America's original sports car entered its fourth phase of life, and another body shape, in 1984, but the basics remained the same: all-independent suspension supporting a tough steel chassis clothed in a fantasy two-seater body, all powered by Chevy's immortal smallblock engine. Considerable attention had been paid to the chassis, conferring fine handling and extraordinary levels of grip. But there was big news on the motor itself; in 1986 General Motors had acquired Lotus, and the LT5 four-overhead cam, 32-valve version of the tough 5.7-litre V8 was the first result, creating the ZR-1 in 1990. The motors were assembled by Mercury Marine in Oklahoma, their 375bhp driving the 1500kg coupes to 0-60mph in 4.6 secs and on past 180mph, making the ZR-1 the world's fastest production car at the time. On March 1st 1990, a stock example set seven international and world records at a test track in Fort Stockton, Texas, verified by the FIA, including 100 miles at 175.6mph, 5000 miles at 173.791mph and 24 hours at 175.885mph. Considerably more expensive than the standard 'Vette, just 6,939 ZR-1s had been made by the time production ceased in 1995.
The owner describes this particular LHD example as being "in good working order" with regard to its V8 engine and ZF six-speed manual transmission, though notes the "odd blemish" to paintwork, door seals and boot carpet, and that the heated rear screen is not working. A C4 convert, he explains: "I purchased the car in 1997 for a rally from Seattle to Monterey, but liked it so much I decided to import it, and it has been continuously taxed ever since". In 1998 it received a Silver award from the Corvette Club of GB, and in the past 26,000 miles it has benefited from a new clutch, rear wheel bearings, discs/pads, master cylinder, starter motor, battery and air-conditioning control unit. It is understood to have always been serviced by one of two well-known Corvette specialists. As well as sledgehammer performance, the ZR-1 offers high levels of comfort; the glass roof section lifts out, and there is active ride control, cruise control, plus the original Bose CD/radio player. As the vendor says: "A very fast, economical grand tourer, a limited-edition supercar".
Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions