Though he had owned some fast Corvettes, including the ’03 Z06, they didn’t prepare him for the ZR1’s speed. “It’s a day and night difference,” says Kieller. “It’s nothing like what I’ve driven before. I couldn’t get used to the power—it’s mind-boggling.” A quick blast up to 145 mph was all too easy, and he immediately gained respect for the car’s effortless speed. “It’s a legalized race car,” Kieller adds, this coming from a man who has driven a stock car at 170 mph at Pocono Raceway.
On the other hand, Kieller found that the ZR1 doesn’t ride like a race car. “I thought it was going to be rougher,” he says. “It’s a little stiffer than a regular Corvette, but more comfortable than my ’70 LT1. My wife loves it.” Kieller’s wife isn’t such a fan of the ZR1’s neck-snapping acceleration, however; she started bringing along a neck brace on drives as a joke, but also as a reminder for her husband to be careful how he unleashes those 638 horses.
Speaking of drives, Kieller has gone on a number of them since taking delivery, including a trip to Boston and one to Callaway Cars’ headquarters in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Thus far, the odometer reads 2,800 miles. “I plan on driving the car,” he explains. This year, Kieller intends to travel to a number of events, including the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina in July.
Though not a track-day driver, Kieller does want to learn more about the performance envelope of his Corvette in a safe setting, and will soon schedule his complimentary ZR1 Control Course at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona. So his introduction to the car is yet to be completed.
About the Corvette Museum Delivery experience, Kieller says it is “absolutely worth it. I would recommend it to anyone. You’re going to remember it for the rest of your life.” He’s equally pleased with his Corvette Photo Album, and as far as his retirement gift goes, Kieller plans to make the ZR1 one that keeps on giving: “This one’s a keeper!”