These two American performance giants have been glossed over too much today.
Back in the day, MotorWeek predicted the 1990 C4 Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette and Corvette ZR1 would be sought-after vehicles among collectors. The car show even went so far as to say that out of all the American cars from the 80s and 90s which would match the influence the Duesenberg had in the 1920s, C4 Corvettes would be it. Out of those, the C4 Callaway Twin Turbo and ZR1 would be the price leaders. Check out the video accompanying this article if you don’t believe it.
Much maligned by critics today, the C4 ‘Vette perhaps doesn’t get quite the respect MotorWeek would’ve hoped for by 2020. However, there are indications as time marches on it’s being taken more seriously by collectors, especially the ZR1.
It’s easy to see why the C4 ZR1 is so sought after today. The fabled King of the Hill used an LT5 350ci V8 Lotus designed, which certainly added to its mystique. With a dual overhead cam setup, it was an oddity. As they say, the proof is in the pudding and with 385-horsepower on tap that was enough to make enthusiasts believers. A 6-speed manual certainly helped.
The attraction of the Corvette ZR-1 went even deeper, thanks to the wider rear to accommodate wider tires. Squared-off taillights made it quickly distinguishable from other C4s. An FX3 package added Selective Ride Adjustment, letting the driver select the suspension stiffness, a major innovation for back then.
Callaway was at the top of its game in 1990, as clearly evidenced with the C4 Twin Turbo. It looks more aggressive than the ZR1, but the sports car is about more than just flash. The 5.7-liter V8 gets some different internals and a twin-turbo system, pushing output to a lofty 390-hp and an earth-shattering 570 lb.-ft. of torque.
While the ZR1 was a quick car for its time, Callaway was able to tune the C4 Twin Turbo so it was slightly quicker. Enthusiasts with plenty of money had to make a tough decision back then, as do well-heeled collectors today when comparing the two. As MotorWeek noted with a certain amount of glee, both cars outperformed the Ferrari Testarossa, so keep that in mind before disparaging the C4.