If your life's ambition is to be jostled, bounced, banged up and generally on the receiving end of lumps, you don't need to race a lawn mower around a grass track. Purchase a 1992 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, and 375-h.p. torture can be yours for a mere $65,000.

The '92 ZR-1 is Chevy's testament to the philosophy: "No pain, no gain."

For years Chevrolet has suckered sports car loyalists into believing that it has to hurt to be good. A Dodge Viper doesn't hurt, yet it is very good, much better than the 'Vette. A Viper is fast, yet comfortable. A 'Vette is fast and uncomfortable.

The ZR-1, of course, is the $31,683 option package on the regular $33,635 'Vette coupe that adds the rocket like 5.7-liter, 32-valve, 375-h.p. V-8, a special dash-mounted key to turn on/off the extra power so the parking valet doesn't depreciate your car in one fell swoop, and a couple of inconspicuous "ZR-1" badges on the fenders so the average passerby can tell you paid $65,000 for your ZR-1 and not just $33,000 for an ordinary run-of-the-mill coupe.

That's another problem with the 'Vette. There's a $30,000 spread between the base coupe and the top-of-the-line ZR-1, but unless you go home at night and study 'Vette lore, the typical consumer can't tell the two apart without spotting the tiny ZR-1 badge. For $30,000 you'd think the folks at Chevy could spring for a few large decals or something.

Of course, for $30,000 Chevy could have offered a few radical styling touches on the ZR-1 that weren't offered on the base coupe. Somehow it seems appropriate that Chevy's new ad theme is "Like a Rock."