Perfect Presentation: 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 18K – Sold?
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September 8, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “ClassiFIND” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
August 24, 2023 Update – Three weeks after posting their listing, the seller decided to lower their asking price on their ’91 ZR1 by another two thousand dollars to land at the current ask of $32,500. That’s a $5,500 drop from the original ask f $38,000.
August 16, 2023 Update – Two weeks after posting their listing, the seller of this ’91 ZR1 Corvette lowered their asking price by another two large to land at the current ask of $34,500.
August 8, 2023 Update – Five days after initially posting their all-red ’91 ZR1 Corvette, the seller reduced their asking price from $38,000 to $36,500.
General Motors (“GM”) marketing management has made some questionable decisions over the years, but one of the biggest was the segmentation and pricing of the “King of The Hill” C4 Corvette ZR1 produced from 1990 to 1995. While there’s no question the 375 horsepower, double overhead cam LT5 5.7 Liter V8 was a tremendous upgrade over the stock small block of the period, charging over double the price of the standard C4 Corvette did not sit well with many buyers. The fundamental problem was that Chevrolet engineers and stylists did not do enough to differentiate ZR1 Corvette’s looks to go with the higher price tag:
Yes, the ZR1 featured a wider rear end and rear bumper with square tail lights versus the standard C4’s round units. However, by 1992 all Corvettes featured the same tail light design, further confusing buyers. In hindsight, perhaps the designers were going for the “Sleeper” look. Unfortunately, they failed to realize that a Corvette with any motor is hardly a Sleeper, especially when it costs double over a similar-looking base model.
Fast forward thirty years and the ZR1 Corvette is finally starting to show signs of becoming an investment-grade C4. Average transaction prices over the past five years have nearly doubled, so now may be the best time to purchase an investment-grade example while they still change hands at average new car prices. One example is this all-red 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 for sale, last spotted in August 2023 on Craigslist in Watertown, New York.
Last offered for $32,500 (the original ask was $38,000), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly above this guide’s five-year rolling results trend for similar ZR1 examples produced between 1990 and 1995. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:
As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask is $7,500 higher than this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of only $30,500.
The 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, also known as the C4 ZR1, was a high-performance variant of the fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette (C4) and represented the pinnacle of Corvette engineering at the time. It was first introduced at the 1990 Geneva Auto Show and went into production in 1991. The ZR1 was developed in collaboration with the Lotus Engineering Group and featured several advanced technologies, making it one of its era’s most powerful and fastest American sports cars.
At the heart of the Corvette ZR1 was an all-aluminum, 5.7-liter LT5 V8 engine. This engine was a major departure from the standard Corvette’s powerplant and was built by Mercury Marine, a division of General Motors. It was a dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) engine, which was rare in American cars at the time.
The LT5 engine featured four valves per cylinder and had a unique air management system that allowed it to produce an impressive 375 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque. It also incorporated a revolutionary FX3 active suspension system, which offered three selectable shock settings: Tour, Sport, and Performance. This system enabled the driver to tailor the car’s handling characteristics to their preference or driving conditions.
In terms of design, the 1991 Corvette ZR1 shared many characteristics with the standard Corvette C4, but it did have some distinct features that set it apart. It featured a wider tail section to accommodate the massive rear wheels and tires necessary to put down the increased power to the ground. The ZR1 also came with a unique convex rear fascia and a distinctive “ZR-1” badge to differentiate it from the base Corvette models.
The ZR1 was all about performance, and to complement its powerful engine, it came equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, which allowed drivers to take full control of the car’s power delivery. The transmission was robust and designed to handle the increased torque produced by the LT5 engine.
To cope with the immense power and high speeds, the ZR1 featured an upgraded braking system, with large 13-inch front and 12-inch rear disc brakes, providing exceptional stopping power. It rode on special 17-inch wheels in the front and 17-inch wheels in the rear, shod with wide, high-performance tires to enhance grip and handling.
While the ZR1 focused primarily on performance, it still offered a reasonably comfortable and well-appointed interior. It featured leather bucket seats, power accessories, air conditioning, and a premium Bose audio system as standard equipment. The dashboard and center console design was similar to the standard C4 Corvette, but some ZR1-specific badges and details were added to distinguish it further.
The 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 was a significant milestone in Corvette history, as it demonstrated that American sports cars could compete with the best from around the world. Its impressive performance and advanced technology made it a sought-after collectible among automotive enthusiasts.
Over the years, the ZR1 nameplate continued to be used on future Corvette models, each iteration representing the pinnacle of Corvette performance in its respective era. The legacy of the ZR1 lives on in modern-day Corvette models that continue to push the boundaries of American sports car performance.
The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel provides a vintage road test of the then-new Corvette ZR1:
This all-red 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 for sale, with only 18,000 original miles, represents an excellent investment opportunity for Corvette collectors and C4 enthusiasts alike. Values for these phenomenal performance cars have lagged for years with all other C4 Corvettes, but there are market signs that is about to change. At $38,000 currently, there is a good chance we will look back in a few years and kick ourselves for not buying this example when the price was right. The only thing odd about the seller’s Craigslist ad is that they included a build sheet for an unrelated 2016 Z06, so we recommend asking the seller what their intent of including that was for.
If you are serious about buying this Corvette ZR1, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad. When you connect, please mention that you saw their King of The Hill C4 featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
This ZR1 has had the complete induction intake upgraded, ported, and tuned for a dyno reading of 420hp. It has been meticulously maintained with only 18K miles. Must see this rare example, it still has the brand-new appearance everywhere. Everything works as intended. Handles exceptionally smooth with abundant power. You won’t find a nicer ZR1 anywhere at this price. includes all original manuals, brochures, window sticker, build sheet, history and maintenance records, etc., even the original leather briefcase style presentation case, all in new condition.”
Show or go: what would you do with this 1991 Corvette ZR1 for sale? Please comment below and let us know!