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Illustrated Corvette Series No. 94 - 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette
When the anemic '78 Corvette anniversary model came out, no one could have imagined how good things would be for the Corvette's 40th anniversary. When you consider the Corvette's low volume sales figures, it's amazing that GM kept the car in the Chevrolet lineup. But the improvements to the C4 during the '80s and early '90s were so impressive, Chevrolet dished out a delicious, special edition for the 40th anniversary of America's only true sports car.
To avoid the feeding frenzy of the '78 25th Anniversary Indy 500 Pace Car, Corvette planners simply decided to make the 40th Anniversary edition an option available on all three Corvette models--the coupe, convertible, and ZR-1. Although a few collectors complained, it was a good move for customers. A total of 6,749 40th Anniversary models were built for 1993. Compare those figures to the '88 35th Anniversary figures of 2,050, and to the 6,502 for the '78 25th Anniversary Indy Pace Car replica. Many people bought the '78 Pace Cars and paid nearly double the price, thinking their "collectible Corvette" would skyrocket in value. Perhaps by '93, the public's attitude to collectible cars had become more realistic.
The first thing you notice about the 40th Anniversary Corvette is its stunning, metallic Ruby Red paint. This paint was only available with the 40th Anniversary option. The rest of the details just sweetened the package. Included were Ruby Red leather sport seats, a power driver's seat, and the special wheel center trim caps, embroidered headrests and wheel center trim using the 40th Anniversary logo. Convertible editions got a Ruby Red-colored soft top.
There were several mechanical improvements for the '93 model. The engine was quieter due to new heat shields, new polyester valve covers, and a modified exhaust cam lobe. The front wheels were reduced in size to 8.5x17 with P255/45ZR17 tires while the rear tires were increased to P285/40ZR17.
The red-meat-performance news was with the nose-bleed-expensive ZR-1 option. With a few old fashioned hot rod tricks, the ZR-1's power was bumped from 375 to 405 hp. The heads were ported and polished with a new 4-degree valve overlap, for slightly less exhaust back pressure. The block now had 4-bolt main bearing caps and a modified oil pan with race car baffles, capable of controlling oil in 1.5g turns. The piston assembly was lightened and the injectors were opened up. The ZR-1 now used platinum-tipped spark plugs and Mobil 1 synthetic oil. It was a lot of little "hot rodder" details that added up to an extra 30 hp, allowing the ZR-1 to do 0-60 in 4.49 seconds, the quarter-mile in 13.03 at 112.2 mph, 0.95 on the skidpad, and a top speed of 179 mph!
All that for an extra $31,683 on top of the base price of $34,595. This made the ZR-1 option '93 Corvette the most expensive Vette yet, at a whopping $66,278. In '93, 448 ZR-1s were sold, of which 245 units were equipped with RPO Z25, the 40th Anniversary option. With the adjustable suspension option, cruise control, and the Bose stereo CD sound system, the ZR-1 could be a race track screamer or a GT cruiser. A fully loaded ZR-1 could cost over $72,000!
The '93 Corvette was the first car to use the new GM passive keyless entry system. The system had many interesting functions, but was tricky to operate, and replacement keys were very expensive. For club racers, the $2,045 Z07 suspension option now included 9.5x17 wheels with P275/40ZR17 tires on the front and rear. All this made the standard Corvette look like a performance bargain. The base price was up $90 to $34,595 for the coupe and up $1,050 to $41,195 for the convertible. Sales were up slightly in '93 by 1,111 units, for a total of 21,590. But, the accolades coming in more than made up for the okay sales. Besides, the C5 model had just been approved for development. - K. Scott Teeters