43 Replies to “ZR1 Review Is Online For The Cheapskates”

  1. Nick D

    That was a good piece.

    I just got back from saying goodbye to a dear family friend who’s cancer is in its end stage. He worked under then succeeded Hans van Ohain at Wright Pat. Spare prayers would be appreciated for him and his family.

  2. John C.

    I wonder how much the Corvette community is worried about the upcoming mid engine Corvette. The potential mid seventies C3 replacement with the mid mounted rotary excited Zora but I think would have been a disaster in the marketplace. Just too exotic for the people who buy it. Jack makes the pertinent point that the ZR1 adds power without asking compromises except price from current owners. If the 2020 mid engine one is real, I hope Chevrolet will keep that in mind. Bowling Green is a real factory not a Bristol style blacksmith shop. The car and factory can’t make it on a few perfectionist.

  3. Duong Ngyuen

    The ZR1 is an amazing machine, but I imagine only the douchiest of guys will actually buy and drive one.

    • hank chinaski

      To cars and coffee, adorned with a time-out doll, awaiting a final roll across the Barrett-Jackson stage to pay nursing home expenses.

      But seriously, how many will be driven in anger after the reviewers are done?

      I’m happy Chevy still green-lights these, although I admit I’d never buy one.

  4. tyates

    I prefer parsimonious, thank you. Also my private banker gets sad when I spend my money instead of hoarding it like I’m supposed to. Also, to save other readers time, the length of Physical Graffiti is 82:45.

    Really enjoyed your cliche-free writing as always!

  5. DeadWeight

    Your review was ok, but not your finest work (it didn’t help that you came across as an ass-kisser to whatever his name is, and a puffer formally things Chevrolet since you bought your Hecho En Mexico made of a near-majority of non-U.S.-sourced parts, and that you did not make a much bigger – justifiably so – deal about the ridiculous drop-off in performance and reliability of the ZR1 in temps above 60° f, let alone 86° f).

    The ZR1 is really going to probably attract the most insufferable people buying it, probably between the ages of 55 and 70, the majority of whom drive it 5 to 10 days a year, and keep it stuffed in their garage or some other indoor storage under tarp.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      The fact of the matter is that supercharged cars are heat sensitive and that’s true whether you’re talking about the ZR1, the Evora 410, or the first-gen supercharged MR2.

      The Z06 was perfectly reliable because it was smart enough to cut power when it knew it would stress the engine. Compare that to the Porsche GT3 which just blew up under those conditions.

      I could have been considerably more hyperbolic about the ZR1 with a clear conscience. It is as fast as competitors that cost 2 or 3 times as much while being vastly cheaper and more reliable to operate. It is almost five seconds a lap faster around NCM West than a McLaren 720S and I assure you that the 720S makes even a 1977 Vette look like a 1994 Camry in terms of reliability.

        • Jack Baruth Post author

          No… you have to wear the multiple corded bracelets with precious metal links that all the 20something Eurotrash wear.

          • everybodyhatesscott

            I thought those were the requirements to rent one to post on your instagram

      • DeadWeight

        Just to clarify, how is the ZR1 immune from the limp-mode issues affecting the same gen Z06 (4 class action lawsuits have now been filed, and no fix has been rolled out by GM):

        “The law firm of Hagens Bergman announced yesterday that on the behalf of a group of Chevrolet Corvette Z06 owners, they have filed a class-action lawsuit against General Motors due to the cooling issues with the LT4 engine in the sleek supercar. This is fourth class-action suit filed against GM over the Z06 overheating troubles and this particular suit includes owners in 11 states – Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

        While previous suits and reports claimed that a few thousand owners are affected, this new filing claims that more than 30,000 Corvette Z06 owners are affected by this problem. In short, every C7 Z06 owner is affected by the cooling issues with the LT4 in the Corvette.

        Problems on the Road and Track

        In many cases, this problem is presented as a problem with the C7 Corvette Z06 on the race track, and it is, but it also affects cars on public roads. When the LT4 V8 engine is pushed hard for as little as 15 minutes, the engine is prone to go into a low-power limp mode. This prevents the engine from experiencing harmful detonation issues under high levels of boost and high internal temperatures, this prolonging the life of the engine.

        It makes sense to the automaker, but not to customers who bought a car billed as the most track-capable Corvette ever, only to find out that it loses much of its power after a few laps. GM has pointed out that a tuning device can remove the hot-engine limp mode, but that voids the engine warranty while shortening the life of the engine.”


        *Please edit/cut down that quote if too long.

        Also, I realize you DID press the ZR1 engineer on this issue as hard as could reasonably be expected, but why is he so reluctant to state, given the limp mode issues, that the upper ambient air temp testing that they certified the ZR1 in was higher than 86° f?

        That seems like a very low bar, especially given that Z06s are going into limp mode in as few as 2-3 laps, or 15 minutes, even when driven on the street, rather than track….

        “Chevrolet has not yet confirmed what the engine will be, but the video description … in the video comments that the ZR1 was suffering from the same limp mode issues on the track as the Z06.”

        • Paul M.

          Get over it. Stop. Just stop. Go drive your used MErcedes that can be found at any used car dealership because it is bad engineering with bad built quality.

          Meanwhile, we in AMERICA, drive Corvette.

          Again Get over it

          • Deadweight

            1st, I’ve stated that, early and often, that the C7 is the best vehicle GM has made in 50 years, and a true world beater regarding anything near its price point.

            Buddy has one and its phenomenal.

            The problem, as mentioned, is in the Z06 and (?) ZR1 versions as they have been probably demonstrated to be particularly sensitive to heat (ambient and otherwise).

            2) The MB E350 has been an amazingly solid, reliable, and very comfortable vehicle! Very glad I purchased it! Thanks for keeping such close tabs on my personal life.

  6. DeadWeight

    Should read:

    “…puffer of all things Chevrolet…”

    “…since you bought your Hecho En Mexico, made of a near-majority of non-U.S.-sourced parts, Silverado (MAGA! to-do list, I’m sure. Trump is probably going to take this up personally with Mary Barra, Mexico and China again, as soon as he gets the wall built).

  7. ScottS

    I waited for my copy to arrive in the mail! That was a great article on the new ZR1, and I appreciate that you didn’t sugarcoat the tradeoffs that the Corvette engineers made in order to increase the performance envelope over the Z06.

    ” . . this level of power and grip is not for the fiscally faint of heart. A tank of gas disappears every 26 minutes. Tires should be replaced every half hour or so. Front brake pads last just long enough to get through Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti double album. ”

    At 3600 lbs. this is not surprising, and that is the main issue I have with the current Corvette performance paradigm. I recall reading that Corvette Chief Engineer, Tadge Juechter, once remarked about the Nissan GT-R, that they had made an elephant dance. As the king of Corvettes creeps steadily up on 4,000 lbs, Mr. Juechter is making his own elephant dance. But, I don’t want to drive an elephant and suffer the cost of feeding such a beast. My first and only Corvette is the C6 Z06. Whether or not I own a second one is going to depend on a paradigm shift in achieving performance. There is no reason a performance Corvette can’t weigh under 2,900 lbs and deliver equal or better performance with 600 hp. (same power to weight ratio), and not require a trailer load of fuel, tires, and brakes to get through a track weekend.

    • tyates

      You raise a good point. For me the barrier for entry isn’t just the look of disgust on my wife’s face when I tell her I’ve cleaned out the kid’s college fund, but also my fear that the learning curve required to properly drive a car like that will abruptly end with me plummeting off the PCH. I am under no delusions that a lifetime of driving a tiny sportscars and hot hatches and the occasional motorcycle has qualified me to pilot something like that. Having a child in the depths of the financial crisis cut my irrational young male confidence by half and a steady diet of video gaming has bled off the rest.

      Now I am sure if I had a good teacher (the Larry Grozky of supercars?) I could learn, but I know better than to underestimate the difficulty. On the other hand I am living proof that you can toss a Fiat Spyder and Civic del Sol driver the keys to base Boxster – at least the earlier models – without wondering if you’ll ever see them again. So given that, it does really surprise me how much the larger heavier sportscars do outsell their lightweight little brothers and whether those buyers know something I don’t or if the reverse is true.

      • DirtRoads

        The Fiat 124 Spider (not Spyder lol) was a great car. I owned several, and they had a LOT of soul.

        Then again, I owned many different models of Fiats in the 80s. They were great cards, except for the 128’s tendency for the front strut towers to crack out.

        • tyates

          Nice. Yep, I had an’ ’81 spider 124 when I was about 20. It had some issues – okay, fine buying it was a financial disaster – but I have to admit that it was a mistake worth making, since it helped me understand the magic behind inexpensive & fun cars at an early age. It definitely influenced my decision to get the Del Sol and then the Boxster after that.

          • Widgetsltd

            It’s good to see another former 124 Spider owner who later got a Boxster. My first car was a well-used 1973, and I eventually had three of them. I still have the 2000 Boxster S. As for the question of weight…when I worked at Jaguar Land Rover, I wondered how they packed so much weight into the aluminum-structured F-type. It was 500 pounds heavier than the same model year Boxster!

      • ScottS

        I don’t think the ZR1 is a particularly hard car to drive. The Z08/A8 version certainly isn’t. The PTM system is going to keep most idiots from self-destructing. I too am surprised how well big heavy performance cars sell. Just look at the Hellcat. I think the big HP numbers is a substitute for dick measuring by men who don’t actually track their cars.

        • tyates

          Yep here in Beverly Hills supercars are clearly just status symbols, at least judging by how often I see them parked rather than driven on a twisty mountain road like Mulholland for example.

          Well, I can only extrapolate from my own experience riding sportbikes and driving smaller sportscars. I’d be interested to hear the experience of someone who made the jump from a Miata to something like this.

    • Eric H

      It boggles the mind that a car that’s got fiberglass, carbon fiber, and aluminum major components can weight 3600lbs. Brute force works but uses up consumables at a prodigious rate.

      Not my cup of tea.

  8. Paul M.

    This is the blue blood of American automobile manufacturing. I am so glad to watch the videos of it on road Atlanta. What a true monster. Corvette is a car that can win any zero to sixty, race trac, or late night at that fancy place showoff with ease. All while having one of the most loyal customer bases, with heritage of a museum and production at a dedicated facility. The kind of vehicle we work a lifetime to obtain.

    It is absolutely the best of American engineering and production.

      • Eric H

        Reliable C4?
        I used to work for a guy who had an 84, it was hilariously unreliable. The dashboard never worked. He ended up carrying about a quart of gas in a thermos so he could make it to a gas station when he ran out.
        Except for running out of gas it never left him stranded so I guess that’s something.

        • Arbuckle

          1984 was the first year for the C4 and from most accounts the project was a clusterf*ck, so I’m not surprised it wasn’t very good.

          I’m guessing between then and 1996 it mostly got sorted out though.

  9. Jason Rogers

    The idea that the E36 M3 has a responsive throttle seems way off to me as an owner. It’s got a heavy flywheel and 7 return springs on the cable throttle body from the factory. I disengaged 5 of the 7 to make the pedal feel normal. I want a custom throttle lever cam and lightweight flywheel.


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