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1989 Corvette Art Prints

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1984 Corvettes / 1985 Corvettes / 1986 Corvettes / 1987 Corvettes / 1988 Corvettes

1989 Corvettes / 1990 Corvettes / 1991 Corvettes / 1992 Corvettes / 1993 Corvettes

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Illustrated Corvette Series No. 159
1989 ZR-1 Snake Skinner Corvette
To read the story, CLICK HERE.

Illustrated Corvette Series No. 79
1989 Corvette
To read the story, CLICK HERE.
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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Illustrated Corvette Series-II No. 159
1989 ZR-1
Snake Skinner Corvette

Illustrated Corvette Series II No. 79
1989 Corvette
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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Laser-Etched
Illustrated Corvette Series-II No. 159
1989 ZR-1
Snake Skinner Corvette

Laser-Etched
llustrated Corvette Series II No. 79
1989 Corvette
11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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Illustrated Corvette Series No. 80
1989 GTP Corvette Racer
To read the story, CLICK HERE.

1989 Corvette Coupe Profile
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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1985 - 1991 350 L98
ENG-8

Laser-Etched
1985 - 1991 350 L98
LZ-ENG-8
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 159 - 1989 ZR-1 Snake Skinner Corvette
"Suddenly It's 1963 Again!"

It was no secret in the late ‘80s that Chevrolet was developing a super-Vette. But when the 488ci V-10 Dodge Viper RT/10 debuted at the 1989 New York Auto Show, the Corvette guys didn’t know what hit them. For their part, Dodge product planners were completely open about their source of inspiration for the Viper: It was the minimalist ‘65 Shelby 427 Cobra. Suddenly, it was like 1963 all over again. This time, instead of the Z06 racer kit taking the Corvette to new heights in SCCA road racing, the upcoming ZR-1 was to be GM’s flagship performance car. Chevrolet and the media were calling the ZR-1 a “world-class supercar,” and in many ways, it was. But just like the Cobras from ‘63, the new Viper was a force to be reckoned with.

While the Viper was indeed a beautiful machine, it wouldn’t be available to the public until 1992, whereas the ZR-1 could be purchased as a ’90 model. Both vehicles were true sports cars, but the Viper was spartan, just like the Cobra before it. The Corvette, meanwhile, had evolved into a legitimate Grand Touring, or GT, car—a fast, powerful machine designed for long-distance performance driving. Nevertheless, Corvette development manager John Heinricy took a proactive stance by commissioning a lightweight ZR-1 engineering study—just in case a Viper-killer was needed. The ZR-1 also had another problem to deal with, in the form of the so-called “gas guzzler tax.”

Heinricy’s engineering study had two weight-reduction objectives. The ZR-1 was very close to being hit with the guzzler tax, something that was unacceptable to GM. Weight reduction would surely help the car’s mileage ratings. In the end, it turned out that the ZR-1’s fuel efficiency was saved through electronics. Beginning in 1989, all Corvettes were fitted with the Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) system, which required the driver to shift from First to Fourth gear in low-speed/low-throttle conditions.
The second objective of the study was a more personal one: to maintain Corvette’s performance supremacy. Remember, Vettes had been dominating the SCCA Showroom Stock Series and other class events for the past several years. The car was definitely the “Top Dog,” and plenty of contenders were primed to take it down several notches. Heinricy would have none of that.

The project used two of the leftover ‘89 ZR-1 pilot cars. Dubbed ZR-1 SS (for “Super Sport” or, more colorfully, “Snake Skinner”), the cars were first subjected to a weight-reduction regimen. All luxury items were removed, including the air conditioning, the Delco-Bose sound system, the low-tire-pressure warning system, and the spare tire. The power leather seats were replaced with cloth-covered manual buckets, and cool-looking cast-magnesium Dymags stood in for the standard ZR-1 wheels. The stock flywheel and bellhousing were replaced with a heavier dual-mass flywheel and a magnesium ‘housing. The above items removed about 250 pounds, dropping weight from 3,479 to approximately 3,229. The LT5 engine then received modified camshafts and Walker DynoMax mufflers to replace the stock exhaust hardware. This is how the car was first shown in late 1990.

By mid 1991 Snake Skinner had even more grunt under the hood. The LT5 engine now had ported heads, even-more-aggressive camshafts, a higher-volume plenum, and larger throttle-body barrels. Morrison four-into-one headers were added, and the resonators were removed. The stock 3.54:1 rear gears were replaced with a 3.91:1 gearset. While they were at it, engineers trimmed even more weight by replacing the rear glass with Plexiglas; the front end, meanwhile, received a new Kevlar hood. The headlights were removed and their covers riveted shut. Illumination came courtesy of a set of mini-quad lamps and turn signals from a Pontiac Grand Prix. A larger, baffled gas tank was installed to prevent fuel starvation. For some added visual differentiation, Corvette engineer Scott Leon added the four-louver vents from the Corvette aero kit, along with ‘92 LT1 exhaust outlets. The software for the FX3 Selective Ride & Handling option was modified, but the springs were unchanged. This caused the car to sit a little high due to the reduced weight. Between the modified LT5 and the removal of another 100 pounds, the ZR-1 SS was ready for some serious testing.

For its time, this 3,100-pound, 425hp ZR-1 was pretty heady stuff: 0-60 came up in just 3.87 seconds, compared with the stock car’s 4.4-second run. The quarter-mile time was 12.04 seconds at 122.2 mph, compared with the stocker’s 12.8 at 113.8.

Snake Skinner was eventually lightened to 2,700 pounds, after which Heinricy bettered the 427 Cobra’s 0-100-0 dash of 14 seconds with a scorching 12.8! But since the ZR-1 SS wasn’t a production car, the time wasn’t considered an official record. Imagine how cool it would have been if there had been a “light weight” option for the ZR-1 with the Aero body kit. Perhaps it could have even been called, “Grand Sport.”

In January 2009 Snake Skinner sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $176,000, while a less-developed version went for $73,700. Either way, two people now own one-of-a-kind R&D Corvettes that, in another time, would have been sent to the crusher.


Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 79 - 1989 Corvette
"Better Still"

Rumors were flying around Detroit about a new super-Corvette that Dave McLellan and his team were working on. But that didn’t mean that the production Corvette was being ignored. Far from it. The ‘89 Corvette saw a host of interesting upgrades and new features that made it a solid performer.

The 1989 Corvette was the last of the digital-dash Corvettes and considered by some to be the best of the “digital” Corvettes. Except for one new option, all improvements were under the skin. Sales were up 3,623 units to 26,412 for 1989, and the base price was up $2,056 to $31,545. The roadster had a $5,240 premium listing for $36,785. A loaded convertible cost over $43,000.

For roadster buyers who lived in colder areas, there was a new hardtop option. A hardtop hadn’t been seen on a Corvette since 1975. Of the 9,749 convertibles ordered in 1989, 1,573 had the ASC-produced $1,995 option. Weighing only 64 pounds, the urethane and fiberglass top included heated rear glass and a finished roof liner. The new top could be used on ‘86 to ‘88 roadsters. Under the hood, the fuel injection system had improved injector calibration for better fuel atomization. Horsepower stayed at 245.

The Doug Nash 4+3 transmission was replaced with the all-new ZF six-speed gearbox. The new unit was fully synchronized and used an internal rail shift mechanism. Engineers called it the “tiger-pussycat” because it was docile at low speeds, yet tough at highway speed. Option FX3, the Selective Ride and Handling Package, cost $1,695 but gave drivers three distinctive suspension settings for cushy cruising, or Corvette Challenge racer-like setting. This was the first mass-produced car to ever offer this kind of technology.

A much improved anti-theft system initiated a four-minute shutdown of the fuel pump and started if the standard starting procedure wasn’t used. It was so effective that insurance companies actually lowered Corvette rates.

The new $325 Low Tire Pressure Warning option informed the driver of tire underinflation. Expensive low-profile tires can look normal, yet be up to 40 percent low.

The’89 Corvette didn’t set any new records, but small improvements made the car an even better performance value. Car magazines gushed all over the car, calling it the “best Vette Yet!” Ah, but they didn’t really know what was ahead. - K. Scott Teeters


Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 80 - 1989 GTP Corvette Racer - "Unrealized Potential"

Race car development has always moved at a steady and swift pace. The best race cars become outdated, even though they might look like 200 mph machines while still sitting in the pits. Such was the case with the GTP Corvette. During the mid-to-late '80s. it was the hottest-looking, and often the best qualifying, car in the GTP series. But under its swoopy skin was an outdated chassis.

In the early '80s, Chevrolet wanted to promote their V-6 engine, so they installed one in a Lola T-600 car raced by the Interscope team of Ted Fields. The turbocharged Lola was a real rocket and showed serious promise. Chevrolet wanted some of this action, but the Lola didn't look anything like a Chevy. Needing brand identity, the Chevrolet styling group had Randy Wittine come up with a new front end that looked like the new C4 Corvette, but kept the rest of the Lola's aerodynamics. A full-size rolling car was shown in mid 1983 and got a lot of interest. Two Lola- commissioned cars were completed in March of 1984, but sat dormant for a year until Hendricks Motorsports and GM's Goodwrench signed on as sponsors in 1985. All told, the cars won two races and took seven pole positions. They were extremely fast, but very fragile.

The cars were originally designed in the late '70s for engines producing around 600 hp. The turbocharged V-6 Chevy engine made 1,200 hp! Consequently, everything was constantly being updated.

Aside from the brutish engine that the drivers loved, there was nothing extraordinary about the car. The rear suspension used a standard Indy-type pushrod shock system attached to the gearbox, and the front suspension was mounted to the monocoque Kevlar and aluminum honeycomb chassis. Cooling was always a problem and contributed to one of the cars completely burning to the ground in 1988.

In 1987, one of the cars was fitted with an active suspension setup from a Lotus Grand Prix car. The GTP Corvette was awesomely fast, and very expensive. But there was a problem with a hydraulic pump that Lotus knew about and didn't fix. The pump was replaced, but the car never raced again.

The Corvette GTP story was not unlike the SS Corvette and the Grand Sport. It should have been a solid winner, but it lacked the support and development time to really shine. - K. Scott Teeters


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