I just purchased a 1996 with the LT4. I think it is amazing. It is my first corvette though. 1996 collector edition convertible. Looks great too. I am very happy with it so far. It is completely stock so far. Better than a c4 zr1 in a lot of ways because it is a power plant that most mechanics etc. can work on. That is why I went for the LT4 instead of an LT5. Just my opinion though. I am not a mechanic so I didn't want anything to exotic.
My thoughts exactly regarding buying something that is just too complicated. I've put together conventional small and big blocks and never had one give me any trouble. I wouldn't want to tackle an old ZR1. I would imagine that the price of rebuild parts might just be staggering....if you can even find them. Someone must have a handle on the ZR1 parts market but I don't know who. The newer LS engines are not overly complicated like the old engines but the electronics controlling everything on the new cars ARE a worry.