RE: Chevrolet Corvette C6: PH Used Buying Guide

RE: Chevrolet Corvette C6: PH Used Buying Guide

Thursday 25th January

Chevrolet Corvette C6: PH Used Buying Guide

They say there's no replacement for displacement, so here's everything to look out for when in the market for a C6



Over here and overlooked sums up the Corvette C6 range for UK buyers. On sale from 2005 until, notionally, 2013, it was only ever offered with left-hand drive, hampering sales. Still, for those who could see past which side the steering wheel was on, the C6 offered a lot of performance for the money. The entry-point 6.0-litre car could crack 60mph from rest in 4.3 seconds and the full-house Z06 dropped that to 3.9 seconds while tramping on to 198mph. All for under £60,000 new, or less than the price of a Porsche 911.

Unlike the German, the C6 is strictly a two-seater and some were put off by the idea of the Corvette's size, even though it was more compact than the C5 it replaced. It was also much better to drive and easier to live with, though it still retained the classic transverse leaf rear suspension design. No matter, the C6 handled and rode well, even in more extreme Z06 form.

For many, the Z06 with its 7.0-litre LS7 V8 is the one to have thanks to its performance and rarity. Chevrolet only sold a handful in the UK, which keeps prices strong and you can reckon on spending from £37,500 for this model.


There's also the £109,000 ZR1 that uses a supercharged 6.2-litre LS9 engine with 640hp. Among its unique features were carbon ceramic brakes, rear spoiler and Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres. Only two were officially imported to the UK in 2008 to make it the hardest to find version. If you can find one over here, expect to pay from £70,000.

The ZR1 paved the way for the new LS3 6.2-litre V8 used in the standard C6 from 2008. It sported 434hp and its cabin was built to a higher standard than in previous models. This is the most numerous C6 in the UK and also the best balance between pace, practicality and cost. Starting money for a decent example is £25,000.

Running a C6 is no more expensive than any of its contemporary sports car rivals, and you have the choice of coupe or convertible. There are also specialists who can look after the Corvette for you, so maintaining one is relatively simple.

Inspired? Buy a Corvette here



Bodywork and interior

Bodywork is bonded to the chassis, which makes repairs more expensive and involved. Look for signs of the bonding adhesive being interrupted or irregular, which points to a crash repair.

Have a sniff around the left rear wheel near the fuel filler. A strong smell of petrol indicates the plastic tank sender has cracked and needs replacing, which is a pricey job as the whole tank needs to be dropped.

Key fobs stop working, so make sure they function and replace the batteries every couple of years to avoid trouble.

An airbag warning light on the dash is caused by a loose wire under the driver's seat.

Seats can wobble fore and aft, but this is easily cured by tightening the mounting bolts.

Interior plastics can be fragile, especially the glovebox lid.


Engine and transmission

A grumbling sound from the rear of the car can be differential bolts that have worked loose.

Make sure the battery is in good condition or budget for a replacement, and also keep the car on a trickle charge when parked.

The alternator can weaken due to heat from the engine, so make sure it's charging properly.

The cam chain tensioner on the LS3 engine is a known weak spot, so budget for an upgrade at around £130 plus shipping from the USA and fitting.

The harmonic balancer on the front of the engine goes out of kilter and needs replacing. A new one is £150 from the USA and fitting is about five hours work.

A sloppy gear change can be sorted out with a new cable or re-bushing of the existing item. A new manual cable is £45.

Mass airflow sensors can throw up problems when aftermarket air filters are used.


Suspension and steering

Larger aftermarket wheels spoil the ride and handling balance and can rub on wheelarches.


Wheels, tyres and brakes

Front tyre wear on the inside edges is common, so turn the steering all the way to one side to check. If the rubber is worn, a full alignment set-up is needed.


SPECIFICATION - CHEVROLET CORVETTE C6

Engine: 5,970/6,162/7,011cc V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual/4 or 6-speed auto
Power (hp): 406/437/512@/6000/6300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 400/424/470@4400/4800rpm
MPG: 25.2/21.2/19.2
CO2: 310/316/350g/km
Price new: £47,495/£49,000/£59,895
Price now: £25,000 upwards

Author
Discussion

996GT3_Matt

Original Poster:

51 posts

133 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
I’ve always had a soft spot for this era of Corvette after seeing (well hearing) the yellow pair hammer past, lap after lap, at Le Mans in 2008.

Lying in the tent, it was unmistakable when Corvette thundered past!

You’re getting a huge slice of presence at this price point, but the combination of a large footprint and LHD would deter me.

samoht

718 posts

75 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all

That's an astonishingly shallow and trivial list of 'things to look for' for a buying guide for a decade-old performance car. Keyfob batteries can run out? If you fit larger wheels they might hit the wheelarches? Aftermarket parts can cause MAF issues? These are hardly Corvette-specific issues.

Either it's a half-arsed article by PH, or alternatively the Corvette is just very robust and there truly isn't much to talk about. Given the reputation of the car, and that it's sold in the most litigious country in the world, I'll be charitable and pick the latter explanation. Compare the above to the 997 buying guide that I saw in Evo ('we recommend buyers keep a £10k contingency fund to allow for rebuilding the engine'), and it's quite the contrast!

996GT3_Matt said:
You’re getting a huge slice of presence at this price point, but the combination of a large footprint and LHD would deter me.
Indeed - I've always said that if I ever go live in a LHD country for a year or more, I'll be looking for one of these :-)

AdeTuono

5,642 posts

156 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
samoht said:
That's an astonishingly shallow and trivial list of 'things to look for' for a buying guide for a decade-old performance car. Keyfob batteries can run out? If you fit larger wheels they might hit the wheelarches? Aftermarket parts can cause MAF issues? These are hardly Corvette-specific issues.

Either it's a half-arsed article by PH, or alternatively the Corvette is just very robust and there truly isn't much to talk about.
The latter. I'm on my 3rd Z06, and nothing else comes close for the money. I've looked at changing it, but with what?

Sinatra21

116 posts

87 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Not quite as pretty as the c5 it replaced (in my eyes). No doubt hampered by new crash regs and laws. Still look great lowered a tad with some wheels that fill the arches.

Size isn't an issue, my c5 fits in parking spaces fine and I'd guess it's smaller than a modern 5 series or jag xf.

The LS series engines are great. Even the LS1 in its most basic form makes 350bhp and 350 lbft of torque. It's a brute when above 4.5k rpm but a great cruiser for town work. Mine bearly breaks 2krpm and I'm still generally the first from the lights.

Gratuious pic...


The JM

117 posts

154 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
I never understand the "footprint" and size comments about the C6. The ZO6 and ZR1 are wider and longer than the base model, but are both still 1.2cm narrower than an Audi R8, and 8.5cm shorter than a Porsche 991 Turbo, oh and a good few kg's lighter!
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GTEYE

1,142 posts

139 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
The JM said:
I never understand the "footprint" and size comments about the C6. The ZO6 and ZR1 are wider and longer than the base model, but are both still 1.2cm narrower than an Audi R8, and 8.5cm shorter than a Porsche 991 Turbo, oh and a good few kg's lighter!
The width and LHD are the issues. For the record the R8 (and most supercars) are too wide for many UK roads and LHD makes the issue even more pertinent.

The JM

117 posts

154 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
GTEYE said:
The JM said:
I never understand the "footprint" and size comments about the C6. The ZO6 and ZR1 are wider and longer than the base model, but are both still 1.2cm narrower than an Audi R8, and 8.5cm shorter than a Porsche 991 Turbo, oh and a good few kg's lighter!
The width and LHD are the issues. For the record the R8 (and most supercars) are too wide for many UK roads and LHD makes the issue even more pertinent.
I guess if you are not used to LHD then it could be an issue for a period, but I have no trouble in mine even on the narrow roads around me in Devon.

Scottie - NW

774 posts

162 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
I'd suggest looking at a Camaro SS, from 2010 onwards. Half the price, arguably better looking, independent rear suspension, the LS engines and maybe the better car.

Having just returned from working in the States a few days ago was surprised to find out that over there the Corvette is referred to as a "Hairdressers Car" and the subject of petrol head ridicule.

Amanitin

145 posts

66 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Scottie - NW said:
over there the Corvette is referred to as a "Hairdressers Car" and the subject of petrol head ridicule.
what do the genuine petrol heads drive then over there?

paulyv

466 posts

52 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Scottie - NW said:
Having just returned from working in the States a few days ago was surprised to find out that over there the Corvette is referred to as a "Hairdressers Car" and the subject of petrol head ridicule.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBCZEqKqHGk

vtecyo

1,818 posts

58 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Amanitin said:
Scottie - NW said:
over there the Corvette is referred to as a "Hairdressers Car" and the subject of petrol head ridicule.
what do the genuine petrol heads drive then over there?
Camrys.

rockin

5,400 posts

174 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Modern Corvettes are brilliant cars. They are no bigger than other serious sportscars and certainly no heavier - probably lighter.

LHD is the main excuse for not buying a Vette. But if LHD was the only issue that puts people off then Lotus would be selling a lot more! I think everyone's got so accustomed to rolling around in their upright 5-door SUVs that sportscars are generally avoided, despite the frothy internet enthusiasm for Alfa 4C and many others. Artega, Spyker etc have gone out of business. F-type sales have been well below Jaguar's hopes and the fate of new-TVR remains to be seen.

Corvettes have had double-wishbone suspension at all four corners for many decades - just look at the exposed chassis in the photo above. A transverse composite leaf spring has the advantages of light weight and compact profile.

The world has two leading sportscar makers, both in business for 60 years and very good at it. Porsche and Corvette. The only contender with a significant slice of pie is the much cheaper MX5.


LateStarter

18 posts

7 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
rockin said:
The world has two leading sportscar makers, both in business for 60 years and very good at it. Porsche and Corvette. The only contender with a significant slice of pie is the much cheaper MX5.
I think ( and correct me if I am wrong) that Porsche makes a lot more SUVs and sedans than sportscars. Undoubtedly they are still brilliant sportscars.

So by your thinking does that mean there is only 1 leading sportscar maker left, Corvette?

GTEYE

1,142 posts

139 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
LateStarter said:
rockin said:
The world has two leading sportscar makers, both in business for 60 years and very good at it. Porsche and Corvette. The only contender with a significant slice of pie is the much cheaper MX5.
I think ( and correct me if I am wrong) that Porsche makes a lot more SUVs and sedans than sportscars. Undoubtedly they are still brilliant sportscars.

So by your thinking does that mean there is only 1 leading sportscar maker left, Corvette?
And isn't the Corvette a Chevrolet? Which is more of an SUV manufacturer than even Porsche....

AdeTuono

5,642 posts

156 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Scottie - NW said:
I'd suggest looking at a Camaro SS, from 2010 onwards. Half the price, arguably better looking, independent rear suspension, the LS engines and maybe the better car.
That's hardly a valid comparison. Having had both, they're totally different animals. And 'better' is subjective.

threespires

2,896 posts

140 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
I get on fine with a LHD car in the UK. I've owned many in the past and these days I drive one regularly in the summer.
I also visit France about 4 times per year in a RHD car and have no problems there either.
One soon adapts.

Shnozz

19,433 posts

200 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
rockin said:
Modern Corvettes are brilliant cars. They are no bigger than other serious sportscars and certainly no heavier - probably lighter.
I must say I always held the European prejudice of the Vette until I drove a friend's C6 Ron Fellows ltd edition in Dubai. Utterly superb car in every sense. Interior feels a touch cheap but other than that the whole thing was just fantastic. Went like st off a shovel and handled superbly.

LHD puts me off here but my plan is to put one in the garage of my Spanish abode in due course. Targa perhaps.

K50 DEL

7,691 posts

157 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
I ran a C6 as my daily driver in the UAE for a couple of years and found it incredibly easy to live with... a couple of extra points I'd add though.

The targa roof panel is not brilliant, removal and refitment are 2 person jobs and stowing the panel in the car will massively reduce the luggage space - best to either accept the car as a coupe or buy the convertible version in the first place.

The auto box is beyond woeful - seriously, only consider a manual, it's a great box and a delight to use.

The loose under-seat wire mentioned in the article leads into a wider C6 problem - the electrical systems are not the best, over the course of 2 years I had all sorts of niggling issues, some serious (sudden instant loss of all headlights) to trivial (pax door wouldn't open from the outside)
In chasing these faults, various design issues came to light, most serious of which is the placement of the main fusebox - it's unlikely to be an issue in the UK but in the Middle East (and hotter states of the US) fusebox replacements are commonplace (and indeed I had to) the box gets crazy hot, causing the internal insulation to fall apart and wires and links to touch each other.

The start/stop switch, door release buttons and driver's door window/mirror control panel are all also common failure points as they're cheaply made and the contacts within them degrade - weirdly replacing the door master switch cured a bunch of little issues on mine that were not related to windows or mirrors in any way!

Mechanically though they are beyond bulletproof, aside from servicing and a starter motor change (probably unnecessary but the dealership insisted it would cure an issue I had - it didn't) I had no problems with mine in all the time I had it, it even coped fairly well with some mild wadi-bashing.

I'd have another in a heartbeat, but for the reasons listed above would buy a full convertible next time rather than the targa.... oh and a Borla exhaust upgrade is worth every penny as well!

Shnozz

19,433 posts

200 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
K50 DEL said:
I ran a C6 as my daily driver in the UAE for a couple of years and found it incredibly easy to live with... a couple of extra points I'd add though.

The targa roof panel is not brilliant, removal and refitment are 2 person jobs and stowing the panel in the car will massively reduce the luggage space - best to either accept the car as a coupe or buy the convertible version in the first place.
Worth noting ta! Perhaps I rethink that one then... do fancy wind in the hair if I am in Southern Europe.

You may in fact know the one I was blasting around in then. Posts as Ron Fellows on here (Craig).

K50 DEL

7,691 posts

157 months

Thursday 25th January
quotequote all
Shnozz said:
K50 DEL said:
I ran a C6 as my daily driver in the UAE for a couple of years and found it incredibly easy to live with... a couple of extra points I'd add though.

The targa roof panel is not brilliant, removal and refitment are 2 person jobs and stowing the panel in the car will massively reduce the luggage space - best to either accept the car as a coupe or buy the convertible version in the first place.
Worth noting ta! Perhaps I rethink that one then... do fancy wind in the hair if I am in Southern Europe.

You may in fact know the one I was blasting around in then. Posts as Ron Fellows on here (Craig).
Indeed, I had a coffee with Craig (and a spin in the Bentley) last week in fact - he was first to the plate to offer assistance both before I bought the C6 and after, I spent a fair few hours with it plugged in to all his diagnostics.... yet to have a ride in his Testa though lol