1991 Corvette ZR-1 RPO ZR1
The Corvette ZR1’s have a long performance heritage. The first Corvettes produced with the ZR1 factory code, were within the C3 generation Corvettes, but the ZR1 were only produced between 1970-1972 out of the entire run of the C3 generation, which ran from 1968 -1982. These first ZR1’s received the best performance accessories G.M had for the time period. Things like racing suspension, brakes, stabilizer bars, and other high performance components to LT-1 cars. From there, the ZR1 did not exist till 1990, when G.M finally released the long awaited beast.
Again, having the ZR1 emblem on your Corvette meant that you were driving around in the most high performance machine America produced. The new engine was called the LT5, and is an all aluminum 349CID/5.7 Liter 32 Valve piece of engineering that has yet to be matched anywhere on earth. Between 90-92, the motors were rated at 375 hp, with a near 7000RPM red line, yet have more reliability and endurance over any high performance engine ever produced in this country to date. The ZR1 is known for its top speed endurance record, where the car went at speeds over 175MPH, non- stop, for 24 hours. There are NO American cars that can do this except the ZR1 to date! The ZR1 truly is a race car on the street and has the endurance to go from coast to coast as fast as possible without breaking, if there were no speed limits. The LT5 was so radical, that GM could not even produce it, themselves. It was partially designed by Lotus, but was actually hand build by the Mercury Marine Company in Stillwater Oklahoma… A totally off the wall move by GM, which has never been done again.
From 1990 to 1995 GM/Chevrolet produced the end result of one of the most radical projects ever done by the very conservative company. The LT5 ZR1 32V Dohc “King of the Hill” Corvette! The total number of cars from 1990-1995 were only 6939 for all the years combined, making all of them quite a rare piece of machinery. The sticker on these cars were right about $70,000 USD and went up a bit as the years went on, making it affordable to only a few. From 1990-1992, the LT-5 was rated at 375hp and the hp was upped to 405 from 1993-1995. The tell tale sign of a ZR1, is its extreme width in the back. You cant miss it! It is 4″ wider that a regular corvette from the same generation, and uses the massive 315/35/17 tires on 11″ wide wheels. The rarest of ZR1’s were between 1993-1995 as only 448 units were made each year. All ZR1’s came fully loaded and all had some very interesting hardware. The oil cooling system for example was larger than most cars entire cooling system. The car has a special version of the German built ZF 6 speed transmission, another radical move on GM. The car has a self adjusting suspension, known as RPO code “FX3” which has 3 selections, Tour, Sport and Performance, which can be changed with a simple turn on a switch. Another cool feature for the ZR1, was the valet switch. This switch allowed you to limit the power output of the engine, at the turn of the key. A very handy feature indeed, for those rare times, that someone other than yourself had to drive the car.
My 1991 ZR1 was ordered in Arctic White with a Red Leather interior. What makes this car extra rare, is the fact that it was ordered as an export model RPO code Z49. There were only 152 produced out of the 2044 production that year. Export models had automatic headlights , as well as dash gauges with Euro markings. These cars are destine to be among the most collectible of Corvettes, as never before and most likely never again will a Corvette possess an all aluminum dual overhead 32 valve V8. The sound of this engine going through the gears, is nothing short of pure ecstasy.