Chevrolet enlisted the help of Lotus Engineering to create a new engine for the Corvette. Together they developed a design with an aluminum block, dual overhead camshafts, and 4 valves per cylinder. In 1990, it emerged as the 375-horsepower LT5 engine. But there was more than an engine. The Corvette ZR1 package cost $27,000 more than the base coupe, which sold for $31,900. In the package were a ZF 6-speed transmission, ride control, power seats, Delco-Bose stereo system and low tire-pressure warning system. From the outside, ZR1s could be recognized by their wide, 11-inch rear wheels and 315/35 Goodyear tires. To fit around these larger wheels and tires, different bodywork was neeed in the rear of the car. Between 1990 and 1995, the ZR1 package appeared in coupes only, never in convertibles.

The overhead-cam LT5 represented a new approach for the muscular Corvette. The high-rpm engine was met with enthusiasm by buyers, and dealers were able to demand prices above the level on the sticker. The car pictured here has been owned by basketball player Michael Jordan, and the driver's seat has been modified to fit a man of his size. In Charcoal Metallic with a gray leather interior, the car has chromed O.Z. wheels. The Corvette has 12,600 miles and is said to be still in showroom condition.

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Vehicle:Chevrolet Corvette Michael Jordan's

The car shown was sold at Kruse’s Auburn auction on September 6, 1998 for $78,750, including Kruse’s 5% buyer’s commission. This price is twice as much as you might expect a similar ’91 ZR1 to sell for if it had not been owned by Michael Jordan.

$25-35,000 is what you would normally expect to pay for a Corvette ZR1 such as this example. The car was $70,000 when new. ZR1 buyers got a high-performance car with significant acceleration provided by the LT5 engine. Like the powerplant of a high-performance foreign sports car, the ZR1 is a high-revving unit. With its 4-valve cylinder head, it is certainly a departure from traditional Corvette thinking.

But is this particular ZR1 worth $40,000 more than a non-celebrity car? That’s a question that only the new owner can answer. Not just any celebrity-owned car can command a premium. The exclusivity and performance of a ZR1 is enough to get wealthy Corvette fans excited. The buyer of this car may receive the rest of his payoff in the envy of his friends. That may be sufficient for him, but it is debatable whether the sale price of this car will ever be repeated.

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