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Thread: Joining the C4 crew

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Joining the C4 crew

    For years, I've always thought the C4 ZR1 was a really interesting car given the driveline and design that went into the package. Was something very unique at the time for a US manufacture to build, and really it wasn't until the Ford GT in 2005 that anyone did anything close. However, I always steered away a little bit for fear of the maintenance on the LT5, figuring with the complexity of the design and quantity built that parts would be very scarce. Late last year I started looking into them more and actually found the drive train is damn near bullet proof if it's properly maintained, majority of parts are available, and really the cars just have similar quirks as any C4.

    So I set out on the quest to start research pricing, options, years, etc to determine what I wanted, looking for a car to keep long term and to park alongside my 1989 Turbo Trans Am that I've had for 18 years. I narrowed down to top year preference being a 1993 (went to 4 bolt main and 30 more hp with adjusted tuning) followed by 91-92, all of which had the earlier style seats and starting in 91 got a slightly update bumper and fenders. Color preferences were Admiral Blue (only 94-95) and Quasar Blue (90-93), but that only makes up 172 of 6922 cars. So next alternative combos were White/Red, Red/Red, and Dark Red/Black all of which were much more common. The colors I was excluding were Black, Yellow, Turquoise, or Aqua. Finally, I found the 10-30k miles range was kind of the sweet spot on pricing, goes way up with less than 10k and really doesn't save much over 30k miles. I wanted a clean stock original car that I could drive.

    So the search started and have been looking for 3-4 months now, when yesterday a deal is shared in the ZR1 facebook group. It's a black on black 1990 in Montana with 20k miles for $25k. I thought at first, this is too good of a deal, but I message the seller and then talk to him on the phone and sounds like a great guy. I message the guy in the ZR1 group who shared it and lives in the same town, 2 hours later he's looking at the car for me and says "you won't find a nicer one, if I didn't already own one I'd buy it right now". He sends me some pictures and walk around video.

    So, it's not exactly the car I was looking for, but at the very least I will get the experience of owning a ZR1 and if it's still something I want long term I can enjoy it until I find one of those 56 Admiral Blue or 116 Quasar Blue cars in the right condition. I fly up Friday to look at the car and complete the paperwork. The seller is willing to store it for me until I can come get it (they're getting 6-8 inches of snow right now). Current tentative plan is to drive up with my dad and his enclosed trailer 2nd week of May. I submitted some quotes to auto shipping companies last night but already starting to get the "we don't service that area" emails.

    On to the car, it has 20,400 miles, currently 2nd owner who has only added 2k miles in 8 years, most of the miles were from original owner in Florida. Current owner installed new tires, but he has the originals still in good condition. He swapped the radio and speakers but has the originals. He has all the original purchase paperwork, window sticker, owners kit, and the little accessories that came on initial purchase. The paint has a bit of a haze, but likely just needs a quick buff, and there's one ~2" scratch on the rear bumper. Besides for that the person who looked at it for me said it's immaculate and has been well kept, he commented "I think you'll be surprised how clean it is when you see it".







  2. #2
    Team Papaya Gearhead SS's Avatar

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    Damn! That's awesome. C4 ZR1 is one of my faves and I actually like the '90 best because it's so unique compared to the other years. Congrats! Super jelly.

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    Hi there, tiger savantard's Avatar

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    better than Bryce silverSS's Avatar

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    I'll own one some day. I tried to buy one last year but the dude ghosted me when the deal was basically done. I don't care too much about mileage as long as the car isn't beat to shit. Congrats, super jealous!

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearhead SS View Post
    Damn! That's awesome. C4 ZR1 is one of my faves and I actually like the '90 best because it's so unique compared to the other years. Congrats! Super jelly.
    Yeah the 90 looks good in black, but I prefer the updated front end for other colors as it gets rid of the black parting line and just looks cleaner. In high school, one of my friends had an 87 Convertible triple black, so the look of this car is bringing back some nostalgia.

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    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    Oh damn, that's awesome! Congrats.

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverSS View Post
    I'll own one some day. I tried to buy one last year but the dude ghosted me when the deal was basically done. I don't care too much about mileage as long as the car isn't beat to shit. Congrats, super jealous!
    Yeah I was basically the same way. Only reason I decided on looking in the 10-30k mile range was you only save maybe $3-5k by getting into the 80k+ range. I'd rather spend that little extra, know I can throw another 20-30k miles on it (which would take a while on a weekend cruiser) and not really hurt the resale at all.

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    better than Bryce silverSS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastpace View Post
    Yeah I was basically the same way. Only reason I decided on looking in the 10-30k mile range was you only save maybe $3-5k by getting into the 80k+ range. I'd rather spend that little extra, know I can throw another 20-30k miles on it (which would take a while on a weekend cruiser) and not really hurt the resale at all.
    yeah, you got a smokin deal especially in the current car climate. you're right, even before things got out of hand it was tough to find anything sub-20k no matter how bad the car was overall.

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastpace View Post
    Yeah I was basically the same way. Only reason I decided on looking in the 10-30k mile range was you only save maybe $3-5k by getting into the 80k+ range. I'd rather spend that little extra, know I can throw another 20-30k miles on it (which would take a while on a weekend cruiser) and not really hurt the resale at all.
    I have a ton more data that I looked at to form my approach, but below is a simple look supporting the mileage decision. This is ~150 auction sales from BaT, Mecum, and Barrett Jackson from Jan 2020 to today. You can see there's a steep drop in price up till ~10k miles and then it's almost flat from there on out. Note these prices are skewed a bit low to todays prices as it includes data from 2020 and the average pricing has increased ~50-80% from 2020 to today.


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    ZFG Crew Dr. DitchCricket's Avatar

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    Great looking car Congrats

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    super nice find!!!

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    Team Hobbit windham's Avatar

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    That car sucks and you are a horrible person.


    Sometimes my jealousy filter stops working.

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    awesome

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    Registered Member Anthony's Avatar

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    Registered Member Potent68's Avatar

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    Great find, congrats!! What are your plans with it?

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    R.I.P PCED: 6-28-2020 5.0THIS's Avatar

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    Great looking Z

    Any plans for it or just going to leave it alone and cruise it?

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    CEO: US Heat Lightning Network Dr WeatherBoner's Avatar

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  18. #18
    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by windham View Post
    That car sucks and you are a horrible person.


    Sometimes my jealousy filter stops working.
    Some day you might have the Camaro finished and can enjoy. Really though, we should do a LS2 Houston meetup sometime. Wasn't in the area back in the day of the parties at Mark's house.

    Quote Originally Posted by Potent68 View Post
    Great find, congrats!! What are your plans with it?
    Quote Originally Posted by 5.0THIS View Post
    Great looking Z

    Any plans for it or just going to leave it alone and cruise it?
    Right now is to just buy and cruise it and then see where to go from there. Might do a couple small things like a calibration chip and intake that are easy to change back. After a few months with it will need to decide where I go next, few different scenarios:

    - If I don't really care for the fit and driving of it, then I'll sell it. This was the case for the 99 Speedway White FRC Vette that I had, always wanted one and then got it and after owning it for about a year I just didn't care to keep it long term.
    - I enjoy the car, but don't fall in love with the black on black, then I'll be on the hunt for a similar car but different color combo and sell this one
    - I enjoy the car and the black on black grows on me, then I'll keep it and do some basic mods like exhaust

  19. #19
    Team Papaya Gearhead SS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastpace View Post
    Some day you might have the Camaro finished and can enjoy. Really though, we should do a LS2 Houston meetup sometime. Wasn't in the area back in the day of the parties at Mark's house.





    Right now is to just buy and cruise it and then see where to go from there. Might do a couple small things like a calibration chip and intake that are easy to change back. After a few months with it will need to decide where I go next, few different scenarios:

    - If I don't really care for the fit and driving of it, then I'll sell it. This was the case for the 99 Speedway White FRC Vette that I had, always wanted one and then got it and after owning it for about a year I just didn't care to keep it long term.
    - I enjoy the car, but don't fall in love with the black on black, then I'll be on the hunt for a similar car but different color combo and sell this one
    - I enjoy the car and the black on black grows on me, then I'll keep it and do some basic mods like exhaust
    Please hit me up if and when you decide to sell it.

  20. #20
    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearhead SS View Post
    Please hit me up if and when you decide to sell it.
    Definitely will. If you get serious about looking for and thinking to buy a ZR1, feel free to send me a PM and can share a ton of pricing data with you (I have 150+ sales since 2020, broken down by model year, color combos, mileage, condition, and sale date). They've been on a steady trend up last 2 years or so, but I feel they're still a reasonable buy for a nice and unique weekend cruiser.

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    Registered Member triggerjerk's Avatar

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    So cool.

    Can you can engine parts? Isn't the tooling all destroyed? Is the LT5 pretty robust?

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerjerk View Post
    So cool.

    Can you can engine parts? Isn't the tooling all destroyed? Is the LT5 pretty robust?
    There are quite a few people making parts for the engines. With the ZR1, most of them don't really get driven, but there's a bunch of examples with 100k+ without hardly touching it. They have few small potential quirks in that they have a dual throttle valve and dual fuel pump setup, but there are easy to install and available upgrades. If you do decide to get heavier on the mods they can make some really good NA horsepower but it's going to cost more than a pushrod motor.

    My consensus was the LT5 really isn't any extra of a concern than the L98 or LT1 from a reliability and general maintenance perspective.

    Some links/shops for reference:
    http://zr1specialist.com/ - Mark Haibeck, is considered the LT5 guru, many people take their cars to him for any work (though maintenance doesn't seem like anything special, I think this is just normal Corvette owner thing)
    https://www.jerrysgaskets.com/ - remakes a lot of parts and gaskets, also has a large inventory of NOS and used parts
    https://www.zr1netregistry.com/Default.aspx - The ZR1 registry, tons of info, articles, and presentations. They also a forum with a lot of information.

  23. #23
    Registered Member triggerjerk's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastpace View Post
    There are quite a few people making parts for the engines. With the ZR1, most of them don't really get driven, but there's a bunch of examples with 100k+ without hardly touching it. They have few small potential quirks in that they have a dual throttle valve and dual fuel pump setup, but there are easy to install and available upgrades. If you do decide to get heavier on the mods they can make some really good NA horsepower but it's going to cost more than a pushrod motor.

    My consensus was the LT5 really isn't any extra of a concern than the L98 or LT1 from a reliability and general maintenance perspective.

    Some links/shops for reference:
    http://zr1specialist.com/ - Mark Haibeck, is considered the LT5 guru, many people take their cars to him for any work (though maintenance doesn't seem like anything special, I think this is just normal Corvette owner thing)
    https://www.jerrysgaskets.com/ - remakes a lot of parts and gaskets, also has a large inventory of NOS and used parts
    https://www.zr1netregistry.com/Default.aspx - The ZR1 registry, tons of info, articles, and presentations. They also a forum with a lot of information.
    Yeah, I bet there aren't a lot with high mileage. But I imagine having 415hp in the '90s would've been special. I do remember a long time ago reading a thread on ls1tech where a former lotus engineer said the cranks are good for more than 1000hp.

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    R.I.P PCED: 6-28-2020 5.0THIS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerjerk View Post
    Yeah, I bet there aren't a lot with high mileage. But I imagine having 415hp in the '90s would've been special. I do remember a long time ago reading a thread on ls1tech where a former lotus engineer said the cranks are good for more than 1000hp.
    *375 hp for this one.

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerjerk View Post
    Yeah, I bet there aren't a lot with high mileage. But I imagine having 415hp in the '90s would've been special. I do remember a long time ago reading a thread on ls1tech where a former lotus engineer said the cranks are good for more than 1000hp.
    Pretty cool history video, but they ran a 1990 ZR1 with some minor safety mods, 45 gals fuel cell, and some minor changes and set the 24 hours average speed record of 175mph and it still stands today. They even kept running after 24 hours for a few more hours and broke the 5000 mile record, so basically ran the car flat out for 5000 miles straight.


  26. #26
    Team Papaya Gearhead SS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5.0THIS View Post
    *375 hp for this one.
    I'm still wondering if that number was underrated. I drove a 1990 that was a customer car and that thing would absolutely smoke my WS6. It felt like it had way more than 375 hp to me.

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    R.I.P PCED: 6-28-2020 5.0THIS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearhead SS View Post
    I'm still wondering if that number was underrated. I drove a 1990 that was a customer car and that thing would absolutely smoke my WS6. It felt like it had way more than 375 hp to me.
    Wouldn’t surprise me. I’m sure people have dynoed them to find out any differences from rated power or between the years of ZR1s, haven’t had a chance to look though.

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Well flew up yesterday to look at it and close the deal. Car was as advertised and will clean up very nice. The paint has a lot of haze from just improper care leading to some marring of the clear, nothing a quick buff won't take out. Engine looks and runs great. Interior is immaculate, he swapped the radio and speakers out, I'll likely put the factory radio back in but leave the aftermarket amp and speakers since the factory base have individual amps that are unreliable. The windshields on the ZR1 are a special solar glass that was needed to meet GMs system performance requirements with the smaller system needed on the LT5. The windshields are notorious for delaminating and if you're lucky to find a nice replacement it can be $5k+ with no guarantees as there's no reproduction. The windshield on this car is one of the best I've seen.

    Current plan is to go up May 9th with my dad and a trailer to pick it up. Then we'll take it back to his house to just kind of go over it. Then I'll drive it the rest of the way back from Missouri to Houston.

    Side note, people are crazy to live in Montana. It was 80 when I left Houston and then it was 25 when I arrived in Great Falls yesterday. They got 8" of snow on Tuesday and supposed to get more today. The guy I bought it from said if you go about 60 miles out they got several feet of snow... screw that.

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  30. #30
    The other autistic day-trading Dr. Discount Dr. Burry's Avatar

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    Such a great car in general.

    What a beautiful motor.


    Car looks to be in great shape. Looking forward to the “after” pic of the paint.


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    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    That is awesome. Very cool OP.

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    Team Hobbit windham's Avatar

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    You need a roadtrip buddy for the last leg to get her home from MO?


  34. #34
    I look reasonable, but I'm not. No F-bdy Bs's Avatar

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    My cousin had a 93'?
    Got it shortly after it came out. Burgundy color.

    He had a 100 shot on his. I have a pic of it around here somewhere. It was in a few WoW shows. He said it was eaisly +50,maybe even +75hp over the rating.

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    Wow-- congratulations! I think those ZR-1s will be worth a ton of money once most of the vehicles are all electric or close to it.

  36. #36
    I like to do the breaking in person LV2XLR8's Avatar

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    Awesome, congrats!!!

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    Poking skunks... ChillPhatCat's Avatar

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    That’s a clean car. I would just pop the hood and pull up a stool and stare at that engine.

  38. #38
    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    We started the 3000 miles round trip journey yesterday. I flew up to my parents near Branson, MO Sunday night, after a few last minute checks we headed out Monday morning.

    We got about an hour into the trip when someone pulls up next to us "Hey you just lost a wheel, it's back there by the gas station". We both kind of look at each other like wtf, and then pull over to take a look. Sure enough, one of the wheels decided it no longer wanted to be part of the trip. After a couple laps around not seeing the wheel, we see this guy waving us down on the other side of the highway "You looking for a wheel?" So we pull around and he drives us over to show us where it was at, about 80+ yards out into a field. He said he was eating his lunch when he looked up and saw this wheel bouncing across the field, if it wasn't for him we would have never found it. The wheel was trashed, looks like something got loose and the fatigue and broke all the studs.

    Luckily we were just a couple miles off Interstate 44 in Springfield, so quick turnaround and we were at a trailer shop. They got us right in replacing the backing plate and hub and we were back on the road. All in, we only lost about 2 hours in the whole ordeal with probably an hour of it being us driving in circles looking for the wheel.

    We made it up into South Dakota last night, the planes of Iowa/Nebraska was pretty boring. Plan is to make it to Great Falls, ND tonight and to pick up the car and then finish loading it tomorrow to start the trip back. Hopefully we got our bad luck out early on.

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    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    Whew! Good thing it was a tandem axle. A friend of mine's FiL had the same thing happen on his center console boat trailer. Thankfully, it was also a tandem axle.

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    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    Also, I just wanna add that I know black isn't your preferred color, but to me, it's the premium/perfect color for a C4 ZR1. I think it looks awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DANSBIRD View Post
    Also, I just wanna add that I know black isn't your preferred color, but to me, it's the premium/perfect color for a C4 ZR1. I think it looks awesome.
    Agreed but there's been a couple of red ones on BaT in recent weeks that look amazing I'd take either color

  42. #42
    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by DANSBIRD View Post
    Also, I just wanna add that I know black isn't your preferred color, but to me, it's the premium/perfect color for a C4 ZR1. I think it looks awesome.
    I love black cars, I just hate owning black cars. Haven't really owned or had to care for a black car since I was in high school and my dad had an 01 Black Crew Cab Silverado with a tonneau cover. Detailing that thing with the whole Zaino process basically set our family into a no more black cars rule.

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    Registered Member Gatecrasher's Avatar

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    That thing is super clean. The engine is hands down one of the best looking ones GM ever made. Good luck with your trip back.

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Picked it up last night and drove over for dinner. Got up this morning and loaded it into the trailer. The paint is soooo swirled it's going to look like a completely different car next week. Swapping the radio back to original has moved up the priority list after seeing how ugly the head unit is, the blue contrast is terrible.

    Starting out on our 1500 miles trip back this morning.

  45. #45
    Registered Member Potent68's Avatar

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    Correcting that paint is going to feel so rewarding!

  46. #46
    Registered Member Gatecrasher's Avatar

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    It's gonna feel great for the 5 minutes it's clean

    I owned a black car once. Never again.

  47. #47
    Registered Member Davy_Baby9's Avatar

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    You may be able to change the aftermarket radio color in the settings to better match the orange / red of the original. But a car like that I think I’d want the original radio in it anyways.

  48. #48
    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davy_Baby9 View Post
    You may be able to change the aftermarket radio color in the settings to better match the orange / red of the original. But a car like that I think Id want the original radio in it anyways.
    It came with the original head unit and he said the shop was told to make it so it would easily be able to go back to stock. So I'll plan to put the original back in with an FM transmitter to play from my phone.

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    Team Papaya Gearhead SS's Avatar

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    Honestly, owning a black car that isn't a daily driver really isn't that bad. I don't mind the Chevelle being black because I never drive it in the rain and if it does get dirty, I either waterless wash it or ONR it in the garage. It has been properly hand washed maybe 3 times in the last 7 years.

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    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    I’ve never owned a black car, but considering this is going to be a fun one, I doubt he’ll be taking it out on rainy days so I’d imagine it’s going to spend much of the time in a garage and it should stay clean pretty well.

  51. #51
    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearhead SS View Post
    Honestly, owning a black car that isn't a daily driver really isn't that bad. I don't mind the Chevelle being black because I never drive it in the rain and if it does get dirty, I either waterless wash it or ONR it in the garage. It has been properly hand washed maybe 3 times in the last 7 years.
    Yes. This is what I was thinking as well (didn’t read the post before making mine).

  52. #52
    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Yeah I already upgraded to a 13x43 storage unit to be able to fit the TTA, ZR1, and then will be moving some boxes of original parts like wheels and tires in with them. It's all paved so will hopefully help keep dust down, but then will be looking at probably some dust covers to help too.

  53. #53
    Team Papaya Gearhead SS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastpace View Post
    Yeah I already upgraded to a 13x43 storage unit to be able to fit the TTA, ZR1, and then will be moving some boxes of original parts like wheels and tires in with them. It's all paved so will hopefully help keep dust down, but then will be looking at probably some dust covers to help too.

    If it has power, just put an air compressor in there and blow the dust off them. That's pretty much all I use now for "dusting" my cars.

  54. #54
    Registered Member Gatecrasher's Avatar

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    Mine was basically my daily, so probably not a great comparison.

  55. #55
    The other autistic day-trading Dr. Discount Dr. Burry's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by DANSBIRD View Post
    I’ve never owned a black car, but considering this is going to be a fun one, I doubt he’ll be taking it out on rainy days so I’d imagine it’s going to spend much of the time in a garage and it should stay clean pretty well.
    Owning a black car in NC pollen season is an absolute nightmare…

  56. #56
    DANSBIRD's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Discount Dr. Burry View Post
    Owning a black car in NC pollen season is an absolute nightmare…
    It's as bad in MS as it is here in NC, which I assume is just as bad as Texas. It sucks everywhere.

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    Registered Member Fastpace's Avatar

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    Got back late last night. We unloaded the car this morning and then immediately took it for a spirited drive in the mountains. It's probably the best handling factory car I've ever driven. The balance is perfect and the power band from 3000-7000 rpm is so smooth and continuous.

    Put it up on the lift just to take a look and was quite surprised it's even cleaner than expected.

    We're taking it up to a cruisein tomorrow night in Springfield and then will get started on the maintenance and detailing.

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    Registered Member Anthony's Avatar

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    holy shit that thing is clean af

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  60. #60
    better than Bryce silverSS's Avatar

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    gimme

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