Who Killed the ZR1?

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
who killed the zr1

No one… yet. But GM’s chief engineer for the Corvette believes his meisterwerk is doomed. "High-performance vehicles such as this may actually be legislated out of existence," says Tadge Juechter. According an AP report published by WTOP, the GM engineer thinks cars such as the ZR1 “may be the last in a long tradition of Detroit performance cars.” With CAFE standards set to increase to 35 mpg by 2020, at least in theory, Juechter reckons cars like the ZR1 “could really be an endangered species.” Global Insight analyst Aaron Bragman says Juechter’s being a drama queen [paraphrase]."GM wants to sell big, high-performance, fun cars. And typically that's what Americans want to buy." Bragman thinks future muscle cars “may be powered by smaller engines or electric motors; but they won't die.” Well thank God for that.

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4 of 24 comments
  • Davey49 Davey49 on Dec 23, 2007

    Chevrolet needs to improve the quality of the Corvette before they worry about the CAFE regs. 400 HP and superb quality would be better than 500HP and what they have now.

  • Fisher72 Fisher72 on Dec 23, 2007

    Easy fix allow for any kind of muscle car development. Ditch CAFE and substitute GAS TAX. The Vette get's pretty good gas milage compared to all the trucks and suburban assault vehicles on the road anyway.

  • Hank Hank on Dec 23, 2007

    While "smaller engine" and "electric motor" aren't what my ear appreciates in the same sentence with "muscle car" one also has to admit a truth: If muscle cars become synonymous with "outdated" "dinosaur" and "old tech" they will die as they did during the first gas crunch. But, they were revived in this new horsepower age when people successfully took on the challenge of squeezing enormous amounts power from smaller displacement engines with stricter smog controls. Those who would prefer that engineers marry themselves to yesterday's tech rather than see where new tech can take the muscle car...well...they don't love muscle cars as much as they think the do, otherwise they wouldn't prefer to see them die rather than evolve.

  • Coupdetat Coupdetat on Dec 23, 2007

    That's stupid. GM is acting like a baby as usual and trying to scare people into going against FE legislation. Supercars are built in such a low volume (2,000 annually for the ZR1) that they have hardly any effect on the CAFE average. Of course, if a company's portfolio doesn't have any profitable, efficient cars to support R&D for halo supercars... then they have a problem. That seems to be more GM's issue. GM spent SO much effort fighting FE regulation and is using this to mobilize pistonheads. Ask them how much they spent for supercar-specific legislation such as exemptions for small-volume, special purpose vehicles? Very little, I'd expect. They're just "punishing" us in a sense for wanting better gas mileage by saying that if we want cleaner air, they're going to take away our sports cars.