When the C4 Corvette ZR-1 was brand new, it was affectionately referred to as “King of the Hill” by many people.
A lot has gone down in Corvette history over the past 30 years, but the ZR-1 continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many enthusiasts.
Currently up for sale on bringatrailer.com is this 1991 ZR-1 that has had just two owners and covered just 16,000 miles since new.
The fourth-generation ZR-1, of course, lasted from 1990 to 1995 before Chevy pulled the plug because of decreasing sales. Looking back, perhaps Chevy should have tried a less exotic (cheaper) way of increasing horsepower as the Lotus-designed 32-valve, 4 overhead camshaft V8 engine added a whopping $31,683 to the cost of the car. We also believe the similarity in appearance to the base C4 (other than being three inches wider) hurt interest in the ZR-1, especially when Chevy changed the rear end of the base car in 1991 to the same squared-off taillights that had been virtually the only distinguishing feature of the ZR-1. If you were looking for anonymous horsepower, the ZR-1 was your answer.
This particular ZR-1 also included a measly $15 for a bronze removable roof panel (couldn’t Chevy have just thrown that in?), which raised the total MSRP to $65,283. Does it show you how much of a deal the much better performing mid-engine C8 Corvette is at a base price of less than $60,000 some 30 years later?
If we were looking for one of the 6,939 C4 ZR-1s built, we’d probably look at a ’93 model and up as that’s when Lotus made modifications to the cylinder heads, exhaust system, and drivetrain to increase horsepower to 405 from the original 375. Of course, we wonder if you could tell a difference.
The current bid on this ZR-1, with five days remaining, has climbed to just $15,500. We’re not sure what it would take to eventually secure the car, but if it doesn’t go for much more than that, it would seem to be quite a bargain.
According to bringatrailer, the seller acquired the car six years ago from the original owner, who had bought it from Quirk Chevrolet in Braintree, Massachusetts. Now in Delray Beach, Florida, this Corvette White over red ZR-1 appears to be in immaculate condition and is being offered with service records, the window sticker, a clean Carfax, and a clean Massachusetts title in the seller’s name.
The seller just changed the oil and filter in February and had the clutch master cylinder replaced, so it should be ready for the open road. You might want to make sure the older set of Goodyear Eagle tires (275/40 front and 315/35 rear) are up to the task before any high-speed driving, though.
With the C5 Z06 equaling and the base C6 surpassing the C4 ZR-1 in horsepower, at a much lower price, would you still want a C4 ZR-1 in your garage? While that engine is definitely a beauty, we’re not sure we would because of its ordinary appearance. Chevy seems to have learned that you have to make your higher-performance versions distinctive to create sales, as shown by the 2019 ZR1.
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