Muscle maven Scott Oldham sets the record straight on Chevy’s RPO options, CHEVY: GUIDE TO Z-CODE MUSCLE, starting with the light-heavyweight ’63 Impala SS Z11.

CHEVY: GUIDE TO Z-CODE MUSCLEOf course, Datsun and Nissan have dibs on the Z-Car moniker – we’re not arguing that. But Chevy was actually there first. The original Datsun 240Z didn’t arrive until 1970, while Chevy’s first Z-Cars, the Z11 427-powered Impalas and Z06 Corvette had become legends seven years earlier.

Truth is, by the time Mr. K finally got his sports car, Chevy had already brought a long list of legendary Z-Cars to market, including the Z16 Chevelle, ZL1 Corvette, and the most famous of them all, the Z/28 Camaro.

Chevy’s RPO, or regular production order, options all have an alphanumeric code. Many since 1963 have begun with the letter Z. The letter doesn’t mean or stand for anything, and it has been used for hundreds of options over the decades, both big and small, as have most of the alphabet and many numbers.

The cowl induction hood on a ’69 Camaro for instance, was option code ZL2, while the Rally Sport option was Z22 and the Auxiliary Interior Lighting Group was code ZJ9. But a Z code has also been used for many of Chevy’s iconic performance packages and high-performance engines over the years. And that’s still the case today. They’re some of the hottest Chevys ever offered to the public over the last 57 years.

CHEVY: GUIDE TO Z-CODE MUSCLEHere are Chevy’s most iconic Z-Cars in chronological order, starting with the ’63 Impala Z11 with aluminum body parts and a stroked 409 with 13.5-to-1 compression displacing 427 cubic inches. Rated at 430 horsepower, in drag racing trim, top photo, actual output was closer to 500.


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