Though its price may have been hard to stomach, it's hard to argue with its brutal performance. A ZL1 with 3.70:1 gears and a four-speed ran the quarter mile in only 12.1 seconds! With the right gearing and a lot of guts, the ZL1 could have surely broken 200 mph.
To really demonstrate just how outrageous the ZL1 really was, we need to compare it against the best supercars the world had to offer in 1969.The Lamborghini Miura P400 S and Ferrari 365 GTB "Daytona" were among the fastest cars you could buy in 1969. Both sported exotic styling, DOHC V12 engines and price tags around double what a ZL1 Corvette cost. Of course it's hard to express the sexy, primal wail of a strung out V12 on a spreadsheet, but the chart does give a basic idea of how these three '60's supercars stack up.
While the ZL1's four-speed transmission didn't allow the top speed of the five-speed equipped exotics, it was nevertheless a legitimate competitor on a road course with its monstrous V8 making up for its marginal cornering ability.
Whereas the technically advanced and complex Italian supercars offered the full package of acceleration, handling and refined interiors, the ZL1 was a car built around the engine. The idea of being able to buy real race ready engines in production cars has almost completely died today. Try buying a 5.7 liter TRD NASCAR V8 in a Camry. Those days are all but gone, but the heavy drinking, street brawling ZL1 is proof that such beasts did, indeed, exist. As guitarist Slash once said "it seems excessive, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen".
Article Sources: http://www.camaros.org/copo.shtml, Corvette—Fifty Years by Randy Leffingwell