The enthusiasm surrounding todays’ 2nd generation ZR1 Corvette is insane. Being heralded by enthusiasts and journalists from all over the world as the ultimate “affordable” supercar, not to mention it’s the highest factory horsepower-rated GM car of all time, there’s no denying its eventual future collectability.
This made us take a moment to reflect on the original (badged a ZR-1, not counting the one from the ‘70s) ZR-1 (with a hyphen) Corvette from the controversial C4 generation. Taking a brief moment to see what can be had on eBay, we ran across this pristine example located at a specialty/collector car dealer in Texas.
This car, a first-year ’90 model factory-sprayed in the popular Bright Red hue with the very sexy red leather interior shows of wear at all, as a result of only 4400 miles shown on its odometer. It includes all paperwork, including its window sticker, build sheet (laminated), owner’s manuals, and even its special ZR-1 owner’s guides – including the VHS cassette all in its original packaging.
It’s quite clear that this car was originally purchased buy its first owner as an investment 21 years ago, and with a $60.5k sticker price in 1990 ($104k in today’s money!) we could see why.
For the time, this version was equally as jaw-dropping as today’s version is now, and with that price it didn’t earn its nickname “King of the Hill” for no reason.
The engine, a DOHC version of the 5.7L V8 dubbed the LT-5, was an anomaly in its own right. With a displacement of 349cui (not the usual 350), and being co-developed with Lotus and assembled by Mercury Marine, it had all of the makings of a ‘90s supercar engine like multi-port fuel-injection, aluminum heads and a strong bottom end; producing 375hp/370ft.lb in its initial form.
But it literally baffled most GM technicians so badly that when it came time to repair them that GM actually had to replace a number of engines under warranty as a result of an underdeveloped tech training program.
So I suppose we may be correct in saying that future restorers shouldn’t be surprised if their ZR-1 isn’t a numbers-matching original and they shouldn’t second guess a potential buy if that’s the case.
But in this instance, we feel confident that the buyer doesn’t have anything to worry about, and with a Buy-It-Now of just under $30k from a seller with a 99.8% positive rating after 4,678 deals under their belt, we say buy with confidence.