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C4 ZR-1 lagging sales

93Slick

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With the introduction of the LT1 in '92 ZR-1 sales dipped by 1,542. So why did the '93-'95 ZR-1 sales not jump back despite having 20-30 more hp over the '90-'92 ZR-1?
 
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JThomas

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1991 Corvette ZR-1, 2012 Corvette ZR1
By 1992 GM knew that the ZR-1 program was over. All engines for the '93-'95 production run had been produced and the decision made to only build 448 cars for each of the remaining years. The engines were stored at Bowling Green assembly and brought online as the cars were built. The sales significantly dropped after the 1991 model year. By 1991 the standard Corvette looked like a ZR-1 and by 1992 with the LT-1, the performance was closing in on the ZR-1, with the standard car having 300 hp and the ZR-1 having 375 hp. The '93-'95 cars had 405 hp. I would think by 1993, most people weren't willing to pay a premium of $31,000 for an additional 105 horsepower and a car that to the untrained eye didn't look any different than the standard Corvette.
 
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Mario93ZR1

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If the decision came as early as 1992, then why was there a gen III LT-5 in development? I can't find any info at the moment, but I seem to remember reading about it somewhere, that it reached quite far in development resulting in a running prototype.
 

JThomas

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1991 Corvette ZR-1, 2012 Corvette ZR1
You are correct, there was a Generation III engine in development and I believe that may have been something that was planned and it was to achieve somewhere in the neighborhood of possibly 475 hp, I think. But they were also developing the C5 which was rated at 345hp with an entirely new design, so why continue such efforts with a program that was ending in a few years, when sales were already diminishing? The C5's performance was to rival the outgoing ZR-1 and was lighter in weight, and something like 15% less parts. Some of the key players in the Generation III engine development were present to talk about that at the National Corvette Museum several years ago during the C4/ZR-1 Gathering. It is a nice intimate event to attend. :thumb
 

Mario93ZR1

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'93 ZR-1 & '99 Coupe
Oh how I would have loved to be part of that gathering :cool!:

But you're right, the C5 was coming and it had much more potential. I drove a '93 ZR-1 next to a C5 and I always felt that, despite the pure raw hair raising power of the LT-5, the C5 was so much better on so many levels. Better feeling with the road and it gave much more confidence to really drive it. I drove the Z close to 170MPH once somewhere in Germany and the car really scared me. Did the same with the C5 a year later and that car really gives you confidence (although it's still a bit scary :L ).

One thing I will never forget about my ZR-1 is the absolute brute force that car has, but above all the sound. The high revving engine in combination with my Flowmaster exhaust results in a sound that no other Corvette can create. It's awesome.
 

JThomas

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Messages
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Location
Okemos, MI
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1991 Corvette ZR-1, 2012 Corvette ZR1
Oh how I would have loved to be part of that gathering :cool!:

But you're right, the C5 was coming and it had much more potential. I drove a '93 ZR-1 next to a C5 and I always felt that, despite the pure raw hair raising power of the LT-5, the C5 was so much better on so many levels. Better feeling with the road and it gave much more confidence to really drive it. I drove the Z close to 170MPH once somewhere in Germany and the car really scared me. Did the same with the C5 a year later and that car really gives you confidence (although it's still a bit scary :L ).

One thing I will never forget about my ZR-1 is the absolute brute force that car has, but above all the sound. The high revving engine in combination with my Flowmaster exhaust results in a sound that no other Corvette can create. It's awesome.

I agree with you, but what I truly like about the C4 ZR-1, is that in my opinion, it put Corvette back on the map of sports car competitiveness. I think if it hadn't been for the ZR-1, you would not have had the C5 Z06, which lead to the C6 Z06/Grand Sport/ZR1, which lead to the C7 Z06/ZR1.

The ZR-1 is truly a piece of Corvette history! (That should be appreciated more so!)

JT
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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71 04 12 19
If the decision came as early as 1992, then why was there a gen III LT-5 in development? I can't find any info at the moment, but I seem to remember reading about it somewhere, that it reached quite far in development resulting in a running prototype.

The 3Gen LT5 (475-hp w. variable valve timing, cyl. head improvements and a new plenum and TB) was in development just before the ZR-1 program was killed. Then the program got killed, 3G LT5 development immediately ended.
 

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