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As Convertible Corvette ZR1 Returns, We Look Back at Previous Versions

American, Classics  /   /  By Mark Bach

For the first time since the Corvette was introduced in 1970, the legendary American sports car will be available as a convertible. The new topless ‘Vette, which debuted at last month’s Los Angeles Auto Show, will go on sale in spring 2018. Imagine yourself behind the wheel of that monster powered by its 755-horsepower LT5 V-8 engine—boosted by a larger throttle body and bigger supercharger.

The 2019 ZR1 will become the fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever. The top speed will likely eclipse 210 miles per hour, with a sprint to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds. To keep the tires planted, the Corvette will come with a fixed rear wing or an optional higher wing with five degrees of adjustment.

How did we get here? This is the fourth model from Corvette to bear the ZR1 handle. Let’s take a quick spin through the past iterations.

1969 – 1971 C3 Corvette ZR1

1970 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

1970 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

The first ZR1 was a limited-edition model designed for SCCA racing. It offered an LT1 engine with solid lifters producing 370 ponies. Only 53 ZR1s were built over the three years. This rarity creates a steep price in the marketplace. Expect to pay more than $200,000 for a respectable offering.

1990 – 1995 C4 ZR1

1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

General Motors unveiled the 32-valve 375 horsepower Corvette C4 ZR1 at the 1989 Geneva Auto Show. The wide-body coupe came with an LT5 engine maxing out at 405 horsepower. Interest in these beasts led Chevrolet to sell nearly 7,000 units over five years so they are not as rare as the original. The prize of this vintage is one of the few 1989 GM test mules that shows up on occasion on eBay Motors.

2009 – 2013 C6 ZR1

2011 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

2011 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The C6 ZR1 jumped to 638 horsepower—breaking beyond the 200-mph mark for top speed—thanks to the LS9 V-8 mated to a supercharger. This version was dubbed the “Blue Devil,” because Rick Wagoner, GM’s chief executive at the time, graduated from Duke University. The zero-to-60-mph time dropped to a devilish 3.3 seconds, and the quarter-mile clicked down to only 11 seconds. The C6 ZR1 sold new for more than $100,000, a significant jump above its Z06 little brother, which sold for about $60,000.

Prices are more attractive for the collection of pre-owned Corvette ZR1s listed on eBay Motors.

About the Author

Mark C. Bach has oil in his veins and remembers feeler gauges and brake springs. He has a love for all things that move, especially old-school muscle cars. Bach writes for a variety of outlets, including Chevy Classics and FuelCurve.com, and maintains Route66pubco.com.

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