Introducing Re:Fuelers Rides, where we take an in-depth look at some of the fantastic and diverse vehicles owned by some Re:Fuel regulars. Today we have Liam, one of our earliest Re:Fuelers. He is the owner of a car so wild, it makes Keith Moon look like a vicar. A manufacturer synonymous with porn stars, astronauts and men going through mid-life crisis (of which he is associated with none!). A car so fast it can out-run the fuel that powers it, to quote Mr.Clarkson. Liam owns a C6 Corvette Z06, and here he is to tell you more about it his wild choice of wheels and how it came about…
Most people assume that if you drive a bright yellow Corvette, you’re something of a show off or seriously compensating for something. While I am not intentionally doing either, you’re going to have to take my word for it!
The reality is that my reason behind owning a Corvette is very obvious; I’m very tall with MASSIVE feet and I simply do not fit in most of the svelte, European sports cars. Years of Corvette ownership (Corvette C5) had left me hungering for a more powerful 2 seat sports car, however, after discovering that I didn’t fit in manual Audi R8s, TVRs and pretty much everything 2 seat and Italian in my budget, I was struggling. A trip to Arizona allowed me the chance to drive some muscle cars but what really caught my eye was a Corvette C6 Grand Sport sitting on the lot. Whilst plentiful in the US, back in the UK, there were no Grand Sports for sale, never mind the more desirable Z06 or ZR1 so for a while all I could do was wait.
As luck would have it, a bit of fate would play its part and after narrowly missing out on a Camaro ZL1, a 2008 Victory Yellow Corvette Z06 happened to appear for sale late in March 2017. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Z06 is powered by a hand built LS7, 7011cc engine coupled to a Tremec T6060 and, unlike the base models, features wider fenders made of carbon fibre, aggressive air intakes and an engine position that ensured the larger powertrain sits lower and further back than the base model cars. This was facilitated by a magnesium alloy engine cradle, a dry sump system and the standard rear mounted gear box, all of which ensures a near 50:50 weight distribution. And, speaking of weight, thanks to the carbon, plastic and other trick composites, the C6 Z06 weighs in at a relatively light 1420kg allowing the factory 505hp to scoot the car along quite nicely. Some of you may remember a Top Gear episode where the Stig helped an early Z06 to lap the Top Gear track faster than a Zonda.
My specific example builds upon this, featuring a few choice components including high performance heads, a custom, high lift Crane Racing Cam, ported intake and throttle body, coupled with Kooks 1 7/8 long tube headers, and X-pipe through to the NPP back-box. It’s also the more desirable 3LZ model which gets a number of nicer interior bits, including carbon and leather wrapped dash parts.
The thing that surprises people about the car, above all else, is how efficient it can be. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for pottering around the back lanes of the Westcountry, given its width and cubic capacity. Expect MPG in the low teens form normal, daily driving. But if you give it a chance, my drives to the Black Mountains or to Norfolk have seen MPG reading in the high 20s which, for a 7 litre car is quite impressive. Ok, so at 60 MPH it’s basically at idle, which really helps but still an impressive feat for such an engine.
Would I recommend this car to people? It depends. Around the Southwest, particularly Devon and Cornwall, it is not ideally suited for the narrow lanes, nor does it respond well to dusty or wet roads and a bright yellow car is not subtle so you do attract certain…types. But, compare it to similar value cars, like an R8, and the benefits are very clear. For example, servicing and general, standard replacement parts are excellent value. Aftermarket parts are plentiful, thanks to a well-developed American scene/community and the build quality is, compared to some other American cars, on a par with similar European made sports cars, if a little conservative. It’s also a very involved drive; unlike others in its class, you have to be on your toes; it can be savage and unpredictable, and doesn’t put up with fools. But, if you get it right and treat it with respect, the experience is unbeatable.
There are issues for sure, not least the issues with the clutch system or the now well documented valve guide issues that can lead to a very nasty case of engine death, but if you look beyond the quirks and the issues, as a package, I believe it is very difficult to beat without spending considerably more.’
Thanks for sharing Liam! If you see him and his Z06 at Re:Fuel (I mean, it’ll be be hard to miss) then do give him a wave. We’re sure he’ll be happy to chat some more about it over a coffee or two!
We’ll leave you with the stats….
Model: Corvette Z06 3LZ
Engine: LS7 7011cc
Torque: 532 Ft Lb