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C6 Corvette - 2006

The 2005 Corvette opened a new chapter in the world of sports cars. After years of being detained in the shadows of the slow and heavy late C3s, and the tight, cramped, and awkward C4s, rose the C5. The C5 was lighter, roomier and more powerful, and by extending those capabilities to the C6, how much better could it get? Lots.

When production of the C5 ended after the 2004 model year, there was a small void in the Corvette lineup. The C4s had coupes, Convertibles, ZR1s, and Grand Sports. The C5, the coupe and roadsters were joined by hardtops and then the Z06. The 2005 c6 was a capable car, utilizing all the benefits of the improved C5 chassis and a larger more powerful LS2 aluminum 400hp V8. Z51 equipped versions with six speed manuals topped out at 186 miles per hour, but there was not hard edged version.

In January 2005 at the North American International Auto Show (or more commonly called the Detroit Auto Show) GM produuct guru Bob Lutz was joined by Corvette Raing Team member and reiver Ron Fellows introduced the press to the newest version, the Z06. Unlike the C5's interpretation of the Z06, the new car was motivated by something other than a higher performing version of the base engine. The new Z06 would replace the 6.0L 400hp LS2 with the largest small block engine to sit under the hood of a Corvette, a 505 SAE net horsepower 7.0L all aluminum V8. Inside the engine's 4.4 inch centers were flat top cast aluminum pistons with a 4.125 bores. The 4.00 inch stroke forged crankshaft uses ultra trick and lightweight titanium connecting rods to convert reciprocating force into linear. The intakes valves used the same exotic material allowing the engine to spin to a 7,000 rpm redline. For increased durability The block used pressed in cast iron cylinder liners.

The engine, dubbed LS7 produced 470 lb/ft of torque at 4,800 rpm, limiting the transmission choice to a six speed manual, with gear ratios specific to the Z06. Free breathing cylinder CNC ported cylinder heads worked with hydroformed stainless steel exhaust manifolds, free of kinks with nice smoothe bends, and close coupled catylitic converters. The compression ratio of the LS7 was bumped up a bit, no at 11.0:1. The camshaft generates .591" of lift via roller rocker arms with a 1.70:1 ratio. The intake valves are huge a 2.2 inches of diameter, with the exhaust valves encompassing 1.62 inches.

The C6 Z06 employed the first ever dry sump oiling system in an American production car. The dry sump system had a very shallow oil pan and a large oil resivour that contained a total of 10.5 quarts of synthetic oil. Eight of those quarts were contained in a tank located on the right side of the engine compartment. The oil was kept at a safe operating temperature by using an oil to air cooler. The placement of the dry sump system where the battery was located on other C6s made a conventient reason to move the weighty battery from underhood the the right rear corner of the car.

A unique exhaust system was part of the Z06 hardware package. Employing a technique used by hod rodders over the generations, the three inch diameter exhaust system had the ability to bypass the mufflers and route the exhaust gasses nearly unrestricted out of the four inch diameter stainless steel exhast tip. To accomplish this, a pair of vacuum operated valves received a signal from the ECU to let them know when the conditions were right to perform this task. The exhaust system was no longer made of titanium as on the C5 Z06, instead being constructed of aluminized stainless steel.

The chassis of the Z06 was a piece of rolling sculpture, one crated of aluminum. The aluminum frame was lighter than the steel frame the sat under the body panels of lesser C6s. On the Z06, there would be no lift off roof panel as this luxury was traded for a stiffer chassis. The engine cradle is cast of magnesium and also is the point where the forged aluminum front suspension components mount.

Brakes for the new Z06 undertook a major upgrade. Rotor sizes increased in size from the optional Z51 package's 13.4 inch front and 13 inch rear to 14 inches and 13.4 respectively. The rotors had pressure applied to them by specific six piston monoblock calipers in the front, and four piston calipers of the same design in the rear. Rather than one pad per side as on most braking systems, the C6 Z06 utilized a total of six pads per side in the front and four in back. The design was of this unique pad design was to distribute even pressure of the pads against the rotor surface. As on all other Corvettes since 1986, four channel anitlock brakes were standard, with Delphi being the vendor for the 2006 Z06.

The suspension uses the same basic components as the base and Z51 equipped C6 Corvettes, but the spring rates, stabilizer bars, bushings, and shock absorbers are changed to deliver a higher performing driving experience. The rear axle carried a stronger ring and pinion, which drove power to the wheels by way of increased capacity u-joints and half shafts. At transmission oil cooler with its own pump keep the fluid at a controlled temperature and is routed in such a way that it reduces the temperature of the rear axle as well.

Wheels and tires were bigger and more capable the ordinary C6s. The tires, having a higher grip level, were not run flats so a can of sealant and an inflator kit, were sized at P275/35ZR18 in front and P325/30ZR19 in the back. At 325mm, the section width of the tire was a massive 12.80 inches wide. The wheels were a beautiful 10-spode design, with slender spokes eminating from the center to the wheel rim. While the wheel diameters mirrored the C6 specifications, the widths were 9.5 inches up front and 12.0 inches in the back.

The exterior design elements were unique to the Z06. At the front, a the front fascia had a wider grille opening so the radiator could ingest a greater volume of cooling air. At the bottom of the fascia, a "splitter" made of flexible plastic was added. Its job was to move air over and around the cars, denying passage below as much as possible. A NACA style duct sat atop the fascia supplying air to the hungry LS7. The front fenders were unique not only in appearance but composition. Carbon fibre was used for the fenders, and they were so light special jigs had to be used on the assembly line when being painted as to not have the pressure of the paint sprayers blow them onto the shop floor. The front inner fenders were also constructed of carbon fibre as well. A bright 505 HP Z06 fender badge was applied to the fenders, over the vent.

The rear quarter panels of the Z06 had integrated brake cooling ducts, much more appealing than the ducts that were scabbed on to the sides of the C5 Z06. The quarters were also wider to cover those massive tires. The small spoiler that held the third brake lamps was taller on the Z06, giving the car slightly more downforce at speed. The new top speed was 198 miles per hour.

Inside the Z06 were seats with greater side bolstering, designed to support the driver during agressive cornering. The instrument panel had a specific tachometer reflecting to 500 rpm increase in maximum engine speed. Also, the Z06 logo was displayed on the tachometer. The seats were all leather and had either silver or red accents. A power seat was not available for the passenger, giving up that luxury in the quest for lighter weight. Also serving in that quest were the balsa wood cored floor boards which replaced the fibreglass coverings for carbon fibre. The result of these changed was a Z06 with a curb weight of 3,132 pounds, resulting in a power to weight ratio of 6.2 pounds per horsepower. A standard Corvette was saddled with 8.2 pounds per horsepower.

Changed to the 2006 Corvette were not limited to the addition of a Z06 model. Coupes and convertibles were treated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. The new gearbox, dubbed 6L80 had a first gear ratio of 4.02 to one, allowing for not only rapid off the line acceleration, but achieved it with a 2.59 rear axle ratio. The two overdrive gears, 5th and 6th were .85 and .67 respectively. The transmission had a manual mode that allowed shifting via a pair of "paddles" located to the back side of the new, smaller 370mm steering wheel. The paddles would upshift the transmission if pushed forward, and would downshift when pulled bact. The paddles were marked with a "+" on the paddle face. Inhibitors would keep the transmission from shifting into too high or low of a gear when commanded. Another part of the transmissions programming is that the transmission would stay locked in the gear chosen and would run the engine against the rev limiter until commanded by the paddle to change gears. By contrast, the transmission would continue to downshift regardless of the gear chosen. The performance shift algorithm programming of the transmission was also used with the new six-speed.

The passengwe seat used a sensor located in the base of the seat cushion to detect the presence of a person in that seat. The system detected the of the person in the seat to determine the at which force to deploy the two staged air bag, if at all. This replaced the keyed on/off switch of the 2005 models.

The 2006 Corvette added to its portfolio with the addition of the Z06 model, and upped the ante on its supercar status. The Z06 was unique in one supercar aspect, the fuel mileage kept it out of Gas Guzzler Tax territory.

Total Production - 34,021
Model Number Description Production Base Price
1YY07 Corvette Coupe 16,598 $44,600.00
1YY67 Corvette Convertible 11,151 $52,335.00
1YY87 Corvette Z06 Coupe 6,272 $65,800.00

Engine Codes
RPO Cu. In. / L Horsepower Torque Fuel System Trans Block Code Comp Ratio :1 Emissions
LS2 364 / 6.0 400 @ 6000 400 @ 4400 Sequenial Multi Port EFI Man ZKH 10.9 All
LS2 364 / 6.0 400 @ 6000 400 @ 4400 Sequenial Multi Port EFI Auto ZKS 10.9 All
LS7 427 / 7.0 505 @ 6300 470 @4800 Sequenial Multi Port EFI Man ZKD 11.0:1 All

Color & Trim Codes
Exterior Color Codes Interior Trim Codes
Color Code Color Base Seats AR9 Sport Seats AQ9
Arctic White 10U Ebony Leather 193 193
Black 41U Red Leather 023 023
LeMans Blue Metallic 19U Cashmere Leather 313 313
Machine Silver Metallic 67U Titanium Gray Leather 843 843
Monterey Red Metallic 80U
Daytona Sunset Orange Metallic 71U
Velocity Yellow 45U
Victory Red 74U
Corvette Coupe Corvette Convertible Corvette Z06
Overall Length 174.6 174.6 175.6
Height 49.0 49.0 49.0
Width 72.6 72.6 75.9
Wheel Base 105.75 105.75 105.75
Track F / R 62.1 / 60.7 62.1 / 60.7 63.5 / 62.5
Curb Weight 3179 3199 3132
Dimensions are in inches, weight in pounds unless otherwise noted.

2005 - Headlamps Exposed!
2006 - The 505 Horsepower Corvette Z06
2007 - Honored, Ron Fellows, Corvette Racer
2008 - What a Retirement Bonus
2009 - Code Name: Blue Devil
2010 - Grand Sport Returns
2011 - Build your Own
2012 - Chevry Celebrates 100 Corvette Style
2013 - Corvette turns 60 and the Reign of the C6 is over

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