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Chevrolet Corvette C6 History: The Evolution after the C5 Revolution



We are nearing the end of our Corvette history series with the sixth generation C6, manufactured between 2005 and 2013. When the C5 returned the Corvette from the dead, the C6 turned the Corvette into a superhero. Compared to the previous generation, everything could have been improved, resulting in a car that exceeded all expectations.

The engineers and designers working on the Corvette were not tasked with a complete overhaul, but should refine the current recipe for something better. The C6 was developed by many teams simultaneously with the Cadillac XLR. However, since the XLR should come before the Vette in the trade, he was given a higher priority. As soon as the work on the caddy was completed and wiped off, it went with the pedal in the medal of the C6.

Dave Hill was the chief engineer who led his team with the goal of improving both the excitement and the improvement of the platform. Since GM wanted to expand sales in Europe, the car had to be more compact. Five more inches were cut out of the length, and one inch was shaved off the sides, while the wheelbase actually increased by just over an inch. At first glance, the C6 seems to want to tear you to pieces, thanks in large part to chief designer Tom Peters, who was heavily influenced by C2. Like Harley Earl half a century ago, he drew inspiration from aircraft, especially the YF-22 fighter. The wide and sharp fender curves, the sharp rear lines and the conical cockpit style convey the influence of aviation perfectly. The aerodynamics of the car was developed taking into account the race car C6.R GT. The production car engineers worked with the racing team to maximize cooling and low drag coefficients by returning to the center grille opening, unlike the split radiator grille of the C5 (and some Pontiac models of that era).

The focus of the interior design was on the refinement. The typical, bloated plastic style of the 90s and aluminum accents, as well as a simpler design, in which the Doppelhaubenschlag begun with the C2 was preserved.

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The changes were not confined to aesthetics. The LS engine remained under the hood, but was punched out to 6.0 liters. The compression has been increased to 10.9: 1 and the inlet has been redesigned to provide 15 percent more air. This and more led to a big jump in performance to 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed Tremec T-56 was equipped as standard with an optional automatic transmission. An updated version of the C4 and C5 Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) has been added to allow drivers to switch from first to fourth gear at low engine speeds in city traffic. With that insidious triviality, Chevrolet was able to bypass the gasoline tax imposed by many other high-performance cars back then.

So far so good, but where the C6 gets really exciting, the editions are Z06 and ZR1. Let's start with the Z06. This version featured a fire breathing, handcrafted 427ci (6.2 liter) LS7 engine with titanium connecting rods. It was kept healthy under spirited driving through a dry sump oil system. To keep the weight down, the frame was made of aluminum instead of steel, and the glass fiber was omitted in favor of carbon fiber fenders. As with the C5 Z06, much of the insulation in the enclosure has been removed. 275-front and 325 mm wide rear standard wrapped by custom forged aluminum wheels. Six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers were stowed away for maximum braking power, a necessity when considering that the car flew to 60 mph in just under four seconds and a quarter mile from 11.7 seconds at 125 miles ran every hour.

The ZR1 The badge returned in 2009 and returned with a vengeance. The special 7.0-liter LS9 engine had a fan with 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. Giant Carbon Brembo brakes and stops this monster in 97 feet and after reaching 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. The roof, bonnet, fenders, rocker arms and front splitter were made of carbon fiber to keep things light. The magnetic dampers ensure laser-accurate handling that can compete with the best European manufacturers. With a price of just over $ 100,000, the ZR1 was and is one of the world's best sports cars that could manage to control fancy exotics with a loud growl.

That's clear The Corvette played with the big kids. Sure, the C6 still held the American sports car title (unofficial), but it was more than just a candle for its competitors, it threw them the hot wax in the face. It's hard to believe it will get better from here, and yet we'll soon find the most groundbreaking and sophisticated Corvette ever, the C7.


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