Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Corvette features an engine that was designed by Lotus and built by Mercury Marine in a car sold by Chevy. It may have taken a village to get on the road, but let’s see how much bank this one demands today.
Last Friday’s 1988 Dodge B250 van was presented as a law enforcement surveillance van and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. As incredulous and inconsistent as those elements were, they couldn’t hold a candle to the van’s $19995 asking price. That led to a massive 94 percent No Dice loss.
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II a week ago, the British Commonwealth saw the ascension of its first king in over 70 years. That seems to be a pretty big deal for... um, checks notes... Charles. It seems far less so for almost everybody else since the general consensus appears to be that the new King is—to use the vernacular—a bit of a wanker.
No, when it comes to any sort of monarchy or rule, we’re more inclined to appreciate merit rather than lineage and that’s why when General Motors announced the romper-stomper Corvette ZR-1 as the “King of the Hill” a lot of people just accepted that based on the car’s specs and performance.
Getting the ZR-1 to the top of that hill was a DOHC 5.7 liter V8 engine. This was the first Corvette with an overhead cam rather than a V8 with pushrods and a single cam down in the valley, the valley so low.
The all-alloy LT5 V8 that powers the ZR-1 was a joint effort between GM and newly acquired subsidiary Lotus with the goal being to build the fastest production car in the world. Lotus did most of the heavy lifting on the car, not only engineering its 32-valve V8 but also its active ride suspension, as well as working some magic on the updated steering and brakes. The new engine required production equipment that GM couldn’t see investing in so the LT5's build was contracted out to Mercury Marine in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with complete long blocks shipped to Bowling Green for final assembly.
With 375 horsepower on tap, the LT5-equipped ZR-1 could hit sixty in about four and a half seconds and would top out at a respectable and jailable 180 miles per hour.
That was all wrapped up in a body that featured a wider rear end to cover its massive meats and “squircle” tail lamps to distinguish the model from its lesser brethren.
This 1990 Corvette ZR-1 comes in, appropriately enough, arrest-me red. That’s paired with a black leather interior and body-color removable roof panel. It sports its original unidirectional wheels and, according to the ad, wears new Michelin tires.
While it has 107,833 miles on the ticker, the car looks really good. The paint pops and, perhaps most amazingly, the interior leather and plastics seem to have defied time and the GM curse of poor quality and look amazing. Yes, there’s some scuffing on the steering wheel, but we’ve all seen far worse.
The ad shows a picture of the intake off the engine (and sitting on a towel on the windscreen). This was apparently when the LT5 received a set of new (ethanol-compliant) injectors and secondary throttle body actuators. Other maintenance and repairs noted in the ad include a new clutch slave cylinder for the six-speed manual, all new fuel pumps, and rebuilt headlamp flipper motors. Prior maintenance is said to be documented in a binder
Now the car is said to run and drive as it should, with everything working properly save for the A/C which the seller admits is weak. That’s an R12 system, meaning any repair should involve an update to R134.
Other plusses here include all the original manuals, two sets of valet keys (needed to open up the engine’s entire stable of ponies), and a clean title. All in all, this seems to be a very well-sorted and almost all original C4 ZR-1. What should someone reasonably pay for such a beast?
The seller asks $17,900 and it should be noted that prices on C4 ’Vettes, in general, seem to reflect a certain disinterest in the model. The ZR-1 is the ultimate C4 and so it should command a premium.
What do you think, is this ZR-1 worth that $17,900 asking? Or, at that much, is this “King of the Hill” priced only for royalty?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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