Almost-perfect 1995 ZR1 is still ‘King’
Stunning example of a 1995 Corvette ZR1 shows us that era is still capable of being the King of the Hill.
The 1990s saw a watershed moment for the Corvette. The first ZR1 model laid the foundation that the Corvette is still built upon today: advanced technology, monstrous power, and a chassis that handles. It’s a performance icon and deserved the moniker of “King of the Hill.” Between 1990 and 1995, only 6,939 were made and that’s why we get excited when we see one like this for sale on Craigslist — particularly when it’s only got 11,500 original miles.
The C4 Corvette was designed with a clean sheet of paper. Chief engineer Dave McLellan and his team dramatically reduced aerodynamic drag and made extensive use of aluminum to save weight. Overall, the reviews at the time loved the new Corvette’s handling but were critical of its power. McLellan knew the car deserved an engine that produced more than 300 horses, and he set to work making something amazing with the ZR-1 development team.
GM owned the British sports car company Lotus at the time and used them to develop the now legendary LT5 V8 engine. The process to design the engine started in 1985 and while first engines were built for testing and development, the chassis was already being developed. The full package was shown to the press in 1988 as the 1989 Corvette ZR1. However, production started but was delayed so it could be introduced as a 1990 model. When it came on the market the LT5 had 375 hp, and by the end of production, it had 405 hp and more than enough torque to keep the back of your head embedded in the headrest.
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Of course, taking cars like the 1990’s ZR1 and driving them is what they are designed for. The ZR1 isn’t developed to sit in a garage only to be wheeled out once in a while to a show. It’s designed to be exhilarating to drive on the road and track. However, we are glad some stay protected in a garage like this one so we can appreciate it as a time capsule of this monumental point of evolution for the Corvette.