ZR-1 Corvette Collection - Full House

Wheeling And Dealing: Bill Martin's ZR-1 Corvette Collection

Greg Aleck Mar 9, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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Even though he has no favorites of his four ZR-1s, Bill's lovely wife Daryl calls the black/black '93 her Corvette; plus it goes nicely with her blond hair.

"I called my local Chevrolet dealer and got them to check the availability of the LT5 motors. They found out that GM was selling 75 of the LT5s at $15,000 a copy, and I ordered one," explained Bill. "Well the engine came in, and I asked them to check to see if there were any more left. About six months later I got word there were a couple left, and I ordered another. You know, I checked back in late 2002 and there were none left; these things are priceless now."

Bill continued, "Not long after I got the last motor, I was talking to Aaron Scott, the LT5 specialist from Cummingsville, Georgia. I asked him if he knew where I could get a new six-speed ZF gearbox. Well, to my surprise, he said 'I'm looking at one.' Apparently a gentleman from Jacksonville, Florida, had sent it to Aaron to sell. So I called him up and I bought it from him for $5,500. It was a set of spares for both cars."

Now on the lookout for his next ZR-1, Bill wanted a yellow one, but finding one was proving more difficult than the first two. It seems that yellow is the most popular color of the ZR-1s, so not many are on the market. Skeeter Blanton of Valdosta, Georgia, the "godfather" of the ZR-1s, was enlisted in the search.

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The impressive look of the ZR-1 engine is only a hint of the true horsepower contained within. When introduced in 1990, it overwhelmed the enthusiast press and public alike.

"I don't remember exactly how I first got introduced to Skeeter, but he knew a doctor who lived in the Sarasota, Florida, area who had a yellow '95. Well, he didn't want to sell," said Bill. "As it turned out, Skeeter had seen the car close up, and it was a beautiful car, perfect in every aspect, with both tops (hard and glass). But it didn't have a catalytic converter; it had been replaced with a bolt-in 3-inch stainless steel pipe. After a couple of weeks, the doctor and I agreed on a fair price ($47,000); then my son and I went down to pick it up.

"After we got the car back home, I thought to myself, I really want this car complete (with the catalytic converters), so I called Chevrolet about getting two converters for the car," Bill continued. "They wanted $800 each for them; but let's face it-if I waited, the price would probably go up or I might not be able to find any, so I ordered two."

Once again, in mid-2002, Bill "felt the need" for something a little different. To complete his "four-of-a-kind" collection of ZR-1s, he was looking for a red-on-red '95.

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Bill's ZR-1s are in showroom condition with perfect interiors. The ZR-1 interior was state-of-the-art, luxuriously covered with leather seating surfaces.

"When I started looking for the red-on-red '95, the first two I saw got away from me (one in Tennessee and one in Florida), so I called Skeeter; and, go figure, he knew somebody with one," said Bill.

"The car that Skeeter found was just what I was looking for. It had minor porting and polishing of the intake runners and the plenum chamber, along with a heat shield installed between the plenum and injector ports," explained Bill. "It also had a Corsa after-cat exhaust system in place of the stock system.

"It took two or three weeks for the owner and I to agree on the price of $39,000. The car had 19,126 miles on it when I got it, but it also had the original window sticker. This thing sold for nearly $100,000 new; now, granted, $20,000 of that was a so-called 'dealer acquisition fee.' You know, one dealer doesn't like the color, and they had to get it from another dealer; but I can't believe a car costing $100,000!"

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