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The Chevrolet Corvette is rightfully America’s V8 sports car. However, while base model ‘Vettes have offered wallet-friendly thrills for decades, range-topping performance models boast supercar-fighting speed. The C4 Corvette ZR-1 is no different; the delightfully classic V8 car channeled Lotus DNA to create one of the most dynamic Corvettes in the nameplate’s history.  

What years did GM produce the C4 Corvette ZR-1?

A bright-red C4 Corvette ZR-1 shows off its front-end styling concealing the car's V8.
1990 Chevy Corvette ZR-1 | General Motors

General Motors (GM) produced the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 from 1990 to 1995 in the C4 generation. It’s the first time GM resurrected the ZR1 namesake since 1972, and Chevrolet waited for a speed demon worthy of the title. 

Over the course of the six-model-year run of the C4 ZR-1, GM produced just under 7,000 of the V8 sports car. As a result, the ZR-1 is a much less frequent sight than its successor in the performance ‘Vette market, the C5 Z06. Specifically, Chevrolet produced 34,509 fifth-gen Z06s, nearly five times more than the cutting-edge C4 model, per CorvSport

Why is the C4 Corvette ZR-1 so special?

The C4 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 took the fourth-gen Corvette recipe and added raw, unadulterated speed. In fact, at the time of its production, it was one of the most capable American cars ever to roll out of Detroit. 

0-60 mph (seconds)4.5 seconds
¼ mile (seconds)12.8 seconds
Top speed175 mph
Curb weight3,440 lbs

In fact, the ZR-1 took the Corvette to previously unexplored heights; upon first testing the V8 sports car nearly 34 years ago, Car and Driver half-jokingly claimed that it was “at once the most exciting and responsible high-performance car ever conceived in Detroit, let alone ever built,” referring to the outrageous performance car and just how expectation-shattering it was. 

Today, with a sub-five-second sprint to 60 mph, the wedge-shaped old timer is still fast. So much so that its now-classic silhouette will, on paper, contend with a much more modern S550 Ford Mustang Bullitt, despite the 100 horsepower deficit. 

How much horsepower does a C4 Corvette ZR-1 have?

The 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 produced 380 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque from its 5.7L LT5 DOHC V8. But it wasn’t just power that made the engine special. No, the LT5 was engineered by GM and Lotus after GM acquired a majority share in the marque in 1986.   

The eight-cylinder love child of GM and Lotus was a unique development for Corvette. While the pushrod LT1 in the late-model base C4s was a revelation for the V8 American sports car, the LT5 was a high-output, exotic, all-aluminum affair. By the end of its short tenure, the LT5 was developing as much as 405 horsepower, pushing the beloved nameplate past the 400-horsepower barrier for the first time since the castrating impact of the Malaise Era. 

How much is a C4 ZR-1 worth?

A 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 has an average value of about $33,934. However, the later models typically demand a bit more. For instance, the 1995 model has an average sales price of closer to $50,010.

Still, the ZR-1’s ballistically bizarre chapter in the book of Corvette and limited production numbers establish it as a bona fide collector’s car. Keep up with MotorBiscuit for the latest sports car content!


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