The C6 Z06 Corvette may be the greatest performance car bargain in the history of performance car bargains.
Rich or poor, everyone loves a great deal. In the car world, the Corvette has often been one of the better sports car deals out there. Performance that can rival a Porsche or Ferrari with a price tag that is far more accessible. That is the Corvette. A good bargain does not mean inexpensive, however. A brand-new Corvette can easily exceed $70,000. That is a lot of money for most folks to spend on a limited use vehicle. The average new car price is closer to $37,000. That will get you into a nice new Impala, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing exciting about that either.
That Impala money can get you into something faster and sexier. How about 0 to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of nearly 200 mph? If that got your ears perked up, then you need to look closely at the C6 Z06. A world-beater when first released in 2006, it can still run away from most cars today. If the stock power is not enough, it can easily be built to make crazy power. The car has been pushed out of the spotlight by the newer and faster generations. That has only made the C6 more attainable. There may not have ever been a better deal in the sportscar universe.
What makes the C6 Z06 so special? It starts with three simple characters, LS7. The legendary LS7 engine was a hand-built, 427 cubic inch, naturally aspirated, dry-sump, V8 pumping out 505 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The engine would rev to 7,000 rpm and sound glorious while doing it. Yes, the newer Corvettes have eclipsed the power output but again we are talking about a car that can be had for the cost of the average new car price. There is no average new car that stands a chance against a C6 Z06 Vette.
As wonderful as the engine is, the Z06 is far more than just a big engine. It was not only the most powerful Corvette offered in 2006 when it was released, but it was also the lightest. The car was developed alongside the C6.R racecar, and exotic materials are used throughout. That is how a car with a bigger engine, brakes, wheels, fenders, and so on tips the scales less than a base car.
Why else would you want the C6 Z06? Well, unlike the new C8 you can shift your own gears in the C6 generation car. In between, you have the C7 Z06 which is faster, and you can also get it in a manual. However, that car has a different feel to it. It is several hundred pounds heavier than the C6. The C6 is a more analog and rawer car. It does not have all the electronics the C7 is weighted down with. It also arguably looks better than the C7 iteration and will cost half as much to buy.
Name another similar performing car from 2006 that would you want to buy? A Ford GT has similar performance numbers to a C6 Z06. Have you priced a 2006 Ford GT lately? Forget it. A Ferrari F430 is in the Z06 performance ballpark. You can pick up an F430 for about $37,000 if you do not mind a car with a rebuilt title and some light fire damage. Same goes for a Lamborghini Gallardo. You can pick up a higher mileage Porsche 911 4S for about the same money. It is a nice car, but the Z06 will handily outperform it. There really is no other bargain out there like the C6 Z06.
If you want to go the safe route, go ahead, and buy that Impala. It will get you back and forth to work just fine. If you want a 200-mph rocketship with a legendary engine, bring up the classified site of your choice and look for a C6 generation Z06. You will be getting the performance deal of the century and everyone loves that.
Photos: General Motors
Join the Corvette Forums now!