2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: DON'T Brace for Impact
January 20, 2010
Car Boss, Mike Schmidt, knows I have the second-longest commute to the office so he asked if I'd be willing to burn some 100-octane fuel out of our new, old "Zed-Aught-Six." Sure, why not? The storms were retreating and I've not driven one of these notch-backs since, jeez, 2004-5 when the C6 came on line. A few things stood out on my mostly-dry drive home and a few more on my rain-soaked drive back.
The first thing that struck me was this passenger grab handle. Do you see anything dangerous about its design? I'm pretty certain it would absolutely be the worst place to grip in the case of a probable frontal impact. Best case scenario: two broken thumbs.
Next, I started to compile a shopping list for our Z06, starting with a new driver's seat and budget permitting, a matching passenger seat. Along with the rest of the automotive scrivenerdom, we've been complaining about Corvette seats for generations of Corvettes and now we have an opportunity to actually do something about it. We have one guy on our staff who has replaced his Corvette seat(s) with a set of Recaros. Have any of you replaced your Corvette seats? What did you get and why?
The next thing we must buy is a skip-shift eliminator. If you don't know what that is, then you haven't known the joys of driving late-model GM V8s in heavy traffic. They range in price from about ten bucks on eBay to $30 from a legit online retailer. Again, anything we should consider here? This seems a pretty easy fix and definitely a DIY project for Dan.
Finally, I realized the car should probably get a new set of front tires. (The rears have enough tread depth at this point.) Why, you ask? Well, the rain has returned in earnest and skiing in a Z06 is not my idea of fun. Of course, I stayed out of the puddle-prone No. 1 lane (closest to the center divider on the freeway), but even so, the car hydroplaned often enough and severely enough to keep me from so much as adjusting the volume on the stereo on my drive in this morning. Sipping coffee was both unnecessary and impossible.
I reached the nearby gas station tingling with adrenaline and about 1/8 of a tank of 100-octane fuel. I figured that was low enough to try a fresh tank of 91, so I filled it up. I've got one more commute in the car tonight/tomorrow morning, but with all this rain, it's highly unlikely I'll be able to go to W.O.T. to see if we've solved the detonation problem.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 42,423 miles