Keith Tedford
Apr 30, 2012
2005 C6 1SB
From time to time, you see very nice C4 ZR1 Corvettes come up for sale at very reasonable prices. I understand they have different drivetrains front to back than what you get in a regular C4. Understandable given the big hp increase over the L98 engines. They were pretty well bullet proof right from the factory but everything eventually needs attention. Not being able to get parts or having someone who knows how to repair them could put a real damper on a rather fantastic car. Manny??
Not true at all, there is a very active group of Enthusiasts supporting the ZR-1 community. More and more reproduction parts are being developed as particular parts become harder to find.

The LT5 engine can be easily brought up to over 500 HP with just basically bolt on's. Put a stroker kit into it and some guy's have over 700 HP, naturally aspirated, and fully reliable.
I guess these cars are sort of a world unto themselves. I don't know anyone in my area that knows anything about them at all. If parts can be found, they seem to be a pretty good deal price wise. Back in the day, testers ran them around high speed tracks for 24 hours and couldn't hurt them and as you say, they are capable of a lot more hp than they put out stock. Why is it that the prices have gone so low on such a machine. I was checking out a real nice one with pretty reasonable mileage and for $17K. Sounds like a bargain to me if part are available. That was the only real thing that was worrisome.
Keith; That car looks in really nice shape. 125K is nothing to worry about, there are lots that are at 200,000 MILES and going strong.

If you can take it for a test drive or at least hear it running will tell you a lot. They used a vacuum secondary system to disable the secondary intakes and secondary fuel injectors when you turned the Power Key (Valet Key) off. It limits the HP to about 250 same as a regular vette of the day. Turn the Power Key on and All 385 HP comes alive.
A common problem is the vacuum hoses get brittle after awhile and develop leaks, which will cause a host of problems. Replacement kits are available and/or eliminate the secondary butterfly system and have the chip reprogrammed to run all 16 fuel injectors all the time ($250-$300)
I would take a serious look at it, dollar for dollar you won't find anything like it. They can put the hurt on a lot of the newer Vette's for a lot less money.

Great bit of history there Don ... Wow, it's hard to believe that was some 24 years ago now ........ That car made a lot of people really take notice of corvette and even today is referred to as "KING" ..

This old car guy has loved them ever since and hope to someday own one b4 prices put them out of reach.

You must be a very proud owner.

Excellent article.

But I would caution that a super low mileage car can suffer from not being run enough.
Vacuum hoses get brittle and start leaking, seals dry out etc. A relative low mileage car that has been driven and properly maintained will be in better shape than a Garage Queen.
One of the common problems that arise with the LT5, is faulty fuel injectors.

When the LT5 was developed, there was no thought about ethanol based fuel, the original fuel injectors cannot tolerate ethanol, it degrades the insulating material for the injector coils and will short them out. The Injectors were built with mild steel pintles and have a problem with rusting.

There are several Manufacturers that have replacement stainless steel injectors available.

The SS injectors are not that badly priced, but there are 16 of them..... It adds up. But it is a permanent solution.
They C4 ZR1'S are quite the car. They are often forgotten about because of the introduction of the C5, and the LS1 (and every other variant of LS). Truth be told the LT1's and LT5's can make gobs of power reliable. I have read about the Optispark ignition being a bit of an Achilles heel, but can be remedied with an aftermarket wireharness/components. Big fan of the early ZR1'S, and if I'm not mistaken the suspension was tuned and developed by Lotus.:cool:

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