ZR1: Chevy’s newest supercar represents the fourth go-round for this famous name


Chevrolet will introduce the first-ever ZR1 Corvette convertible at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, three weeks after the coupe broke cover in Dubai. Like its coupe brother, the C7 ZR1 is the fastest, most powerful Corvette convertible ever. With its 755-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine, huge breathing and cooling capability (including five new radiators), and a choice of high or low carbon-fiber rear wings, it tests the limits of front-engine, rear-drive performance.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/11/28/history-of-the-zr1


Great article. But in the interest of accuracy, the initial verbiage on the first (1970-72) ZR-1s should be updated to reflect that the reason solid lifters enabled more HP was that they didn’t “float” at higher engine RPMs like hydraulics did, enabling more HP. The only adjustment, per se, was lash, and that didn’t produce more HP. Since I own an original '72 LT-1, I do agree that the light clickety clack of that slight clearance at idle still makes my skin crawl. (“Solids were more adjustable, producing more horsepower, as well as a beefier engine sound.”).


I totally agree regarding noting the heritage of RPO ZR1. As an owner of an original 1970 ZR1 (with factory 4.56 posi no less), I interpret your comment, “…the light clickety-clack of that slight clearance at idle still makes my skin crawl” as a good thing, meaning you enjoy the sound of a high-revving mid-20th century Chevrolet small blocks. To me, the sound is nirvana.

I’ve owned a few Corvettes with hydraulic lifters (big and small block) and have floated the valves on all at about 6.5k RPM. At that point the car falls flat on it’s face (thankfully) before catastrophic damage is done. The 1970 solid lifter LT1 will keep revving until you stop, or it stops, and not in a good way… It’s buzz-saw moan is a sound to behold…

Chevrolet understood the risk of selling the ZR1 back in the day. The car came with a disclaimer “Not recommended for normal driving situations” as a way to dissuade John Q Public from buying the car - not to mention the fact that basic creature comforts like a radio or electric windows could not be ordered.

The unbridled potential the original ZR1’s performance package as offered back in 1970 was unparalleled in a street car, and today would never pass the muster of government regulation. So kudos to the new ZR1 as a torch-bearer. I can only hope it lives up to the promise that it’s great grand father made over four decades ago. And then some!


I have a 2009 ZR-1 that I paid retail for when new…it’s an amazing performance machine which emulates the traditional Corvette styling with 4 round taillights…the new ZR-1 will probably sell well at retail (or retail plus) at least until the much anticipated (and blog promoted) mid-engine Corvette is a reality in the showrooms…at the expected full loaded retail of near $150K the new ZR-1 faces some heavy competition from foreign brands that have been massaged to perfection for many years…and in a similar pricing range…if Chevrolet has the mid-engine in their gun sights one might wonder why 755HP was not wrapped up in a mid-engine chassis…a Corvette that would have no peers on or off a race track …meanwhile…the new ZR-1 will be a showroom magnet again that Chevrolet needs…I have a '65 327-365HP that has the solid lifter cam “clickety-clack” racket…I fire it up occasionally just to hear that wonderful mechanical music and lumpy idle…


@cal333 - I have long been a fan of the 2009 ZR-1, even with never having had the experience to pilot one. Maybe one day, hopefully soon.

You make a good point about the price point of a $150K being a pretty competitive market. Within that space the Chevy stands out, but the debate is does it stand out for the right reason?


The believe that Chevy/Corvette should put the best product on the market they can build for the dollar, if they built a car that cost $250.000 they would not sale a car. The RPO ZR1 is not the ultimate Corvette that has been built. The L-88 is the ultimate performance Corvette, when will the RPO L-88 make its return?

I have a 63-360HP and a 72 LT-1 both cars have solid lifters- the sound is music to my ears.