C6 fever has struck. For many, the '05 will be the hottest Corvette yet. But not for all in Corvetteland.
For some, the ZR-1-that Lotus-developed, dual overhead cam Corvette of the Dave McLellan era-still reigns as King Of The Hill in the hearts and minds of members of the ZR-1 Net (www.zr1.net). Others prefer the LT5.
For this reason, a dedicated group of 200 or so members of four national Corvette clubs will congregate at the National Corvette Museum for the 10th Anniversary ZR1/C4 Gathering May 12-14.
David Bright, alias "Mom" on the zr1.net site, explained, "The ZR-1 Registry had one event in 1995, and 1997 was the first year I started the event as a ZR-1 Net event. Over time, to try to bring in more people, we decided to open up generically to more C4s ('84-'96 model-year Corvettes). Rather than just a ZR-1 event, we started calling it a ZR-1/C4 Gathering. The 40th Anniversary Registry became a cosponsor. The Grand Sport Registry became a cosponsor. Team ZR-1 became a cosponsor. Then the LT5 Registry also became a cosponsor of the event, in order to bring more people together."
C4s are still in their formative years of development as collector Corvettes. The Gathering, the longest-running annual show at the NCM, appears to be the spearhead of that movement. Logically, enthusiasm starts at the highest levels of collecting, with the ZR-1s, Grand Sports, 40th anniversary Ruby Reds, Callaways, LT4s, the LT1s, and convertibles.
At this year's event, chances are if the C4 isn't a special edition, the owner will have modified/personalized his Corvette. Hash marks on the front fenders, a Grand Sport graphic, are to be expected everywhere.
John "Hutch" Hutchinson and his wife, Patti, of the Grand Sport Registry passed out miniature hash marks to apply to name badges at the banquet Saturday night. Last year, Hutch put the crowd in stitches when he offered to loan a can of white Sears "Weatherbeater" to paint a white stripe, a la the GS, over the top of their ZR-1s. Evidently, there's a friendly rivalry between GS and ZR-1 owners. David Bright followed up Hutch's greeting when he told the crowd he was delighted the Grand Sports had shown up to be their chase vehicles.
Rain at last year's event canceled the drag-racing competition, the most popular feature at any Gathering. To entertain the crowd, co-organizer Wendell Strode and his staff prepared a choice assortment of historic ZR-1s and other C4s inside. The Chevrolet Theater was another good place to be that rainy afternoon as Gordon Killebrew hosted his "Troubleshooting Your ZR-1/C4" seminar. Here, you could learn the vagaries of "actuators" and have literally any tech question about the four-cam LT5 answered in depth.
Marc Haibeck hosted the "LT5 Performance Upgrade Paths" tech session. Paul Schnoes and Ed O'Keefe hosted a special seminar titled "Building the C4/ZR-1."
This year, the ZR-1/C4 Gathering will honor the 10th anniversary of production of the last ZR-1. David Bright's hope is that everybody with a C4 will catch on to this show's viability.