Lotus used it to develop the LT5 V8.
Long before a car hits showroom floors, engineers and designers have to determine what they’re building and how they’re going to build it. Prototypes proliferate as the car slowly comes together, though those test vehicles often end up in a scrap heap afterward. That’s what supposedly happened to a 1988 Chevy Corvette ZR-1 “King of the Hill” Prototype, except this one was rescued, and it recently fetched $75,000 on Cars and Bids.
“This is an incredibly special car,” reads the listing, and it’s true. The ZR-1 of the 1990s wanted to compete with the big boys from Italy, and the Corvette found success and a following. It’s rare in its own right, but rarely does a prototype come up for auction, let alone one for an iconic Corvette. According to the listing, Lotus used the car during the development of the LT5 V8, and it’s one of two remaining “King of the Hill” prototypes left. The odometer read approximately 59,200 miles, though its true mileage is unknown.
Gallery: 1988 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 "King of the Hill" Prototype
Powering the prototype is an experimental LT5 Phase 2 5.7-liter DOHC 32-valve V8. The output isn’t known, though the original ZR-1 produced 380 horsepower (290 kilowatts) and 370 pound-feet (501 Newton-meters) of torque. The power routes through a six-speed manual to the rear wheels. Whoever bought the car also has the opportunity to purchase an LT5 Phase 1 V8 too.
The Medium Metallic Blue with the blue leather interior is an eye-catching combination. However, it’s not a pristine show car. Inside, the radio and heater don’t work, and there are some scratches on the center console. That can be easily overlooked and likely fixed, too, for something so exclusive and unique. The car came with a boatload of documentation that chronicled its journey. Papers included engine assembly instructions, the factory build sheet, and the project report.