This vehicle pioneered the advantages of “Active Suspension” and had GTP Corvette race car technology. Built at the Bowling Green Plant, this vehicle was developed as a prototype for a limited edition run in the 1990 model year. Chevrolet ordered it to be built with a complex, high-tech active suspension that includes an Eaton hydraulic pump and Moog actuators. This car and the technology inside of it led to the Active Handling system GM released in 1996.
The Corvette team decided to one-up the Viper with four extra cylinders, they decided on one of Ryan Falconer’s stunning, all aluminum, 600-cubic-inch, 683hp, 680 lb-ft V-12 racing engines. The biggest challenge was the fact that the all-aluminum V-12 engine was 8.8-inches longer than the production Corvette engine. So the front end of the ZR-1 would have to be stretched 8 inches. This test car was named Conan, after his raw, beastlike charisma.
Chevrolet Corvette “Tiger Shark” Concept, 1997. A C5 Corvette powered by an alloy 742hp LS1 427ci supercharged V8. Other modifications included upgraded Brembo brakes, 18-inch Kinesis Motorsport K58 forged wheels and a hood dome to clear the supercharger. It was built by Detroit prototype shop Wheel-To-Wheel and sold for $112,200 in 2009 at the GM Heritage car auction.
In the late 80s, Chevy was developing what some dubbed a ‘Super Vette.’ But the 1989 debut of the Dodge Viper sent GM engineers on a new path to develop a ‘Viper-Killer.’ It started with a factory test mule and the experiment was to see how a ZR-1 would perform if given more power and less weight. It was so fast it was called "Snake Skinnner", for it's ability to beat the Viper and Cobra.
While it was understood that the Corvette Indy Concept would never be fully realized as a production vehicle, it paved the way for the creation of the twin-turbo CERV III. The CERV III (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle No. 3) was introduced in January, 1990 at the International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Like the latter iteration of the Corvette Indy Concept car, the CERV III was fitted with a 5.7 Liter, 32-valve, dual-overhead cam LT5 engine that featured twin turbochargers. It had 650 hp and 655 lb/ft of torque and top speed of 225 mph.
There were several successful attempts to build a convertible ZR-1, most of them by private people. The DR-1 was a GM prototype to test the structural integrity of the ZR-1 chassis when it would be topless. The car was built by American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) for Don Runkle, who was the vice-president of Advanced Engineering Staff, which explains the “DR-1” designation. It was a standard convertible transformed to ZR-1 specs.
The 1986 Corvette Indy Prototype was developed beyond clay modeling to the point of a fully-functioning, drivable car, though it was clearly understood that this car would never evolve beyond the prototype stage. Like the clay mock-up before it, development of the mid-engine Indy prototype began in 1985, pulling design cues from its predecessor.
In 1983, Bertone began to explore the possibility of approaching the US market with the Ramarro, an exercise in applied technology around mass-produced mechanics. The Ramarro, which means "green lizard" in Italian, was created on the chassis of the well-known Chevrolet Corvette, and the underlying concept aimed to modify the layout of the mechanical components.
CERV IV was nothing more than a C4 with the all new powertrain and interior in it. Read the commentary of a car magazine reporter: "We suspect that the first, very early prototypes of the all-new, Gen III ran on the dynos at GM Powertrain sometime in the early spring of 1993. In-vehicle testing began at the GM Milford Proving Ground in the first week in May of 1993 with the "Chevrolet Engineering and Research Vehicle IV-A".
This is no ordinary C4 coupe, but a GM Engineering test mule with VIN plate EX4607 proudly displayed in the windscreen, built in 1986 to test all the new-for-1988 features. This actual car must have spent weeks pounding round the General Motors Proving Ground at Milford, Michigan with longer runs on the road, testing all the changes for a year which saw the C4 suspension, steering and brakes vastly improved.
The Corvette Stingray Concept was developed as an internal design challenge to combine classic Corvette cues with surprisingly high-tech features, modern materials, and a striking new appearance. The car is well-appointed with a clamshell hood, scissor-style doors, ergonomic seats, rear-view camera with night vision enhancement, and a high performance hybrid drive. Interactive touch controls allow the driver to customize the power and efficiency of his or her ride.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 Spyder prototype, 1991, by ASC. An experimental styling prototype ordered by Don Runkle, Chevrolet’s chief engineer, to see how far the ZR-1 might be pushed in convertible form. The windshield was chopped in half and the seats were mounted directly to the floorpan. The black example in the National Corvette Museum was originally painted Sebring Silver with a Neutrino Yellow interior.
How do you beat a slew of Fox-Body 5.0 Mustangs that seemingly dominated the roads in the late '80s? You take a 454 cu.-in. big-block engine and stuff into a C4 Corvette and call it "Big Doggie". An experimental vehicle used to determine how to convert from a small block to a big block. Its 454 big block V8 along with its orange paint make this high horsepower engineering study a one-of-a-kind standout in Corvette history. The car had as much HP as the '90 ZR-1 did and it was named "ZR-2" or "Big Doggie". Old dog, new tricks joke?
The first of these cars was the 1985 Corvette Indy Concept vehicle. It was developed as a “pushmobile,” meaning that it was a non-functioning, full-size clay mockup that was developed to test market interest in the concept. The car featured the same mid-engine configuration that Zora Arkus-Duntov had always envisioned for the Corvette program.
The Nivola may be considered Bertone’s homage to the most fascinating American sports car: the Chevrolet Corvette. The sophisticated mechanical unit of the ZR-1 was interpreted by Bertone in a European key. Bertone designed a special chassis to make a sporty "boat" with a mid engine. This mechanical layout made it possible to exploit all the power of the engine when accelerating and warrant perfect roadholding on bends.