An exceptionally rare example of the C3 Chevrolet Corvette is going up for auction, with this 1971 example not only being one of 12 ZR2 variants ever made, but also the last known ZR2 ever to be built. Last year, one of those 12 ZR2 models (and one of the two ZR2 convertibles) sold for a jaw-dropping $962,500, highlighting how desirable these particular ZR2s are.
The coupe featured here by Mecum Auctions has a more conservative estimate of "only" $475,000 to $600,000, but that's still big money when you consider that the ZR2 option - only available for the 1971 model year - retailed for just $1,741. If it hits $600k, it would be roughly six times the price of a new Corvette Z06.
The ZR2 benefitted from the ZR1 package which included equipment like power brakes, a unique suspension setup with new springs, and an aluminum radiator. Building on this, the ZR2 came with the LS-6 V8 that made 425 horsepower, paired to a M22 Rock Crusher close-ratio four-speed manual gearbox. Features like power steering, power windows, and a rear window demister - basically, anything that could negatively impact performance - were eliminated from the ZR2s. The effect of all these changes made the ZR2 the top-performing Corvette of its time.
This particular coupe is finished in Brands Hatch Green with a Dark Green interior, and the odometer reads just ten miles. The car was initially delivered new in Toronto, Canada, while a body-off restoration was completed years later in New York.
As a reflection of its rarity and period-correct presentation, this 'Vette ZR2 is highly regarded in the industry. It is Bloomington Gold Certified, a certification only attained by cars that appear as they would following "typical factory production." In fact, a car can only achieve this certification if it is either preserved or stored within 95% of its original factory condition.
Furthermore, this ZR2 was also displayed at the NCRS national convention and appeared at a special exhibit for the greatest Corvette generations in Michigan. The original warranty book and the GM of Canada build sheet are included in the sale.
While the ZR2 badge is now only associated with Chevy's off-road-focused pickups, it once signified the pinnacle of Corvette on-road performance, which is why this coupe has every chance of meeting its lofty estimate at the Indy auction that ends May 20.