I’ve had my ZR-1 a couple of months now and enjoyed it at any opportunity the weather has allowed. Spring has been unusually mild here in Ontario and given me much more of an opportunity to drive the car than I might normally have.

It’s been a fantastic few weeks; we’ve been out on a few runs with the Sudbury Corvette club as well as many more on our own and the car has behaved flawlessly – truly living up to my expectations.

It’s a strange dual-mannered Beast; with the power key off it’s fast, faster than possibly any other car I have driven. With ‘full power’ it’s mind blowing, accelerating like a bullet all the way through the gears till you back off. It’s also takes a while adjusting to the red-line on the LT5 engine; when accelerating I find I have a tendency to short-shift. Most cars don’t have the rev limits that the ZR-1 has.

Reprogramming my brain to take into account the full potential is a task that is entirely NOT arduous. 😉

The ZR-1 had a number of modifications when I bought it Continue reading

When I ordered the speedometer correction gears from Marc Haibeck, I also took the opportunity to order his updated engine performance chip at the same time. This basically reprograms the ZR-1s brain, incorporating more sophisticated fuel mapping that GM included in later chips as well as leaning out the car a little to provide more power (at the cost of having to use premium gas).

It also disables the annoying CAGS, as well as making ‘Full Power’ the default option when the car starts. These things, along with several other modifications, are designed to make the car generally more effective. Although I work with computers everyday, it seems hard to imagine updating my car by simply plugging in a new chip!

I feel fairly confident about the process of installing the new chip, Continue reading

We’ve had the ZR-1 on the road a couple of weeks now and a ‘change oil’ light has appeared. With the ZR-1 this is largely a moot reminder. Most owners change oil every 5000 miles or so anyway, so the factory reminder is meaningless. That said, I’m a little paranoid when it comes to the car, so I decide I will make the change anyway and start my cycle immediately.

All I need is some oil (Mobil 1 High Mileage for the zinc, though the car isn’t high mileage), an oil filter, and the necessary trays etc for draining. The oil turned out to be no problem at all, in fact Canadian Tire had an offer on, so I took advantage and stocked up (it’s rather expensive stuff!). Then came the procurement of a suitable oil filter. Continue reading

After we bought our ZR-1 we thought it would be nice to join the local ‘vette club. A bond of mutual appreciation of the Corvette, events, camaraderie, shared tips etc. We’d met them several times before but hadn’t joined because the idea felt a little strange with not owning a Corvette.

This last Sunday was the first ‘official’ cruise of the season, a steady run to North Bay (two hours East of Sudbury), Cruise around town and then lunch at Average Joe’s on Trout Lake. A nice relaxed start to the ‘vette year. Continue reading

Although the C4 Corvette was a world beater at the time it was released, sadly the inevitable march of time changes things. Twenty plus years is a long time in the auto industry.

That’s not to say that C4s should be dismissed – as some newer ‘vette owners and associations (and indeed many manufacturers) would like to. A good C4 can probably still kick the ass of 95% of the cars out on the streets.

Nevertheless, time brings improvements, so what, if anything can be done if you’re an ardent fan of the C4 but still want to play with the newer ‘vettes? Continue reading

After several weeks of agonising, waiting for the weather to break somewhat predictably we managed to jump through the last few hoops needed to make the ZR-1 finally fully legal.

First of all we needed to get the vehicle safety inspected. This was largely a formality, because the car is a ’91 and being over fifteen years old is exempt from the RIV program and needs no modifications to be legal here in Canada.

Down we trooped to Canadian Tire to get the official sanction on the vehicle where we were greeted with a great deal of jokes about ‘having to keep it for the weekend’ and so on. I also wasn’t happy about the compulsory 4km test drive that they needed to do – a ‘crappy tire’ guy driving my ZR-1? Continue reading

I just took delivery of my Corvette ZR-1 last night. What a fantastic feeling to think that it’s finally here after all these years of dreaming.

The event itself was a bit of a suprise. I contacted the shipping company at around lunch time and was told it would be next week as they didn’t have a transporter coming up this way till then. Then at about 4.30pm I got a call and the guy says “I’m delivering your Corvette, I’ll be there about 8.30!”

Ten out of ten for nice suprises, but -1000 for customer contact skills. Also to make things worse, the storage facility I am going to use till Spring closes at 7pm.

So at the appointed time I go out to meet the transporter at a nameless Husky gas station on Highway 17. It’s pitch black and -7C, I have knots in my stomach from excitement and worry and I feel like a stolen car dealer – now where did I leave my ski mask?

The first thing I see as we pull up is the distinctive wide rear of the ZR-1, I’ve thought about these cars and ‘studied’ them so much I barely have to glance at it to recognise the shape. It’s dirty, filthy in fact, covered in road grime and gunk, barely recognisable as the car I saw a few weeks ago. But it doesn’t matter, it’s mine and I’m about to drive the King of the Hill. The Beast. Continue reading

Okay… had to happen I guess. We have a problem, not of the Houston variety.

When I bought the ZR-1 we did an exchange of the car title (ownership record) and money via mine and the sellers respective banks. This was all well and good, protects people from possible problems etc. All nice and clever and simple.

Except, as I mentioned in a previous post, it meant I ended up with the title and it needed to stay with the car for import purposes. Couldn’t be a copy, has to be the original.

So I went to my post office, said “I need to send this to the US fast and secure.” the Canada Post lady said I needed to use their xpresspost delivery and it would cost $14. Seems a lot of money I think but what the hell, I want it done quick. After sealing the title inside the envelope and filling in everything, paying my money etc. she then adds ‘It will take 6 working days, and tomorrow doesn’t count.”

Why Wednesday doesn’t count as a working day for Canada Post is a mystery. I’m not happy about this, 6 days isn’t what I would call ‘fast’ for delivery to a destination I can drive to in 8 hours. Unfortunately by now I’d paid my money, sealed everything up and didn’t feel I have any choice any more.

So here we are, over a week later and the letter still hasn’t got to the destination. I’m tracking it online and it apparently crossed over to the US on the 9th, it’s now the 15th. Now, slow is one thing, but 6 days to travel the hours drive from the border to the destination?

At this rate it would have been quicker to send it by pony express – using dead ponies!

Naturally I phoned Canada Post to see what was happening. The helpful man on the other end of the line informs me that all mail is now routed through New York due to “Homeland Security”. And what has just happened to New York?

Umpteen feet of snow… So the title is stuck in a snow drift, somewhere…

If I had hair, I’d probably be tearing it out right about now.

There’s been a lot of talk on the ZR-1 forum and others about the removal of Zinc from motor oil, specifically Mobil 1 and the potential detrimental effects on the LT-5 and other Corvette/high performance engines. Opinions have varied and I’m certainly no expert so I decided to do the obvious – I asked Mobil through their support line. The response was –

The new ILSAC GF-4 motor oils (10W30 and lower viscosities) do have reduced (0.08%) ZDDP in the formulation for longer longevity of the catalyst converter and system. This is not a problem on newer vehicle designs that utilize the roller cam, valve train technology however, if you have flat tappet cam, valve train technology you generally want higher ZDDP levels. Mobil1 15W50’s, Mobil1 diesel motor oils, Mobil1 motorcycle motor oils and Mobil1 High Mileage 10W30 and 10W40 have high ZDDP levels and would be the best choices for these engines.”

I also found some good online resources discussing this issue and additives in general –…ech/index.html

Hopefully this will help people make an informed decision.

The deed is finally done!

After all this time I have finally bought a ZR-1.

The vehicle is currently in Michigan and has 33000 miles on it, the bodywork is almost flawless and so is the underneath. It has a custom exhaust and wheels, but comes with all the original parts (including the original 1991 tires!) and even has the original window sticker (original price $66000!)

The previous owners have really kept the car in amazingly good condition and a big thank you goes out to all of them.

1991 Corvette ZR-1
Pictures Here

Of course, the story is not quite that simple. It never is it seems :-) – in this instance the car is in the US and I’m in Canada, so now I have to go through the importing process.

My first thought was that I would drive it back Continue reading