These days Chevrolet uses the ZR2 badge for off-road trucks, but it once adorned a rare Corvette variant.
Scheduled to cross the block at a Mecum auction in Indianapolis on May 20, this 1971 Corvette ZR2 coupe is one of just 12 built, and is thought to be the last to roll out of the factory.
The Corvette ZR2 was a one-year-only affair for 1971, and was sold alongside the Corvette ZR1 that had been introduced for the 1970 model year. The only difference between the two track-focused Corvette models was the engine. The ZR1 had Chevy’s original LT1 V-8, while the ZR2 had the LS6, displacing 454 cubic inches and producing a factory-quoted 425 hp.
Chevy built 188 Corvettes with the LS6 engine for 1971, but only 12 had the $1,741 ZR2 package. The car featured a Muncie M22 “Rock Crusher” close-ratio 4-speed manual transmission, heavy-duty power brakes, an aluminum radiator with metal fan shroud, transistorized ignition, and upgraded suspension with model-specific springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars. Intended as a hardcore track special, the ZR2 also did without conveniences like power steering and air conditioning.
1971 Chevrolet Corvette ZR2 coupe (photo via Mecum Auctions)
The ZR2 up for auction left the factory in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 28, 1971, making it the last documented ZR2 built, according to the auction listing. It was built as an export car and was originally shipped to Golden Mile Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in Toronto. Later repatriated, it was at one point treated to a body-off restoration by specialist Corvette Repair Inc. It now wears factory-correct Brands Hatch Green paint with a Dark Green vinyl interior.
Mecum expects this ZR2 coupe to sell for between $475,000 and $600,000 at auction. Keep in mind that one of just two 1971 ZR2 convertibles sold for $962,500 at Mecum’s 2022 Indianapolis auction, coming in just below a pre-auction estimate of $1 million to $1.2 million. The convertible was also painted Brands Hatch Green, so perhaps the same bidder will return this year to get a matching set.