By on April 14, 2008

415-finished-pics-8-9-030056.jpgUntil now, TTAC has only reviewed new cars. Due to popular demand, we've decided to experiment with reviews of pre-loved automobiles. This raises some important questions. Should we compare the used car to its contemporaries, its latter-day incarnation or an equivalent-priced new car? Or should we just review it "as is" and let TTAC's Best and Brightest hash out those issues in the comments section? As the Brits say, we're going to suck it and see, beginning with Sajeev's review of a Lingenfelter-modified 1990 ZR-1 Corvette. 

The ZR-1 is J. Timberlake in fiberglass, bringing "sexyback" with a low-slung beltline, voluptuous hood and toned backside. But check out the attention to detail: black moldings tuck away gaps better than a frantic Worldcomm auditor. A wide-body rear avoids rice boy lumps and scoops with passion and precision. The understated flare in the ZR-1's doors proves that GM could put Pininfarina on notice.

415-finished-pics-8-9-030051.jpgNo doubt: Chevy got props from reluctant Ferraristi when the Bow Tie Boys lifted the ZR-1's clamshell hood and exposed the Mother of Pearl motor. The quad-cam V8 was loaded with Lotus-fettled technology, bursting at the seams with 375 horsepower built by (get this) Mercury Marine's finest craftsmen. With 0 to 60 sprints in 4.6 seconds, a top speed of 180mph and an asking price under 60 grand ($58,995), the American had joined the big leagues.

The test car was modified by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE), purchased through a GM dealer. Since the Chevy shamelessly whacked Lotus in the knees by demanding a ZR-1 bore spacing befitting the small-block family genes (4.4 inches), LPE tuned, honed and ported the ZR-1 to 6.8 liters, 12:1 compression and a jaw-dropping 660hp. That's all motor, baby: no boost, race fuel or laughing gas.

Let the clutch out and a rush of sixteen fuel injectors fans the flames, while thirty-two valves keep the pressure on your cerebral cortex to a Honda-like 7500 rpm power peak. The ZR-1's V8 rumbles at the bottom end and screams bloody murder, F355-like, at the top of the power band. And yes, it's fairly quick. 

415-finished-pics-8-9-030020.jpgI needn't risk my license to prove the point. Much love to our friends at Car and Driver, who recorded the astounding fact that the LPE ZR-1 does the 0 -150 – 0 hustle in 23.3 seconds. My quarter mile drag verifications came in at 11.7 seconds at a scorching 129 mph, hitting 185 mph in the standing mile.  It's absolutely terrifying– in a good way.

But the ZR-1 isn't all motor. The Corvette C4 underpinnings took no prisoners during their SCCA-dominating tenure. Porsche was powerless, so Ferrari was next. Even with an extra 100lbs up front, the ZR-1's low center of gravity and blessed suspension made most overlook its lack of chassis integrity, dumbbell-weighted steering and long-throw ZF gearbox.

Thanks to a brace of chassis bracing, a Hurst shifter and modern coil-over componentry, the LPE ZR-1 attacks corners with poise and a bit more refinement. Its steering requires significantly more muscle than finesse, but gets the job done in bombastic Lamborghini fashion. And before the beancounters plundered the Corvette's parts bin, the ZR-1's buckets hugged like a mother and coddled like a Cadillac.

415-finished-pics-8-9-030043.jpgYes, the Vette's interior is Lumina approved, but these thrones turn a dental visit into a Disney vacation. Plus, the C4 Vette's F1-esque seating position invigorates, mostly because I'm not one of America's Biggest Losers. All of which makes curve flattening in LPE's ZR-1 an exercise in patience, practice and pleasure.

You definitively don't want to go into a corner too hot, as there's no handling taskmaster to save your bacon. But with 18" Michelins (the non run-flat variety) afoot there's plenty of margin for error. And when you roll into the throttle at the apex, look out!  The LPE ZR-1 flies though any turn, with nothing but 13.5" rotors, Wilwood calipers and ABS interference stopping it.

And when checkered flags turn to business casual at the Hyatt, putter down the interstate in the ZR-1's insanely tall gearing and set the dampeners in "Tour" mode. Magnaride it ain't, so hand over that ignition key to the valet. Just don't leave without the dash-mounted power key: its absence causes the LPE ZR-1 to "lose" more horses than the Porsche Boxster S has to start with. Damn! (Just like the Veyron, you need a special key to get full power.)

zr1-rear-fullsize11-8-02.jpgSo, thanks to the tuning gurus at LPE, the Corvette ZR-1 lives to see another day. Not to mention Chevrolet donated this engine's pedigree for the universally acclaimed pushrod V8s that makes today's GM products so desirable- including the new ZR1. So if you ever meet the first Corvette to credibly compare with Italy's finest, show some respect. The ZR-1 is still the "King of the Hill."

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73 Comments on “1990 Corvette LPE ZR-1 Review...”


  • avatar
    tigeraid

    Always loved the C4 Vette… This one’s pretty crazy, but even the stock LT1 versions are fun and affordable.

    I for one would welcome more reviews like this.

  • avatar
    detroit1701

    Sajeev,

    Thanks. Awesome review, per usual. May we ask where you got a hold of one for the review?

  • avatar
    minion444

    Great View and a great new feature. Please, no Brass era cars. There are a few cars over the past 25 years, I always wanted, but never got. I would love to see them reviewed again.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Nice review. Those seats look like how I picture God’s throne. I want them installed in my car, and my car already has great seats.

    So TTAC is going to be reviewing used cars….I think it’s a fantastic idea. I think an emphasis on desirable used cars will help drive up the interest for such reviews (i.e. Porsche 911s, BMW’s of almost any year, Corvettes (present one is an awesome example), Vipers, Lotii, Honda Insights, etc. etc. etc.).

    Can anyone provide a used car review? :)

    Joe

  • avatar

    Sajeev -

    An excellent review, and a wonderful taste of what GM is capable of even if only for short bursts. It makes you wonder what might be wrought if the accountants weren’t running the show…

  • avatar

    Nice review of an honest American hero. On that note, When are you reviewing a Ford Mustang Mach 1 ?

  • avatar

    Nice…very Top Gear-esque.

    Might I also suggest:
    * A B13 Nissan SE-R
    * an E30 BMW M3
    * Supra Twin Turbo
    * GMC Syclone/Typhoon
    * Mustang SVO

    Be interesting to get your perspective on some of those. The SE-R, in particular, was a C&D fave.

  • avatar

    I think TTAC should do the BMW 2002 next… anybody have one for demo? e-mail me!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I love the C4 and specially that ZR-1 generation. Than they still haul a$$ only makes me happier. Great Review.

    Can you review a similar ‘Vette with a LT-1 or LT-4 modded engine? All motor would be nice

    Or a Callaway Sledgehammer?

    Or something made by Gale Banks?

    And about TTAC reviewing beaters: go ahead, DO IT. Same for this kind of review :)

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Awesome. I was hoping you guys would start doing some older car “reviews”. Those seats are hilarious looking, but in a good way.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Great review, that kind of performance is amazing now, I can only imagine how mindblowing it was back in 1990. As far as the question: “Should we compare the used car to its contemporaries, its latter-day incarnation or an equivalent-priced new car?”

    I would answer “all of the above,” although that might be hard to fit in under the 800-word limit.

    Reviewing interesting used cars is such a great idea. They don’t even have to be top of the line sports cars either (although I can never get enough of these type of reviews), I think a ‘performance bargains’ series of reviews that let people know which older cars provide the most bang for the buck would be great

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Great review, Sajeev!

    The motor in that beast was a true testament to the engineering prowess of the the late, great John Lingenfelter. In an era when running mid 13s at 105 mph would put you in the 99th percentile of fast cars, the 7500 rpm screamer from Indiana (via Oklahoma, Michigan, and England) was simply astounding. A new C6 Z06 has to check its mirrors closely if one of these is following it.

    Anyone looking for more on the original Chevy supercar can go to http://www.zr1netregistry.com for a wealth of information.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I agre with thetopdog

    Yes to used car reviews, especialy cars that I can’t buy new, but might be cheap enough to buy on the used markets – porshe, bmw, merc, lotus, etc.

    this is a wonderful review, thanks.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    +1 on this evil things

    GMC Syclone/Typhoon
    Mustang SVO

    Add Merkur XR4Ti to the mix

    Thanks for the link mr doctorv8

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    One more yes vote for used car reviews. I too would like to see more reviews of cars that might be performance bargains now, that I couldn’t afford new. I think that should be the criteria, by the way. Basically, you are comparing them to modern cars, but taking into account the reduced price for a used car. Also, some older cars are nicer than the newer ones due to superior styling IMO.

  • avatar
    Eggpainter

    I, personally, love this review, and the idea of them… I’m a early-30-something hoon-in-training that missed the older generation gems.

  • avatar
    hansbos

    Great idea those used car reviews. I think direct comparisons to the underwhelming offerings of today would be helpful and appropriate too. Please review an early 1970s Volkswagen Westfalia Campmobile and a Fiat Spider. I’m curious what you guys think of those.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    Outstanding!!

    As a new-to-the-club C5 Corvette owner, I have quickly learned how attainable performance can be.

    Love the ZR1 : “soooo hot. Want to touch the hiney.”

  • avatar
    threeer

    Fantastic start to the used car series! Problem is, there are so many interesting cars that are running around out there that would befit a TTAC review. The list would, quite honestly, be endless. However, “attainable classics” would be a nice place to start, such as the C4 Corvette (albeit, the ZR-1 nomenclature makes it a bit harder for Joe Carbuyer to obtain). And I always thought it would be cute, in a hokey kind of way, to buy my wife a C4 with the vanity plate of “Y-Vettes” since her first name is Yvette. Call me a hopeless romantic, but then, she’d much prefer a nice Z3, I think.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Great review! I’ glad you guys are go ahead with the older reviews. Now if only someone would lend RF a Countach…

  • avatar
    N85523

    “… bursting at the seams with 375 horsepower built by (get this) Mercury Marine’s finest craftsmen.”

    If I recall correctly, I think OMC, the makers of Johnson and Evinrude outboards at the time, engineered and manufactured the V8 that Ford put in the Taurus SHO. Was the boating market tanking in the 90′s leading motor manufactures to devote their resources to other projects?

    By the way, I like the idea of elderly automobile reviews. It seems like a very favorable step in TTAC’s continued evolution

  • avatar
    Zarba

    I’d suggest doing by half-decades or decades.

    So we could look at primo muscle cars from 60-70, smog era performance cars 71-80, 80-90, etc.

    I’d pick two or three from each era, and that’ll keep you busy for a while.

    so maybe:

    1970 LS6 Chevelle vs 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda vs. 1969 428 Cobra Jet Mustang.

    or Rabbit GTI vs. Omni GLH-S

    let’s see how they stack up after time has passed.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Oh yeah:

    1968 427/435 vs. original ZR-1 vs C6 Z07

  • avatar
    huy

    Used car reviews are very worthwhile. It opens up more expensive cars to the regular guys. However, finding a car this old in good condition is hard to find for sale. Nice review, although it is a heavily modded example not reflecting what most people will ever spend on modding. Its good for a historical standpoint IF it were a stock ZR1, since GM is teasing us with the new ZR1 now… but its not, so this review fails. Used cars a few years old I can see, but if you review anything older, it will likely be running poorly.

  • avatar
    Mj0lnir

    Zarba :
    April 14th, 2008 at 12:54 pm
    let’s see how they stack up after time has passed.

    Cost has a lot to do with that.

    The LPE ZR1 profiled here is fast, but if it costs more than a new Viper or C6 Z06, what difference does it make?

    On the flip side, why buy a 2008 Nissan 350Z if your credit union will finance a well sorted 1990 Supra?

  • avatar
    charleywhiskey

    Great review. Some of the classics are a lot more interesting than today’s PC machines. Hope you continue this project. Oh, and the writing, “…black moldings tuck away gaps better than a frantic Worldcomm auditor”.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Yes Yes Yes (3 votes) for used car reviews! I am from Chicago so am allowed to vote 3 times (2 in the names of dead relatives).

  • avatar
    ajla

    1968 427/435 vs. original ZR-1 vs C6 Z07

    The original ZR-1 came out in 1970. I think only 30 or so were built. TTAC getting their hands on one will be tough.

    Why no love for the C5 as a possible old Corvette review? Not old enough?

  • avatar

    The things I couldn’t abide about the C4, even the post-1990 versions and the ZR-1, not mentioned here:

    - The absurdly wide sills that make graceful entry and exit nearly impossible;
    - The ridiculously cluttered dash, with a haphazard mix of digital and analog instruments, all in a cheerful pumpkin-orange hue;
    - CAGS (unless it was disabled in this car), a really irritating CAFE-beating feature that forced you to go from first to fourth when puttering around at anything less than banzai throttle;
    - The relentless squeaks and rattles that tend to afflict even closed C4s over any pavement that isn’t glassy smooth.

    Granted, compared to the ergonomic foibles of contemporary Italian exotics, these are endurable, but those, combined with pricey repair bills and the “You’re kidding, right?” reaction of most insurance companies, kind of take the fun out of it as a cheap-and-cheerful used purchase.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    n85523
    I am thinking the taurus sho was yamaha. Someone here will know for sure.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    mfgreen: yes the SHO V6 (and later V8) were Yamaha designed.

    argentla: CAGS is easily defeatable with a little PCM tuning or a plug in resistor, and insurance companies for the most part never charged a surcharge for ZR-1′s. I know my rate was the same as a regular L98 coupe, and the convertible was higher (!) The LT5 motor itself is extremely durable, and the usual repair bills were for standard C4 stuff. All in all, not cheap, bit still a pretty practical used buy, if you find one that’s been well maintained. Dollar for dollar, it remains very high on the exotic performance value list.

  • avatar
    foolish

    Yamaha indeed on the SHO.

    I’m all for “classic” reviews, too. I like the idea of doing either sets of contemporaries (same era/price range/class) or histories, meaning several years of those models that stuck around for a while.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Mj0lnir :
    April 14th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    The LPE ZR1 profiled here is fast, but if it costs more than a new Viper or C6 Z06, what difference does it make?

    Cost may be similar to a new C6Z for a mint LPE ZR-1, but guess which one will be worth more in 5 years? Or 5 months, for that matter? It’s no longer a used car, but rather entering the realm of an appreciating collectible.

    That it has modern supercar levels of performance is just icing on the cake!

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    I’d love to see a review of a 1st Gen Toyota MR2.

    My dad had one when I was in middle and high school; I never got to drive it before it was totaled by some fool running a stop sign. Not a lot of power, but oh could it ever corner.

  • avatar

    Hi all, thanks for reading my review of this beast. We should do more of these, and I’m glad to see most agree with us. Keep your fingers crossed, I’m in transit and hope to review a TTAC-worthy rental car when I land.

    ——————-
    detroit1701 :Awesome review, per usual. May we ask where you got a hold of one for the review?

    There’s a guy in Houston with a 415 LT5 who was more than a little proud to have me review it. Considering LPE only made 20 of these (they still offer the package on their website), I consider myself very, very lucky.

    ——————-
    edgett : A wonderful taste of what GM is capable of even if only for short bursts. It makes you wonder what might be wrought if the accountants weren’t running the show…

    Ditto the Fiero, Allante, Reatta and damn near every limited run GM product that never got what it deserved. Hell, even the Cimarron got interesting at the end: the MPI 2.8L 5-speed model was no slouch and lasted forever.

    ——————-
    Samir Syed : Nice review of an honest American hero. On that note, When are you reviewing a Ford Mustang Mach 1?

    Funny you mention it, I think I have access to several BOSS 429s and a BOSS 302. Hmmm…

    ——————-
    thetopdog : Great review, that kind of performance is amazing now, I can only imagine how mindblowing it was back in 1990. As far as the question: “Should we compare the used car to its contemporaries, its latter-day incarnation or an equivalent-priced new car?” I would answer “all of the above,”

    Me too. Look at the numbers and the LPE 415 could rival the new ZR1. And it has a normal hood. Not to mention the conversion package (engine alone) is 20-30k above the cost of a clean used model (20-30k).

    ——————-
    Jordan Tenenbaum : Great review! I’ glad you guys are go ahead with the older reviews. Now if only someone would lend RF a Countach…

    Works for me, I wanna drive a Testarossa. White or silver, please!

    ——————-
    huy : Its good for a historical standpoint IF it were a stock ZR1, since GM is teasing us with the new ZR1 now… but its not, so this review fails.

    Fair assessment, but you’re neglecting the fact that the LPE 415 will run with the new ZR1, even with a 19 year handicap. And the appraisal on my tester was tens of thousands less than the MSRP of the new ZR1. Seriously, that’s no small feat for an old ride.

    ——————-
    Mj0lnir: The LPE ZR1 profiled here is fast, but if it costs more than a new Viper or C6 Z06, what difference does it make?

    The car tested is less than both. Even if you bought one of the 20 made back in the 1990s, they are gonna be well under $80k. The question I throw back to you is, how awesome is it to run with today’s best in a car that most everyone thinks is a 1984 Vette with 200hp and a set of flashy wheels?

    ——————-
    ajla : Why no love for the C5 as a possible old Corvette review? Not old enough?

    A C5Z06 is a great review waiting to happen. Aside from understated looks and DOHC madness, it’s a far superior car. Not to mention its much, much more affordable to buy and maintain and gives better performance than a stock ZR-1.

    ——————-
    argentla : Granted, compared to the ergonomic foibles of contemporary Italian exotics, these are endurable, but those, combined with pricey repair bills and the “You’re kidding, right?” reaction of most insurance companies, kind of take the fun out of it as a cheap-and-cheerful used purchase.

    There is NOTHING cheap and cheerful in purchasing used cars that run as hard as a Corvette ZR-1. If anything, the ZR-1 is the best value because it has a lot of cheap parts thanks to rampant GM parts binning. Stock or otherwise, if you buy in this class, you better have a big garage and other toys to play with.

  • avatar

    Correction: even though there’s about 20 of these LPE 415cid ZR-1s the road, they still offer the “kit” for $29,900 and it has a two year warranty.

    Link

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    I’d die if you could review a 1969 280 SL Benz! What a beautiful piece of steel! I couldn’t even imagine getting my hands on one, though, but reading about it would be enough!

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    C4s are one of the most severely underestimated cars out there.

    Even an L98 can be built into a 400-550 horsepower firebreather using off-the-shelf-parts from the local farm implement and gardening center. LPE did one that got over 900 horsepower that was still very streatable, yet could top 200.

    I had the pleasure of riding in a 1991 LPE built L98 – one of the mild ones with “only” 550-600 or so horses. That thing was viciously, hilariously, insanely fast, and wore license plates that proclaimed “YUD LUZ.”

    And meant it. It could suck entire flocks of starlings right out of the sky.

    Euroweanies gasp with astonishment at the MPG readout going down the freeway in my mildly-massaged 300 horse L98: 40 or 50 mpg is very common.

    As far as repair costs: Compared to what car that is remotely in the same performance category?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Larry P2,

    Did you tell the Euroweanies that you put bigger injectors in you car, and that the mpg readouts are based on the pulsewidth of the stock injector?

    Either that, or you had one helluva tailwind. 30 mpg yes, 40+, ummmm, no.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Bravo on the used car reviews!! This is a great addition to the site. I like the lists some people have made, though I bet some would groan if they were tested here when new. Like the World Trade Center, some things are disliked in real time but missed in death.

  • avatar

    doctorv8: I wasn’t assuming the ZR-1 was necessarily more expensive to repair or insure than an L98 or LT1, but that’s plenty bad enough. My friend Bob, a guy in his mid-50s with a clean record, has a 1990 C4 (not a ZR-1), driven occasionally, and his insurance company’s reaction could be filed under “pillage, raping and.” He’s also found that fixing even routine things can be daunting, as well, reflecting the complexity of the way it’s put together.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “Did you tell the Euroweanies that you put bigger injectors in you car, and that the mpg readouts are based on the pulsewidth of the stock injector?”

    No, cuz they are stock injectors. In 6th gear the thing is doing only 1,300 rpms at 65 mph. Barely past idle. But I concede, stick your foot into it even briefly and it is very easy to achieve low single digit mpg. As in 1 or 2.

    As far as the “complexity” of a C4 and “daunting” fixing even “routine things:” It’s pretty hard to get much more simple than a hoary small block Chevrolet V8 that has every nook and cranny completely exposed when the “clamshell” is lifted.

    My 1990 C4 insurance premium (full coverage with $300,000 Allstate per accident limits) is $580 per year. With three moving violations in the last two years.

  • avatar

    That was fun. I couild definitely go for more old car reviews

  • avatar

    While not exactly old, another suggestion on a good older-car are older Honda S2000′s. :) God are they fun to drive.

  • avatar
    huy

    Sajeev:

    Whether it can run with the new ZR1 is yet to be seen and I will believe it when I see it. I will bet that this car will have a tough time keeping up with even an EVO X around a road course.

    1/4 mile numbers are cool, but its not a big deal for a heavily modded car like that to run those numbers. many have done faster with less. that engine package alone costs $30,000…

    It is a cool car, but it is not as great as you claim it to be. Its also heavily modified and an older car, so there is no justifying it to anyone but a hardcore C4 enthusiast.

    Reviewing modified cars may blow your mind and that of many uninformed readers, but its no big deal to those in the know. The automotive aftermarket has grown a lot since the days of this car and there is so much out there that can be done to virtually every car out there.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Second/third the original Taurus SHO with the “you can get it only in a stick or tough luck.” That was by far so ahead of their time. I really remember the Z34 Lumina and that turbo Dodge Spirit thing that tried to compete.

    I really miss the 80′s pocket rocket lineup – the VW GTI, Omni GLH, Corolla FX16, (wasn’t there a) Mazda 323 turbo, Nissan Pulsar with the larger engine, Mitsu Starion and a few others. I also started driving during the early 1990′s Japanese small car tech overload era like the Nissan 240SX with the 4WS, the Stealth/3000GT turbo AWD twins, RX7 turbo, 300ZX twin turbo and 4WS (thanks to an uncle that let me flog his 1992 model even when it was brand new), Acura Integra GS-R, Toyota Supra and the small Europeans like the Audi 80/90 and BMW 3-series. In my mind, this was the heyday of unique cars before real platform sharing and parts swapping took over and started making cars feel the same. It would be a riot to hear the opinions of TTAC readers on some of these cars and if they have stories about them to this day.

    For the record, 2nd-gen Acura Integras and the 1990-1996 Nissan 300ZX turbos don’t die easily.

    One Corvette ZR-1 memory. Back in college, I parked cars (and made decent money) for many area country clubs, black-tie events and so on. One night at a really nice country club, a year or so old ZR-1 arrives with some guy and a drop dead model type blonde strapped to his arm. After they went indoors and out of earshot, I hop/fall/plunge/dive into the driver’s seat and I remember saying “Oh Yeah.” My supervisor knows what is going to happen next, starts laughing, and looks the other way. I moved the car just out of the canopy and lights and lit those tires like there was no tomorrow. To this day, I wonder if the tire tracks are still there. That was some real raw power and the burger run later that night with the Vette sealed the deal.

    Oh, and BlueBrat – hell yeah. I understand why Honda dropped the redline but that original beast was something special.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    huy,

    I would suggest that rather than implying that Sajeev or some of his readers are “uninformed,” that you find someone to give you a ride in a modded ZR-1. Of course it’s not winning any bang for the buck mod contests, and an Evo might outrun it on a tight road course, but when the road opens up and you hit a clean 3-4 shift at 7500 rpm at about 120 mph, NOTHING sounds quite like an LT5 engine, and no four banger would be as satisfying, regardless of how much boost you cram down its throat.

    And it just so happens this car was doing this when today’s Evo drivers were in diapers.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    theflyersfan,

    You are the reason I NEVER valet my car. ;-)

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    huy: The difference between this car and other modded cars is that this one comes with a warranty, and the Lingenfelter package actually increases the value of the car. Mods done by world famous companies like Lingenfelter, Ruf, Alpina, etc. are usually on another level (drivability, reliability, balance, etc.) than something like an Evo with jacked up boost

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @thetopdog
    Alpina doesn’t do mods. They only sell complete cars. These days BMW manufactures the cars for Alpina, they come down the BMW production line as Alpinas, yet in the papers, the vehicle manufacturer is stated as “Alpina”, not “BMW”.

  • avatar
    Cyril Sneer

    I love the older car reviews.

    I suggest E36 M3, or even a multi-generation M3 comparo.

  • avatar
    crazybob

    I would like to second RedStapler’s plea for a review of the MK1 Toyota MR2. I owned one for about five years and absolutely loved it. I’d sure like to read the TTAC opinion on the little tyke.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    doctorv8…you can trust us!!! I have to ask – was that your Viper I “top speed tested” on I-75 during a Wendy’s burger run? You would have liked the makeshift handling course we created when we had a Lotus Esprit for a while.
    The job ended with graduation but the memories last a lifetime.
    crazybob – agree with the original MR2, but I’m wondering if there are still decent ones out there to test. Most of the ones I have seen are in very poor shape unless the nice ones are still locked in an owner’s garage somewhere. I still think that MR2/Celeca/Supra trifecta of the late 80′s-early 90′s was Toyota performance at their best. We might look at the mid-90′s Supra now with different eyes, but I remember the first reactions with the auto rags was not that positive on the exterior looks.

    And to Sajeev, thank you for posting this review and letting some of us stroll down memory lane. I think the next memory should be trying to wedge myself into the back seat of a Geo Storm back in high school. My back hurts just thinking about it…

  • avatar
    SWA737

    The reason Mercury and Yamaha got the nod to build these engines (and now the Volvo V8 as well) isn’t that the marine industry was tanking and needing work, but rather that they were used to building engines in very low volume (compared to an auto manufacturer) and could do it efficiently. Given the number of engines the ZR1, SHO, et al would need, there was no way a GM or FOrd engine plant cound build them at a profit.

    Merc or Yamaha, OTOH could do it with high quality and fast turn times at a reasonable price.

    I have a pair of Yamaha 225hp V6 outboards on my boat, and can tell you, the modern 4 stroke outboards are truly great power plants.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Theflyersfan…Chevy had you in mind when they added the Valet Key on the ZR-1 to disable 8 injectors and the secondary throttles. But if you didn’t rev it beyond 4000, you’d never know the difference.

  • avatar
    nehoc93

    As a car guy who almost never buys new, I love the idea of used car reviews. Beyond the reviews of past classics (I’ll throw in the early 90′s 300ZX cars), I’d like to see some modern reviews and/or lists such as best sports sedan under $20,000 and newer than 8 years old or best track car for under $10,000, etc.

    I’ve been making this suggestion to magazines and websites for years. Canadiancar.com has done a few used car articles, and Winding Road online magazine does a used car article occasionally as well. I love those.

  • avatar
    threeer

    flyersfan,

    Yeah, there are still numerous clean examples of the MkI MR2 out there. My buddy has three, including a NA, one supercharged and one Mk1.5 (modified to be turbocharged…talk about fun!). And there is actually a low mileage early model MkI for sale locally, so they are readily available.

    There are so many good cars to review that it would be nigh on impossible to review each and every car of interest!

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Lots of people don’t know that his real full name was “Dr. John Lingenfelter.” Yeah, Doctor! He got his doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and used this exotic first-order training to …. um, make ridiculously fast corvettes.

    Now THAT is what I call a well-lived, exemplorary life. A true blue-blooded gearhead of the first order.

    The world is a lot worse place with him gone.

  • avatar
    Mj0lnir

    nehoc93 :
    April 15th, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Beyond the reviews of past classics (I’ll throw in the early 90’s 300ZX cars), I’d like to see some modern reviews and/or lists such as best sports sedan under $20,000 and newer than 8 years old or best track car for under $10,000, etc.

    In for this.

  • avatar

    I was also pleased to see the review of a past classic. For those of working class who only can dream of owning a car like this, and to broaden your audience, can you review a few affordable used cars that are pistonhead classics. It would make the review twice as enjoyable to read, if one had in mind that one could actualy afford it.

  • avatar

    huy : Whether it can run with the new ZR1 is yet to be seen and I will believe it when I see it.

    This ZR-1 turns 660hp at the crank, and GM says the new ZR1 will have about 620hp. Its gonna be close, whatever the final numbers are.

    I will bet that this car will have a tough time keeping up with even an EVO X around a road course.

    Depends on the tires and the size of the road course. If you haven’t been in a C4, then you don’t know WHY it was banned by the SCCA. It’s the same claim to fame that Quattro fanbois love to promote about their engineering.

    1/4 mile numbers are cool, but its not a big deal for a heavily modded car like that to run those numbers. many have done faster with less.

    No agruement here: 1/4 mile times are almost pointless at this level. Even the trap speed doesn’t tell the full story.

    Faster with less? Tell me how many EVOs can pull 0-150-0 as fast as this ride. Or run 185mph in the standing mile. Not to mention nonexistent turbo lag on a road course, because it’s a 6.8L big block with a mind blowing 7500rpm redline. Waiting for turbo boost mid corner? Nope.

    It is a cool car, but it is not as great as you claim it to be. Its also heavily modified and an older car, so there is no justifying it to anyone but a hardcore C4 enthusiast.

    You may not be swayed, but the numbers justify themselves. The C4 has proven itself for decades of road racing, you’ll still see Z51 models spanking newer cars in local events. The best I saw was a 1985 Z51 Vette beating everyone at a Porsche Club event, plus it was a TIGHT roadcourse.

    On that day, it was 1987 all over again.

    Reviewing modified cars may blow your mind and that of many uninformed readers, but its no big deal to those in the know. The automotive aftermarket has grown a lot since the days of this car and there is so much out there that can be done to virtually every car out there.

    That’s a very vague and unfounded comment. Here’s why:

    Tell me what other car can make this much HP, this low-end torque with an insane powerband, that speed in a standing mile, was banned by the SCCA for its “unfair” advantages and does it all for WAY less than $100,000.

    And does it all with a 2 year warranty from LPE.

    Comments like that (esp. to my “uninformed” readers) outta be backed up with specifics.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Road and Track (stop it, no laughing) had a cool section they did now and then. Kind of a Collector’s Corner.

    They did precisely what Sajeev just did here…review a car that’s just a few years out from its introduction; what made it special then, how that compares now, what it drives like to this day, etc.

    Then one step further: Special Considerations for the Hoon Who Wants One.

    One I remember well was for Boxster. Reason I remember, I’d love to add this pedigreed go-cart fun-machine to the garage to putter about and thrash upon when a beautiful summer day presents itself. So I read with relish…

    What to look for, what service logs MUST contain, what problems certain vintage Boxsters have, which Boxsters to look for, which ones to avoid.

    Priceless information for one hoping to hoon-on-a-budget.

    Regretably, I don’t see this section pop up very often any more. It was the best thing the mag did.

    However, there is such a wealth of knowledge right here, this could become a regular section with used vehicle (olde classique) reviews.

    Love to see reviews just like Sajeev’s, then have those with actual ownership experience (or other certifiable first-hand knowledge) weigh in with good advice we can apply in the real world.

    Cuz as much as I love reading about unobtanium exotica, it’s just not practical for me to plunk down six figs on one. However, finding a late 80s 928S for under 20k? That’s doable for most people.

    Now, who knows anything about buying an owning an older Risky Business Mobile?

  • avatar
    findude

    Great idea; great review.

    It’d be nice to have a short section/summary on how to shop for cars like this. A description of typical selling prices nowadays along with a list of any known problems.

  • avatar
    crazybob

    nehoc93: I stopped reading Winding Road the day I realized I had never seen a negative review. That’s what we complain about all the big magazines for, and since WR is totally ad-supported I guess it applies double. Whatever the cause, they can’t possibly like every single car they’ve ever driven.

  • avatar
    shortthrowsixspeed

    i was one of the many who requested this excellent service and I can’t tell you how happy i am that you guys are taking it on. bravo!

  • avatar
    Rix

    Cars I would like reviewed and would think about if I were in the market:

    Ford Taurus SHO (The Q-ship version with the V8)

    1990-3 Mitsubishi 3000 GT VR4 Spyder. The poster car of my youth, the one I drooled over.

    Some cars that I have seen, but never driven but actually look like I would have considered buying at the time, if I had license and money: The buick reatta from the early 90′s, the Caddy Allante,

    Volvo 740 w/ Turbo Intecooler and 4-speed w/Overdrive.

    Subaru SVX (rare expensive sports car of the late 80′s)

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I’m surprised that nobody has suggested the first generation Miata for a retrograde examination. After all, it singlehandedly upended the marketplace for European roadsters and even today, are amazingly well-built and proficient cars.

    But I am even more surprised that TTAC has in just over a couple of months ran two very highly laudatory reconsiderations of aging Vettes. Imagine! Congratulations! And not one single sneering editorial quip about “gold chains” and “mulletts!”

    This obviously forshadows the imminent introduction of the new ZR1 Vette, which will wreak the exact wholesale devestation upon the European supercar industry that the NA Miata did against the European small roadster industry.

  • avatar
    kken71

    It would be nice to know what it takes to keep this thing on the road–can any decent mechanic fix it, can you get parts, how much has the owner spent on maintenance per year, if you take it on a 300 mile trip, what are the chances of making it home?

    The same info would be nice to know for any used car reviewed.

  • avatar

    kken71 : The same info would be nice to know for any used car reviewed.

    Definitely a great idea for vehicles that are more attainable and less likely to spend their lives on trailers and in climate controlled garages.

    A little trip down model-specific forums would do quite nicely here.

  • avatar
    confused1096

    Thanks for the review. I grew up with a ZR1 parked in the driveway (sadly–and suspiciously–sold right before I got my license). After some of the things my stepdad made that car do it will always have a place in my heart.

    Add me as another regular who likes the idea of used car reviews.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I’ll bite: A brand new (warrantied!( mildly-massaged 290 Horsepower GM crate motor will set you back $2,000. Virtually Any local mechanic can install a brand new crate 350 in a standard C4.

    http://store.summitracing.com/partdetail.asp?part=NAL%2D12499529&autoview=sku

    And if you don’t want to bother with the original ZR1 motor or deal with Lingenfelter, then wild Crate motors with 600 horses are achievable for under $10,000.

  • avatar

    Fair enough. But this was considered an American Exotic. (maybe it still is)

    Those SBC’s have the 415′s low end, but none will scream above 7500rpm with the world’s fattest powerband down below. The SBC could rev like mad with a hot cam, but low end grunt and smoothness suffers.

    Not so with a DOHC LT-5 big block. This all-motor car could be daily driven if so inclined.

  • avatar

    Update: the new ZR1 makes 638hp with a blower…not too shabby.

    But its still 22 ponies shy of Lingenfelter’s all-motor homage to the “King of the Hill.”


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