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Angermann, Barbara; Hoffland, Shelly (ed.) / Wisconsin engineer
Volume 93, No. 1 (October 1988)

Holmi, Peter
The Corvette they call the king of the hill,   pp. 11-13

Page 11

- by Peter Holmi
Imagine this. You
economy. However, if
finally get the chance to
position yourself behind
the steering wheel of the
1989 ZR1, the "King of the
Hill" Corvette. The
engineering that went into
the $50,000 plus super car
has transformed a "Plain
Jane" four wheel transpor-
tation device into a finely
tuned machine capable of
nearly 200 mph and 0 to 60
mph acceleration times in
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the driver accelerates
very quickly the trans-
mission allows gears two
and three to be used,
optimizing the accelera-
tion potential of the car.
The computer control
senses whether the
engine is partially
warmed up, the speed is
between 10 and 19 mph,
and the driver is using
one third or less of the
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region. The old phrase,
"You can tell the men from
the boys by the price of their toys", runs
through your head. Your next thought
is, "I envy the men who can afford a toy
like this." With the new engine, trans-
mission and other goodies, the wonder-
ful people at General Motor's Chevrolet
Motor Division have created a toy that is
only exceeded by a very small group of
six-figure-plus priced exotic cars from
The 1989 ZR1 Corvette has the all
new LT5 engine. The only similarities
between the LT5 and the standard engine
are the 350 cu. in. displacement and the
900 V-8 engine configuration. The LT5
engine has four valves per cylinder and
four chain driven overhead cams. At 385
horsepower and 370 foot pounds of
torque, the engine pulls the Corvette
from 0 to 100 mph in just over ten
seconds. This engine also gets 1.5 miles
per gallon better than the standard
moderate performance engine while
maintaining the EPA vehicle emission
The ZR1 option also includes the
new ZF six speed manual transmission.
The German built transmission features a
unique computer-aided gear selection
shift gate. Under normal driving
conditions, gears two and three are
"locked out" forcing the driver to shift
from first to fourth. Of course, this
feature is designed for maximum fuel
tnrottle s travel to
determine if second and
third gear should be
"locked out". The sixth gear is used for
maximum fuel efficiency while cruising.
At 70 mph the engine is turning only
1600 rpm. The top speed of 180 mph
actually occurs in fifth gear at approxi-
mately 6500 rpm.
The LT5 Engine
The LT5 engine was designed by
GM's Lotus Engineering subsidiary and
is manufactured by GM's Mercury
Marine affiliate. The original design
goals were 400 horsepower and 400 foot
pounds of torque in a engine that would
fit into the existing Corvette engine com-
Wisconsin Engineer, October 1988

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