Primarily used by Lotus for development at the British automaker’s testing facility in Hethel, England, the prototype was used for engine calibration and emissions certifications. And what an engine the ZR-1 has, an all-aluminum V8 with four overhead camshafts, 32 valves, and the go-faster know-how of Lotus. Dubbed LT5 just like the engine in the modern-day ZR1, the blast from the past was a big upgrade from the 5.7-liter L98.
Manufactured by Mercury Marine, the LT5 was updated for the 1993 model year from 375 and 370 to 405 horsepower and 385 pound-feet (522 Nm) of torque, rendering the ZR-1 the American performance car that defined its era. Well, at least until the original Dodge Viper stepped into the limelight in 1992.
According to Mecum Auctions, the Medium Blue Metallic-painted prototype “was abandoned in an auto-recycling yard” despite General Motors ordering the car scrapped in 1990. It remained there for a few years until it was discovered by the same man who restored EX5023 to its former glory.
Earlier this year, the ZR-1 received an all-new blue leather interior, and as you can tell from the featured photos, the car is a blast to the past of the Chevrolet Corvette’s lineage.
To ensure its authenticity, EX5023 comes with the factory build sheet and a handwritten (!!!) engine book from Lotus. Further setting this ZR-1 apart from the rest is the tachometer, which goes up to 8,000 rpm.