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Review of 2001 Z06 by prospective buyer in CA

1373 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Dave Schotz
FWIW, here's is my first driving impression of the new Z06 (aka "Billie Bob") Corvette. I am of course referring to the 2001 model.

First, and most important, the Z06 is "fun to drive". A bit too expensive if you ask me, (and no longer in keeping with the so-called "billie bob", nor the original FRC's goals and objective iaw book 'All Corvettes Are Red'. Considering decade old ZR-1s are now selling for half the cost of a Z06, and not until next year's 400+ HP version, the KOTH ZR-1 is probably a real bargain by comparison.

The most pleasing thing I noticed is the Z06 has a kick ass (as is "great") sounding exh note under hard acceleration; certainly much better than any other modern era Corvette. With such a viceral sound as this, I would not be so eager to plunk down any more hard earned cash for an after market system. Why mess with perfection?

Another pleasant surprise, at least to me, the Z06 actually has a fairly decent ride quality. You can still feel the ruts and bumps in the road, but nothing bad enough to render a punishing ride. In fact, any more "plush" and you'd be hard pressed to call it an American "sports car". Moreover, I could very easily see myself commuting to work or going on long trips in a Z06.

Furthermore, the Z06, like all the C5s since 1997, is certainly better than any previous generation as far as "refinement". This is a Corvette you can actually live with every day, all day, no problem.

At first glance (and from seeing pics in all the mags, etc), I felt the 1999 FRC (and now its latest iteration in 2001) was not very attractive, and arguably the only pig in a poke. The Coupe and drop top models have sheer elegance and styling going for them, but the H/T is kind of the "runt" of the litter.

No question, coupe and convertible models (in that order) still get my vote for best looks. Still, given enough time, the Z06 tends to grow on you. The best C5 of all worlds would be an LS6 option available in the Coupe body style with six speed tranny.

GM, "build it and they will come."

I test drove a millennium yellow Z06 with black seats and red accents. A flashy combo to be sure, but I must admit it is one of those colors that commands "thumbs up" and stares of envy unceremoniously from the general populous.

The instrument panel, as in all C5s, is well executed. The itallicized font on the tach and speedo is a nice touch too and I really like the back lighting at night which is a truly elegant touch of class. Passenger amenities and overall ergonomics are very good too for a "hardtop".

In this area, one item that is significantly improved over all earlier generations is the driver's foot well. There is plenty of room to relax your left foot way down deep inside the footwell. Very nice!!!

Now for bad news on the ergonomics front.

The six speed shifter, in the car I drove, was very notchy. I can live with the 1-to-4 skip shift feature, although I wish there was a simple bypass switch. This feature carried over from the C4, starting way back in 1989, but there is just no excuse for a seemingly hard to shift new tranny after all these years of continuous improvement at GM.

Because of this one very annoying flaw, in an otherwise world class sports car, I would most likely pass on this year's Z06 and hope they get the bugs worked out in subsequent model years.

The "demonstrator" 2001 Z06 that I drove had 1750 miles on it and in fact was pre-owned, (in the rather sacastic, but humorous words of the salesman) "by a Silicon Valley dotcom, but dot com no more".

The handling of the car felt very solid and steering seemed fine on the street. I did not have a chance to "exercise" the active handling sytem, but sure was tempting to just turn it off nevertheless.

For a FRC, visibility out of the windows was expected to be compromised, but this was not the case, and certainly no worse than the convertible with top up. Like that model, trunk space is surprisingly good; still considerably less volumous than the Coupe's trunk-less, hatchback body style. At least there is something to be said for greater security (and piece of mind) when precious cargo is stored back there hidden in the trunk.

The only other gripes I can think of (and darn few of those to be sure) are with a few key options absent from Z06, particularly those that are safety related. Both LTPWS and HUD are not available in Z06, at least not yet. One more thing left to ping on, (and this indeed is a VERY MINOR dig), in not for only slightly better asthetics, there should be a telescopic antenna mast like that standard in the convertible.

The added weigh for these features would not be significant, but the extra large, non-EMT tires should stay ("Y" (or 186 mph) speed rated, BTW). And there is still no need for a spare.

I would gladly pay for a replacement LTPWS sensor in the tire stem if I had a flat that ever got fouled after a lethal injection of "fix a flat in a can" from the onboard accessory kit stored in the trunk.

Same deal for HUD. Although I think in next year's model Z06, HUD should be available if we are to believe rumored changes coming out in 2002.

While on subject of persistent rumors, if next year's LS6 HP specs perfectly align with where the late, great 1995 ZR-1 left off, the Z06. being a 400 pound lighter car, should become new king of the hill Corvette.

It only took 12 years for GM Powertrain's 350 small block Chevy V8 push rod design to finally catch up with the DOHC 32 valve LT5. Better late than never I guess, and together with that racous exhaust sound I spoke of earlier, I believe the old King may finally be dead.

I think more horsepower is very high on any new Corvette shoppers list. I feel sorry for all those guys who already payed way over sticker for this year's Z06 model. On the other hand because of them, demand may tapper off a bit for a second year Z06 and if not, there should be a bunch of low mile 2001 cars popping up on the used car market soon enough.

Either way, especially with still depressed economic conditions, prices should begin to fall so that once again we have something approaching "affordability" in these new generation muscle bound Corvettes built by a "value" oriented company like Chevrolet. Yippie.

Epilog: I got some more "seat time" over the weekend and decided I like the car more than I thought, so much that I now own one.
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Strange review in a strange place, guess that is why it has not generated any responses.
I think I will leave it at that, strange.
Are you some noted journalist or something that I was not aware of? Just wondering if I should give your comments any more weight or what...
Pass on the Z because of the shifter!?!?

Oh jeez....

Obviously does not own one....

Sounds like you didn't get to drive it much. You wouldn't buy one because of the shifter? I've never had a problem with that.
I would suggest to anyone who is in the market for the baddest Corvette ever to order up a ZO6..

I can't say for sure as my situation is different than I probably would'nt trade in a coupe or rag top...but starting out question in my mind...ZO6!!

I love the coupes looks..I dig the idea of the lift off roof..but in all reality (for me anyway) if I was in the market for a new Corvette..ZO6 all the way..

It truly is the most amazing car made today..

Even the European rags who normally hate american cars..are fawning over the Z06..for one reason and one reason only..

Its that good..

Not a flame to your review..each and every one of us ..needs to have our own opinions ...and yours was interesting..I don't know if I agree with you but thats not a big deal..

Thanks for taking the time to give your unique insight.
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Got so depressed reading his article that I am going to call my dealer and inquire about my 02 Z06/Torch Red/Modified Interior order. If I was rich would order 2 Z06s, that's how much I like the car and I love my 00 TR Coupe(which must sell)

My 2cents
This wasn't an article but rather someone's opinion who obviously does not have enough seat time to make a quality recommendation. I think you would be best served if you can drive the car yourself as well as get info from people that actually own a Z06 that have driven it for a number of months. The only possible issue for the '01 compared to the '02 is the oil consumption that "some" onwers have experienced. I got mine in September and have 7K+ miles and have not had any issues. I drive it daily and the way it was meant to be driven (higher revs, 3K to 6K) and I have not experienced considerable oil use, about 1 qt per 2K+ miles. Which by the way, is what you will probably see in the '02 as well. There will be changes to the '02 but they are not significant changes. A couple options will be standard, they are adding HUD and a firmer suspension. The engine will have 20HP more via new cam, valves and maf/filter intake section. The price increase hasn't been reported yet, but in the past years vettes have increased by about $1K+ per year. The '02 might see a slightly bigger increase due the popularity and added standard features. If you can swing a good deal for an '01, I would go for it. With 2 mods (intake & headers), the '01 will produce the same or slightly higher HP. Either way you go, '01 or '02, the Z06 is by far the best performance value on the planet, bar none!
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I thought the 'opinion' was written quite well, However it is quite obvious he is stuck in the LT5 days!

This is off subject... BUT... I am sorry to let down all these LT5 people who 'really' feel that the ZR-1 is King of any hill!

The only thing the ZR-1 had going for it was straightline speed! Hardly a 'King of the Hill' Title in my book!

First off... the Front Nose Weight was way way to much to overcome... I could have cared less if it had 450+ HP... The sled on the nose was doomsday in any form of real road racing, or Auto-xing events.

2nd off... the '01 Z-06 put the ZR-1 out of it's misery in every category except top speed.

So to say that it took GM 12 years to dethrone the King is a gross missinterpretation of HP#'s... far from actual results! If you read the '90 Car & Driver, the L-98 car out slalomed, Skidpaded, and braked the Mighty ZR-1! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

Notchy Shifter?? Hmmm
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Hey guys, sorry to have stirred the pot (now I know what it's like to be tarred and feathered internet style). But, you have me all wrong.

Yes, I own an LT5 and think it is still the "fastest" Corvette and has the most awesome engine ever developed for Corvette.

King of the Hill? Nope, not anymore. Even said so. That honor now can bestowed on the Z06.

I also own a LT4, which like the ZR-1 is a mighty fine specimen from the C4 era. The LT4 is what I call a "sleeper", if not a rival to the ZR-1 in top speed, the engine actually was "stronger" than the then newly introduced LS1 the following year. (Have dynojet comparison to back it up too).

I have personally driven both (stock) ZR-1 and LT4 that I own to an honest 180 mph and have the proof on videos.

But guys, guys, you still have me all wrong.

By stirring the pot, my only intent was to get to the truth and you guys sure have given it to me. So it may interest you all to know that this past Sunday, I finally took the plunge into a new C5.

Moreover, I paid dearly for the priviledge of now owning a Z06 sooner than later. I negotiated for over 6 hours with a dealers' "hell bent to make a big profit" sales force and struck the best deal I could. Which is tough to do when they triple team you in the sales process.

After much blood letting on both sides, (I did admirably even though I left more money on the table than I should), finally left the dealership one hour after closing time $55k poorer, but grinning ear to ear. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif)

Why? Because you guys are right . . . the Z06 really is the best performance car on the market bar none.
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Buy a Kirban or a Ripper short throw shifter. You will not regret it! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif
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Had a ZR1 94 #100...Great engine good car...
Now have z06 [soon 02] Great engine and superb car. Period... Had several new vetts since 67 there is NO comparison in my opinion..Still have fond memories of my 67 69 70 and 94Z, but, go for a ride in one push it hard , then get back in the z06....
2 thumbs up to GM....
dsinned... Congratulations on your purchase! What color is it?

To everyone else... (Told ya he was an LT-5 Guy!) /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

I can sniff em a mile away!

The LT-4's do Dyno as much as the LS-1's typically, but not the LS-6's! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

You will be pleased!


Dave Schotz
2001 Z-06 White w/Mod Red
Solo 2 SS Class #39
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