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    ZR1 roars off the line

    ZR1 roars off the line

    First in new series of BG-built sports cars sold for $1M in auction to benefit charity

    By JUSTIN STORY, The Daily News, jstory@bgdailynews.com/783-3256
    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 11:35 AM CDT

    Bowling Green Daily News


    Photo by Hunter Wilson/Daily News
    The first Corvette ZR1 rolls off the assembly line Monday at the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant. The car was purchased by Dave Ressler of Bozeman, Mont., for $1 million in an auction that benefitted a United Way charity.


    The fastest, most powerful Corvette rolled off the assembly line Monday morning with its happy owner and his granddaughter along for the ride.

    The 2009 Corvette ZR1 is seen as a standout among high-performance vehicles, with a supercharged 638-horsepower V-8 engine, a top speed of 205 miles per hour and the ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.

    “This is a unique super-performance car that has one of the best power-to-weight ratios, with a braking system only found in race cars, which puts this car in a class all by itself,” said Paul Graham, manager at the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

    Painted in a LeMans Blue shade that will not be seen on other models, the car was received today by Dave Ressler, who bought it Jan. 19 at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Arizona.

    Ressler, a Bozeman, Mont., resident who owns two Chevrolet dealerships in Bozeman and his former home of Mandan, N.D., paid $1 million for the ZR1, which carries a sticker price of $103,300.

    The difference in the bid was donated to United Way of Southeast Michigan.

    Graham characterized the ZR1 as a “limited production” model, though he added that he did not know how many ZR1s would be manufactured.

    As high-performance cars go, the ZR1 has a relatively high fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated mileage of 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, according to GM.

    A GM release citing information from fueleconomy.gov noted the ZR1 bested the mileage for 2008 competitors such as the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (11 city/15 highway) and the Lamborghini Murcielago (8 city/13 highway).

    This ZR1 will not be seeing too much road time, however.

    Ressler plans to keep it in storage with his private collection of 43 Corvettes in Bozeman, with the hopes of one day opening the collection to the public as a museum.

    “I’ve been a Chevy dealer for 31 years, and this is every American’s dream car,” said Ressler, who followed the footsteps of his late father into the auto sales business.

    The car has a personalized license plate on the back reading “Ayden Lynn,” the name of Ressler’s 10-month old granddaughter, and Ressler referred to the ZR1 several times as his granddaughter’s car.

    Ressler arrived in Bowling Green over the weekend and attended the National Corvette Homecoming at the Sloan Convention Center. He and his family received a personal tour of the Corvette plant Monday morning.

    “Dave is a very well-known commodity in the Corvette community who happens to also be a Chevrolet dealer,” Graham said.

    The car rolled off the assembly line to applause with Dave and Ayden Lynn inside it, Ressler’s granddaughter honking the horn.

    After being performance-tested, the ZR1 was parked outside the plant entrance alongside another Ressler-owned vehicle - a white 1953 Corvette that was the third ever assembled and is the oldest Corvette still in existence.

    An employee ice cream social was held at the plant entrance to mark the occasion of Ressler’s visit, and he was presented with the key to the city by Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker among other gifts.

    “I’m proud to have the oldest Corvette along with the newest, best ’Vette yet,” said Ressler, who also paid $1 million for the 1953 model at the 2006 Barrett-Jackson auction.
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