They say a picture speaks a thousand words and the seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice ZR-1 tests the limits of that adage by letting the ad’s images do all the talking. Let’s see if we all like what they’re saying.
I posed the question yesterday of whether the promise of unexpectedly high miles per gallon could outweigh the onus of a well-spun odometer. The car at the center of this conundrum — a 2014 BMW 328d xDrive estate — offered an interesting balance of performance and economy, but that was tainted by those capabilities already having been used up to the tune of 175,000 miles. Maybe that’s mere peanuts when it comes to BMW diesel cars. It did look pretty nice in the ad, after all. For many of you, however, the specter of those miles manifesting in a future life of maintenance and repair was too much for the seller’s $12,985 asking price to bear. That price came up a few miles short at a 63 percent No Dice loss.
Let’s have a discussion. What is THE most American car? I mean, if we had to send one single emissary to represent the U.S. at some sort of hypothetical intergalactic automotive throw down, what might that be? Ford has a number of likely candidates — the legendary Model T, the category-defining Mustang, and the tried and true F-Series pickup among them. Chrysler fans might suggest the Viper SRT-10 or maybe even the Plymouth Superbird, in Richard Petty Blue, thank you very much. When it comes to General Motors the decision is easy, as there’s only one true choice. That’s not to say that GM has built a lot of shitty cars over the years (narrator: they have), it’s just that one car stands head and shoulders above the pack. That car, of course, is the Corvette.
There have been lots of enhanced performance versions of the ’Vette over the years, and when it comes to the C4 (for fourth-generation Corvette), that honor goes to the big booty ZR-1 edition with its 32-valve all-aluminum V8 engine.
Chevrolet’s goal with the ZR-1 was to create what at the time would be the fastest production car on the planet. As an incentive, the engineers gave the development the nickname “King of the Hill.”
To achieve that heady goal, the Bow Tie division turned to two partners, Group Lotus, the British sports car builder and engineering firm recently acquired by GM, and Mercury Marine, an Oklahoma, U.S.A.-based marine engine builder well versed in the ins and outs of aluminum engine fabrication. Lotus would do a lot of the heavy lifting on the engine’s design, while Mercury Marine would build the dang thing.
The result was an all-alloy V8 with quad cams, 32 valves for breathing, and a complex intake system that employs three throttle bodies and two tuned intake runners per cylinder to provide max output across the rev range. At the model’s introduction for the 1990 model year, that power was a claimed 380 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. To make the most of those ponies, Chevy asked Lotus to help massage the ZR-1’s suspension and braking and backed the engine up with a ZF-sourced six-speed manual, the only transmission offered in the car. The bigger back tires required wider fenders and those were joined by a unique rear facia incorporating squircle tail lamp lenses.
The seller of this Corvette ZR-1 lists it as a 1990 car in the ad, the model’s first year. No further clues about the car are forthcoming from the seller as the only other description provided — “Red with Black leather interior, 6 Speed manual transmission, Chrome wheels” — are all aspects that can be readily and easily obtainable simply by looking at the pictures. The mileage is offered as 123456 which is obviously either thrown in to fill a mandatory field or just the most fortuitous odo reading since 80085.
What we can see in the pics is a fairly decent-looking car with no obvious issue aside from the garishness of the chromed wheels and what appears to be some very thirsty leather on the seats. Oh, and no, the hand brake shouldn’t be doing that.
Other than those seemingly minor issues, the car presents well. The engine bay seems complete, although the paint on the intake embossment reading 4 CAM 32 VALVE seems to have worn off. Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever worked in a C4 engine bay but it can be kind of creepy doing so with the car’s headlights always staring at you from the underside of the raised clamshell hood.
The seller lists the car as having a clean title and sets the price at $17,500. That’s cheap for a ZR-1, but take that with a grain of salt since all C4 values seem to be depressed at the moment. That may be the result of a new ’Vette having been released just two years back, driving down desirability on some of the more recent older models.
What do you think, is that $17,500 asking price a good deal for the King of the Hill? Or, does the ad just not provide enough info for you to properly discern this Corvette’s royal heritage?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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