Back in the late ’80s, Chevy began working on an experimental V12 version of the Corvette, in response to the upcoming V10 Dodge Viper.
That unique Corvette, known as the Falconer ZR-12, is on display at the National Corvette Museum, and the staff recently took it out on a brief run around the NCM parking lot to stretch the legs of this monster of a C4 Corvette.
Nicknamed the Conan, the Corvette features a 600-cubic inch, aluminum engine created by Ryan Falconer Industries of Chino Valley, Arizona. He basically took a small-block V8 and added four cylinders, two at the front and two at the back.
This massive powerplant, used mostly for marine applications, created an impressive 686 horsepower and 680 lb-ft of torque, but because of its aluminum nature, it weighed about the same as an iron-block V8. The entire front of the car had to be stretched eight inches under the clam-shell hood so the motor would fit.
In a Motor Trend test back in March 1993, the ZR-12 turned a quarter-mile in 11.6 seconds at 133 mph, said to have been as fast as a 1997 McLaren F1 that was tested in 1997 by Car & Driver.
To get an idea of what a monster this car was, especially at the time it was created, consider that the base model 1990 Corvette produced just 245 to 250 horsepower and even the mighty ZR-1 only made 375 to 405 horsepower!
This Corvette used to have side pipes and a different set of five-spoke silver-colored wheels when it was being tested in the early 1990s. It’s unknown what happened to those wheels, but now it rolls on gold BBS-style wheels.
You can hear much more detail about this one-of-a-kind Corvette from Derek Moore, curator at the NCM, Be sure to check out Derek’s video of the Falconer V12, especially the part where he shows the difference in the size of the filler panels behind the front tires on a ZR-1 and the ZR-12! He also points out one of the reasons why the ZR-12 never made the production line was likely because of its exorbitant $45,000 cost for the engine.
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