After the unbelievable 15 year run of the C3 Corvette, which was built on the chassis of the C2 that went on sale in 1963, it was about time for something great. When the C4 Corvette was introduced in 1983 as an ‘84 model, it was nothing short of a revelation. Originally slated to be the landmark mid-engine Corvette, the project was changed and designers were told to continue making it a front-engine car.
The car they gave us was the best Corvette the world had ever seen. The car had new styling, a new interior with a cool video-game-like digital dashboard, a V8 engine under the hood and remarkable handling. The handling was so good that when introduced, the C4 Vette was the absolute best-handling car in the world, capable of 1.0 G on the skid pad.
While the engine was adequate, it was basically the same one as the 1982 C3 Vette with 205 horsepower. This would change over the years as the engine would increase to 230 horsepower in 1985 and 240 in 1987.
But the real surprise was the launch of the ZR1 in 1990. The ZR1 used an all-aluminum 4-cam V8 developed by Lotus and hand assembled by Mercury Marine. This was the powerplant everyone was hoping for as it delivered 375 horsepower.
Because more is always better, the output increased in 1993 to 405 horsepower, making the ZR1 capable of 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds and tested top speed of 178 mph.
Only three cars of the time were faster, the Ferrari F40, the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari Testarossa, which had a faster top speed but did not accelerate as quickly as the Vette. The best part was that the ZR1 sold for around $64,000, expensive for a Corvette but considerably cheaper than other exotic cars.
The ZR1 was an immediate hit to the point that the car was nicknamed “King of the Hill” by Chevy marketers. Finally, America had its own world-class supercar.
The Pick of the Day is a 1992 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 located in Turner, Oregon, with its original white paint and red-leather sports seats, and with just 38,876 miles from new, according to the dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.
Many ZR1 Corvettes were squirreled away in private collections when new, with future appreciation in mind. But happily, just as many were used and enjoyed by their owners.
These cars for whatever reason seem to remain a bargain, considering their performance and rarity. Chevrolet’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, factory would turn out only 6,939 ZR1 cars from 1990-1995.
Part of the reason for the lagging collector car values is that that ZR1 looks not much different from regular C4 Corvettes, and the average Corvette buyer might be unwilling to pay the extra money for the “King of the Hill.”
This example looks and sounds like a clean and well-cared-for original example. The pictures depict a car in nice shape that only really needs a new owner.
With an asking price of only $18,900, we would call it a great deal.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.