When it comes to collectible Corvettes, few names resonate like “ZR-1”. From the exclusive C3''s to the hyphen-free C6 ZR1s, these cars have always represented the pinnacle of Chevrolet performance. The C4 variant tipped the price scales but more than made up for it by offering one of the most advanced looks of the day paired with the stunning Lotus-developed LT5 V8. This showroom fresh 1995 coupe is a great example of the final C4 ZR-1s, showing just 5,494 actual miles on the digital odometer. On top of being a pristine limited-use car, this ZR-1 is one 1 of just 17 originally exported for sale in Canada and sold with a price tag of $78,144 (Canadian). Like all investment grade Corvettes, the car comes with plenty of original paperwork including its original window sticker, build sheet, service records, and more. If you’ve been looking for that perfect C4 to round out your Corvette collection, look no further!
The ZR-1 package commanded a pretty serious premium but it was well worth the cost. Here’s what it included according to the original window sticker:
•5.7L SFI DOHC 32-valve V8
•275/40ZR17 front / 315/35ZR17 rear tires
•Styled aluminum wheels (17x9.5 / 17x11)
•Electronic air conditioning
•Selective Ride & Handling
•Leather adjustable sport seats
•6-way adjustable power seats (driver and passenger)
•Low tire pressure warning system
•Delco Bose music system
•Roof package (+$375)
Aside from being a rare Canadian export, this C4 is the only one of that exclusive circle to leave dressed in Polo Green Metallic. As the most expensive car in the 1990s GM stable, the money bought buyers a little better paint than usual as told by this factory-sprayed example. The top coat still has a great luster and offers crisp clear reflections from nearly any angle. The shell underneath is every bit as nice as the top coat. From the later nose to the widened quarter panels housing those massive 11-inch rear wheels, the bodywork remains refreshingly original. While first and second generation Corvettes wear their factory flaws with pride, the C4s never had to. Shut lines are even and the car has an overall sense of quality built into it.
Walking around this coupe, it’s easy to appreciate how gently these fourth-generation cars have aged. Over a decade after its debut, this car’s sharp lines still represent the Corvette brand incredibly well. At the front the deep green body, a clean combination of halogen running lamps and amber turn signals frame a stamped Corvette tag panel that’s free of chips or damage of any kind. Above that tag panel a long hood, which mimics the cowl induction units found on classic Chevrolets, features a fresh black C4 Corvette emblem that’s complete with a pristine mix of black and silver checkers and a red bowtie. The car’s profile carries a similar coke bottle shape like older Corvettes, except whittled down by years of improved aerodynamic understanding. Embedded in that knowledge, a ring of body color trim perfectly complements clear corner lamps, traditional Corvette gills, pristine “ZR-1” emblems, satin black door handles and body-matched mirrors. Inside those mirrors, original glass rides under a small center high mount stop lamp and either a tinted targa top or a painted targa roof – the only regular option available for the 1995 ZR-1 coupe. At the back of the dark green body, four trademark Corvette tail lights frame a broad “Corvette” script, vertical reverse lamps and original square exhaust tips.
Lift the clamshell hood forward to find the storied all-aluminum LT5. Originally intended to be a simple set of 16-valve cylinder heads atop a basic Chevrolet small block, Lotus engineers assigned to the project quickly realized there was no cost-effective way to build such a motley beast. Instead, they designed a world-class V8 which shared basic dimensions with Chevrolet’s classic small block, but exactly zero interchangeable components. The result is a 32-valve, four-cam powerhouse that features a trick dual-path induction system, 405 horsepower and 385 lb./ft. of torque, all without any help from fuel supplements or any kind of forced induction. The aesthetically pleasing piece was assembled by Mercury Marine, whose specialization in aluminum casting won them the contract; and when fitted under the Corvette’s hood, it became an ultra-performance world record holder. There’s no mistaking the big engine’s unique intake manifold and sculpted cam covers, which are emblazoned with the Corvette logo, for something any less than fantastic. And, more beautifully finished than any engine since the 1930s, the LT5 in this ZR-1 is preserved in 100% showroom fresh condition. Don’t worry; it has been operated enough to stay healthy, and the fluids have been changed regularly. But other than that, everything remains factory issue and in original condition. If preservation class judging is your thing, this car will probably deliver the trophies. From the bottom of its spotless hood to the top of its clean oil pan, everything is in like new condition and free of any sort of wear and tear.
Behind the LT5, a proven ZF 6-speed manual distributes power to a factory Corvette rear end. That combination works great in conjunction with the motor’s ability to shut down half its intake runners, making this ‘Vette plenty quick off the line and a joy to cruise on the highway. All ZR-1s have a Lotus-tuned FX3 double A-arm front and five-link rear suspension which features electronic traction control and driver adjustable active ride control. Four wheel Lotus-tuned power disc brakes combine with Lotus-tuned power steering to keep all that power productive and pointed straight. Factory dual exhaust runs from original equipment manifolds into two rear mounted mufflers just before GM’s square exhaust tips. The car’s torque meets the pavement through a killer set of 17-inch alloy wheels which wear super wide Goodyear Eagle rubber. The bottom of this Corvette is just as clean as its engine compartment and exterior panels, showing minimal wear and absolutely no signs of weathering. The car’s bright suspension bits contrast nicely to its clean floor pan.
Corvettes interiors have always been driver-focused spaces and the C4 is no exception. Swing open the elongated doors to find a showroom clean Light Beige leather interior. The door panels offer a fluid design accented by black trim that ties into the dashboard while, over the tall door sills, seating for two is provided by a pair of supportive high-back bucket seats. In the center, a console displays controls for the driver and passenger seats as well as options for the ride control system while the 6-speed shifter offers control over the transmission below. From the driver seat, an easy-to-read tachometer redlines against the digital speedometer while small gauges monitor the other standard vitals. Controls for the HVAC system lead the center section while, below, the Delco Bose stereo system offers AM/FM/CD/Cassette functionality which continues to sound great over 20 years later. Behind the seats, a small storage area offers a place to store a targa top or some detailing essentials for your next car show.
As mentioned, the car comes with a significant amount of documentation. From the original owner’s manuals, build sheet, and window sticker to the service records and Canadian documentation, the car’s past can easily be read through the included information. Both targa tops are also included alongside the original ECM which was replaced in 2011.
Over the Corvette’s history Chevrolet has produced a plethora of special edition cars, but many of them were little more than stripe and decal kits. This 1995, LT5-equipped ZR-1 is subtle, classy, and doesn’t need to be plastered with stickers or huge badges to make its point while it’s unique Canadian history adds another level to its appeal. Whether this awesome C4 is your first Corvette, or just the newest addition to your fleet, it’s the kind of high quality collector car that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face!