A subtle facelift gave the 1991 Corvette a smoother nose and
front-fender "strakes" instead of gills.
for 1991, Chevrolet made the "King of the Hill" look even more like a
commoner. While the ZR-1 retained unique doors and rear fenders to accommodate
its 11-inch-wide rear wheels and tires, the standard Corvette coupe and
convertible received a ZR-1-type tail, with similar convex styling and four
rectangular taillamps. This left only the slightly wider rear flanks, a
roof-mounted center stop-lamp (other models now integrated it into the rear
fascia) and a single badge to distinguish a ZR-1 from a base coupe.
The 1991 Corvette's back panel featured
squared-up taillights in the same
fashion as the ZR-1, which disappointed
fans who wanted the ZR-1 to
have a unique look.
stealing the ZR-1's thunder, Dodge had announced that its all-new Viper would
debut for 1992, offering some of the most aggressive race-car looks to date
(inspired by Carroll Shelby's famed Ford Cobras of the 1960s), wrapped around a
mammoth V-10 engine that produced a stunning 400 bhp. To be priced roughly on a
par with the ZR-1, the Viper promised well-heeled sports-car enthusiasts a
considerably more expressive way to spend their performance-car dollars.
As a result, ZR-1 sales would fall by a third for 1991, down to 2,044 units; nowhere near the planned maximum capacity of 4,000-8,000 cars per year Chevrolet had hoped for. Buyers were finally paying more realistic prices, as dealers were losing their ability to command a hefty premium for the ZR-1.
more, it was determined that an all-new Corvette, originally anticipated for
1995, would still be several years away. GM brass delayed the program until as
late as 1998 due to the automaker's flaccid financial situation. At one point,
Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins was even brought before GM brass to
defend whether the division should continue to build the car at all. Though it
was agreed that the Corvette would and should continue as the division's
flagship, it had become painfully evident that Chevrolet still wouldn't have
the financial wherewithal to produce a flashy mid-engine model. After all,
sales were still a fraction of their all-time highs from the mid-1980s, and
even the ZR-1's heady introduction hadn't lifted the car's fortunes.
was not all bad news for the Corvette in 1991, however. All models received a
smoother, slimmer nose with wraparound parking/cornering/fog lights, wider
bodyside moldings that were now body colored, and horizontal front-fender
strakes that replaced the previous gill-like louvers. Though they remained the
same size (9.5 inches wide) as before, aluminum wheels on the standard coupes
and convertibles were restyled for '91.
Inside, a new power-delay feature allowed the audio system and power windows to operate after the ignition key was switched off until the driver's door was opened, up to a maximum of 15 minutes. In addition, a "low oil" indicator was added to the driver information center, and all models were pre-wired to accommodate a cellular telephone or other 12-volt accessory. On ZR-1s, the "full power" indicator light was relocated to alongside the valet-selection key.
combining the previous Z51 performance handling package with the FX3 selective
ride and handling option was the new RPO Z07. At $2,155, the new package
included all heavy-duty suspension components to offer a choice between a
"firm" and "very firm" ride; previously, if the Z51 and FX3
were combined some standard suspension components were retained, allowing a
choice between a "soft" and "firm" ride. Limited to coupes
only, the Z07 package was intended for enthusiasts and racers.
Exhaust systems were also revised for '91, and included larger muffler sections with a more finely tuned exhaust note and lower back pressure; though this was intended to boost performance, power ratings for the L98 engine remained the same as before.
was the final year for the dealer-installed Callaway Twin-Turbo package, which
was ordered by 62 hearty individuals at an additional $33,000 a copy.
Meanwhile, Reeves Callaway introduced a Corvette conversion of his own for '91,
the twin-turbo Callaway Speedster convertible. Its front-end design was
reminiscent of Callaway's 1998 Sledgehammer but with an overall more
aerodynamic profile. Its L98 used two turbochargers to produce 450 hp and 600
lbs/ft of torque. O.Z. brand racing wheels dressed up the exterior, and
Connolly leather was applied to the cabin. Prices started at $107,000, and a
grand total of 10 would be built.
The World Challenge racing series would continue for 1991, though Chevrolet would no longer build specially modified Corvettes to run in the series; all performance modifications were now the responsibilities of the individual race teams.Sales for the 1991 model year followed the ZR-1's downward trend, and declined to 20,639 units, with coupes outselling convertibles by about a three-to-one ratio.
Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:
|1984 Corvette||1985 Corvette ||1986 Corvette |
|1987 Corvette ||1988 Corvette ||1989 Corvette|
|1990 Corvette||1991 Corvette||1992 Corvette |
|1993 Corvette||1994 Corvette||1995 Corvette|
|1996 Corvette |
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