Well-heeled Chevy fanatics soon will have a chance to get their hands on the unicorn of all Corvettes: a 1969 Stingray ZL-1 Convertible — the only one ever made — that is set for auction Jan. 26 in Phoenix. When it comes to classic cars, legendary is a common descriptor used interchangeably with the likes of iconic or incredible. But the ZL-1 truly is an exclusive ride, and for an estimated $3 million, the bright orange, curvaceous muscle car could be yours.
The Stingray ZL-I convertible was never meant to be sold to the public and was instead developed as an experimental vehicle along with a regular production ZL-1 coupe. Under the hood is a factory, all-aluminum 427 cubic-inch V-8 engine, a "560 horsepower derivative of the all-aluminum CanAm racing engine delivered in a street-legal, factory-built production car," according to RM Sotheby's listing.
Drag racer John W. Maher bought the convertible in 1968. The ZL-1 package and required additional equipment added $4,718 to the Corvette convertible's $4,438 base price, bringing the total to more than $9,100 — a hefty sum, considering the average car cost $3,400 at the time.
For a few million bucks, you'd expect a fully equipped, decked-out muscle masterpiece with all the bells and whistles, but this drop-top has no power steering, heater, air conditioner, or power windows, and if you picture yourself cruising down the road in a blaze of orange glory blasting your favorite music, you might have to alter that vision just a bit: There's no radio either. Still, the rare ride could have what it takes to snatch the title of the most expensive Corvette sold at auction from the 1967 L88 coupe that went for $3.85 million in 2014.