Monday, January 11, 2016

Fast 'n' Cheap: 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Chevrolet's C5 generation Corvette was a fast car, and competent in the turns -- but when they released the Z06 edition in 2001 they turned the knob up to 11.  For the first time in history you could, for $56,395, buy a car that would hit 60mph in less than 4 seconds, cover a 1/4 mile in 12.4 seconds and exceed 1 G on the skipad.  Now, you can get that same performance for a bit over $10k.  Find this 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 here on eBay with a starting bid of $10,500 with a $12,500 buy-it-now located in Lindale, GA.

The Z06 option added more than just a few horsepower under the hood and a few fender emblems.  It featured monstrously wide wheels/tires (9.5 front 10.5 rear), a revised 6-speed manual gearbox with shorter gearing, FE4 suspension, and a titanium (for weight savings) exhaust.

Under the hood is an LS6 V8 that produces 385 horsepower and 405 ft-lbs of torque -- not insane numbers in today's horsepower wars, but just enough to propel the car forward with ferocity but not wheel spin.

See a faster car for $10k?


  1. No Corvette love from the DTers here?

    This is a pretty fair deal, assuming that the mechanicals are good. I have owned the predecessor to this car - a '99 Fixed Roof Coupe, same body style but without (most) of the Z06 specific bits - for a year now, and have been pleasantly surprised with it. Typical crappy GM interior and build quality (for this era) but a very high level of performance for the dollar - probably the best bargain going today.

    107K is not excessive for an LS3, just check to make sure the valve springs have been changed to the latest spec and that the clutch and slave cylinder have been replaced at some point. Other areas to check include the differential/axle seals and harmonic balancer, all things known to fail (and requiring a fair amount of effort/cost to repair). Other than that, maintenance is pretty simple and the 2001+ c5's are generally very reliable.

    My FRC is my 1st corvette in 35 years (was a Porsche BMW Merc guy for years) and for the price, represents a terrific performance bargain. It is essentially a Z06 (wheels, brakes, intake, injectors, heads, cam, rear spring, shocks all changed to z06 spec) and has become a fun and affordable high performance daily driver.

    1. Original owner of a '02 Z06, now w/ 40K miles (NJ winters and a bunch of kids conspire to keep mileage low). Similar to this '01 model year but with a bump to 405 HP from the factory. A real blast to drive.

      Has been very reliable - I've only needed repair the electronic brake control module and replace the air check valves. Check valve on drivers side out in the open and easy. Passenger not so much (hidden and buried behind engine)

  2. Ergonomics aren't great, but if it fits you the C5 Z06 is the fastest you'll go for the money.

    I'm holding out for a C6 Z06, myself...

  3. That LS3 would look awesome in my Series 2 240Z.
    A grenade? Seriously guys? That escalated quickly.

    First time I ever saw a C5 Z06 was as a young E2 waiting at the bus stop on a humid, miserable, rainy Keesler AFB afternoon back in 2001. It was such a radical departure from the C4 that I instantly fell in love with it (and yes, I had a C4 ZR1 poster in dorm room at the time). Then a few years later, I saw the C6 for the first time and forgot the C5 even existed.

    For my money, I'm going to wait until the C6's come down into Daily Turismo $$ before dipping my toes into the Corvette pool. But seeing this C5 close to my price range give me hope that it'll only be a few more years before the sub $20k non-thrashed C6 becomes a reality.

    1. I like the C6 better aesthetically and ergonomically and the later Magneride Z06s are pretty special road cars, but I've got a friend who preps C5s for TT and various race classes and for track purposes it's AMAZING how light you can get them down to.

    2. @mrkwong - I'm trying to find it now, there's a video where they took a C5 and a Prius on the tail of the dragon (or some such awesome road) and then tested to see which one took more fuel at the end of it. Prius won but it wasn't as much of a slam-dunk as I was expecting. C5 vette got something like mid-20's MPG wise, which blew my tiny little mind. Big engine, turning slow, light weight... who says you need an economy car to get decent fuel mileage?

      Maybe I should start believing my friend with the C7 who says he gets 28-29 MPG on the highway?

  4. Seems like a lot of speed for the money. Everyone seems to complain about the cheap interior... has anyone here upgraded theirs with aftermarket interior bits? Did it work or was it just putting lipstick on a pig?

  5. Seems like a lot of speed for the money. Everyone seems to complain about the cheap interior... has anyone here upgraded theirs with aftermarket interior bits? Did it work or was it just putting lipstick on a pig?

  6. Seems like a lot of speed for the money. Everyone seems to complain about the cheap interior... has anyone here upgraded theirs with aftermarket interior bits? Did it work or was it just putting lipstick on a pig?

  7. Personally I'm in love with the C3 body, and I own a very nice '81, but it royally sucks in the 'go' department with a paltry 190 hp. Dropping in this LS3 for DOUBLE the horsepower would probably smash everything else in the drivetrain, but what a great way to do upgrades, one explosion at a time.

  8. I would love a C5 Z06 one day. Seems like many people report MPG in the mid low 20s, and low 30s on the freeway. Prices out west seem to be hovering around $20k though, not low teens like this example. Most cars I've seen have lower miles though.

  9. Seems like just a few years ago my friends and I were all in awe as one of us picked up a z06 like this for $19,000. We all drove it and were shocked at the power and togetherness of the chassis, its super damn wide and low but is amazing. Some of us sold our ls1rx7's and others went into BMW M3 land, but that z06 into 160+mph on the freeways here was something I'll never forget. Great car for the money. Scary speed machine though. It is so capable of 130+mph comfort, that my survival skills found only here in adult life, came in to my mind as a priority, maybe I will have as much fun without insurance ruining triple digit speed thrills in a z06, if I just find an old car like a 240z or 2002ti.


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