conesare2seconds Dork
5/25/17 6:35 p.m.

08/31/17: re-hosted the pics and updated the thread.

Last summer I bought a needy 94 ZR-1 from the son of the original owner. The car made the drive from Gun Barrel City TX back to LR fine other than the AC being inop. It was July and yes, the drive was hot. I didn't mess with the car much for long stretches other than to do some limited cleaning and put her on jack stands to install a new clutch master and slave. After I left my corporate job in December it occurred to me I might need to sell the car at some point and it needed more sorting.

The ZR-1 has a DOHC engine designed with Lotus and built by Mercury Marine. The engine was a marvel for its day and has a few unique features such as a vacuum-operated primary/secondary intake. Below 3500 rpm and 80% throttle only the primary throttle port is active. Keep your foot in it and secondaries open to a 7200 rpm redline.

There are a handful of LT5 specialists in the country and my choice was Marc Haibeck in Addison IL. I reached out to Marc in March and asked to be slotted into his schedule. We stayed in touch and in early May the call came to send the car. I got a shipping quote on a Tuesday and received a confirmation Weds that the car would be picked up Thursday morning. It turns out LR is on a very active shipping lane. Off the car went to Marc.

Extra pics because everyone likes a nice C4.

Marc made short work of the repairs and was a joy to work with. He's great with communication and a genuinely nice guy. A week or so later the car was ready to pick up. By far the easiest way to go get her was to take the Amtrak Texas Eagle from LR to Chicago and drive her home. Happily, it was also affordable - $107 for a coach ticket.

I had ridden Amtrak before but not a Superliner - the one with tall cars and the neato lounge car with all the windows. We left LR at 11:50 pm headed north by northeast. I woke up at dawn just south of St. Louis to an intense pink/orange sunrise as the train followed the Mississippi River banks closely. It was stunningly beautiful but I'd slept fitfully and didn't have the presence of mind to take pictures. Here we are pulling into St. Louis.

The dining car opened as we hit the St. Louis station so I stepped forward and headed for a hot breakfast. I was nearly finished by the time we crossed the river and headed north again.

Railroads were at one time famed for their food service but tbh breakfast was kind of meh. Seating is communal so you will be asked to share a table. It was nice to chat with fellow travelers and talk about our various reasons for needing to be in Chicago.

After breakfast I adjourned to the lounge car. At the right times, there is hot food available and a bar. Those travelers who skipped the dining car could make do with vending-machine type fare from a small store under the lounge car. The bar was of course open but I passed despite my fantasized plan to drink whiskey and play cards in the lounge while taking in the passing scene.

The view from the lounge is expansive and the ride pretty comfortable except that the sun can get hot thanks to all the glass. We made a stop in Joliet and I wondered if I could spot the prison from the Blues Brothers. It turned out that on the way out of town we rode right berking past said pen at low speed. I was so jazzed.

Spring had come to LR in mid April but I noticed as we glided north that we crossed the trees-budding-out line in north-central IL. It was warm and sunny but Spring hadn't arrived everywhere yet. We passed a giant wind farm and I have to say the IL capitol building in Springfield, which we also passed right by, is quite beautiful.

We were due to arrive in Chicago at 1:45 but were running a good half-hour early. Hmm, Sears tower? Check.

I headed for the old passenger lobby at Union Terminal and took it in. There were several informative displays telling the station's history and planned future restoration efforts. It was time to hit the street and head for a commuter train station a few blocks away.

I made the commuter train with time to spare and took a ride out to Addison. Marc picked me up at the Forest Park station and drove me to the shop. Once the repairs were reviewed and the bill settled, I headed out in the ZR-1. Marc's toll road tip was to ignore the plazas, then visit the state website and pay the missed tolls once I got home, taking advantage of the 2-week grace period to simplify my exit from greater Chicago.

I was able to put in a solid three hours before fading daylight and fatigue dictated a stop. Kayak found a good rate at the Hawthorn Suites in Bloomington IL that night. The next morning I hit the road early, anxious to treat the 9-yr-old tires gently. Unfortunately the way back meant driving into the jaws of a late-spring storm system, a monster that stretched from the Gulf to the Great Lakes, spitting out tornadoes and bringing widespread flooding.

A preflight check indicated my wipers joined the tires in the hard rubber club, requiring a trip to the auto parts store before hitting the interstate. The Vette also got a coat of Rain-X on all exterior glass. Above 60 mph wipers are unnecessary thanks to a steeply raked windshield, air velocity and said Rain-X.

The weather was closing in by St. Louis but luck was on my side. I was able to duck onto US 67, splitting two large storm cells and dropping onto a path to swing west to the back side of the front and away from the more active leading edge. The road passes through Mark Twain National Forest and is a beautiful drive through low hills on a divided 4-lane as good as any you can ask for. The rain was steady with occasional thunderstorms but far better than what the I-55 corridor was getting.

An amazing truck stop, liquor store, convenience store and restaurant complex on the MO side of the AR/MO border demanded a short stop. On the AR side the counties are dry and the package store seemed to be doing brisk business despite the rain. By the time I hit Pocahontas (really, look it up) the rivers were coming over their banks and it was clear there would be flooding in many communities. LR appeared in the windshield just after dark. Travel time was in no danger of breaking any records but I got home safely and the car performed flawlessly over 660 miles.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
5/26/17 9:10 a.m.

In reply to conesare2seconds:

Nice trip, awesome car! My BIL resides in the Joliet facility, some of the architecture is amazing. It's an interesting place to visit, but I'm very glad I don't live there...

Indy-Guy Dork
5/26/17 10:08 a.m.

I've always LOVED the ZR-1 and yours is a real beauty! Very nice!

conesare2seconds Dork
5/26/17 10:20 a.m.

Thanks, guys. Once I've sorted the pics I'll post last weekend's trip to its birthplace in Bowling Green.

FooBag Reader
6/28/17 9:01 a.m.

Did you happen to see another red ZR-1 with a cage in it while you were at Marc's place? A friend of mine had Marc going through the engine of his this past winter and it should have been completed right about the time period you were there. My friend's car had the engine warmed up by Lingenfelter back in the day.

conesare2seconds Dork
6/28/17 1:57 p.m.

Roger the caged red ZR-1, which has clearly seen a track or autocross course or two. Marc had a number of cars getting engine-out work at the time, maybe a half dozen, which was for some reason more than I expected. I remarked about your friend's car specifically and generally about how many engines were getting internal engine work. Marc was wrapping up winter projects before and during my visit. Hope your friend's experience was as good as mine.

Edit: Photobucket has ransomed my pics in an effort to monetize hotlinkinking. I'll look for solutions that don't involve paying the man. Maybe using Amazon Prime hosting.

crankwalk Dork
7/25/17 5:22 p.m.

C4 ZR1s are the best especially the later C4s. Congrats on the purchase.

Our Preferred Partners