Joining the Vette Set With Our New Corvette

Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car
Nov 6, 2017

We couldn’t resist any longer. For a couple years now, we’ve been watching C5 Corvette Z06 prices fall steadily, while the cars themselves have seemed to hold up under the abuse thrown at them. We also saw these cars added to every “future classic” list penned by every member of the auto journalist sphere–including us. We figured that before our own reporting turned around the tide of depreciation, we should jump on the bandwagon.

We found a 93,000-mile 2004 Commemorative Edition Z06 advertised on a Facebook autocross swapper list. This is the model featuring the lighter carbon-fiber hood. The car was in Chicago.

We made our deal, settling on a price a bit below the $18,500 ask. Yes, that’s below market. But the car did have a history–specifically, a history of hitting a tire wall during a tack day, damaging much of the passenger-side fiberglass. After some research and chats with parties involved in the repair, however, we decided that it was a calculated risk for the money. The carbon hood wasn’t touched, fortunately.

Our gamble paid off when we saw the car in person. You’d never know it had hit even a shopping cart, let alone a tire wall.

Our first stop after pickup was Greenwood Motorsports and Wagons, where our old pal Jason Saini helped us do a quick inspection before our drive back home to Florida. We also mounted a set of BFGoodrich Rival S tires for not only the drive home, but a Chicago Region SCCA autocross scheduled for the next day. Of course we had to hit a local autocross with the car we had owned for less than 24 hours.

While we waited for the BFGoodrich tires to come back from the tire shop, we threw a set of ARP studs into the front wheel hubs because we were bored and because the longer studs make it easier to mount the 18-inch front wheels and spacers required to run the BFGs in the SCCA Street Class. The car came with more than one set of wheels, we should note.

The next day, thanks to those sticky Rivals, we were competing nearly on par with the locals in the A Street class at the rather frigid and wet Chicago autocross. We considered this a good sign for a car we had barely driven 50 miles.

The day after that, we paid a visit to our favorite Corvette restoration supplier, Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Illinois. Founder Mike Yager looked over our car and declared it a suitable bargain, and we identified a few weak points that should be easily solvable through the Mid America catalog. GM cars of that era are notorious for fragile interiors and seating surfaces, and ours is not much of an exception.

Look for stories to begin in the magazine with our April edition, but the C5 Z06 will be a regular guest on our weekly live show in the meantime.

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