Category: 1990

CHEVROLET’S RESPONSE TO VIPER IS A ZR-1 SS PROTOTYPE

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Former GM Heritage Center Corvette Donated to Museum

In the late 80s, Chevrolet was not-so-secretly developing what some dubbed a ‘Super Vette.’ But at the 1989 New York Auto Show, it was the debut of the Dodge Viper RT/10, complete with a 488-cid V-10 engine that sent GM engineers on a new path to develop a ‘Viper-Killer.’ Dodge credited the ’65 Shelby 427 Cobra as the inspiration for the Viper, but the model wouldn’t be available until 1992.

By 1990, then Corvette Development Manager, John Heinricy, had three projects for his engineering team to tackle, which would affect future Corvettes:

1) Response to the Viper: The newest Corvette adversary would soon arrive, a car that was light weight, utilized simple technology, but wielded brutal power. Heinricy wanted to study ways to lighten their ZR-1, should Chevrolet need to “skin the snake.”

2) Drop the Pounds: New safety regulations added more weight to the Corvette, which in turn decreased fuel economy. With the gas-guzzler tax looming, GM faced reduced performance to make up the difference, and they couldn’t afford that either. Lightning the weight of the car would improve the speed and efficiency.

3) Ideas and Innovation: A new product would bring the team together and inspire new ideas from the development engineers.

With a common theme flowing between these ideas, it made sense to use the same car for development. A white non-saleable 1989 ZR-1, which had been used in Chevrolet’s 1990 model year media preview, was hand-picked (VIN 00081). It was one of only 84 production ZR-1s built in Bowling Green for evaluation, testing, media preview and photography. No 1989 ZR-1s were released for public sale initially, but several have since found their way into private hands.

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Classic Chevrolets burn to the ground on an HBO film set – Jonathon Ramsey @Autoblog

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Classic Chevrolets burn to the ground on an HBO film set

As car enthusiasts, we feel a special kind of horror watching other enthusiasts’ cars burn to the ground. That’s what happened last week to about a dozen 1990-model Chevrolets assembled for an HBO miniseries. The cable channel has adapted Wally Lamb’s book This Much I Know is True, part of which takes place in 1990. The production built a period-correct Chevrolet/Pontiac/Oldsmobile/Isuzu dealership in Elmersville, New York with the cars, trucks, and paperwork you’d have found at the time. After a three-alarm fire caught around 12:45 a.m. Thursday morning, nothing was left of the dealership and cars but burnt metal and wood, ashes, and smoke

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Related – Haunting images of cars caught in the California wildfires

General Motors’ EV1 was far ahead of its time Bill Vance @TimesColonist

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General Motors knew the electric automotive age was coming when it showed its Impact electric concept car in 1990. It was another step in the history of trying to promote a successful electric car, a quest going back to the infancy of the automobile.

While electrics and steam did enjoy brief popularity early in the 20th century, gasoline soon took over. The electric’s short driving range limited it largely to urban driving, and range is still an electric’s limitation.

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The last AMC: Jeep’s ZJ Grand Cherokee turns 25, Renault, Chrysler and an Assassination

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Hard to believe that the Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ effectively the last AMC vehicle before the Chrysler take is now 25 years old.

For those of you that haven’t heard of American Motors Corporation you can read about them here on Wikipedia 

Excellent article on the Jeep and it’s part in the takeover from Daniel Strohl at Hemmings here

An interesting side note to the end of AMC and the assassination of Georges Besse  November 17th, 1986 can be found here on Jalopnik.

Six months after the assassination of Besse AMC was sold to Chrysler.

Interesting advertising film about the Eagle Talon, one of the efforts from Chrysler to leverage the AMC name after the takeover.