Looking Back at the 1994 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
C4 ZR-1 is a powerful yardstick of Corvette progress.
The 1990s were not the most glamorous days of the automotive industry. Sure, Lotus’s Esprit was a beautiful wedge of a sports car and Aston Martin’s DB7 was a curvy work of art, but the ’90s were also full of vehicles that were either boring or downright hard to look at. Yawn-inducing Chevy Luminas left rental lots to roll onto the road and join jellybean-like Toyota Previa minivans and passionless Geo hatchbacks. With the C4 Corvette ZR-1, Chevrolet showed that it still gave a damn about performance.
Youtuber Saabkyle04 takes the time to locate one and give us a thorough walkthrough of its exterior, interior, and engine in the video above, while sharing many of its key specifications. Chevrolet partnered with Lotus for a variety of the ZR-1’s components, including its four-cam, 32-valve, 5.7-liter LT5 V8. At its peak, the “King of the Hill” (and C4 Corvettes) pumped out 405 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque through a back end that was three inches wider than a regular C4’s rear. Those are pretty healthy numbers considering Ferrari’s V8 sports car of the time, the stunning F355, made only 380 horsepower and 268 lb-ft. Thanks to its outstanding under-the-hood stats, the ZR-1 could get to 60 mph in the low to mid four-second range, zoom down 1,320 feet of pavement in 13.1 seconds, and top out north of 180 mph.
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This video came out when the C6 ZR1 was the new King of the Hill with its 638-horsepower supercharged LS9. That got us thinking, Wow, the Corvette has come a long way in only five years. Even 650 horsepower isn’t the peak of Corvette performance. It’s now just mid-range output for America’s sports car. The C7 King of the Hill rules its kingdom with the power of 755 horses.