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Used 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Consumer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars

1991 C4 Corvette ZR-1 "King of the Hill"

James Carson, 08/16/2016
updated 03/07/2018
1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 2dr Coupe
19 of 20 people found this review helpful

In the late 1980’s, Chevrolet Corvette designers and engineers began planning a competitive response to the European supercars of the day, such as Ferrari Testarossa, 308 Spyder, Lamborghini Countach and Porshe 911 Turbo with the goal of building the most powerful and responsive American car of its generation. The result was the Corvette ZR-1 which was built from 1990 to 1995. Total production over that time was only 6,993 vehicles. This particular vehicle is an example of the second ZR-1 model year. Although packaged in a subtly modified C4 body style with wider rear fender flares and a wider, convex rear fascia, the drive train and transmission were entirely new to GM. The Lotus-designed aluminum block 5.7 liter 32 Valve DOHC LT5 engine was so revolutionary and so complex that the assembly of these engines was subcontracted to the Mercury Marine Engine Division in Stillwater, Oklahoma. These engines were hand built, and then shipped to the Bowling Green Kentucky assembly plant. Interestingly, the assembly line for Mercury Marine at the time was staffed largely by women. This remarkable engine produces 375 BHP and 375 lb-ft of torque. These figures are mild by today's standards, but were considered stratospheric in the early 1990's. At the time, it was the most powerful production vehicle made in the United States. Not until the introduction of the Z06 Corvette in 2001 was there a more powerful production Corvette. The ZR-1 only came with a manual transmission, which was built by ZF Friedrichshafen AG in Germany and provided gear ratios from 0.5 up to 4.89 in 6th gear. The action and throw distances were engineered to high tolerances and the action is literally based on a movement of a watch, using a ‘jewel’ type movement. This robust transmission allows the ZR-1 to reach well over 180 MPH. In 1990, the LT5 equipped ZR-1 set a world endurance record of 24 hours at an average speed of 175 MPH. This 24 year old ZR-1 can still turn 0-60 MPH in 4.8 seconds and run a quarter mile in 13.2 seconds at 108 MPH. In 1991, Chevrolet produced only 2,044 ZR-1’s in various and limited color schemes. The “Black on Black” color scheme was limited to 558 vehicles in 1991. Although not many of these cars are left around, they do have a passionate following among knowledgeable Corvette fans and are quite collectible. If you are interested in a high end performance ride at a used Chevy price, this might be the fun weekend car for you. In terms of collectability, the Corvette C4 body style (1984 to 1996) has still not achieved the popularity of the other Corvette generations, and correspondingly do not have the high price tag associated with them as do other more popular Corvette generations. They are still readily available at a very reasonable price.

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