One of the design briefs for the C4 Corvette was that it had a minimal frontal cross-section, so it was less visible to radar. In other words, it helped you get away with speeding.
Another target was to be the most powerful car sold in America. The 1990 - 1995 Corvette's ZR-1 option package was the most expensive in the history of Detroit, but it gave the Corvette world-beater firepower.
Its LT5 V-8 was designed by Lotus and built by Mercury Marine, an all-aluminum, four-cam V-8 that was developed from the Lotus Etna concept engine, not a Small Block. It shared the traditional Small Block 4.40-inch bore spacing (after a quick redesign) and used an early form of passive Variable Valve Timing.
The 32-valve V-8 breathed through 16 individual intake runners, half of which could be closed off at low loads. When opened, those runners breathed through valves that ran on a far more aggressive cam profile. This allowed the engine to be both torquey and efficient at low-rpms, but powerful at the top.
The 2023 Corvette Z06 is the first DOHC V-8 in a Corvette, but the ZR-1 was the only ever installed in the front.
And through the ZR-1 broke records, it wasn't the sales success that Chevrolet had hoped for - and there are many very interesting reasons why - culminating in the grudge-match development of the LS-series Small Block.
Host Jason Cammisa takes us through the story in this episode of Revelations.
Subscribe to our TRvid channel for new videos every day! bit.ly/HagertyTRvid
Visit our website for daily automotive news, cars stories, reviews, and opinion: www.hagerty.com/media
Stay up to date by signing up for our email newsletters here: www.hagerty.com/media/newslet...
Talk to other car people on our community: community.hagerty.com/
Follow us on social media:
Facebook | facebook.com/Hagerty
Instagram | instagram.com/Hagerty
Twitter | twitter.com/Hagerty
If you love cars, you belong with us. Hagerty Drivers Club is the world’s largest community for automotive enthusiasts. Members enjoy valuable automotive discounts, exclusive events and experiences, roadside service created specifically for collector vehicles, and a subscription to the bimonthly Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Join Hagerty Drivers Club here: www.hagerty.com/drivers-club
Like what you see? Watch our other series including:
Redline Rebuild | Engine Time-lapse videos from start to finish bit.ly/RedlineRebuild
Barn Find Hunter | Tom Cotter searches the country for abandoned cars bit.ly/BarnFIndHunter
Chip Foose Draws a Car | Reimagining popular cars with new designs bit.ly/HagertyChipFoose
Suggest and feedback - firstname.lastname@example.org
Press inquiries - email@example.com
Partnership requests - firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Ara 2021