Phoning It In: Rick Hendrick Buys ZR1 #001

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

The most gonzo of all current Corvettes, the ZR1, packs a 755 horsepower wallop from its supercharged LT5. Chevrolet, as it has in the past with other notable versions of popular models, offered up the first retail copy to the highest bidder at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale.

Rick Hendrick, who is reported to already own a couple of Chevys, ponied up the cash and won the auction … despite not even being in the room.

Mr. Hendrick is no stranger to Barrett-Jackson, having been a fixture in the front row of bidders for years. In the past, he’s taken home plenty of exclusive metal, including the first retail Camaro ZL1 1LE not that long ago. This time, he submitted his winning bid not with a bidder’s paddle or the wave of a hand, but by telephone.

For the privilege of parking this ZR1 in his garage, the dealership and racing mogul dented his vast savings account to the tune of nearly one million dollars. Proceeds went to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which helps wounded veterans via the Building for America’s Bravest program.

With the macho LT5, generous deployment of carbon fiber, and various aerodynamic addenda, the 2019 ZR1 is expected to be the fastest Corvette ever to roll out of a GM factory. We already know it is the most powerful. The 755 hp number grabs the headlines but torque, peaking north of 700 lb-ft, will be the main event with over 600 lb-ft of it on tap from 2200 rpm right up to the redline. Top speed is an estimated 212 mph.

That sky-high rear wing is not standard equipment, rather a part of the oddly named ZTK Performance Package. It adds the high rear wing and carbon fiber end caps to the front splitter for increased downforce, as well as Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, a stiffer chassis, and specific Magnetic Ride Control tuning.

The new ZR1 will appear sometime this spring with a starting price just south of $120,000. Not designed solely as a stripped-out race car, the 3ZR trim level adds heated and vented leather seats, a leather-wrapped wheel with carbon-fiber rim, the Performance Data Recorder, and a Bose sound system. Extroverts can select a convertible version.

[Image: General Motors]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Kvndoom Kvndoom on Jan 22, 2018

    I've been to Cary Auto Mall on more than one occasion. Drive through there and you will understand very quickly that Rick's savings account was assuredly not dented in any noticeable fashion.

  • Sprocketboy Sprocketboy on Jan 24, 2018

    Last May I visited the Hendrick Heritage Center and saw his collection, which was pretty amazing. I believe there were something on the order of 25 1967 Corvette 427s--one in each colour available, we were told. There were a lot of low serial number cars--first production C6 Z06 and C7 Z06, I think. Best were three Corvettes kept aside for when his grandchildren reached driving age. Each of the cars was built on that particular child's day of birth. As impressive as it was, the collection seemed to me to be a huge accumulation rather than something put together with foresight and affection.

  • Jkross22 The contrived, forced, overproduced jokes and antics were fun 15 years ago, but it's been the same thing over and over since. The last few years of Top Gear were heading this direction and the 3 were phoning it in. They should have either done something completely different and tried something new. Instead they played it safe.
  • SCE to AUX "...identified during our rigorous validation process"Not so rigorous, if they ended up on dealer lots. 🙄
  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.