In the market for a sleeper on this 4/27?
Happy 4/27! As we’ve mentioned in previous articles celebrating Chevrolet’s 7.0-liter big-block, the 427 caries a certain connotation. It’s a muscle car engine that even the 454 can’t touch. While the 454 was a workhorse mill that lasted into the 21st century and provided yeoman service in hundreds of thousands of pickups, dump trucks, and the like, the 427 existed for just a few short years near the peak of the muscle car era.
Naturally, Chevrolet installed the 427 in some of its meanest street cars in the late-’60s. The triple-carbed C2 and C3 Corvettes are among collectors’ favorites and they were more powerful when equipped with a single four-barrel, even if Chevrolet claimed otherwise. When Chevrolet didn’t offer the 427 in the Nova and Camaro through normal channels, they left the door open for dealers to special order the most potent big-blocks. The resulting Yenko Nova and Yenko Camaro became some of the most fabled drag racers of the era. Some of the rarest 427 cars that ever left the factory, the aluminum-block ZL1 Camaro and ZL1 Corvette, are among the most valuable Bow Ties in existence, with the fiberglass and aluminum combo, in particular, valued at more than $1,000,000.
Lucky for us collectors, Chevrolet didn’t limit the 427 to flashy Corvettes and high-performance muscle cars and built plenty of big-blocks for everyone. So while a Corvette ZL1 might cost seven figures, a 1966 Biscayne wagon like the one shown above, with a 390-hp L36 427, is currently valued at $16,000 for a #3 (Good) example. That’s less than you’d pay for a new Mitsubishi Mirage, which would likely fit behind the second row of seats. If that’s a bit out of your big-block-sleeper budget, or if you’re just not built for that long-roof life, a 1966 Biscayne four-door powered by the same L36 is currently valued at the low end of the five-figures, coming in at exactly $10,000 for a #3 (Good) example. That’s the most affordable 427-powered example we could find. However, a 1967 model carries just a $300 premium.
So, while there are collector cars that definitely are out of reach for a lot of us, plenty of gorgeous cars are out there, even those worthy of celebrating on 4/27. If you’ve got a massive parking spot in your garage and a handful of friends that are ready for a road trip, you could do a lot worse. Just make sure to share your photos with us. And hey, maybe next year we’ll pay homage to the other guys at the Blue Oval and showcase the famous big-block Cobra.