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1994 Guldstrand Grand Sport 90 (GS90)

1994 Guldstrand Grand Sport 90 (GS90)

As the story goes, when the Corvette ZR-1 came out in 1990, Dick Guldstrand saw an opportunity to create his vision of the perfect Grand Sport ride, instead of his name just getting slapped onto another Chevrolet product. He asked GM for fifteen ZR-1’s and some money. He got one car and permission to do whatever he wanted to do with it. And that’s exactly what he did, since the only pieces to remain Corvette are the windshield, side windows and the entirety of the interior.

On January 8th, in Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Auto Show is held, over nine days. Dick Guldstrand introduced the GS-90 Corvette, based on the Corvette ZR-1 chassis and engine, with an aerodynamic body designed by Steve Winter.

“Goldie” went on to race many other Corvettes and eventually started a business tuning competition for Corvettes. As one of Chevrolet’s back door consultants, Guldstrand was very involved in suspension development in the early days of the C4. By the late ’80s Guldstrand was offering an enhanced version of the Corvette called the “GS80.” The only problem in Dick’s mind was that the car just looked like a Corvette with aftermarket wheels and tires. It was “Chevy’s car” and he wanted “Dick’s car”. When the ZR-1 was released, Goldie saw an opportunity to bring back the Grand Sport… Dick Guldstrand-style.

Called the “GS90”, Dick’s car would prove to be the most elaborate and expensive specialty Corvette ever built. Guldstrand pitched the concept of a radically restyled, hopped-up ZR-1 to his pals at Chevrolet. Dick asked for 15 ZR-1s and a few million dollars. He got one car and a blessing.

The GS90 is essentially a reskinned ZR-1 Corvette, with a carbon fiber body designed by Steve Winter. The LT4 was cranked up to 475 horsepower with some help from D.K. Motorsports, and the suspension got a complete go-through from Guldstrand himself, including ditching the mono-leaf for coil-over shocks. Painted Nassau Blue with a white stripe, the Guldstrand GS90 was a looker and a runner (for 1994, 0-60 was in the low-four second range, and top speed was over 175mph). Styling of the car was a throwback to the 1963 Ferrari GTO and the only stock Corvette body parts are the windshield and side windows.

The lines are bold and muscular with a few cues from the C2 Corvette. Goldie threw every trick he knew into the GS90 from thicker anti-roll bars to coil-over shocks replacing the stock mono-leaf sprint. Then he capped it all off with 18-inch aluminum wheels from OZ in Italy and a Nassau blue paint job with a single bold white racing stripe. Performance was stunning with 0-to-60 in the low 4-second range and a top speed of over 175mph.

The only problem was the price. The GS90 cost $134,500 over the price of a $72,208 ZR-1, for a total of $206,208! As a result, only six GS90s were built and sold. Guldstrand was planning roadster, speedster, and lightweight versions of the GS90 to be sold through Chevy dealers.

Dick Guldstrand himself drove it to over 190 MPH while retaining everyday driveability. GM supported  him at first, with the idea of offering the GS90 as a dealer option, but backed out soon after since the C5 project was well  underway. The Grand Sport “curse” returned when the big-wigs at GM killed the deal. In the end, Guldstrand made one more of “Dick’s car” than the original five Grand Sports. The pricey endeavor cost him a lot of money. There was also a convertible version named Nassau Roadster based on the C4 convertible with a supercharged LT-1.