2002 Chevrolet Corvette Long Term Road Test

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: New Owner's Dream Car

May 27, 2011

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We've had the Z06 up for sale for three weeks and slowly dropped the price from $22,900 (pretty aggressive) to $21,900 (more realistic) to $20,900 (priced to sell). The last price drop did the trick. I got a call Tuesday night asking if the car was still available and when could it be test driven? It was late when I got the call so I texted back and arranged to show it Thursday night. Over the ensuing two days we exchanged texts about the condition of the Vette and I answered several questions. I got the sense that this buyer was for real.

Last night, Cliff Hurff showed up with a friend to drive the Z06. I found out that he is 23 years old and a part-time student. He loves cars and has already owned 10 different vehicles including an '02 Camaro. He has always wanted the Z06 and calls it his "dream car." But surprisingly, this is the very first Corvette he has ever driven. And he drove it well on the test drive, despite the fact that he hadn't worked a clutch for over a year. After the test drive I told him the title and the service records were in the house so we went inside. Notice, we hadn't discussed price yet.

Cliff looked over the service records, seemed satisfied, and then, hesitantly asked, "How flexible are you on the price?" I asked what he had in mind? He said, "I'm thinking $19,000..." I pondered this and said, "The lowest we can go is $20,000." He shrugged and said, "I guess I can do 20." We signed papers and a few minutes later I took this picture of Cliff next to his dream car.

It was a point of pride to be able to get the same price for the Corvette that we paid for it a year and a half (and 17,500 miles) ago. That doesn't happen very often. With the previous muscle cars I've sold, the depreciation has been less than main stream cars but still significant. But I'm not going to be like the guy that goes to the race track and only brags about the bets he won. We did put new tires on the car, a water pump and paid for some other repairs. So it wasn't exactly free transportation. But it did hold its value remarkably well, especially at a time when gas prices are through the roof.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 59,690 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: So Who's Gonna Buy It?

May 13, 2011

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So what could you do with our Z06?

Because it's a relatively low mileage car in fairly good condition, and because it is a Z06 (they have much smaller production numbers) it could be added to someone's stable of cars as the occasional weekender. It would be a shame to turn this thing into a coffee table, but sadly that's the life a lot of Corvettes lead. It's a thorough cleaning and a fresh driver's seat away from living it's life in a climate controlled garage.

But because it's a Z06, it's also ripe for some track action. Faster than anything in this price range, you're just not going to be able to buy anything that you can drive to the track, pass a bunch of people and then drive home in for less money. Slap in a good seat, a roll bar, some belts and a good set of tires and use the car for what it was designed to do.

I know what I'd do. How about you?

Kurt NIebuhr, Photo Editor @ 59,214 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: What Should We Get Next?

May 10, 2011

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As you know, we're trying to sell our beloved 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06. We don't want to, but after 15 months, nearly 20,000 miles and 197 blog posts there just isn't much left to do with our silver bullet. With that in mind, I took the Vette on a farewell drive. The drive took two days.

This is a great car. A car I could own. I love it. It makes me happy. It's comfortable and mellow when you need it to be and stupid fast when you want it to be. It sounds great, has awesome air conditioning and a huge trunk.

But, as sad as it makes me, our Z06 has got to go. What should we replace it with?

An NSX? A Defender 90? A new Ford Explorer? A certified pre-owned Audi RS4? A Prius V? How about an E39 M5 or a used C6 Z06? What the next car or truck you want to read about?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Video Classified Ad

May 05, 2011

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Our Z06 is now for sale at $22,900 and we have an ad for it on AutoTrader and a barebones "walk around" on YouTube.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: And that Number is...

April 29, 2011

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A few days ago I asked what you thought was a good asking price for the Z06 that we'll be selling soon. I was pleased to see that most of you took the question seriously and posted some good comments and tips for the selling process. We've been mulling this issue too and here's what we came up with.

While Edmunds TMV is a great starting point, every used car is different and the price needs to be adjusted for local conditions and for the target buyer. We also like to see what our competition is so we go to Autotrader.com and browse the cars already listed for sale. Then we think about how the price is going to look and how the negotiations will go down. For instance, in this case, we want to stay north of $20,000 so we're going to have to build in some wiggle room to allow for haggling. So, with all those factors in mind, here's what we came up with.

Drum roll please. Our asking price is $22,900.

We think we have a strong candidate because, for a 10-year-old car, 58,000 miles is pretty low. Also, we have new tires, water pump and brakes. The paint is in excellent condition and there are, as they say, "no stories" -- nothing that needs to be explained or justified.

So, we'll be posting the car soon on AutoTrader and eBay classifieds, as well as creating a video walk around. Wish us luck in finding a good home for this great car.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: What's the Right Number?

April 26, 2011

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It's been over a year of nearly uninterrupted Z06 fun and now it's time to let someone else take the wheel. We're starting to think of separating ourselves from this fine machine and as the sadness grows, so does the need for the right price -- asking and transaction.

The process usually starts with a trip to our TMV guru. No preamble is necessary, just: "2002 Corvette Z06, silver, 58K miles." He closes his eyes and leans back. "I'm gonna want to say..." We wait breathlessly. Meanwhile, other editors throw out prices. With each number comes a point of view, a value judgment about the worth of the car, the strength of the market, the great unknown of gas prices.

We've settled on a price and our ducks are nearly in a row. Before we break the unbearable tension, and name our price, does anyone else have an opinion? (That was a joke.)

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 58,805 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Oh My, This is Embarrassing

April 20, 2011

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The Vette's Average Speed display can be cleared by pressing and holding the Reset button. And hopefully, at least a handful of times while with us, it has been. Otherwise, this slightly-faster-than-school-zone average MPH demands an awkward explanation.

Don't blame me though, friends. No, I whip the old SwissAmeriFranco snot out of this car every chance I get. Set the cruise control at 118, blasting Diamond Dave-era Halen and chain-smoking Gitanes down the length of the San Diego Freeway. And that's just on a weeknight. I really can't answer for my colleagues if they're driving the Z06 like the Leaf.

Damn Leaf - everyone trying to tow a rainforest behind their cars now...

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Corvette Summer

April 15, 2011

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Scott,

Can we keep it a little longer? At least until September? I'll wash it every week, promise.

Regards,

New Guy

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2002 Corvette Z06: Nice Set of Wheels

April 14, 2011

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A while back, the idea was tossed around about getting new wheels for our Z06. Though I'm certainly not opposed to replacing some Corvette's stockers (I never liked the wheels on the early C5s, for example), I never understood why some of my colleagues thought the Z06 could use different wheels. I think the O.E. jobs look great -- the thin, double-spoke design not only looks elegant but provides a proper sporting flavor by allowing the Corvette-branded, red brake calipers to be seen.

What say you? Would you be happy with these or would you have to go to the aftermarket?

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 58,647 miles

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2002 Corvette Z06: Enjoyable Even at 3/10ths

April 11, 2011

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The sky is blue, water is wet, and yep, the Z06 is a hoot when you're leaning on it. Whether that means enjoying that bellowing, guttural exhaust while blasting up a few gears, giving it a hearty rev-matching blip while you grab a lower cog or taking advantage of a nearly deserted, increasing-radius on-ramp, it's all the same -- almost too much fun.

But ya know, the Z06 makes a fine day tripper ride too. Taking on L.A.'s "no-budget-for-road-maintenance", bombed-out streets (have you driven over La Cienega lately?!), this low-slung, performance-focused super 'vette doesn't beat you up but rather provides a surprisingly supple ride over the bumps and ruts. And once liberated from that crap, there's not much better on a warm SoCal day than a trip up and down the PCH, kicked back cruising in a Z06 with the windows down and a Beach Boys CD fittingly accompanied by the titanium exhaust's background track.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 58,600 miles.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Smog Check

April 07, 2011

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New cars are our thing. We only delve into the used car world from time to time for something fun like a 1985 911, 1984 308 GTSi or in this case a 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. So it isn't common that our registration renewals include a smog-test due notice. That's just what happened with the Z06. Do you think it passed?

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Our Favorite Caption

March 18, 2011

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Thanks to rayray633 for this week's favorite caption. Here are the others that made us giggle.

Forget E-Trade! I want the keys to the Vette! (ralphhightower)
The Vette's new seat will Pamper you. (ergsum)
All set for the Nürburgteethingring. (ergsum)
Baby Stig must be in a booster until he is 9 years old. (ultimgrocgettr)
And now we turn the car over to our potty trained racing driver. (tomslick2)
::facepalm:: I said the Vette needed more boost.... (technetium99)
A good parent always lets their child get in some lap time. (ergsum)
Need for speed....then a snack and a nap. (bodyshopboy)
Baby you can drive my car! (bonzjr)
Baby Not Bored (mtango41)
Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet? (technetium99)
Ready to lap the Sesame Streets of Willow. (aleclance)
Proof positive that Insideline editors are babies. (robert4380) Hey!
The hard part is teaching them heelsie-weelsie and toesie-woesie shifting. (ergsum)
Baby Formula 1 (ergsum)
Z06, quite the pacifier! (snipenet)
0 to McDonalds in 4 seconds. (ms3omglol)
Dang it, Donna was driving the Corvette again... (greenpony) Hey!
The Fast and the Fisher-Price (sherief)
A short track racer. (ergsum)
Giving new meaning to midget racing (trackwrex)
Babe, err..Baby Magnet (thejohnp)

What was your favorite?

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Answers, Part Two - As Well As Me Being Stoned to Death

March 02, 2011

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More than a few a you asked whether or not I would buy a C5 Z06 and how it compares to either a new Mustang or an E46 M3. Well, here it goes...

To buy a Corvette, you have to want a Corvette. Bear with me, because unless you own a C5 Z06, this might not make a lot of sense.

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Hand Wash Only

February 27, 2011

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About a week ago I took our Z06 to a car wash for a quick bath. It's a hand wash joint (no big rough brushes), but it still uses a track to pull the car through the tunnel of soap and water.

No luck. Corvette and track don't mix. Car too low. Tires too wide.

So we had to pull it aside for a true hand wash. Which of course cost $10 more and took much too long. Next time I'll just do it myself.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Q&A

February 25, 2011

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Hell has frozen over and I've got the Z06 for the weekend.

Let me know if you guys have any questions on what it's like to live with a Z06 and I'll do my best to answer them with photos, videos and mildly amusing commentary.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 57,213 miles.

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: No Door Dings

February 11, 2011

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Our beloved 2002 Corvette Z06 is still in the shop. As soon as we know how the patient is doing, we'll pass it on to you.

But a funny thing happened while I was standing next to the Corvette as it bled coolant all over my driveway: I noticed it is without a single door ding. Not one. And that's after 57,000 miles of driving.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Pop-up Headlamps

January 22, 2011

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I get a kick out of our Corvette Z06's old-school pop-up headlamps. Sure, pop-up setups don't make a whole lot of sense anymore, what with the added mechanical complexity, the severe lack of aerodynamics during night driving and the fact that manufacturers can produce sleek front ends using exposed lights (including the C6 Vette). But not everything has to make sense, and I enjoy watching the lights flip up and down, especially since we might never see them again on a mass-produced car because of pedestrian impact regulations.

On another subject, I have yet to experience the "service active handling" indicator that Editor-in-Chief Oldham witnessed the other day. Maybe I need to drive it harder...

I also checked the engine oil (not to imply that's a great feat on my part), and it's just fine; the Z06 seems to be using the stuff sparingly, which is good to see, although the car's readout says the oil's life is at 17 percent remaining.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 56,628 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Freeway Vette Love

January 21, 2011

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Check out this clean 1967 Vette roadster I was cruising with the other day on the San Bernardino freeway. Looks tough wearing its hardtop, plus it was sporting a big-block hood with a stinger scoop and a black stripe.

I was in our Z06, feeling cool, but that '67 wins hands down. And to hammer the point home the guy driving it wouldn't even look over at me.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: What Should the C7 Get?

January 20, 2011

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I'm guessing it won't be too much longer before we start hearing real rumors or seeing spy photos of the next-generation (C7) Corvette. Against this, we still have a slow economy, poor sports car sales, GM's recent bankruptcy (that perhaps slowed development plans down) and stricter CAFE fuel economy standards. But the current (C6) car debuted in 2005, and I just can't picture Chevy dithering much longer on one of its most iconic cars.

So, you've read what we like and don't like about our 2002 Z06 (C5) and, though various road tests, the newer C6. What would you want for the next-generation Corvette to make it something you might consider buying? My thoughts follow.

I've organized this by topical areas that I suspect would get the most attention.

Engine? I think it's pretty unrealistic to expect anything but V8 power. No doubt increased fuel economy will be a priority. But going with a twin-turbo V6 or something just wouldn't suit the car's heritage -- and much of the Corvette's sales base is based on heritage. Instead, go with technology like direct injection or variable valve timing to get the car's economy (and power!) up.

All-wheel drive? I've seen a lot of people wanting this on forum posts. Sorry, no. it doesn't suit the car's character and would just add weight and complexity. If you want all-wheel drive, buy a Nissan GT-R.

Mid-engine? See AWD above.

Transmission? This could be a great opportunity to introduce a dual-clutch automated transmission. Most competing cars have them (GT-R, M3, Boxster/Cayman). Since the majority of Corvette buyers opt for the automatic, this would provide enhanced potential for those buyers and probably draw in a lot of manual buyers too. Just keep a manual as an option, OK?

Suspension/handling? A better-communicating Corvette is essential. It already has great numbers; it just could stand to be more involving to drive. Maybe a switch to a coilover suspension would help? The current traverse leaf spring design is part of the car's heritage and works better than most people give it credit for. But clearly something needs to be done.

Interior? This needs to be improved. It doesn't need to be a luxury boat. GM tried that already -- remember the Cadillac XLR? Instead, focus on improved build quality and design. Have a Recaro seat option like the CTS. Have the latest techno feature options like hard-drive based nav and maybe some cool smart-phone apps. Welcome the latest generation of drivers.

Convertible? I could see people desiring a folding hardtop design. But it would require too much weight and complexity in my opinion. Keep the soft top.

Weight? A strong power-to-weight ratio is one of the current Corvette's main draws. Keep it that way. A base weight of around 3,200 pounds should be the target.

Styling? A lot of people think the next Corvette will incorporate some retro-styling elements. That might work well for sales (see Mustang and Challenger). But Chevy would also run the risk of designing itself into a corner. I say keep it moving forward from the current design.

Cost? Ah, and here's where I'm glad I'm an automotive journalist in my comfy office chair rather than a Corvette engineer or designer. No doubt it will be tough to incorporate all the things the Corvette needs but still keep it affordable. Even now, I'd say the base Corvette has crept up to uncomfortable levels in terms of price (more than $50,000 with just a couple options). The Corvette should still be the American sports car for the everyman.

So what do you think GM should do with the C7?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Steady As She Goes

January 18, 2011

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The Z06 doesn't need a stereo. It makes its own perfectly punchy soundtrack. When jumping into one of our long-termers, I instinctively reach for the radio dial after making my seat, steering wheel and mirror adjustments. But I've been training myself lately to spend the first 10 minutes or so of any drive just listening to the car.

In the Z06, those 10 minutes turn into 20, then 30, then 40, and finally the full duration of the commute, as it did on the drive home a few nights ago. The next morning, the drive into the office called for some accompaniment. But what? The Z06 has a single-disc CD player. What single disc in the collection would complement 405 horsepower?

Stones? Zeppelin? Solid, classic Brit-rock, but predictable. AC/DC? Proper sonic weight, but also an import (although props to the Australians, who share the American affinity for bullish V8s). No, this 50-mile run called for something thick, something American with a good Midwestern thump. Something like the Raconteurs, a Nashville band with Detroit roots. Nashville's only about 65 miles from Bowling Green, incidentally. Perfect.

Steady as she goes, indeed. That should be the mantra when driving the Z06. It'll lull ya into a serene self-confidence, all progressive throttle and power delivery, only to yank the fabric out from under ya and leave you in a heap of fiberglass and tears.

For a little Tuesday morning time-wastin', what about you? What's your idea of a good soundtrack for pushing around 400 horses? Just a couple of ground rules, though:

1: Should be an American band/artist...
2: ..except Bob Seger

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette: What Mods Would You Get?

January 06, 2011

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You know, it's close to being a year for our Corvette Z06 and we never got around to making any modifications to it. That's unfortunate as it could really benefit from just a few simple mods. So let's say you decided you decided to buy the thing when we put it up for sale. Would you do anything to it or just keep it stock? Well, if I bought it, here's what I'd do.

  • Replace the seats. True, they're actually pretty comfortable for a long haul. But they're worn and offer up about as much support as a park bench. Finding sportier aftermarket seats that fit a Corvette isn't easy, but it can be done. Cost: Depends. On the cheap end, figure about $850 for a pair of Corbeau A4s.
  • Revitalize the suspension. I guess I'd start with putting in new dampers and seeing what happens. The hope would be a gain in compliance. Replacing both the traverse leaf springs and dampers with adjustable coilovers would be another option. Cost: Depends. Figure around $400 for Bilsteins or $2,400 for LG coilovers.
  • Put in a cargo partition. You can buy a divider for the C5 coupe body style that acts like a bulkhead; install it behind the seats and make the trunk a real trunk. Plus, it'd help cut down on road noise coming from the rear tires. Cost: $270 from Southern Car Parts.

That's all I'd do. Engine mods? Already fast enough. Exhaust? Already plenty loud. Wheels? They look fine. I guess I'd be tempted to throw lots of money at it and make it a race car. But for a daily driver, that's all it'd need in my opinion.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Dry Cleaners Run

December 31, 2010

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Like most sports cars, our 2002 Corvette Z06 lacks clothes hanger hooks. This can make it tricky when it's time to pick items up from a dry cleaners. But I found that hooking a bungee cord around the passenger seat serves as a pretty good temporary alternative.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Exhaust Video For Your Ears

December 27, 2010

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My favorite thing about our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette -- besides how silly fast it is -- is how great it sounds. It's just mean and bad and brings a big dollop MMA beat-down to your ears. Sure, you could put an aftermarket exhaust on it and make it even louder (if that's your thing), but for a stock C5 Corvette it doesn't get any better.

To give a taste of how our Z06 sounds, I McGyver'd a mount for my point-and-shoot camera to make an in-car video. I also drove my 2008 Corvette afterwards so you can listen to the difference between the two cars.

Some setup: It's not the greatest quality and it frequently looks like I'm driving through Bespin's Cloud City, but the point is the sound; wear good headphones and turn it up. For both cars, there are two cuts of freeway entrance ramps: one straight ramp and one curved ramp. Also, for a primer, my car is a base C6 with the Z51 sport package and optional dual-mode exhaust. If you listen carefully, you can pick out the points where the exhaust switches to "louder." As for "Dead or Alive" at the beginning, well, it just happened to be playing on the radio. Seemed fitting.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: 405-HP Delivery

December 24, 2010

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vette_cookies.JPG Yesterday it was time to deliver some homemade Christmas cookies to some friends scattered around town. My wife gave me five plates to drop off. It was the perfect excuse to give the Z06 some exercise; yesterday was finally dry after days of nonstop rain. In a plain-jane vehicle, driving around town for a couple hours would have been a disheartening chore. But with 405 hp at my disposal, I was grinning all afternoon.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette: 55K And Still Going Strong

December 20, 2010

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Our 2002 Corvette has passed 55,000 miles (sorry, I missed the requisite photo op). This means we've put about 13,000 miles on it since the January introduction.

Interesting aspect: the car's been dead reliable since we sorted out the pinging issue. No electrical gremlins, no parts falling off, no BMW M3 alternator/final stage unit failures or Ferrari 308 flat-beds. Oh, what's that sound right now? That's me knocking on wood. But so far I'm impressed. If you had asked me at the start of this test how much trouble an eight-year-old Vette Z06 would encounter after enduring a year in our test fleet, I would have guessed at least a couple things.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 55,227 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The Shark

December 17, 2010

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I love driving the Z06 on the freeway just a little bit faster than other cars, particularly when it's dusk and relatively clear of congested traffic. I feel like a shark confidently making my way through a sea of hapless fish. I suppose the Corvette's styling, the view of the front fenders from the windshield and the rumbling V8 enhance this. But it's also the instantaneous throttle response and useful torque (even in sixth gear) that allow effortless passing and movement into gaps. That dawdling motorists in the left lane seem more willing to pull over once the Vette's headlights are in view seems to help, too.

It'll be a bummer when we finally sell the Z06.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Light Barf

December 15, 2010

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It's happened to me a few times now where coming home at night in our 2002 Z06, I panic and frantically reach for the headlight switch thinking I've been driving for miles without my headlights. Most of the time, the only way you can even tell they're on is because the housings are popped up.

You see, instead of throwing an even and precise spread of light on the roadway, these lights manage to barf light everywhere without managing to put it anywhere. Alignment and dirty housings have nothing to do with it either, these headlights just suck. If anything they serve only as markers for oncoming traffic to notice you after you've strayed out of your lane and into theirs for lack of visibility.

Thankfully, the wonderful folks over at Pratt and Miller came up with a nice, albeit weird looking solution, to this problem.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette at 24 Hours of Lemons

December 07, 2010

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OK, another reason I wanted to take our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette to the 24 Hours of Lemons this weekend at Buttonwillow was that I was going as Kim Jong-il, you know, the Korean dictator of the movie, Team America, fame. And I just thought it would be extra funny. At least funnier than if he took the Sonata. Well, at least my other teammates on Eyesore Racing got a kick out of seeing Kim Jong-il gas up the Vette. I think I just managed to creep out everyone else in the paddock, especially the attendee at the gate who had to check Generalissimo's pit pass.

Above photo is of the Vette sitting on the sidelines while the Lemons hit the track for the first time on Day 1 of the race. For a scary photo of the dictator behind the wheel of the Z06 hit the jump.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Taking on a Storm

December 06, 2010

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Last night after the 24 Hours of Lemons race in Buttonwillow, I was tasked with driving our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 back in truly scary weather. Well, scary by Southern California standards.

If you remember, the last time I had to drive our Vette in the rain, I was a little bit skeeved out about its all-over-the-road-ness. But surprisingly, this time with high-speed winds and sheets of rain, the Corvette held its own and remained unfazed. Has to be those new tires.

Even when it was pea-soup foggy AND windy at the same time (don't know how that was possible but it happened) with cow-size tumbleweeds coming at me, I felt pretty confident. This time I only worried about how the other drivers around me in semis and SUVs would react to the crazy weather. Fortunately everyone drove safely but not overly cautiously so. Regardless, I felt sure the Corvette would have been able to maneuver around whatever was thrown its way. Just glad I didn't have to test that.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 54,729 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: On the Road to Buttonwillow Raceway

December 02, 2010

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When Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt presented me with the clipboard of car choices for the weekend, I honestly was at a loss. I couldn't make up my mind which car to take to Buttonwillow Raceway for the 24 Hours of Lemons race. The Sonata, Kizashi or the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for a boring 133-mile drive? Mike stood there patiently as I mumbled to myself. "The Sonata is automatic so really easy to drive in traffic and the Kizashi is just as practical...but the Z06 is funnn. But if I take the Z06 on the 5, that's just asking for trouble..."

You can probably guess which one I took. I figure that since I'm going to a racetrack where a bunch of old taped-up cars will be racing all weekend, the Z06 would be a great way to pay tribute. Here's hoping I can resist the temptation to make use of all that power, though.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Police Profiling

December 01, 2010

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Crawling homeward on the San Diego freeway yesterday, a motor officer from the California Highway Patrol came past on his BMW, splitting lanes at commute hour. As he went by, he turned to give the Z06 a look.

At first I had that little flash of anger you get when you know a cop is profiling you, but then I realized from the guy's body language that it was a gesture of interest, appreciation and respect.

It's the look of recognition, which is a little bonus that comes with owning a professionally presented fast car. Our friends in law enforcement know what a car like the Z06 is meant for, yet some of them are enthusiasts of speed themselves.

So the look of recognition is flattering, really. It's a gesture of professional courtesy, some cop telling you, "Hey, nice car. See you out there."

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 54,425 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: What Should We Replace it With?

November 30, 2010

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It has been just about a year since we bought our beloved 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06. Time to move one. But move on to what? What fun sorta old car should we replace it with?

See the list of potential machines on the next page and vote as many times as you wish.

1987 Buick Regal Grand National

1965 Ford Mustang Fastback

1997 Acura NSX

1983 Porsche 911 SC

Shelby Cobra Replica (a nice one)

1932 Ford Roadster Hot Rod (a nice one)

2003 BMW M5 (E39)

2003 Mercedes E55

1969 Chevy Camaro Z28

2005 Honda S2000

1999 Ferrari F355 (with a real manual transmission)

2006 Lotus Elise

1969 Dodge Charger (dressed like the General Lee)

2005 Subaru WRX

2005 Mitsubishi Evo MR

1965 Chevy Corvette

1995 Mazda RX-7 (FD)

2003 Lamborghini Gallardo (with a real manual transmission)

Did I forget anything worthy?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Ess El Pee

November 02, 2010

slp_717.jpg

Mufflers. I don't much care for them and neither does The Brunette.

That's why, when there was a C5 Corvette parked in our garage, we ditched the stock sissy pipes and shoved the above SLP Loud Mouth onto our Vette. It was beautiful.

Children wept, old people spat and emasculated men did whatever emasculated men do.

Because of our Z06's titanium exhaust (it actually sounds halfway decent as opposed to a stock C5 Corvette), I've let it slide for a while. But now, for two reasons, I want to fit the SLP pipes on our car.

Reason number one, it's awesome.

Reason number two, we can strap it to the dyno at MD Automotive and see what kind of power a muffler-less Corvette exhaust actually makes.

Who's with me?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 53,195 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: The Laser-Equipped Pyramid Stereotype

October 29, 2010

Not all of us who giggle at the Corvette -- and loyal readers here KNOW I loves me some Z06, new or 'old', that doesn't mean I don't stereotype them-- as MJ stated, because of the 1975 Stingray and its emissions-related power deficiency. ( That thing was laughably ugly anyway, being slow, too didn't help.)

No, some of us don't have a single memory of the '75 'Vettes but rather, this is what we still think when we hear Corvette. Uni-directional turbine-fin wheels? Rad!

C5 and the banned C6 spot after the jump

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The 165-hp Stereotype

October 27, 2010

1975 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray by GM.jpg

So I'm sitting around with a group of Mazda guys who are mostly talking about racing. They're always talking about racing because all of them race. Apparently this is what you do at Mazda.

(At the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the Mazda company president helped push the GTP car onto the grid and then helped belt in the driver, who happened to be the director of dealer affairs. Meanwhile the vice president of product and R&D was putting on a radio headset so he could run the pits and told his director of dealer affairs that if he failed to put the car on the pole he'd be known as a total weenie forever. Fortunately the director of dealer affairs accomplished his mission.)

Anyway I'm with these other Mazda guys and the talk turns to the Corvette. It turns out that they'd never really driven one and now a member of their racing group has turned up with a ZR1 and they'd taken turns driving it.

And they couldn't stop talking about it..

They went on and on about the power (and the trick throttle body that added 50 hp), but quickly the talk turned to the car's practicality. They explained to me that it was quiet and rode well. They said you could get really good fuel economy just by driving around like a regular human being instead of a Mazda racer. They said that the Corvette was so practical that you could drive it like a real car.

I had to pretend to be surprised.

It seems like no matter how much you tell people about the modern Corvette, you can't get over the image of the 1975 Corvette Stingray that lurks in their heads - you know, the infamous Corvette strangled by then-new air emissions technology that produced only 165 hp. It's like everyone grew up on a street where a guy who dressed like a low-rent golf pro drove a very slow Stingray that had been turned from a sports car into a parade car. Even racers, the kind of guys who care deeply about performance, labor with these stereotypes of the past.

But as the 2002 Corvette Z06 reminds us, it's not 1975 anymore.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Damaged

October 27, 2010

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I noted a while back that my driveway has become less Corvette friendly with my neighbor's tree uprooting a section of the concrete. Well, the situation has become downright hostile. I had the Z06 for a weekend and was skirting around the offending bump as I was departing and WHAM! A litany of expletives followed immediately thereafter.

As I surveyed the damage, I felt that sickening feeling in my gut. It's moments like this that make you wish you had a Tivo skip-back button that worked in life. Maybe I could've driven further away from the hump. Maybe I should've taken a motorcycle. Maybe I didn't need to run this errand.

Then I looked at the offending piece of driveway concrete. It was no longer a moderate hump, it now sports a jagged edge protruding above the hump. It looked to me like the slab on the downslope side of the hump cracked under the weight of the front wheel. This forced the peak to jut upwards, right into the Corvette's rocker panel (see the animation below).

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Midengine Corvette C5

October 15, 2010

1986 Corvette Indy Concept Car by GM.jpg

The Corvette C5's shape doesn't strike me as anything special until I see the Corvette C6, which looks too much much like the Mattel Hot Wheels that my kid used to get at Target.

But I remember the concept car that inspired the Corvette C5, the Corvette Indy concept car which appeared at the 1986 Detroit auto show.

Those were great days in Detroit. The Corvette had just been reinvented and was proving unstoppable in street-stock road racing. The Camaro and Firebird had been reinvented as well and were making the Porsche 928 look stupid.

Anything seemed possible, even a midengine sports car like the Corvette Indy.

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2002 Chevrolet Z06: Crash Boom Bang

October 12, 2010

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I was driving over the 405 past the 101 to Santa Monica Sunday afternoon after getting some good deals at the Pasadena Flea Market. When going up the hill out of the Valley, traffic always gets a little dense. The car in front of me slowed down significantly as we climbed so I looked to change lanes and pass him.

Right as I crossed over the line to change lanes, the car at my 2 o'clock barely clipped a large chunk of truck treads, sending it spinning towards me. I tried to steer back into the lane, but the Z06's rear passenger tire struck it.

CLANG!

It was no alligator as I had thought. It was a chunk of metal. Right after the sickening crash, there was a high pitched squealing. I knew exactly what that was: the tire was dead flat. I had to pull over now.

Thankfully I was able to pull off the road immediately and safely to assess the damage. The tire was dead flat. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the sidewall was torn open and there was a dent in the wheel where the metal struck. The Vette has no spare. Getting a new tire is pointless if the wheel can't hold air. The only choice was to flat bed it to a safe place so we can have the wheel inspected and tire replaced.

We'll let you know what the damage is once assessed.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: VIN and RPO Codes

October 08, 2010

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Earlier this morning, you might've noticed the corner of the Z06's Service Parts Identification sticker. It's the sticker GM applies to the inside of the glove box that contains your car's RPO (regular production option) codes and VIN (vehicle identification numbers). Yeah, it made me curious too, so jump with me for a translation of what our 2002 Z06's VIN & RPO codes reveal...

VIN: 1G1YY12S62512xxxx
1 Country of Origin: USA
G Manufacturer: General Motors
1 Make: Chevrolet
YY Carline/Series: Corvette
1 Body Style: Hardtop
2 Restraint Code: Active
S Engine Type: LS6
6 Check Digit: Varies
2 Model Year: 2002
5 Plant: Bowling Green, Kentucky
12xxxx Production Number: Between 100000-1?????

Code Description, Cost, No of vehicles, and percentage of production

1YY37 Base Hardtop - Z06 Model $50,555 (- $645 dest. charge) 8,297 22%
AAB Memory Package (Requires DD0) $175 7,794 94%
AK5 Inflatable Restraint System $0 8,297 100%
AR9 Driver & Pass. European Bucket Seats NA 8,297 100%
BGR Bowling Green Plant Processing $0 8,297 100%
B84 Body Side Moldings $150 4,780 58%
CJ2 Air Cond. - Auto Climate Control NA 8,297 100%
DD0 Electronic Monochromatic Mirrors (Requires AAB) $120 7,794 94%
DD8 Mirror, Inside, Light Sensitive $0 8,297 100%
DL5 Decal, Roadside Service Information $0 8,297 100%
FE4 Suspension Package, Z06 $0 8,297 100%
GU6 Performance Axle Ratio (3.42) $0 8,297 100%
IP4 Trim, Interior Design (RPO Z06) NA 8,297 100%
JL9 Brake System,Front/Rear Antilock NA 8,297 100%
K63 Generator, 110 Amp $0 8,297 100%
LS6 Engine, 5.7L Alum, 405 HP $0 8,297 100%
MN6 6-speed Manual Transmission $0 8,297 100%
M12 6-Speed Manual Transmission (Unique gear ratios to Z06) NA 8,297 100%
NC1 Emission System, California, LEV
NK4 Steering Wheel, Sport Leather $0 8,297 100%
P12 Wheels, Painted (Z06)
SLM Stock Order Processing Code $0 NA NA
UN0 Stereo System Delco-Bose with CD NA 8,297 100%
UZ6 Speaker System, 6, Quad, Dual Quarter NA 8,297
U52 Instrument Cluster, Electronic NA 8,297 100%
U73 Antenna, Fixed, Radio (FRC) NA 8,297 100%
VG6 Label, Information - Bumper Impact
VG8 Label, Information - Notice to buyer, Emissions
V73 Vehicle Statement, US/Canada $0 8,297 100%
XFW Tire, Front, P265/40ZR18 $0 8,297 100%
YFU Tire, Rear, P295/35ZR18 $0 8,297 100%
YF5 50-state Emissions Package $0 25,820
1SA Corvette Hardtop Base Equipment Group $0 8,254 99%
12U Quicksilver Metallic WA-519F $0 1,467 18%
19I Interior Color, Black
194 Seats, Leather

According to the codes, our car is pretty unremarkable with the exception of the Quicksilver metallic paint. BTW, I used several internet sources to compile that list so the accuracy is questionable. There's an hour of my life I'll never get back. You're welcome.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 52,591 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: My Other Corvette Is a Harley-Davidson

October 07, 2010

2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster and 2002 Corvette Z06 by A3.jpg

When you're out traveling around in the middle of nowhere, the preferred machinery for touring the countryside is either the Corvette or the Harley-Davidson. Not Porsche or Ferrari, not Aprilia or Suzuki.

Makes sense, since the Corvette and the Harley are pretty much the same thing in a lot of ways, starting with the way that they're disdained by people who think they know better. Too low-tech and even crude, we're told. Throwbacks to an era best forgotten.

So it makes you wonder how these two brands can survive if their products are so antiquated, doesn't it?

Usable power, that's the answer. These engines might seem lazy and low tech, but they develop the kind of power that's perfect for sustained blasts across a landscape of vast distances. Power under the curve, not peak power. Real-world traction, not abstract dyno-cell output. A lazy lope over such a broad range of rpm that a gearbox seems superfluous.

The smart guys once dismissed the Chevy V8, but after the Corvette has prevailed so many times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, even the Europeans have taken to talking about torque as if they had just discovered it. Meanwhile the Harley-Davidson V-twin broke new ground in racing once the smart guys figured out that the distinctive interval between the engine's power pulses enable the motorcycle's rear tire to recover and find traction, something that brought Harley-Davidson victories on dirt tracks and which is now being exploited in a new generation of engines for MotoGP road racing.

Technology has its stereotypes just like anything else, so the Corvette and Harley-Davidson were once dismissed because they are American. But the more you look around, the more you realize that the Corvette and the Harley-Davidson have prevailed because they suit the unique way that Americans go down the road.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Nice Bulges

October 05, 2010

corvette-hoodbulge-1600.jpg

Easy to miss this on our 2002 Corvette Z06. At first glance the hood looks quite flat. Look more closely, however, say when there's a fresh layer of early morning dew on it, and you will notice the bulge.

Twin bulges actually, a clear indication of the Corvette's, uh, performance prowess. They remind me of the "power domes" on my '68 "Chevelle. It's a long standing tradition in the muscle car world that originated with clearance requirements and was later continued mostly as a means of indicating some measure of power to the outside world.

So many vehicles use this styling trick these days it's largely become indicative of nothing. Yet, on the Z06, the bulges look quite appropriate. They were changed to a single, elongated bulge on the sixth-generation Z06 to correspond with the central air inlet, but I think our Z06 look better. Take that C6 lovers.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Good Morning To You

September 30, 2010

I walked out of my house all blurry eyed before sunrise to make sure I can cover for the Paris Auto Show (and the massive time difference). Sitting in front of my house was this baby:

good_start.jpg

It's better than a cup of coffee as a way to start your day. When you fire up that lovely engine, you know it's going to be a good one.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Virtual Insanity

September 29, 2010

vette01.jpg

Nice burnout graffiti, eh? Track time has been hard to come by for me lately. To combat these doldrums, I've taken to racing in the virtual world via Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360. Over the weekend, Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr and I turned a few laps online, and that got me thinking. I wonder how well the game simulates cars we drive in the real world.

I managed to sneak out last night with the Corvette keys and paid special attention to the sound and feel of the car. When I got home, I started up the home theater and popped in the game. The first thing I noticed was the lack of bass in the exhaust note. Our 2002 Z06 has a booming and raspy scream when the throttle is matted. The game has the rasp, but no boom.

Handling-wise, the game is pretty faithful. There's a ton of grip from the super wide tires and the suspension tends to bottom-out in the corkscrew (I ran laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). In order to get the tail to whip around, I had to deliberately lift, turn and stomp - just like our real Z06.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: What Do You Think of Me?

September 27, 2010

bum_fury.jpg

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto

"Hey big time!" If I wasn't sure the call coming from behind was for me, it was repeated louder, "Big Time!"

I turned around to see a homeless guy with a roll of paper towels in one hand and a bottle of Windex in the other. I was standing at the gas pump filling up the Z06, trapped to it as if it were a ball and chain.

I'm betting you can guess the line of wash the windows for some spare change he delivered. "Sorry, I don't have any money on me." It wasn't a line this time, it was the truth. I happened to have, quite literally, no money on me.

A wrinkle of frustration and anger came over his brow as he looked at the Corvette, then sharply back at me. "This car is big time, and you don't have one penny? One penny?" he exclaimed while shaking his finger in my direction.

I felt shamed by this guy. Ok, it isn't my car. It's not my gas card. I really don't have any money on me. I'm really just a regular Joe-Schmo. This 'Vette may make you think I am of means, but in reality I'm not. None of those reasons would make me any sense to this dude at this point. He was probably just frustrated that another person turned him down with the added salt of perceived great inequity rubbed into his wounds.

I sat there for second, not sure what to say. All I could summon at the moment was a lackluster "Sorry, friend." As he turned away, he mentioned something about my mother under his breath.

After a number of years in this job, I'm still amazed to hear what people think about you because of your car. This time, it just happened to be an unfavorable one.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Grand Touring

September 27, 2010

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at Ironstone Concours by A3.jpg

Took a big drive in the Corvette Z06 over the weekend, about 1,200 miles to Northern California and back. Apparently this is some kind of sacrilege in a sports car, because I sure didn't see many other sports cars on the road once I got outside of L.A.

Over three days saw two Porsche 911s, no Boxsters. No Z-cars. One BMW Z4 (top down on a day when it was 100 degrees F, so must have just bought it the day before) and no serious BMW coupes, much less any M3s. One Audi S4. One Ferrari F430 (had numbers on the doors, so maybe doing some kind of event). No Mitsubishi Evos or Subaru WRXs.

But I did see eight other Corvettes on the road. Mostly C6s, three C5s (maybe that was the same guy in the red C5 coupe both coming and going on the Tejon Pass), and one very nice C4.

Probably doesn't mean anything. It's a little late in the year for traveling and a blistering hot weekend up and down the state. Maybe Porsche and BMW guys have better things to do; you know, restaurants that have to be parked in front of, like that. Maybe the Evo and WRX guys didn't have gas money. Maybe Corvette guys are old and have nothing better to do than drive around aimlessly.

Or maybe the Corvette is a better GT car than anyone gives it credit for.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The Legend Lives Indeed

September 24, 2010

corvette-doortag-1600.jpg

It's easy to forget that a modern Corvette has such a long lineage. Sure, you sort of know it in the back of your head, but then you see something like this and it drives the point home.

Five generations is a long time in the car world. Especially when you consider how long a typical Corvette generation lasts. Well, that and the fact that we're now on to the sixth generation model at this point.

The sticker is a little confusing though as the Corvette hasn't been built in Bowling Green, Kentucky all its life. Still, it's clear the workers there feel some measure of pride in being part of "Team Corvette." Can't blame them for that one, it's a legend after all.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Not Just Another Car

September 21, 2010

corvetteZ06_street.jpg

Michael has written about how easy our long-term 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is to drive in the midst of your ordinary life. He's right, of course. Apart from having to do the supercar-stoop to get into the Z06 (and yes, minding its lowness over everything, and, ok, the dealing with its semi-cooperative trunk release), the actual driving really isn't taxing in town. The shifting is easy. Torque is available at any rpm. The steering isn't particularly heavy. And for such a low car with such dark tint on its back window, the visibility really isn't bad. I've never had trouble parking it.

And because life with our Corvette Z06 is so easy, I forget that it's something special. But not today. Today I was in West Los Angeles heading west, and I spotted a beautifully restored, power-blue-painted Corvette -- a '58, I believe, with the license plate "I WAS 11" -- heading east. The light turns green. I know what he has. He knows what I have. He gets a thumbs-up from me. I get a wave from him. We had a moment.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 51,480 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Small Slice of Hell

September 17, 2010

hell.jpg

I think we can all agree that the 'Vette is not a meant to be a caged bird. It likes to run. Traffic jams in this thing are painful. I purposefully left early this morning to take advantage of open roads. I use that term loosely when talking about West LA and the 405.

I actually made great time, up to the ramp onto the 10. As I came down the ramp I found myself boxed in by a van in front of me, two Prius and a Brodozer driving right up my tail. In this slow moving box I was trapped up until close to my exit. It was so frustrating to look outside of this bubble and see fast moving traffic.

The Brodozer was so close to me (and my Corvette so low) that all I could see in my rear view mirror were suspension components and fog lights. I was fearful of braking to back around the Pri-i. What is the plural of Prius anyways? It doesn't matter, those eco-jerks stayed in tight formation all the way up to my exit.

You can't win every commute. But driving a car like this in daily traffic is just plain frustrating. The solace for the daily grind is the opportunity the Z06 affords you to blast every now and again, blip shift with panache or just listen to that engine roar. Those victories might be small, but it's better than being brain dead bumper to bumper.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Plastic Front Spoiler is Lookin' Beat

September 16, 2010

Front-end-damage.jpg

Back in April I wrote this about our 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06. Now, 6,383 miles later you can see the result of all that scraping.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 51,205 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Ajar? What's Wrong With Open?

August 31, 2010

Trunk-Ajar.jpg

This morning this struck me as odd. Our long-term 2002 Corvette Z06 is a Chevy after all, and Chevys are for the everyman. They are today and they were way back in 2002 when our Corvette was showroom new. Trunk Ajar? Am I the only one that thinks "Trunk Open" would have been more appropriate.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Distant Thunder

August 27, 2010

vette exhaust.jpg

On my drive home last night I enjoyed listening to the different tones of the Corvette's exhaust note. It was like hearing an actor run through different emotional ranges. As soon as you turn the key you get a pulse-quickening rumble, kind of like distant thunder. That, combined with the dancing gauge needles, gets the adrenaline flowing nicely. Any time you give it a burst of power there's a snarl in response, kind of like a pit bull waking up and giving a "back off" growl.

But the fun really begins when the tachometer climbs over 3500 rpm. Chevy tuners must have used the trunk as a sounding board because the whole back end of the Corvette begins vibrating. I'd call them good vibrations. So it all set me to wondering, if the Z06 was an actor, who would it be?

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 50,624 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Two Thousand Words

August 25, 2010

CorvetteMount01.jpg

Much like yesterday's Takizashi post, I find myself more inclined to throw out some pixels rather than talk about our 2002 Z06. So, if a picture's worth a thousand words, click through to see 1,001 through 2,000.

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Our Vette Does Dogtown

August 21, 2010

Vette-Does-Dogtown.jpg

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: So Great Minds Think Alike...

August 10, 2010

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I really had a change of heart for the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 over the weekend. Wow, is it more relaxing to drive than the Viper, and honestly between the gearing and the torque characteristics of the 5.7-liter V8, it feels just as quick off the line (if not quicker) and sounds so, so much better -- like a sports car instead of a garbage truck. I enjoy working through the gears more in the Z06. I enjoy sitting in it more. Planting the throttle on the freeway still results in scary-fast acceleration. Plus, I just drove another $20,000 car, and in comparison, a *healthy* Z06 is a far more enticing proposition.

Our long-termer got the ultimate compliment at a Brea, California, shopping mall when another silver C5 Corvette Z06 sidled up to it. Upon closer inspection, the other Z06 was not an exact twin, as the absence of the "405 horsepower" badging indicates it's a 2001 model.

And then I noticed something slightly disturbing...

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: It's My Favorite

August 03, 2010

1966-Big-Block-Vette-sized.jpg

Right now our long-term 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06 is my favorite. Of all the cars in our fleet, it's the one I most want to drive home at night. Why? Well, it's hard for me to explain really. I'm just into it. It makes me smile. It's stupid fast, it's easy to drive stupid fast, but it's also easy to drive slowly or in traffic. I also like the way it looks. I like the way it feels. I like the way it sounds. And I love the fact that we bought it for only $20,000.

Last night on the way home I clicked off the traction control, threw a hard second gear and layed two very long stripes on Lincoln Blvd. At that moment, with the small-block's roar still echoing off Santa Monica, I couldn't think of another car I'd rather be in.

Having said that, I would rather own the big-block 427-powered 1966 Corvette roadster pictured above. Would you?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 50,101 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The Ol' Hit and Run

August 02, 2010

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One would think that there was plenty of room between our Corvette and the bike lane to prevent such unpleasantness, but no.

When I came out to the car on Sunday morning I found the Corvette's driver's mirror tweaked in a most awkward manner along with a lovely scrape of the paint on its outer edge. No note, no nothing.

Here's hoping that the unrepentant hipster jackass who caught the mirror with his brakeless fixie went down in a blaze of mangled spokes and shredded skin.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 50, 083 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Should We Change The Wheels?

July 23, 2010

Vette-wheel-sized.jpg

We're about to order new rubber for our 2002 Z06, but the need for new tires has fired up a debate: Should we or shouldn't we also replace the Corvette's wheels?

Half the office says yes. The other half says no.

Then of course there's the question: If we do replace the wheels, what should we replace them with?

Inside Line Editor Ed Hellwig is barking about black wheels. Some others, like Inside Line Senior Editor Dan Pund, want chrome. Then we need to consider size. Should we go larger?

What do you guys think we should do?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: 50k

July 22, 2010

50k.jpg

While our ownership experience might have got off to a rough start, tonight, as our beloved/maligned Z06 rolled past 50,000 miles, it still felt like new.

And while the shift action still feels as if it's never been fully broken in, the rear tires on the other hand are worn out. How worn out you ask? Mostly sideways all through second gear with a big shake going into third, worn out.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ the title of the blog miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Abused

July 12, 2010

vette_skirt.jpg

I'd dare to say the most abused part of our Corvette is not the engine, the brakes or the recently replaced tires. I'd say it's the air dam.

With every sound of scraping plastic, I clenched my teeth and white knuckled the steering wheel, wishing for the sonic misery it to end as soon as possible. My weekend in the Corvette was stressful.

I guess for people who drive cars this low to the ground, looking for clearance and ways to get into parking garages and over speed bumps is a way of life. After my weekend in the Corvette, it's no everyday way of life for me. Sure you might say "It comes with the territory" or "Stop being a panzy and suck it up." Do you drive a low slung car like this all the time? I'd bet most do not.

I scraped the plastic more than I care to remember this past weekend. Even when I thought I was being super careful going through a rain run off trough in an intersection, it scraped. Taking the angle over a speed bump at low speed, it scraped. Just driving down the road and hitting a small bump, it scraped. Ok, it might just be a piece of plastic, but sound it makes me think I'm about to rip off a piece of suspension.

The high point of stress was going into a parking structure I'd never been to before late Saturday night. I didn't notice the entrance had a ridiculous change of angle until I was right on top of it. I entered the parking structure at a meticulously slow pace, hoping not to drag the nose. The guy behind me decided he could beat the light too. He took the left turn and tucked in close behind me. The fact I was trying to be careful didn't bode well for him as the oncoming traffic let him know he was being a jerk by honking at him, which he in turn started to honk at me. If I knew of another entrance to the garage I would have taken it, but I was stuck in the situation and had to deal with it. Despite the careful speed, the angle of approach, there was a sickening thud as some chunk of metal hit the cement. Garage entrance FAIL.

There is no doubt that the 'Vette is a blast to drive on flat, predictable surfaces. But the real world responsibilities are more than what I'd want for my day to day lifestyle. I guess if I was really into our Z06, I'd find ways to get around and minimize the abuse. This just makes me realize I'm not that into our 'Vette to overcome those difficulties.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 49,670 miles.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: How's This Facelift Look?

July 08, 2010

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Recently saw this aftermarket front bumper for the C5 Corvette that updates it to the more chiseled (and to my eye, much more handsome) C6 style. It's called the C5.5 bumper for obvious reasons. It's available through 2F Performance.

Perhaps this will draw more praise than the aftermarket rear bumper I admired (minus the cheesy multi-color taillights and with the lower portion blacked out) previously.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 49,502 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Meets C4PO

July 06, 2010

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This little guy, Mr. C4PO, lives down the street from me but I've never been able to get a shot of our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette with him since his owner usually leaves for work before I do. Anyway, it's perhaps one of the best Star Wars references ever.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: What Would You Get?

June 28, 2010

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So if one Corvette is good, two is even better, right? It's been interesting having the long-term Z06 around since my personal car is a 2008 Corvette coupe. It's so much Corvette that I had to borrow a gold chain necklace from Z06-lovin' Magrath and double-up. (Just kidding, of course. I don't actually have a gold chain ... as far as you know.) But it has been interesting to compare the two cars. Some observations follow after the jump.

Power: Both cars feel about the same. Actually, I'd say our Z06 seems quicker just because it's louder and harder-edged. But our track testing revealed a 4.5-second zero-to-60 mph, which should be right around the same time for my car.

Transmission: The Z06 has the heavier clutch and shifter. You have to be deliberate when driving it, which has some appeal in that it's almost the opposite of cars like the Nissan GT-R, where you do virtually nothing to shift. The base C6's clutch seems too light in comparison, but the reduced clutch effort does make the C6 easier to drive in traffic, and its shifter is quicker.

Handling: I can't comment on this much since I haven't driven our Z06 on a race track or curvy road. If you go by our recent Corvette test, the Z06 is a bit of handful to drive. It should improve when we get new tires on. But my general impression is that I wouldn't have as much faith pushing the Z06 on a bumpy public road.

Interior: Not surprisingly, this is the biggest difference. The C6 has a much nicer cabin both in terms of quality and appearance. It also has real cupholders, door bins and a rear hatchback, all of which really come in handy on a daily usability standpoint.

 

What would I chose? Well, I suppose the answer is obvious since I spent my own money on a new C6. But there's definitely a lot of appeal to our Z06. It's cheap, ridiculously fast, cool-sounding and has been running strong ever since we remedied the engine knock issue.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 48,601 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The Mystery of the Leaf Spring

June 28, 2010

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Whenever someone around here trips over a reference to the transverse leaf springs in the Corvette's suspension, they recoil in horror. You can see that it makes them think of some kind of bad pickup truck, not a sports car.

Of course, the Corvette's use of the leaf spring isn't what you think. For one, these are not springs located longitudinally on an axle, locating the axle and providing suspension action. Instead the springs are mounted transversely, one between each of the front wheels and the other between each of the rear wheels.

So fine, you say. Instead of a pickup truck, what we have here is some kind of cross-springer racing car from the 1940s. But it turns out that the Corvette guys were up to something when they first adapted this design to the platform of the Corvette C4, introduced as a 1984 model.

When we were all standing around the bare chassis of the Corvette C4 at Riverside International Raceway in 1982, just as horrified at the presence of a leaf spring as you are now, Corvette chief engineer Dave McLellen explained his choice. It had a lot to do with packaging, he said. It was about an effort to keep the first all-new Corvette in 20 years as low and narrow as possible. And with a sports car that carries a lot of V8 engine under the hood, a transverse leaf spring solved a lot of problems.

In the process of making the design work, McLellen said, the Corvette engineers learned a few things. First of all, a transverse leaf spring weighs less than two coil springs, a factor of even more importance when you consider that coil springs represent unsprung weight, which affects the compliance and precision of suspension action. And as McLellen later pointed out in his book about his time as the Corvette's chief engineer, Corvette From the Inside (2002), the change in spring material from steel to fiberglass reduced weight by more than 30 pounds.

There is also some cleverness in the impact of the transverse leaf spring on handling. The engineers discovered that when the leaf spring was located by twin mounts in the center of the car, it gave them some effect on body roll, a crucial attribute when it came to getting the most from the then-new, super-wide Goodyear tires. As a result, a smaller anti-roll bar can be used for fine tuning, which reduces overall weight and also fosters more ride compliance, plus the suspension geometry isn't compromised.

Of course, when you see that the Corvette C5R and C6R racing cars have been converted to coil-over suspension, it's easy to start thinking once again that coil springs are the answer. But while such a setup makes it possible to optimize corner weights and tune a chassis for racing, it doesn't deliver anything you'd want to drive on the street, since wheel travel is so restricted.

As you can tell from this cutaway drawing of the C5 that legendary artist David Kimble created for GM, there's a lot of stuff inside the Corvette. And as Kimble could tell you, it takes a lot of effort to get it all in there. A transverse leaf spring might seem crude, but instead it's an example of the unique style of integrated engineering that's so typical of the Corvette.

If you'd like to see more of Kimble's work, a 2011 calendar will soon be available. There's also plenty of more information about the use of leaf springs in suspension design.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Washing It Manually

June 21, 2010

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I think a car like our 2002 Corvette Z06 should be hand-washed for a couple of reasons. The first one can't be avoided -- the Z06's super-low ride height makes the car just too low to go through most automated (track-based) car washes. Even if the front airdam somehow clears it's likely that the chassis will scrape or hang up, too. But honestly, is hand washing that difficult? It's a Z06, for heaven's sake. Treat it with some admiration. I hope other owners feel the same way.

Also, I'm curious what your thoughts are on washing a car yourself (either at home or coin-op) versus a professional car wash, particularly in regards to environmental impact. Maybe you've read write-ups like this one that argue that a professional car wash is better because it uses less water and cycles its waste water through the sewer rather than a storm drain. The sewer part makes sense to me but most of the estimates I've seen for hand-wash water useage at home (in the realm of 80 to 140 gallons) seem way over-inflated to me. I'm sure I use fewer than 10 gallons total washing a typical car at home. Spray off the car (a couple gallons maybe), fill up a bucket (three or four gallons), wash and spray off. Done.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 48,492 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: To Be, Or Not To Be

June 17, 2010

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Again, I had a long day of work and I knew I'd be stepping out of the office doors well after 9:30pm. I purposefully chose the Z06 for my ride home with the "L.A." version of an empty freeway. The Z06 wasn't meant to idle in traffic.

I hit the lights and with a squeak they tumbled open. Instantly it reminds me of a debate I had with a friend some time ago about about the redesign of the Miata. I preferred the new integral style whereas he preferred the old pop-ups. He felt the pop-up gave it character that the new generation lacked. I felt the new style returned to the sexy British race car lines and improved the looks.

What about our Corvette? Same deal as the Miata, it switched from pop-up to integral. Which do you prefer the look of? I don't think anyone can deny that starting up the car at night and having the lights swing open is a little cool and sinister. But is it that cool?

Failing electronics/mechanical issues aside, do you prefer the classic pop ups or the sleek integrals?

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Had a Bad Day

June 10, 2010

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Yesterday wasn't a good one for me. It started early with dude flaking on me for stuff I'm selling on Craigslist followed by a crazy lady driving the wrong way up a freeway entrance on my way in to work.

After nearly a 14 hour day of work I got back to the office from a shoot around 9:30pm. I put all my gear away and was ready to leave the office a half hour later when realized I left my keys in the car I shot. Which left with the editor. I called my lady and she didn't answer. I called the Editor and he didn't answer. (Insert loud French expletive).

Realizing I was stuck at the office late at night after a crappy day was the turd cherry to my poo-poo Sundae. I wandered upstairs in desperation to see if there were any cars left and there, shimmering in the darkened office, were the keys to the Z06. To say I was in a bad mood was an understatement. The Z06 was the antidote.

Sitting at the light waiting to get onto the freeway I was fuming. The light turned green and I punched that gas hard. The headlights splashed back and forth across the road as I broke the end out in a cloud of smoke. I ripped through first to near the rev limiter, blowing past a taxi on the entrance ramp like he was standing still. Pumped it through second gear, screamed through to third and I blazed down the 10. A big grin spread across my face as I shifted into fourth on the empty freeway.

The sound of that American beauty when it's running hard is pretty sweet. When you ease it down into fourth the snarling Pit Bull of an engine settles down into its bed and becomes a calm, submissive puppy.

By the time I made it home, I didn't care about the bad day I had. My lady let me in the house and everything was good. Thanks, Z06. You really know how to cheer me up.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: That's A New One

June 04, 2010

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Managed to snag a pic of this alert in our 2002 Corvette Z06 just before pulling out of our parking garage. It came on about 20 seconds after key-on and shortly thereafter was replaced by another alert reporting that everything was just peachy, or something like that.

A brief check suggests that this alert has nothing to do with warming up, per se -- logical, since there's nothing to warm up. Rather, the system, once you're rolling, does quick check of various chassis sensors including the steering angle sensor. It needs a brief straightaway to check this guy.

Since our garage is a series of slow 90-degree turns immediately after another, the system couldn't get a proper read on the steering angle sensor in the allocated amount of time. Owner's manual says this is normal and that the Active Handling is not operational during this period.

No worries here. I usually go full stability-off commando-style but hadn't yet hit the buttton this time. Anyway, I don't beat on cars til the coolant is fully warmed up (and then some -- that way the oil can get warm too), which takes far longer than it took for the Active Handling to be ready in this case.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Brand-think

June 02, 2010

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Corvette is a brand, not just a car.

From the beginning, GM set the Corvette apart from Chevrolet. That's why Harley Earl's design team worked so hard to create a unique logo in 1953 (complete with the European visual imagery Earl liked so much). That's why Zora Arkus-Duntov's famous memo about Chevrolet and the enthusiasm of young hot-rodders for performance earned him lasting influence as the Corvette's first chief engineer.

Because Corvette is a brand, not just a car, everyone on my street has come by asking about a ride in the Z06. Just like the guy a couple doors up who has had a series of American cars, from his 1966 Pontiac GTO to his late-gen Thunderbird. He's always wanted a Corvette.

But that's just the trouble.

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2002 Corvette Z06: I'm hooked

May 27, 2010

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When I said the other day that our 2002 Corvette Z06 was the best car in our fleet (save for its lack of iPod integration-- an easy aftermarket fix), I wasn't kidding. I want one. Bad. Real bad.

But, because I'm a young guy with all of my hair, I just can't do the gold chains and embroidered leather jackets. So instead I went for something classy and hip, a skull! Corvette Racing's Bad Boy Corvettes mascot, Jake, to be specific.

So until I can swing a C6.R or Z06 Carbon, I'll just grab the keys to this at every opportunity and always keep the hat at my desk, just in case.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2002 Corvette Z06: Bottom of the Barrel?

May 21, 2010

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When you're returning home from a press trip and your flight doesn't get in until 7:34 (PM) you're pretty much assured of being the last man out of the Edmunds.com parking structure. You're also likely to be last on the priority list, meaning you get whatever car is left after everyone else raids the test fleet keyring.

What that meant for me a couple nights ago was walking out to our parking area and seeing a lonely Corvette Z06 waiting for someone to show it some love. I'm not sure if this is a reflection of the Z06 being undesirable or our other test cars being very desirable, but after using the car to drive home (and work the kinks out of four flights in the previous 36 hours) I have to believe the latter.

For future reference, any time the rest of you guys want to leave the Z06 for late-nighters like me, that's just fine.

Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 47,110 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Minimizing the Big Butt Look

May 18, 2010

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Though Sir Mix-A-Lot may beg to differ, a lot of car enthusiasts think the C5's butt is simply too big. The upshot is that this sports car's hatch (or trunk if it's a notchback body style like our Z06 or a ragtop)) has a massive capacity -- 25 cubic feet for the hatch and 13 cubes for the trunk. Still, it's the least flattering aspect of the C5's style, and unfortunately the notchback version only emphasizes the height and breadth of that bountiful booty. However, as any artist who has used trompe l'oeil can tell you, the eye can be tricked.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette: Too Big for This City

May 17, 2010

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I almost didn't take our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette home for the weekend because as much as I have fun driving it, it's kind of a pain on city streets. The Vette is just too big for this city. There. I said it.

So all weekend, I ended up parking in spots far away from my intended destinations since those were the only spaces roomy enough to accommodate it. And never mind that its front end dips down so I can't really see where it ends and I fear that I'll scrape or bump it into the car parked in front of me. In the above picture I thought I was a lot closer to the car in front of me than I actually was.

If this were a city of free parking lots or I didn't have an aversion to valet, my only issue with its size would really come up when driving down residential streets. With cars parked on the sides and other cars coming the other way, I instinctively hold my breath and squeeze my arms into my sides as if that will magically make the Vette smaller so I can get by this oncoming car unscathed. Then I realize I'm doing that and instead move the car as close as I can to the side and wait until the other car gets by me. Almost as worrisome as driving a truck.

Just for giggles I looked up the dimensions of a 2010 Porsche 911, which actually seats 4 (2 adults and 2 kids, really).

2010 Porsche 911 -- Length: 175.6 in. Width: 71.2 in.

2002 Chevy Corvette -- Length: 179.7 in. Width: 73.6 in.

The Porsche has managed to package a working backseat into less overall length than the Corvette.

In any case, for me the Vette is not a practical, everyday urban runabout. Traveling open highways and byways? Definitely. Rushing to meet a friend for lunch in the heart of West Hollywood? Nuh uh.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 46,958 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Is It Cool?

May 13, 2010

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I don't think it's a secret I'm not a Corvette fan. However, that status comes entirely from driving the thing. Prior to my time behind the wheels of umpteen Corvettes, I actually thought they were pretty cool. I was never exposed to (or just never noticed) the owner stereotypes of white-haired men or greasy dudes with gold chains. So when our very own Brent Romans got a Vette, I was a little confused as to why he seemed to be defending the purchase. 'Why?' I thought, that's awesome.

Maybe its because of where I'm from. When I lived my formative car guy years in Indianapolis, C5 Corvettes were all over the place and certainly seemed like the sports car of choice. I thought they were a pretty cool car -- even in 1998, when a certain notorious pace car edition was roaming around (you'd be surprised how many people had them). Earlier when growing up in Toronto, the fastest car I ever got to drive in was a family friend's 1980s C4 vintage. I thought that was really cool.

So I wouldn't buy a Vette; it's just not my cup of tea. Is it cool, though? I'm saying yes.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 46,881 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Feels Old But In a Good Way

April 29, 2010

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Last night I had my first chance in the Corvette Z06. My first impression is that it feels older than it is. It's only a 2002. That's newer than my personal car, but it feels well used.

I'm glad, however, that the original owner got his money's worth while owning it. I feel bad for my car at times when I pass it in the garage and walk over to a Corvette instead. A car should be driven.

Here are my general first impressions:

Spooling through our underground garage, I kept triggering the traction light, so I figured I better calm down. I wasn't going fast but all of those turns drove the Vette crazy.

But I left the office late and traffic had settled down. I sat at the light at the top of the freeway entrance and smiled. The empty road looked out enticingly before me and I was sitting on the back of a bull. The car shook with anticipation. This Vette really moves.

The shifter takes some muscle. No light little German shifting in this baby. The distance from first to second seems like a yard. But you connect to it and really feel you are in command of the car. It's very satisfying.

Much to my dismay, I discovered our Vette has that damn 1-4 skip shift feature. It took me by surprise after I exited the freeway. I really dislike that and the car doesn't seem to like it either. After that I just held onto first until the light went out. I like feeling that travel from first to second.

This morning's commute was the complete opposite. I even left late to avoid the rush. But the travel gods were against me and I got stuck at every red light on every hill possible. But this Corvette doesn't roll back much, which is nice. I expected an 8-year-old car to go into backwards freefall.

Like the shifter, the clutch requires some muscle. Good thing I had all of those ballet lessons. By the time I got to the office, my calf had a good workout and my left foot was actually getting numb from the pedal. But small price to pay for such a great ride.

I apologize, I forgot to take a picture. The one above is by Kurt Niebuhr.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Taking Pictures Of Your Car

April 23, 2010

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You probably saw Donna's post earlier this week asking you about your interest in a weekly feature of our readers' cars. As such, I thought I'd share some general tips with you on taking photographs of cars. Assuming we start this weekly feature, your chances of being selected will certainly be influenced by the quality of your submitted photos.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Rain Dance

April 05, 2010

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So I had our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette this weekend and I couldn't figure out how to switch the display from showing coolant temperature to the tripmeter...

Just kidding. I know you guys were looking to read more driving impressions on this car and although I'm not the target market for the Z06 I did get the chance to drive it so figured I'd just share what I thought for what it's worth.

I found the Z06 easy to shift, handle, drive. Even at a really low ride height, traffic didn't intimidate me. With all that power I could get myself out of situations right quick. WEEEEE! And so much loud, raw power. Radio off, let me listen to the car which burbles loudly even at just 2,500 rpm. On this sunny weekend, the only thing I really had to be careful with was going over bumps and stopping too closely to the car in front of me as the front end is a lot longer than I thought.

But things changed the instant I had to drive the Vette in the rain this morning. Some minor wheel spin at the green light wasn't so much a concern as was the constant shimmying of the car on the wet freeway. Couldn't tell if it was tramlining the grooves on the road or if the gusts of wind were batting it around but it felt like the car would lose control at any second. Editor Jay Kavanagh said he had experienced the same thing when he drove it in the rain: "Our Z06, for instance, is downright eerie in the wet even in the absence of hydroplaning." He blamed the dampers.

Whatever the reason, I didn't like it. I took my favorite curve of the 90 freeway oh-so carefully especially when I knew that hitting the gnarly seam on there would make the car dance. I definitely felt compelled to drive wayyyy more conservatively than I do in most of our cars.

So suffice it to say, wouldn't trust this car in the wet stuff but it's fun to drive all the other 364 days of the year in L.A.

PS: Just took a picture of the instrument panel since no one had posted one yet.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 44,893 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Scrapes on Everything

April 01, 2010

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I've been driving and enjoying our long-term 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06 for the last few days, but I have one significant gripe: The black plastic front spoiler (highlighted above in red) hangs so low it scrapes on everything.

And I mean everything. Every driveway in, every driveway out. Every speed hump up, every speed hump down. It'll even touch down on road dips or intersections than have any kind of elevation change.

It's obviously is meant to do that. That's why Chevy makes it out of flexible plastic, but it's hard to look cool when your car is crunching against the ground constantly. Pedestrians and other drivers look at you like you're a fool. A fool that just took out his front end. The only way to avoid it is to come to a complete stop and roll over the obstacle, and that only works about 50% of the time.

To this extreme, this problem is unique to the Vette. No other supercar I've driven in the last 10 years hits the pavement this often, and that includes our old long-term 1984 Ferrari 308.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 44,822 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette: It Doesn't Leak

March 16, 2010

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You don't seem surprised by that statement. I am.

As much as Corvettes squeak, Corvettes leak. Every Corvette press car I've had washed, has leaked. The C5 parked in my garage leaks when you take it through a car wash. It also leaks when it rains. And guess what, so did my 1994 TransAm, which did not have t-tops, as did The Brunette's 1998 Z-28, which did. Notice a trend?

They've all leaked in relatively the same spot too; along the trailing edge of both doors and up where the side windows meet the roof. I've always chalked it up to poor design of the door seals, poor assembly and poor fit and finish. So when I was given the Z06 to shake it down this weekend, I took it through a touchless car wash, just for kicks. And much to my surprise, it didn't leak.

Nice.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 44,015 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: A Real Lightweight

February 24, 2010

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Seeing this dew pattern on the Corvette's trunk lid last night reminded me of this car's lightweight construction. And I'm not just talking about the fiberglass body, but the overall emphasis on keeping the weight down to a minimum.

This goes for all Corvettes of this vintage, but the Z06 took just a bit further by ditching the standard model's run flat tires, going to slightly lighter wheels, thinner front and rear glass and finally a trick titanium exhaust system.

All in all, it only amounted to a savings of about 50 pounds compared to a standard coupe, but the Corvette is already a fairly light car to begin with. That feathery feel is what makes the Corvette feel so distinctive on the road. After driving big heavy sedans all week, it's quite the noticeable difference.

We haven't had our particular car on a set of scales yet, but it should be around 3,118 pounds according to Chevrolet. The official weigh in should occur fairly soon, just have to get rid of that pesky pinging and it'll ready for testing.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Corvette Z06 Buyer, Inside Line

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: No Yellow. No Moulding.

February 22, 2010

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When I sent Inside Line's Senior Editor Ed Hellwig shopping for a C5 Z06, I told him just one thing. I said, "Ed, choose any car you want. It just can't be yellow. It just can't have a detonation problem. And it can't have that ugly moulding on the doors. Besides that, you've got $20,000 to spend. Go buy something."

Well, two out of the three ain't bad.

Check out the photo on the next page to see what moulding I'm talking about.

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Ditch The Heads Up Display

February 20, 2010

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No, our Z06 isn't fixed yet. But I'm tired of talking about detonation, so I'm going to change the subject.

Anyone out there like heads up displays? I don't. Never have. Whenever I get in a car with one I immediately disable it.

I've never understood the point. How is redundancy good?

Oh, I'm telling you this because our 2002 Corvette Z06 has one of these stupid things. And every time I climb behind the wheel I turn it off.

Besides that, and the detonation problem of course, the Vette is a real blast to drive and it's much more comfortable than you'd think. It rides well, its seats are soft and in the grand GM tradition it has a kickin' air-conditioning system. It's even easy to see out of.

And it sounds great. You can hear it a block away. The other morning it set off a couple of car alarms in our office parking garage.

This is a cool car.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: A DIY Special

February 11, 2010

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We've had enough of the run around. We are going to fix our 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06 ourselves. At least that's the plan.

We're convinced (mostly) that our detonation problem is due to a faulty knock sensor. In the last Z06 post Mike Schmidt mentioned that our research turned up GM Technical Service Bulletin No. 02-06-04-023A, dated June 2002. Condition: Some customers may comment on a mild to severe engine ping, usually worse during acceleration. Cause: This condition may be the result of corrosion of the rear bank knock sensor due to water intrusion into the sensor cavity. Correction: Replace the rear bank knock sensor and build a dam around the sensor using RTV to divert water away from the sensor.

So we're going for it. Tomorrow morning at 9 am the Corvette, myself, Josh Jacquot and Jay Kavanagh are meeting at my house. And the wrenches will fly. Before he arrives Jay will buy two new knock sensors and a couple of intake manifold gaskets. I will also make a purchase; beer, which I plan on drinking while Josh and Jay fix the car.

By noon, the Corvette will either be fixed, on a flatbed, or just as sick as it was when we started this stupidity.

Wish us luck, we'll let you know what happens. In the meantime, enjoy this awesome David Kimble cutaway of the 2002 Corvette Z06 that I found on GM's media site today.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Easy Trunk Workaround

February 09, 2010

We've been intentionally limiting how often and how hard we drive our longterm 2002 Corvette Z06 while we sort out its detonation issue, which is why posts related to the silver sports car have been few and far between.

Nevertheless, the handful of editors that have driven it have all muttered about its trunk refusing to pop up more than a millimeter or two when you press the trunk release. This makes the lid darned near impossible to open fully without prying it up with some kind of implement, which none of us dare attempt.

I found a way to make the decklid pop up all the way to a grab-able height without resorting to such cavemen techniques, though. The workaround involves a highly sophisticated fluid mechanics phenomenon that I demonstrate in the video above. Gotta make sure those windows are rolled all the way up for it to work.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 42,430 miles.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Burning Gas

January 29, 2010

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You've probably been wondering where our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 went for the past week. It's been on the road. As Jay mentioned, we decided to run 100 octane through the system to confirm the ping issue. Once that was official, we tried to burn off the good stuff.

We chose to put two tanks of 91 octane through the Z06 before handing it back to the dealer for further diagnosis. Our math figured two refills would dilute any remaining 100 octane mix and make doubly sure it was back to 91. The last thing we wanted was the dealer to test it with a higher octane fuel and give us the old, "problem cannot be recreated at this time" response.

Where do we stand now? We've transformed the last of our diluted mixture into ozone and we're back to full 91 octane. So we made an appointment with the dealer for Monday. We'll let you know how that goes.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 42,888 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: DON'T Brace for Impact

January 20, 2010

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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

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