This car is a rare and unique chapter in Corvette history. It was the product of the purchase of Lotus engineering by General Motors, and the task they were assigned of making a C4 Corvette the world's fastest production car. They did that by building an awesome double over head cam engine, dubbed the LT5, that powered the car to seven international and world records on March 1st, 1990. It was exorbitantly expensive to build, and to buy, this special car in 1990. Today, you have a chance to own this low mileage example at a small fraction of that price.
All the new C4 Corvettes had new more sleeker styling than the C3s, but in 1990, the ZR1 was distinguishable from the other coupes by is wider tail section with 11- inch wide wheels tucked up under the fenders. The back-end look was also different with a convex facia and square taillights. By 1991, those styling cues were incorporated into the base models too, making them all look the same. This one is coated in its original Dark Red Metallic paint and it looks good. The smooth styling of the hood slopes down toward the ground over the hideaway headlights, and a chin spoiler reaches further to the ground to keep air out from under the car at speed. There is a tinted glass Targa roof and a glass rear hatch that allows easy access to the storage behind the seats. A ZR1 badge appears discreetly on the rear bumper and quad exhaust tips peek out from underneath it.
Open the door and you will find a beautiful Saddle interior that is a perfect complement to the Dark Red paint. The door panel has a long armrest for comfortable cruising and power switches for the windows, door locks and mirrors at your fingertips. You can settle into the comfortable and supportive leather seat that is both power operated and heated, and reach out for the leather wrapped steering wheel mounted on a tilt column. The shifter for the 6-speed manual transmission is just a flick of the wrist to the right and begs to be stirred around. The dash board has a digital display in the center with a sweep tachometer on the left and sweep gauges on the right for both oil pressure and oil temperature as well as water temp and voltage. The ventilation system includes air conditioning to keep you cool on those hot summer days and there is an AM/FM/CD and cassette player for your listening pleasure.
Under the hood is the very special motor that makes this car unique. It is an exotic, yet reliable piece of machinery that fills up the engine bay with four overhead camshafts and 32 valves to pump out 375 horsepower. Lotus Engineering developed the heads as well as a unique air management system that varied the intake and fuel injection systems to provide for a very wide power band. The power it makes flows back through a 6-speed transmission to the rear wheels and then to the ground through those 315/35ZR17 inch tires. The suspension that keeps them planted on the ground was specially tuned by Lotus also to ensure that this Corvette could hold its own against any sports car in the world. The front suspension benefited by the first use of a carbon fiber transverse leaf spring instead of coils which reduced weight and improved the handling capabilities significantly.
A unique and potent chapter in Corvette history. Body work unique to the 1990 models before filtering down to all models in '91. And piles of documentation, maintenance records, and an owner's manual that you should be sure to ask your salesperson about.