After stunted to nothing in the 1970s, the Detroit-born performance steadily returned in the 1980s, and in 1991 it was almost like the golden era thanks to the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and Dodge Viper RT / 10 the muscles never ended.
Fast forward to 2021, and one of those muscle machines is the vintage bargain of the year. Spoiler alert: It’s not the Viper.
Let me just clarify this statement. The Viper RT / 10 Roadster is still very affordable. Though prices have risen since their 2018-19 low, you can still get a respectable car for less than $ 50,000-mile car for $ 161,161.
That’s not beer money for most of us, but compare prices on these effectively brand new Vipers, or the $ 63,280 recently paid for a 3,350-mile car, to the $ 201,000 someone just paid for Has paid for a 7000-mile A80 Toyota Supra and they look pretty strong value.
Related: Chevy once built a prototype C4 Corvette with a V12 to take on the Viper
And then you see what someone on the same auction site paid for a 1990 Corvette ZR-1 with only 250 miles on the clock, and suddenly those Vipers don’t seem worth that much after all.
Granted, the ZR-1 doesn’t look as wild as the Viper, and despite its wider fenders, it doesn’t look any different from a normal ’91 Corvette, which also has the convex tail fairing. It’s also not quite as rare as the Dodge. But it’s still one of the most important and interesting American performance cars of all time.
The launch spec Corvette ZR1 was powered by a Lotus-developed, 32-valve, four-cam LT5 V8 that developed 375 horsepower and 370 lb ft of torque. That made it 130 horsepower more than the Pushrod L98 Corvette and helped it get to 60 mph and over 180 mph in less than 5 seconds.
But this box-fresh example sold for just $ 40,000. That’s about half the price of a new C8 Corvette with a few options, about the same price as a mid-range Kia Carnival minivan, or a fifth the cost of the 7,000-mile Supra we mentioned earlier.
It’s hard to imagine an equally significant, exciting accomplishment by any other brand, American or otherwise, that might be worth so little in its state. One day, when there is justice in the world, C4 ZR-1s won’t be cheap anymore and stories like this will sound even more absurd.
The only question is, what exactly do you do with such a perfect new car? Would you drive it to enjoy it but use it sparingly to keep the kilometers extremely low, drive it every day to annoy the C4 fans, or keep it as a museum piece with its odometer at 250 forever Miles is frozen?