Did Mario Andretti Wreck This ZR1 Corvette?

UPDATE 1/17/19 – We just received an anonymous tip claiming that this Corvette was owned and wrecked by the famous race car driver, Mario Andretti! The tipster provided enough details to make us think they may actually know what they’re talking about. That may not make this car any more desirable, but it does add an interesting twist to the story!

FROM 1/15/19 – While the ZR1 is almost always an instant icon, the current iteration is likely a touch more significant given some pundits feel it’s the swan song for the front-engined Corvette. With the mid-engined replacement seen testing in the open on an increasingly brazen basis, there’s little doubt the Corvette recipe is heading for major upheaval – which makes the untimely demise of this 2019 ZR1 here on Copart all the more tragic. 

The ZR1 is unapologetically brutish, belting out an incredibly 755 b.h.p. 60 m.p.h. doesn’t even need a second gear, ’cause you can lay that speed measurement checkpoint to waste in first. The amount of carbon fiber and electronic suspension wizardry would make a NASA engineer envious, but the Corvette also holds onto a thoroughly old-school feature we enthusiasts hold dear: a conventional manual transmission, which will also depart with the arrival of the next generation model.

So you can start to see how much was lost with this destruction of this manual transmission example. Almost inevitably, the accident report will spell out sordid details like “excessive speed” or “inexperienced driver.” For all of the complaining I do about retired couples being able to jump into a semi-trailer sized R/V and wreak havoc on highways with no experience driving such a rig, I should perhaps save some of my self-righteous rage for whoever destroyed this ZR1 a few months shy of its first birthday.

Wrecked exotics have spawned a popular culture on video sites like YouTube, where ambitious car enthusiasts rebuild wrecks like these for sport (and for viewers). This ZR1 will almost certainly re-appear on our roads in some reconstructed form, which is a good thing – but it will still never be the same, and its ability to overcome that dark mark on its history will take a few years to absolve. If the experts agree, however, that this ZR1 was a sort of swan song, its potential ROI may indeed be quite strong.

Like This? Get Our Daily Email


  1. Blk63vette

    Wow didn’t take long for that’s guy wife to wreck his beloved brand new ZR1. I have a friend makes a great living fixing wrecked Dodge Vipers with a lot of repeat customers 😉

    • triumph1954

      Guys wife! Where does it say that in story?

  2. JC

    If the driver died in this wreck, I wouldn’t touch it… besides, it looks like it will cost as much or more to fix as buying one that is a year old.

    • Steve

      I don’t think it was the driver we should worry about. I would be concerned for the passenger, if there was one…

      • JC

        Side impacts are nearly always fatal… the body just turns to Jello knocked around like that. No passenger would survive that kind of impact to be sure.

      • MFerrell

        I don’t see the passenger side airbag deployed, so maybe there wasn’t a passenger in the car at the time.

    • David Rhoces

      what does it matter if he/she died ?

      • JC

        It would matter to me.

      • mlm

        Because they’re human beings and it was somebody’s loved one if there was a passenger.

      • Will Fox

        You’d buy it regardless I take it? “It’s just a car” you say? SMDH

      • David Rhoces

        wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same ….wouldn’t matter to me one bit ….

      • ROBERT

        very true pull motor & tranny rear tires

      • Nojuan

        Thats what they said about James Dean’s Porsche, it defiantly mattered there, not to mention the million dollar price.

      • Al

        I once was offered a Facel Vega for $500. Cheap, yes but it stunk.
        It stunk because the owner died in the vehicle and they found him & his car 3 months later in a vacant farm yard. The authorities deemed his death as non-criminal.
        His remains-stink had permeated through-out the car, and I looked at the car about a year after they found it. The smell was overpowering. The last I heard of it was that it was crushed.
        I know now, how I could have removed the smell, but back then I did not. If the same car was now offered to me, I still would not buy it. It’s not ghosts that I would be concerned with, it was knowing it was a death car. A nagging question to me, is would I be next to die in it?

      • MotorWinder Member

        Al, People still buy house where someone has passed.
        Wouldn’t that be any different if it was a house?

  3. Keith

    Too far gone….

  4. Steve

    Yes, too far gone to repair, but not to far gone to scavenge for parts!

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Maybe swap the parts over into that recently posted ’54 ‘Vette..? ;-)

    • Hunter Snyder

      The car is not running at the moment so who knows if the engine is good

  5. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Fixing the body would be the simplest part IMO, getting all the wiring and electronics right would be a nightmare. I’ve read a thing or two on a couple of people that rebuilt C7’s and it was unreal all the issues they ran into trying to get them running again.
    Parts car only IMO.

  6. 427vette

    Parts car, passenger side A-pillar, firewall, and frame rail are crushed beyond any hope of economical repair. Engine, torque tube, and transaxle stand a good chance of heavy damage as well due to side impact.

    • Hunter Snyder

      Engine no good

      • Midnight Rest

        Wrong, I’m the guy who bought it… after replacing a few broken lines and stripping away the shell, this sucker fired up and is an absolute beast!

  7. Ric Parrish

    The airbags deployed, that will cost a few thousand right there, guess I’ll have to pass.


      Midnight, just curious. What are your plans fo the car?

      • Midnight rest

        Entire drivetrain including all modern electronics are going under a 55 Chevy. The remaining body and chassis are for sale. As for Mario rumor… the notoriety would be great for resale, however after research, this car had nothing to do with Mario.

  8. Rock On

    That LS engine would look sweet in the engine bay of my second generation Camaro.

    • jeepster

      Mine too !

    • Steve S

      I would never ruin an old muscle car buy putting a newer engine in it and you can get just as much power out of the original engine by changing the cams and pistons and port and polishing the heads and putting a piece of rubber in the valve springs to help keep the valves from getting damaged and tunning up the carb or carbs and and a supercharger and change the pulley on it and you will have as power if not more power than that newer worthless 350 and then change the gearing in the 4 speed manual transmission and you can get just as much speed also and your gen 1 or 2 or what ever muscle will keep it’s value and you can always change everything back to stock when ever you want without too much work

  9. Miguel Member

    Your point of this being the last front engine Corvette is correct.

    My buddy wants to buy one of these and put it away just for that reason, and because the new mid engine car will be a crap box.

    • AMCFAN

      Miguel I doubt the new Corvette with the engine opposite ends will be a crap box. Well yeah maybe if anyone has learned anything about GM introducing an “All new anything” Avoid the first year.

      The Corvette is an engineering antique. It is time to move on. It has went as far as it possibly could. It has been surpassed many years ago but has managed to hang on due due to adding horsepower and enough changes for gray hairs buying their retirement present!

      Super cars today have the engine in the rear for a reason. The Italians have been doing it for years. Germans even longer. Balance makes a superior design. Ford built the GT and has been an incredible investment for those lucky enough to get in. The Japanese have perfected it with the NSX. Nothing finer. GM has their work cutout for them and will be playing catch up for many years. No thanks

      • Frank Sumatra

        The cars you mention are equalled or outperfomed by the ZR-1 while costing 5 to 7 times as much.No thanks.

      • BRAKTRCR

        AMCFAN, thinking of the AMX3… or was it the AMX2 that was mid engine. I just remember it being beautiful.
        This Vette just looks like a donor car to me

  10. Will Fox

    Considering what this costs new vs. to repair this one, BUY NEW. Full warranty; no bugs from a poor repair job, etc. In no way, shape or form do I want someone else’s problems.

    • AMCFAN

      Frank Sumatra = Hardly a competition between the NSX and the Corvette ZR1. The NSX is doing it with a lighter V6 and it is only a reported one second behind the Corvette in quarter mile time. Given the track record of Corvette used car price one would be smarter now by paying more for a genuine super car in a few years will be WORTH 5-7 times more.

      After researching the new ZR1 ESPN has a nice clip of a pace car at the Detroit GP 2018 getting out of shape and hitting a wall. Yes before it is said the driver worked at GM and isn’t a professional. He did drive the track many times and paced many races. From the looks of Mario’s car it is one of the same high speed accident when the on board traction and stability control is turned off.

      I stand by my original post. With a conventional front engine vehicle. One can lighten and add horsepower only so much. The time has come for the aging Corvette. GM has done the same old for too long. Either kill it and let it go in a blaze of glory like the Viper or take it to the next level.

      • Frank Sumatra

        1) No one has proven it is “Mario’s” car. 2) Indisputable fact: C7 Corvettes outperform insanely expensive cars and can be serviced at 6500 locations. 3) Full stop. Plain and simple. End of story.4) GM has recognized the current platform is unable to evolve to handle the current power produced and are taking it to the next level. The mid-engine, all-wheel drive C8 with the proposed internal combustion engine and electric combination is estimated to generate 1,000 HP and I suspect it will still cost a fraction of the “Supercars” visible in the Corvette’s rearview mirrors.

  11. CanuckCarGuy

    Buy this, along with the Reader posted S-10 Cameo for sale, and lock yourself in the shop for the winter.

    • AMCFAN

      Frank, Proposed is the key word here. Just like the introduction of a hydrogen fuel cell etc etc in 2006. GM has a nightmare PR going on now with shutting plants down after you and I (hopefully you are in the US) bailed them out.

      I do not see an AWD rear engine monster any time soon. That is a very tall order. They bungled the 1984 Corvette I do not see the same company doing something so over the top any time soon. If they can pull it off great. The only thing we will see is a one off prototype or a rear engine hybrid system borrowed from one of the car platforms it is discontinuing. Again don’t be the first one in line haha

      • Frank Sumatra

        AMC- 1) If GM wasn’t “bailed out” by the man everyone loved to hate our economy would still be in a shambles when you consider all of the non-GM jobs that would have gone with them. 2) I own an 84 Corvette and have yet to experience any of the issues the experts constantly bring up (Crossfire and a 4+3 to boot!) with mine. I enjoy driving it and it says “Corvette” on the back. Good enough for me. 3) I could not afford to be in any line purchasing the mid-engine C8.

  12. Billy1

    Jeff you are assuming that everybody knows what ROI means. There’s a guy that bought a 458 Ferrari on You Tube with front end damage(mid-engine car for those who don’t know) and so far the costs are eye watering(e.g front support bar $7,000.00-used/$14,000.00-new). Just getting the car started was an adventure.This car looks like someone lost it and wrapped it around a light pole.
    I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot carbon fiber pole.

    • Mikestuff

      I wasn’t going to ask but since it came up, what DOES ROI mean?

      (automotively challenged)

      • V R Wallace

        Return On Investment

      • Charles Phillips

        Return Over Investment

      • Don

        ROI: Return On Investment

      • waynard

        Return on Investment

      • Scott

        ROI – Return on Investment. Used to determine how quickly or if you will get your investment back.

      • Dave

        Repair Or Incinerate.

  13. Poncho

    Yep, I think this one as a whole has seen its last days on the road. Best to take the drivetrain and wheels, maybe the cool taillights and transplant to another project. If this one can be rebuilt, then that burnt Superbird can be brought back too. Sometimes you gotta just let them go.

  14. Howard A Member

    Maybe a Hollywood movie prop. The other night on the Sci-Fi channel, there was some stupid movie about 4 or 5 “supercars” that were in an outlaw race of some kind, dodging school buses and plowing into police cars. I think one was a Corvette like this, and one by one, they all were wrecked. Hollywood got no problem pissing away a million dollars on cars they wreck.

  15. Brian Scott

    Stylistically speaking, an improvement. Sorry, not nice, I know, but this pseudo Asian styling, with all the foils, creases, and other gewgaws, is not my cup o’ tea. Apparently I’m not the only one, there’s a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of money on the hood of C7s these days (yeah, presumably the ZR1 is a hot ticket). Performance is stellar though, I’ll give you that. A few years back when I went to sell my 911 Turbo, I must have had a half-dozen people asking me to take their Corvettes in trade. Dang. Today that 911 has tripled in value, while those Vettes have been halved again.

  16. Nick G

    If the frame is damaged, it is virtually irreparable. It is heat cured carbon fiber. Any structural frame damage is cause for insurance companies to declare these as scrap.

  17. Healeymonster

    I wouldnt bring it back. I would shed the body, and figure a rebody of a classic or start fresh. I dont mind electrical work. Did it all my life. The buy in would be quite high though leaving not much room for the rest of the build.

  18. ACZ

    Any damaged car can be repaired. Just depends how much time and money you want to throw at it. What you can’t fix is a stupid driver.

  19. JC

    Just under 30k and reserve not met… smh.

  20. Steve

    No insurance?

  21. Bob Member

    I could pull the engine and put it in my 1956 Nash Metropolitan.

  22. Patrick Shanahan

    755 HP on the street. Asking for trouble especially when a few drinks are added.

    • Frank Sumatra

      300 HP is plenty to get in trouble with when alcohol and stupidity are mixed with poor driving skills.

      • rev rory

        40hp is plenty if you’re out in a Type 1 Beetle. In the rain…

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Many options to make this kind of result: Turning off the TC/SC will do it for most people. Add in a little bit of precipitation, and… *crunch*. Ouchie…..

      For a large section of the population, the kind of acceleration and overall performance available here would be intoxicating enough to disorient and get a driver in over his or her head. No alcohol required.

  23. Stilbo

    Reasons to avoid drivetrains involved in high g-force horizontal plane deceleration incidents: An engine with moving parts can result in components weighing 8 ounces instantaneously weighing 50 pounds (Typical deceleration g-force = 100 g’s in a 100 KPH collision with a solid, non movable object). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(acceleration)
    Think of all eight reciprocating components like pistons, connecting rods, wrist pins etc getting slammed sideways, that hard while running..
    I’ve found internal engine parts displaced from their original locations, post collision and it isn’t pretty..
    Best to pass on all drivetrain components.
    But those taillights would really look cool in a man cave.

  24. daCabbie

    Mario who?

    Anonymous tip? Or an auction house trying to drive up the price?

    Still wouldn’t buy it… cars have a soul and this one is cursed… it’s only new once and will never again perform properly/worry free. And I would question if it could be insured after a rebuild.

    The Andretti affiliation is really suspect. (No offense intended to the articles author)

  25. AndyinMA

    Kinda hard to like a zr1 when the front bumper looks like it came off a civic hatch. This thing is junk stay far away.

  26. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Not buying the Andretti crash story. That would be all over the web. You say in the update, ‘the tipster provided enough details to make us think they may actually know what they’re talking about.’ How about sharing that info?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      The tipster knew exactly when and where the accident occurred (we are not going to share that info). Andretti does buy a new Corvette every couple of years so you never know.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hi Jesse, like you say, you never know. Still confused why it would be a mystery? Any car can get out of hand, trust me, I know. If the crash is true, I hope Mr. Andretti is well. Take care, Mike.

  27. anonymous

    Do not use my name or email.
    Has anyone thought of running the VIN to see who the owner was? Or maybe checking for a police report?

  28. DonS

    I suspect the driver visited the hospital after this one. T-tops so no side airbag. Maybe a helmet saved the head from a recoil impact with the side window. Window down and the neck probably injured. Driver seat belt cut, so driver had help getting out. Mario would have made the news if he was hurt. Heck, he’s all over the place from SEMA to hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree at home.

    My Mario story: A couple of buddies were roaming the paddock at Road America saw and asked Mario for a photo showing him the camera in a buddies hands. He grabs the camera and scoots us together all serious and snaps a shot of us all astonished. He then hands the camera to another person and jumps in the shot. Huge smiles on all of us. Thanks Mario!!

    • Frank Sumatra

      No T-tops since 1984.

      • Todd C.


      • Frank Sumatra

        82 had T-tops, No 83 Corvette, hence no T-tops available since 1984


  29. Michael Jabczynski

    You can buy a brand new ZR1 Motor nowadays. Probably cheaper than you can buy this wreck for.

  30. Rick

    I do not fee the car. A wreck is a wreck.

  31. John

    Careful! That car’s thrown some codes-

  32. Ken Member

    If this ZR1 really was wrecked by Mario Andretti, what does this tell us? It tells us that if a legendary Indy 500/Daytona 500 winner can lose control of this car, the average driver will probably kill himself trying to show off his behind-the-wheel “prowess.”

  33. King Al

    Isn’t this the one GM president Mark Reuss smashed into a wall at the Detroit Grand Prix parade lap when Mark was pretending he was qualified to drive like a pro?

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Where’s my “thumb down button”?

      Obviously this is not that car. You just made this comment to be mean and feign superiority/make fun of someone with a high profile in the automotive world. Not nice.

      • King Al

        You are indeed correct.  It was a blue ZR1 that Reuss crashed while showing off.   My apologies.


  34. Superdessucke

    Mario Andretti is a legend, and one of the greatest of all time. Big fan. But folks, let’s not forget that he’s almost 80 years old now. I find it very unlikely, if not impossible, that someone of that age, legend or not, would have walked away from a crash like this at all, much less with no injury. And that is essentially what we must believe to believe the “anonymous tip.” I call BS, sorry.

  35. Jim

    I watched a show about how things are built on the C7. After watching that show I decided that if I ever wrecked a C7 regardless of how bad that when it was fixed I’d send her down the road. You could never duplicate the procedures that go into the assembly of this car in a “body shop” nice parts car though!


    It appears something heavy fell on that side of the car or car slid into something or it into car. Very little damage anywhere else. Passenger rear tire looks blown from downforce. Door is ripped off but not much damage. All damage is directional to and from one specific area.

  37. Karl

    Do not use my name… This car is absolutely the car Mario wrecked. He wrapped it around a tree. He received a minor injury to his head.
    A police report was made. Simply running the VIN will show he was the owner. The car has approximately 1700 miles.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.


Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.