While it was just a simple option code for Chevy's accessory list, the Z28 evolved to become the most famous optional package of the time. And thus started the Chevy Z fame. And it was in 1969 that the Corvette got it first Z-code with the Corvette ZL1. But now, the ZL1, along with the forgotten ZR2 codes are used with Chevy's pickup trucks.
It is the Z51, Z06, and ZR1 that continues to performance fever for Corvettes with performance-spec suspension, tire, aerodynamics, and engine upgrades. The C8 Corvette Z51 and Z06 are wild machines just like its predecessors. The C8 Corvette ZR1 will be unleashed soon, and will take the mantle of being the most powerful gas-powered Corvette.
Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Code: The Sober Performance Pack
The Z51 badge started off as a performance handling package back int he 1980s with the C4 Corvette. It included stiffer springs, larger sway bars, wider 16-inch tires wrapped around wider wheels, and a modified steering ratio to push the Corvette's sportiness forward.
Back in the day, this package cost about $600. That's about $1,536 in today's money. Over the years, the Z51 package has stayed true to improving the handling of a Corvette and widening the grin on the driver's face! Chevy has also added in improved cooling, slicker tires, and even a bump in performance over the years to this package.
Performance figures also get a bump (of 5 hp and 5 lb-ft) with the Stingray's mid-mounted 6.2-Liter V8 pumping out 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It also adds a sporty rear spoiler that provides up to 400 pounds of downforce. This helps the Corvette Z51 do 0-60 mph in 3 seconds and a hit a top speed of 194 MPH.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Code: The Hardcore One
The Z06 package is a much wilder iteration in the Corvette Performance Car Codes. The first-ever car to flaunt this hardcore package was the 1963 Chevy Corvette Stingray. It only lasted for one year but came with a slew of features to convert the Stingray into a racecar for the roads! Everything from the suspension, engine, and even the fuel tank was beefed up.
The Z06 package came back in 2001 and has since been an integral part of making all Corvettes race-ready, ever since. But the all-new C8 Corvette Z06 opens a wild new chapter. It is America's first-ever mid-engined Z06 Corvette. Think of the Z06 as a Z51 gone ballistic! It is a proper track-ready American supercar. And the explosive part of this car is its engine which is one of the world's most powerful naturally aspirated V8.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Code: One That Gives The Ultimate Chills
The most powerful Corvettes are born with the "ZR1" tag. It all started with the 1970s Chevy Corvette ZR1 that came with a 370 hp LT1 small-block engine. Interestingly there was also a ZR2 that was offered for one year, in 1972 that packed an impressive 425 hp.
To give you a perspective, the most powerful American muscle car of the time, the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454 LS6, packed 450 hp! There have been only four of these insane Corvettes and the last one was the Chevrolet C7 Corvette ZR1 with 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque! It was the most-powerful Corvette till date, and still remains so. It packed a LT5 6.2-Liter V8 that had an Eaton supercharged as its crown.
Apart from the beastly engine, the ZR1 Corvette also came with insane aerodynamic upgrades to stay glued to the tamrac at all times! While people consider the C7 Corvette ZR1 to be the ultimate Corvette ever, it's all going to change as the first-ever mid-engined ZR1 is incoming!
The Upcoming C8 Corvette ZR1 Is Going To Be Insane
Chevrolet is actively testing the C8 Corvette ZR1. It will supposedly pack the same 5.5-Liter flat-plane crank V8 than the standard Corvette Z06 packs. But the twist here is that it will be twin-turbocharged, and is expected to pump out a staggering 850 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque. It will also be much meaner-looking that the existing C8 Corvette line-up.
And it will continue to be a RWD layout with the eight-speed DCT gearbox as the only option. The ZR1 is slated to the most-powerful ICE Corvette because there is an all-electric C8 Corvette incoming with a whopping 1,000+ hp! And don't worry, there will surely be a "Z" package for it.