Every red-blooded gearhead knows about the vaunted C4 ZR-1, and the details of its creation have become the stuff of legend. Although Chevy’s Lotus-infused flagship basically doubled the price of a standard Corvette, it delivered world class driving dynamics for a fraction of what comparative, and decidedly overrated, Ferraris and Lamborghinis cost. It showed the Detroit automakers that a market for ultimate performance cars definitely existed and, more importantly, it showed the world that America was definitely capable of competing with Europe’s best performance brands. Today, we fondly reference cars like this pristine ‘94 ZR-1 as the platform that broke the ice for killer American superstars like Chevrolet’s own C6 ZR1 and SRT’s Viper GTS. And, as expected, this fanatically kept, all-original survivor is as crisp as the day it rolled off Bowling Green’s storied assembly line. If you''ve been searching for an awesome late-model Vette that’s fun, reliable and equipped with top-notch pedigree, you’ve found your next car!
This stunning Vette began life as a highly optioned coupe that was delivered to Purifoy Chevrolet in Fort Lupton, Colorado. Its laminated window sticker, which is included with our sale, lists the following roster of equipment.
* 5.7 liter V8 that utilizes Sequential Fuel Injection to create 300 horsepower
* 4-speed automatic transmission that’s equipped with overdrive
* Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR)
* 5-link rear suspension that’s complete with a fiberglass, transversely mounted spring
* Independent front suspension
* Power rack and pinion steering
* 4-wheel, power disc brakes
* Driver and passenger airbags
* Bosch ABS II anti-lock brakes
* Brake transmission shift interlock
* Passive keyless entry system
* Pass Key anti-theft system
* Electric, heated rearview mirrors
* Halogen fog lamps
* 1-piece, removable fiberglass roof panel
* Power-operated, retractable halogen headlamps
* AM/FM stereo that’s complete with both a clock and cassette player
* Air conditioning
* A combination of analog and digital instrumentation
* Electronic speed control that’s complete with a resume feature
* Intermittent wiper system
* Leather seats that include lateral support and adjustable backs
* Leather-wrapped, sport steering wheel
* Power door locks
* Power windows that feature a driver’s side express down function
* Rear window defogger
* Remote hatch release
* 50 state emissions ($00)
* ZR1 Special Performance Package ($31,258)
*--- 5.7 liter, 32-valve dual overhead cam V8 that’s complete with Multi-Port Fuel Injection
*--- 275/40ZR17 front tires
* --- 315/35ZR17 rear tires
*--- Two 17x9.5 styled aluminum wheels
* --- Two 17x11 styled aluminum wheels
* --- Heavy duty brake system
* --- Electronic air conditioning
* --- Specific body panels
* --- Selective ride and handling
* --- Adjustable, leather-wrapped sport seats
* --- Power, 6-way seats
* --- Tire pressure warning system
* --- Delco Bose AM/FM stereo that features seek/scan, a cassette player, a CD player, an electronic clock and Delco Loc II technology
* --- Solar glass
* Roof Package ($950)
* Blue, removable roof panel ($00)
STANDARD VEHICLE PRICE: $36,185
TOTAL OPTIONS: $32,208
DESTINATION CHARGE: $550
TOTAL VEHICLE PRICE: $68,943
With today’s basic history lesson out of the way, I’ll jump right in to describing every aspect of this 8,400 mile time capsule. The car’s vivid Admiral Blue paint, which is topped by a durable clearcoat shell, perfectly accentuates its lightweight body. That body’s composite panels display precise fit and excellent finish under ancillary hardware that functions well and seals great. And by the looks of this Corvette’s slick finish, I’m fairly certain it has never seen daily driver duty. In fact, it’s very unlikely the car’s glossy, wet-look hue has ever felt anything more aggressive than a soft detailing cloth. And when that level of ownership is combined with Chevrolet’s top notch build quality, it creates one seriously capable sports car that’ll show well and absolutely blister the road!
Walking around this coupe, it’s easy to appreciate how gently late-model C4s have aged. Nearly two decades after they debuted, the car’s sharp lines still represent the Corvette brand incredibly well. At the front its bright blue 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 Corvette emblem that’s complete with a pristine mix of silver checkers, black checkers and a red Chevy bowtie. At the sides of that emblem, the car’s profile carries the same coke bottle shape of older Corvettes, except whittled down by years of gained aerodynamic knowledge. Embedded in that knowledge, a ring of body-color trim perfectly complements clear cornering lamps, traditional Corvette gills, sinister “ZR-1” emblems, satin black door handles and body-matched mirrors. Inside those mirrors, original, dark-tinted glass reflects a small center high mount stop lamp and tinted targa roof. And at the back of the car’s body, four trademark Corvette tail lights frame a broad “CORVETTE” script, vertical reverse lamps and original, square exhaust tips.
The aluminum LT5 V8 found under the hood of this virtually new Corvette is a modern work of automotive art. Originally intended to be a simple set of 16-valve cylinder heads atop a basic Chevrolet small block, the 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 storied small block, but exactly zero interchangeable components. The result is a 32-valve, 4-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 clamshell hood, it became an ultra-performance world record holder. There’s no mistaking the big engine’s unique intake 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; the lightweight mill has definitely been operated enough to stay healthy, with its fluids being changed regularly. And nothing, from the bottom of its spotless hood to the top of its clean oil pan, shows any significant signs of wear and tear.
Behind that hot small block, a proven ZF 6-speed 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 independent rear suspension, which features electronic traction control and driver-adjustable active ride control. 4-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 that hang just before GM’s familiar square exhaust tips. And torque meets the pavement through a set of killer 17-inch alloys that spin super wide 275/40 Goodyear Eagle GS-C radials in front of even wider 315/35 Goodyear Eagle GS-C radials. The bottom of this Corvette is every bit as nice as its spectacular engine compartment and glossy exterior panels, showing minimal wear and almost no signs of weathering. The car’s bright suspension bits contrast nicely to a clean floorpan. And its straight and solid chassis barely looks like its seen ANY time on the street.
Good preservation is key to any vintage car’s interior, and this C4’s clean cockpit looks factory fresh in virtually every way. The plush driving environment kicks off with a pair of 6-way, power adjustable buckets that are stitched in Light Grey leather. In front of those buckets, a leather-wrapped and cross-flag branded steering wheel laps a conservative dash that’s fitted with both clear analog and bright digital gauges. Inside that dash, the car’s modern center stack anchors electronic climate control above a premium Delco Bose sound system, a simple black shifter and buttons for the adjustable suspension. Opposite that center stack, two-tone side panels hang switches for both power windows and power door locks above sculpted armrests. At the back of those side panels, a surprisingly spacious cargo hold features enough room for short, weekend road trips. And naturally, all the amenities and conveniences you’ve come to expect in a modern ride are present and accounted for.
The sale of this reference grade ZR-1 includes an original build sheet, a laminated copy of that build sheet, the original window sticker outlined above, an original owner’s manual and an original owner’s VHS tape.
Over the Corvette’s 60 year history Chevrolet has produced a plethora of special edition cars, but many of them were trendy stripe and decal kits that bordered on cheesy. This 1994, LT5-equipped ZR-1 is subtle, classy, and doesn’t need to be plastered with stickers or huge badges to make its point. 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!