1993 Franklin Mint Corvette ZR-1


The purpose of this page is to document information about the 1993 Franklin Mint Corvette ZR-1.  This summary features the one-of-a-kind Franklin Mint Corvette "photo piece" car and highlights  information and stories from Raffi Minasian, the Franklin Mint design director for this model.


When presented with the chance to acquire this extremely rare Franklin Mint Corvette photopiece, I quickly discovered this was an opportunity to preserve some history of the Franklin Mint Corvette product line, and to share information about the model and the designer.  The quality of the photo piece is stunning and the Raffi stories are very interesting indeed!  This is a one-of-a-kind Franklin Mint Corvette acquired in October 2008.


This is the actual car used in the Franklin Mint Brochure

In 1996 when Franklin Mint was going head to head against Danbury Mint, once in a while we would learn about some of DM's pending promotions and there would be a race to see who would announce their program first.  When we heard that is was possible that GM was dual licensing the Corvette brand to Danbury Mint and they were in the midst of developing the 1993 ZR-1 we knew it was important to act quickly...    (click for the COA and full story from Raffi Minasian)

Franklin Mint was already working on a Corvette ZR-1 but the body mold was not ready to accept the pressures of the diecast process for metal.  Raffi decided to temporarily inject the mold with a fiberglass resin composite material (not as harsh as metal), contract with a firm to assemble a prototype photo piece with the resin body, and win the race to deliver the promotional materials on the new Corvette ZR-1.


The output of this decision produced 2 things.   First, the concept of Corvette bodies being made from fiberglass resin.  Real Corvette bodies are made from fiberglass, so this temporary use of fiberglass resin was an exciting prospect for future models which lead eventually to the first Franklin Mint 1963 fiberglass production model.  Second was the creation of this one-of-a-kind 1993 Franklin Mint Corvette ZR-1 photopiece...

1993 Franklin Mint ZR-1 Production model vs. One-of-a-Kind photopiece ZR-1

Notice the differences underneath the production car and the photopiece.  Most notable is the color of the mufflers and some of the exhaust segments.  The production car uses black phillips-head screws while the photopiece uses shiny standard-head screws.
Rear differences include subtle changes in the tail lights.  The production model (L) has larger diameter tail light openings, are shallow in depth, and the tail light lenses are a brighter red.  The photopiece (R) has smaller diameter tail light openings that are deeper in depth, with a darker red tail light.  The silver painted exhaust tips are also visible.

The paint quality on the photopiece is excellent, and, much brighter than the production ruby red.  This picture attempts to illustrate the paint differences.



The production model (L) is very good and typical Franklin Mint excellence.  But the photopiece (R) is far superior in quality because it was hand built and finished by professional model builders.  Differences are seen in the front running light lenses and clarity in the front license plate cover and Corvette lettering.

The production model brand stampings (L) vs. the missing stampings on the photopiece (R).


Engine Differences


Error Alert:  The first production run mistakenly had only 3 spark plug wires per side of the engine, making it a 6 cylinder mistake!  The error was caught and corrected for the second production run.  However, most Franklin Mint 1993 ZR-1's have the 6 cylinder mistake, making the true 8 cylinder production runs the "rare" version...

             Example of the 6 cylinder error




All Content Copyright 2007 Bruce Jeschke, JetsVettes

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