A History of the Corvette ZR1


Corvette's launch of the 1990 ZR-1, known as "King of the Hill," met with immediate success. It had endurance, and broke several world records for speed.

Development of the ZR1

  • The ZR-1 began development in the 1980s when Corvette teamed with Lotus Engineering to build a new V8 engine called the LT5. It was rated at 375 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The design of the ZR-1 body included wider rear tires and a convex rear fascia.

Introduction of the ZR1

  • The Corvette ZR-1 debuted at the 1989 Geneva Auto Show and, according to "Popular Mechanics," became an "overnight sensation." It had a top speed of 180 miles per hour. The ZR-1 initially sold for $59,000.

Sales of the ZR-1

  • Corvette sold 3,044 ZR-1s in its first production year. In 1991 Corvette redesigned the rest of its models to replicate the rear fascia of the ZR-1, and sales of the ZR-1 began to slack off. A total of 6,939 ZR-1s were sold between 1990 and 1995.

The New ZR1

  • Corvette reintroduced the ZR1 in 2009, basing it on the Corvette Z06 chassis and removed the hyphen from the name. The redesigned engine put out 620 horsepower, allowing the new ZR1 to reach speeds over 200 miles per hour.

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  • Photo Credit corvette image by Julianna Olah from Fotolia.com
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