The Z06 should have remained the 'Vette's flagship.
With 755 horsepower on tap from a supercharged V8 engine, the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 raised more than a few eyebrows when it made its global debut last month at the Dubai Auto Show. You'd think it was a moment Chevrolet secretly looked forward to for years, but one of the company's top executives admitted the range-topper wasn't originally planned.
"We did the C7 in panic coming out of bankruptcy," remembered Tadge Juechter, the Corvette's chief engineer, in an interview with GM Authority.
He pointed out not every generation of the 'Vette has received the ZR1 emblem so building a new one wasn't a priority or even a necessity. Instead, his team focused on bringing the seventh-generation model to the market in a timely manner and expanding the line-up with the Z06 model.
As technology advanced and finances improved, Juechter's team began reconsidering the Z06's position as the ultimate evolution of the C7.
"We started working with our suppliers, we started doing some experiments, we actually built some cars with big aero wings," he noted. "The technology marches on, and eventually we were able to put together a package ... and a program that made business sense for the company."
The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 starts at $119,995 with a fixed roof and $123,995 as a convertible. It's the most extreme street-legal Corvette yet, but it might lose that distinction when (or, if you're skeptical, if) Chevrolet moves the engine behind the seats.