The $100,000 Corvette


No, Jay Leno did not modify this Corvette to get the price over $100,000. This is a factory-made — though in small numbers; only 2,000 are expected to be built — 2009 Corvette ZR-1 that was introduced at the 2008 Detroit auto show. It packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine with a lot of horsepower — 628 horses, to be exact. And it will cost you $103,300.

Everything about the ZR-1 has been changed to handle that power, from the six-speed manual transmission to carbon-ceramic brakes. Options include chrome wheels ($2,000) and an interior package that adds sport seats, side airbags, Bose audio and a navigation system ($10,000). Add on the gas-guzzler tax of $1,700 and the destination charge, and you’re looking at a $117,000 Corvette.

Now, I’ve tested the little brother to the ZR-1, the Z06, with its 505 hp. You could barely find a road that could contain that car. These extra horses will really need to find a track to be enjoyed even a tiny bit, and we doubt anyone will get near the 205 mph it can reach, even at an airstrip. If Chevy somehow made the ZR-1 half as livable as the Z06, though, then it could be an alluring car for speed freaks and weekend track regulars.

I just don’t think people shopping for $100,000 near-exotics would choose the ZR-1 over an Audi R8 or Porsche 911 Turbo.

By David Thomas | June 18, 2008 | Comments (17)
Tags: Chevrolet


I'd take the Corvette, german cars are to complicated.

David S.

Get real! The vette will walk all over the competition in all the categories.


Ahhh... I think there is a market for a $100K corvette, I can certainly see a Texas oilman buying one of these simply for the Corvette nameplate. And besides, from a performance standpoint, its got a lot more potent engine than the offerings from Audi and such... even if it isn't as posh as their offerings.


Actually, with all of the available options listed here:

...the price could top $120,000 and that doesn't take into account the +$100,000 some dealers are planning on tacking on to the selling price!

There's also a great video over at VetteTube showing the assembly process of a 2009 ZR1:


I like this car and the concept behind it, but with the 10K add on for a few options that most manufacturers include in their upper echelon, it appears as though GM wanted the car to far exceed the 100K mark.

Amuro Ray

Seriously, the market for this car is super small. When u are talking 'bou a $100K vehicle, u better have MULTI-million dollars in cash or in your bank, and NOT as an asset (like when you own a $1 mil house but still paying mortgage on it, or just own the house free and clear...period, because you still have no $ unless you've sold your house or refinance it). I'll take all of the commentors here as BS or as a grain of salt when they said, "sure, I"ll buy one," without disclosing their real financial asset. For me, I've 3/4 mil of asset, and enough money in the bank to buy more than 1 of this, but will I be able to AFFORD one? Nope. Maybe in another 20-30 years. But by then, even if my age and finance can handle it, will I buy one? Nope! Brands like Porsche, Masareti, even Ferrari, are much BETTER in terms of wealth reflection than a Chevy. Has nothing to do with the car. But just the name itself shows what level of society you are in.

Truly wealthy people care nothing about "wealth reflection". . If they like something, they buy it. Besides, Corvette is a legendary nameplate, not a run of the mill chevy- for the people that do care about status symbols. Even at this price, this car is still a bargain and the General is probably still not making a profit on it.


Amuro Ray

Broq, from your post, I can tell right away that you don't know much 'bou the wealthy class.

The word BARGAIN is not of consideration. In fact, it makes the merchandise CHEAP!

Seriously, look at MOST of the wealthy people. No, not car freaks wealthy people like Jay Leno, but weathly people . They have reached a level that $$$ is not a concern. When they can "afford" a $100K Corvette, they can definitely afford a Ferrari or even a Lambo. That's my pt. When you can afford just the Corvette - that's not "afford" - that's "buy" - and that's NOT wealthy, which is like my case there. Big difference!


Damn, I would get the GT-R and have left over cash to mod it.

620hp RWD? No, thank you.

The ZR1 was never intended to be a status symbol for the rich; it's a track toy for the wealthy enthusiast.

There ARE some people who can afford a $100k car but aren't mega-rich and can't afford a $200k car. There are plenty of people who have accumulated a lot of wealth by making wise decisions and not wasting money on expensive products just because of the cachet they may carry. These people will try to get the most for their money no matter how much they spend.

To an enthusiast the brand doesn't matter. In fact many love being able to beat an expensive exotic with with something much cheaper. If the ZR1 can beat the GT-R Chevy should find plenty of buyers.

With that said I'd still rather have an R8, or an Aston Martin Vantage - not that I can afford any of these.


Side airbags are part of a $10,000 option package? Don't all the competitors include them as standard?


Segfault: Side airbags add weight, you don't want that when your in LeMans, Sebring, Lime Rock, Road America, etc. etc. etc.

Best Vette yet. (and if the oil crunch continues, probably the best Vette ever)

It's a collector's item. Only 2000 will be made? Is that total or only for this year? If it's total, then don't worry about the price, they're already sold.

jack s

I don’t know about the optional sport seats listed for the ZR1 only, but base Vette's have the worst possible seats imaginable. I owned a 2000 Corvette and I hated the seats and after a year sold the car because of it (I thought I could overlook the comfort issue as I enjoyed the rest of the car but I was wrong).

I test drove a base 07 model last year and the seats were still miserable. Cheaply made, no comfort whatsoever in the lower pads, and after 10 minutes I was aching to get out.

Compare them to a M3 or Audi A5 where the seats are like a jet fighter in design and obviously the result of solid engineering and sizable $ spent on development. In many ways the front seats are the most important part of a car; if you cannot ever get comfortable (and that’s new – wait a few years when the thin bottom padding starts to wear down even further) it does not matter how much you enjoy the car’s performance as you will never be happy behind the wheel (at least I wasn't).

That is the classic GM approach of rental car like designed interiors where even in a $110K car there is still cheap feeling plastics everywhere and the worst possible seats.

Its amazing that more tester’s reviews don’t mention how unacceptable the interior is for a car in this price class, especially the Kia-like standard seats (the poor grade of leather on the car I tested was also unacceptable).

Amuro Ray,
Maybe you should actually read what my post says before commenting on it. I never said ANYTHING about people being able to afford just a corvette. I never even typed that word. I said that if you are truly wealthy and you want something, you'll get it. This car has the looks to atract people who could care less about the price.
My second point was that the Corvette nameplate is prestigious enough to comand that price anyway- it's not like some models haven't been selling near that anyway. Its a bargain because there are people who invest lots of money into theirs to gain extra performance who may even spend more.



I really hope that GM did a good job on this one.

I wanted to love and buy Z06. I test drove it twice but in vain. It is soooo cheap inside I am so disappointed with the car. In one of them (NEW CAR) color of the plastic cover on transmission tunnel does not even match color of the plastic on dashboard. One of the rims had already silver plating pilled off. We are talking about $70k NEW CAR for God sake! Seats in Z06 are so not up to task. They are flat and do not hold you well.

I drive my friend 911 Turbo (996) and difference is day and night. Quality inside out is fantastic. And as my friend put it you spend most of your time inside the car. Also, I test drove Exige S and liked it much more than Z06. Maybe it is my European heritage but it seems to me that for $70k you should get much more than a big engine and transmission tunnel that gets so hot that you can have some serious burns on your skin.

GTR would be another option but with ridiculous premiums ($25k - $30k) that dealers ask I crossed it from my list.

I really hope that GM did better job on ZR1. Not that I would be able to afford it, but I have read very good things about the car. It seems that they put so much work in the car.



I really doubt that the Chevy dealers will not have mark ups for the ZR-1.

So, the GT-R still costs less, and kicks the behind of ZR-1 at the lights.


That car is nice i like the 628 hp i own a corvette if i had the money i would buy that car i love power.

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