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles when fuel prices rise significantly, most do so to save money on fuel not out of a perceived need to save the earth. On the other hand, I did choose, with the 2010 TL, to buy a greener, more capable car with a similar MPG rating to a V6 Camaro. Apparently, you have a problem with people making such informed choices.
    To your point: “By 1993, the air was so polluted from small-engined Communist-block cars that the public demanded a clean up.” I was not including the economic and ecological disaster that was Eastern Europe when I referred to the “Europe” of that period. Nor was it, in those years, customary to do so. Clearly I was talking about the advanced Western Democracies. Once again, you missed the point and engaged in another logical fallacy.
    There are other points to address, but truthfully, I’m beginning to grow weary of this exercise. I have an important day of, yes, action ahead, so I’ll sign off and get on with it.