Depreciation Station: 2005-'13 Chevrolet Corvette


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Corvettes have always offered a lot of bang for the buck, and that trend definitely continued with the sixth-generation models. What makes them even more attractive today? Our friend depreciation.

The base 2005 Corvette coupe–the first year for that model run–produces an impressive 400 horsepower along with 400 ft.-lbs. of torque. Today you can find ones advertised for less than $20,000. Have a little more to spend? Prices on the high-output, track-ready Z06 model have just started to touch the $30,000 threshold.

The Corvette was all new for 2005, but it followed a proven formula: a V8 engine, fiberglass body, transverse leaf springs and seating for two. This sixth-generation Corvette, dubbed the C6, looked bigger than its predecessor, but it was actually 5 inches shorter in length and about an inch narrower. The coupe again sported a liftoff roof panel, and Chevrolet offered a convertible as well.

The C6 Corvette also featured a new engine, as the standard powerplant was GM’s 400-horsepower, 6.0-liter LS2. Not enough? The Z06 returned to the Corvette model line for 2006 sporting less weight and more chassis. On top of that, its 7.0-liter LS7 engine produced 505 horsepower. In both cars, the transmission lived out back for better weight distribution.

The standard Corvette didn’t have to make do with only 400 horsepower for long, though, as the 430-horsepower LS3 became standard starting in 2008. (Chevrolet would eventually offer a supercharged, 638-horsepower Corvette ZR1 as well as a few other limited-edition variants, but you’re not going to find those for minivan money.)

A Corvette isn’t going to rev to 10,000 rpm or make those cool turbo noises. What the C6 will do, though, is deliver crushing performance thanks to plenty of torque, giant tires and a great chassis–all at a very attractive price point.

CARE & FEEDING

Sam Strano, owner of Strano Performance Parts, autocrosses and prepares Corvettes.

If you’re currently shopping for a car with good performance value, I would recommend a 2008–’13 model in Z51 trim. Additionally, 2008 was the first year for Chevy’s updated LS3 engine.

We’ve spent tons of time autocrossing these cars and have found that upgrading the shocks and front antiroll bar are generally the best ways to improve performance. If you plan on taking your car to an autocross or track day, you should absolutely replace the run-flat tires with your choice of performance rubber.

Overall, Chevy created a pretty robust drivetrain. One hotly debated topic, though, is oil starvation. Some cars that are run hard tend to spin bearings and go through engines. However, based on our own experience and the experience of fellow competitors, we believe that the issue is more related to the oil used than the engine’s design. We highly recommend using Red Line Oil.

With these cars, there isn’t a whole lot to be scared of that won’t be immediately obvious when you check out a potential purchase. Keep an ear out for bearing noise from the torque tube. You may want to test-drive a few different cars to get a good idea of what is usual and unusual.

RESOURCES

Scoggin Dickey Parts Center
(800) 456-0211
sdparts.com

Strano Parts
(814) 849-3450
stranoparts.com


This article is from a past issue of the magazine. Like stories like this? You’ll see every article as soon as it's published, and get access to our full digital archive, by subscribing to Classic Motorsports. Subscribe now.

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