For those that have driven the 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 there’s a consistent theme. It was a gigantic step forward for the nameplate and created quite a buzz around it. One prototype with a factory-installed active suspension has just surfaced on eBay for sale and you can have it in your garage for less than six figures.
It’s really hard to overstate just how advanced the production version of the ZR-1 was when it arrived. It could rocket from 0-60 (96 km/h) in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 175 mph (2812 km/h) – numbers that are totally relevant today, over three decades after its debut. The regular Corvette wouldn’t be able to do that for another 15 years. And despite all that advancement and technology, this prototype makes it look like it’s from the stone age.
That’s because Chevrolet ordered it to be built with a complex, high-tech active suspension that includes an Eaton hydraulic pump and Moog actuators. GM ordered 25 pre-production Corvettes with the same active suspension system and co-developed it with Lotus. Rumor has it that only three driveable prototypes are known to have survived.
This Corvette ZR1 Active Suspension prototype car and the technology inside of it led to the Active Handling system GM released in 1996 and ultimately to the Magnetic Selective Ride Control that was featured on the 2003 Corvette. This car isn’t just a weird one-off that ended up leading nowhere, but rather a significant step forward in the history of the Corvette.
The technology might have been too expensive to make it to production at the time but it’s still so cool.