Rare 1989 Arctic Pearl Corvette Prototype

The following article is by the owner of a rare 1989 Arctic Pearl Corvette. Only 27 Corvettes were painted with this color known as RPO 31U - Arctic Pearl. These 27 Corvettes consisted of 24 coupes and 3 convertibles. The owner of the one described below is owned by Corvette Action Center Forum Member Tworacy.

He is looking for more information on his car. If you can provide more information, please contact us and we will forward the information to him.

1989 Arctic Pearl CorvetteArctic Pearl wasn't a regular production color. All but 5 of the Pearl cars were ZR-1 or L98 pilot cars. My car is 1 of the 5 actual production (non-pilot) L98 cars that were special ordered in Arctic Pearl and sent directly to the Milford Proving Grounds.

Here is the info on my car. If anyone has contacts at GM or the Milford Proving Grounds that I might be able to contact it would be greatly appreciated.

1989 Corvette Z51 Coupe, Arctic Pearl White (31U)
VIN 1G1YY2180K5103655

The following are various details regarding this vehicle that make it rare & unique:

  • Exterior color is Arctic Pearl (31U, special order). This car is one of only 27 cars painted this color. Of the total of 27, at least 22 were pilot cars built in February or March of 1988 (15 were ZR-1 pilot cars and 7 were L98 pilot cars) and were never sold to the public. Supposedly only the remaining 5 cars could have possibly been sold to the public. The 27 Arctic Pearl cars are specifically mentioned in several books related to Corvettes. This color was a new color which was intended to be used for the introduction of the 1989 ZR-1 which was delayed. Troubles with the color consistency lead to the color being dropped and has never been used again.
  • Interior color is Medium Blue leather (RPO 211,212). This was the only Arctic Pearl car produced with blue interior.
  • The build sheet indicates that the car was special ordered (hand written) with the Arctic Pearl color on 09/27/88 by initials “CLJ”(?).
  • The build sheet also indicates that the car was an “Engineering Driveaway to Milford PG (56-052)” by M. Boling 9/27/88. The other 4 Pearl cars also went straight to the Milford Proving Grounds.
  • The radiator shroud still bears the markings “-20’f 10-19-88” by “KL”. Apparently this was written while at Milford for testing.
  • The first time the car was publicly registered was in Mississippi in May 1992 with 43,524 miles. I would like to determine if the car was at the Milford Proving Grounds for this period of 3 ½ years or was being driven by someone at GM.
  • The build sheet indicates the car was built with many rare options as follows:
  • Code Option Description Produced Comments
    31U Arctic Pearl exterior paint 27 Max. of 5 sold to public. Rarest C4 color (possibly ever?).
    FX3 Selective Ride suspension 1,573 NA
    ML9 Six speed transmission 4,113 NA
    Z51 Performance handling package 2,224 NA
    AQ9 Leather Sport Seats 1,777 Only 55 in blue.
    FE7 Heavy Duty Suspension NA NA
    GH0 3:54 rear axle ratio NA Possibly only year offered. Very rare.
    G87 8.5” ring gear NA NA
    J55 Heavy Duty Brake system Front 12.9” vs 11.9” standard NA NA

  • Fast steering ratio (2 turns) available during only first 3 months of 1989 production.


  • What was the car used for while at the Milford Proving Grounds? Tests on the paint? Comparison performance tests to early ZR-1s? Promotional photos/test drives?
  • Would it be possible to get copies of any information related to this car while at the MPG?
  • Where/who did the order to change the color to Arctic Pearl (31U) originate from? Was this some type of COPO order or equivalent?
  • Possible to get copies of any preproduction documents such as any initial documents/memos requesting the change in color and shipment to the MPG?
  • The first public registration on the car was on 05/12/1992 in Mississippi with 43,524 miles. Did it spend the entire time at the MPG or is it possible that a GM executive or engineer may have driven the car during this period up to May 1992? If so, who?
  • What was done with the car once the MPG was finished with the car? Was it sold to a dealer?
  • Considering the unusual handwritten color change on the build sheet and delivery directly to the Milford Proving Grounds, would this be considered as a “COPO” car or something equivalent?
  • Who are the 2 people whose handwriting appears on the build sheet, that 1) requested the special order for the Arctic Pearl paint (“CLJ”?) and 2) requested delivery to MPG (M. Boling)?
  • Considering the rarity of the paint, the relationship to the ZR-1 and it’s history at the MPG, could this car be of any unique interest to the Corvette Museum or GM?