Flash forward to 2005 and the introduction of the 2006 Corvette
Z06, which is billed as the fastest, most technologically advanced
production vehicle ever engineered by Chevrolet and General Motors.
At a mind-blowing 505 horsepower, the Z06's 7-liter V8 tops out at
200 mph and can do zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, all without having
to even shift into second gear.
Both of these amazing automotive specimens were on display Sunday
at Community Chevrolet in Burbank as part of the Corvette Heritage
Tour, a traveling exhibit with video presentations, engine displays
and real-life examples of what is likely the most legendary American
sports car to date. The tour is a 22-city American road trip in
advance of official rollout of the Z06 to the general public in
Between 200 and 300 people visited the dealership last weekend to
get a sneak preview of the new Corvette, said Dirk Olsen, onsite
manager for the Corvette Heritage Tour.
"I've had all positive reactions from people about the Z06," said
Olsen, who was lucky enough to drive the new 'Vette prior to the tour
"It was pretty awesome," he said. "I had driven the C5 before, and
this was out of this world."
The Z06 is indeed otherworldly.
Composite carbon-fiber materials a hydro-formed aluminum frame
have reduced the vehicle's overall weight by 26 pounds from the
previous year's model.
At the same time, engineers increased the engine size by an entire
cubic liter from the standard 2005 C6 engine, resulting in 105 more
horses under the hood.
The interior has all the amenities, including leather upholstery,
a heads-up display and push-button ignition and door lock release. To
enter the vehicle, one has only to lightly touch a black pad on the
exterior door and, as long as one's keys are on his or her person,
the door opens automatically.
The overall result is the car of the future, said Rick Kalisz of
Burbank, a Corvette enthusiast who went Sunday to get a look at
Chevrolet's newest offering.
"The Corvette is one of the sexiest cars ever, it commands
respect," said Kalisz, 52, a member of the Burbank Road Kings car
club whose collection over the years has included 32 Fords.
But his five Corvettes have been his favorites, Kalisz said as he
stared almost reverentially at the cherry red Z06 specimen on display
at the dealership Sunday.
"They have shortened the back and flared the fenders, and now the
back looks more like a Ferrari," he said. "But it is still an
American car. It is one of those things you just put in the garage
and look at it. It is the king of today's muscle cars, and it doesn't
get any better than that."
Another Corvette fan, Ralph White, said he already has his Z06 on
order. He paid the base price of $65,000 for a silver model.
"There were rumors about this car, what they were calling a
'Viper-beater,' for years, and now it is here," said White, a Burbank
native whose company provides official Chevy apparel and accessories.
"It really is a race car disguised for the street," White said.