The C6 Corvette is a true gem of the General Motors family. Announced for the 2005 model year, it is a perfect example of how to blend the past and present to create an automobile that is both masculine and artistic.
Manufactured from 2005-present, Chevy planted a 6.0L (from 2005-2007) or 6.2L (from 2008 to the present), a 6.2L LS9 V8 on the ZR1 variant, or a 7.0L LS7 V8 on the Z06 variant. All of this power is handled by a four-speed automatic in the 2005 model year, a 6 speed automatic thereafter, or a 6-speed manual from 2005-present.
The 2005-present C6 Corvette was the first in over 40 years – since the 1962 model year – to feature exposed headlamps. This design element greatly improved the aesthetic of the car and allowed the artists to bring together the past and present in a very effective way.
Another much appreciated feature was the improvement of the passenger cabin – larger and more refined, and even featuring leather in some models such as the 2008 4LT and 3LZ.
Because the C6 Corvette features such a large power plant, the manual transmission is programmed to allow the driver only to shift directly from 1st to 4th at low RPMS, a feature known as Computer Aided Gear Shifting (CAGS). This keeps the buyer from paying the gas guzzler tax by improving the EPA’s fuel economy estimates.
All that power is, of course, a good thing. The C6 Corvette ZR1 (not surprisingly) smoked the SRT Viper GTS in a series of speed and power tests by Motor Trend magazine.
A very interesting pattern to note about this particular generation of Corvette is not necessarily the Corvettes themselves, but the way the Corvettes were marketed. In order to keep interest in the car, Chevrolet reiterated the car many times, making minor manufacturing changes but a major marketing push.
For example, in 2009 the Z06 received an upgrade - new “Spyder” wheels. But in 2011 new 5 spoke wheels were added to the base models. This is not to say that every change was minor. To the contrary, the 2008 upgrade to the Tremec T6060 transmission, in addition to several other major changes, contributed to a major overhaul.
In 2013, Chevrolet added a Convertible Collector Edition C6 with a 60th Anniversary Package including a custom design and custom wheels. Since the Corvette brand has so many loyal fans, it may be difficult to find one in the future. Will the C6 Corvette become a classic? That remains to be seen.