Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Many Camshafts: 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

The C4 generation Corvette ZR-1 was introduced in 1990 as the result of a collaboration between GM's Corvette division and the recently acquired Group Lotus (GM sold Lotus a few years later to a Luxembourg holding company that sold it to Proton..etc).  The plan was to build the world's fastest production car with the best from GM's chassis engineering and a set of Lotus engineered DOHC heads on a small block Chevy.  The result was nothing short of glorious, and you can get one for shockingly cheap today.  Find this 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 offered for $16,750 in Cincinnati, OH via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.

I don't really understand the classic car market these days.  1990s aircooled 911s are worth more than their weight in tungsten, but a classic ZR-1 is hovering around the price of nickel? I don't get it?  The ZR-1 is faster, more rare (6,939 produced from 1990-1995), more wedge shaped, and capable of blistering 4.4 section spring to 60 mph and a top speed of 180+ mph. 

Under the hood is the Chevrolet LT5 V8, which was rated at 375 horsepower and equipped with 32 valves and 4-camshafts engineered by Lotus.  All of that power when to a 6-speed manual gearbox and onto some meaty tires (on 11 inch wide rims) out back that were covered by a unique rear widebutt rear end.

See another under appreciated classic ready to rise like a bowl of damp yeast on a hot summer day? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Hey Vince, I wish that you would stop telling people what a bargain these cars are. You are going to price me out of the market before I can snatch one up!

  2. I am not doubting that these are great cars. However, it struck me as odd that they drew on engine-technology from Lotus (a company founded on chassis knowledge) and chassis-technology from GM (who surely are better known for their engines than their handling). It reminded me of that joke about heaven and hell:

    Heaven is where the police are British, the lovers French, the mechanics German, the chefs Italian, and it is all organized by the Swiss.

    Hell is where the police are German, the lovers Swiss, the mechanics French, the chefs British, and it is all organized by the Italians.

  3. Fleetwood T. BroughamMarch 14, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Don't forget the most interesting part of this engine (at least to me)---it was built by Mercury Marine.

    These are a bargain, but for $3 or 4k more, I've seen them frequently with half the miles.

  4. 32K in options holy crap batman hate the interior and mickey mouse dash i would take a C5 any day over this.

  5. One recently sold at the Barret-Jackson auction in Las Vegas. Original owner with 300 miles.AC and removable roof panels. Red. Recently serviced for road use. Sold for $38500.

    Cost at least $60,000 plus tax and maybe added dealer fees. Stored and insured for 34 years and sold for less than 60% of new cost. $60,000 invested in 1990 could easily be $200,000 plus now. All that to look at a car.

    1. It's worse than that Ben.....$60k invested in an index fund in 1990 would be well over $500k now.


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