Mecum Auction Listing
August 13 - 15, 2015
ESTIMATE: $200,000 - $250,000
While the modern renditions of the ZR1 Corvette have many followers, for those who know their Corvette history, it was the rarely seen early version of this RPO that garners attention. Looking for a well-balanced small-block package for 1970, legendary Chevrolet developer Zora Arkus-Duntov took the lessons learned during the seven-liter L88 race combination’s era and put them onto a model powered by the most advanced rendition of the legendary Chevrolet small-block.
The new LT1, at 350 CI with 370 HP, continued the Corvette legacy with its heavy-duty L88 starter, transistorized ignition, and an aluminum radiator with surge tank and metal fan shroud. The engine was coupled with a lightweight flywheel and the famous Muncie M22 'rock-crusher' 4-speed transmission. Like the L88, it featured J56 heavy-duty brakes, heavy-duty springs and shock absorbers, and larger-diameter front and rear swap bars. There were 1,287 buyers for LT1 Corvettes that year, but only 25 of them chose to buy the ZR1 combination, which was a true racing package. This is one of those handful constructed, and more incredibly was ordered as a convertible. It recently received an extensive mechanical restoration and detailing in 2015, earning it a Top Flight award in 2015.
In reality, RPO ZR1 was the successor of the L88 legacy, a nimble mandatory radio-delete package, complete with the aforementioned heavy-duty cooling, braking and suspension parts. You were out of luck if you wanted air conditioning, power steering or power windows; these were street-legal race cars. This example is backed by the M22 rock-crusher and a 4.11:1 Positraction differential.
What first-year model buyers like George Lynch could not foresee was that 1970 would be the only year of high compression for this new engine, because in 1971 all LT1 engines dropped to 9.0:1. A club racer, Lynch was assisted by no less than the famed Dick Guldstrand for SCCA competition when the car was new. Since that time, it has had only three other owners and is highly regarded as formerly part of the Chuck Ungurean ZR1 Collection.
Among the rarest of small-block models, this ultra-performance Corvette comes with exceptional provenance. The original purchase order worksheet, Protect-O-Plate and copies of shipping forms are here. It was a magazine cover car during its racing days, has secured Bloomington honors, and most recently scored a spectacular 98.3 in Top Flight NRCS judging this past February.
The word exceptional is not overused with this car. This amazingly well-presented ZR1 Corvette is a unique investment opportunity and a highlight of any serious collection.
- 1 of 25 ZR1s produced in 1970, only a handful were convertibles
- NCRS Top Flight Award in 2015 scoring 98.3
- Mechanical restoration in 2015 by The Corvette Shop in Costa Mesa, California
- Original purchase order and Protect-O-Plate
- Four owner car with ownership history
- Former Sports Car Magazine cover car
- ZR1 special performance engine package
- Matching numbers LT1 350/370 HP V-8
- M22 Rock Crusher 4-speed transmission
- J56 heavy duty brakes
- Special 4.11 rear axle ratio
- Lightweight flywheel, heavy duty L88 starter
- Tilt/telescopic steering column
- Radio delete
- SCCA solo race prepped and sponsored by Dick Guldstrand for George Lynch
- Copies of shipper papers, ownership history and judging sheets
- Classic White with Blue interior and White soft top