A Look Back at Two Significant Corvettes

Dan Adovasio and Jake Drennon of the Official C5/C6/C7 Registry take a historic look at two of the Corvettes damaged at the National Corvette Museum.
 

On behalf of the Official C5/C6/C7 Registry and its members, we were all stunned by the news that broke last week of eight very significant Corvettes being damaged by a sinkhole in the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum. As GM prepares to oversee restoration of the Corvettes damaged, we wanted to take a look back at how two of these vehicles fit into Chevrolet’s history.

2009 ZR1 “BLUE DEVIL”

Folklore has it that the then CEO of GM, Rick Wagoner, a Duke University graduate, saw the nearly completed C6 Z06 prototype in 2004. He wondered aloud what the Corvette design team could create if it had a mandate to develop a $100,000 Corvette.

At the time, Corvette Chief Engineer David Hill and Corvette Engineer Tadge Juechter took Wagoner’s challenge to heart and went to work to develop a significantly more powerful Corvette that would be called the ZR1. Then Vehicle Line Executive Tom Wallace stated that this project had the code name “Blue Devil” after Wagoner’s alma mater. Wallace continued saying that this prototype test vehicle needed to push the technology envelope into the supercar realm so that this Corvette could take on any production car in the world.

We now know that this “Blue Devil” was built to test the engineering standards necessary for the ZR1 to achieve astronomical performance characteristics – including the ability to be the fastest production automobile that GM has ever built. Never in the history of GM has a production automobile been produced with a 638 HP and a top end speed in excess of 200 mph. So, we’d say that the “Blue Devil” is certainly one of the most historically significant Corvettes ever on loan by GM to the National Corvette Museum.

2001 MALLETT HAMMER Z06 CORVETTE

Chuck Mallett was one of the premier tuners of the C5 era. Mallett is credited as being one of the first tuners to apply his craft and customize the C5 Corvette for superior handling and performance.  When the Z06 was introduced in 2001, Mallett quickly grabbed hold to engineer and develop the “Mallett Hammer” Z06 Corvette. Historically, this Z06 is significant because it was one of the first Mallett Hammers engineered to take the 2001 Z06 to a whole new performance level with outstanding handling characteristics never felt before on the race track.

Kevin and Linda Helmintoller of Tampa, Florida recently donated the Mallett Hammer Z06 that was swallowed by the sinkhole to the museum.

Mallett set the benchmark with the Z06 Hammer for a whole army of tuners to follow, thus beginning the legendary C5 Z06 Tuner Era. From this point forward, Mallett and others pushed the Z06 Corvette to limits well beyond the standard factory package. The Helmintoller’s raced their Z06 on tracks all over the east coast, just as many of the Mallett Hammer Z06 owners did. This Mallett Hammer’s significance lies in the fact that it was a forerunner of the C5 tuner experience. We feel these were track cars designed to give you the kind of performance required to win races at the track.

For more information on all eight vehicles affected by the sinkhole and the efforts being made to restore these historic Corvettes, visit the National Corvette Museum’s website. You can also see a live stream of the Skydome restoration here.

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The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Enters Supercar Territory

Chevrolet enters supercar territory with the most track-capable Corvette in the brand’s history, the 2015 Corvette Z06. It pushes the performance boundaries for Corvette with unprecedented levels of aerodynamic downforce, an all-new supercharged engine with at least 625 horsepower and an all-new, high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission, while bringing additional capabilities to the seven-speed manual transmission.

Bowman ChevyThe Corvette Z06 leverages the same driving technologies from the Corvette Stingray and also features the same aluminum frame, which will be produced in-house at General Motors’ Bowling Green assembly plant. The stiffness of the stronger frame also allows the Z06 to be offered with a removable roof panel for the first time. The advanced driver technologies and race-proven design all contribute to increased capabilities and world-class performance.

An available track-focused Z07 performance package adds unique components for true aerodynamic downforce, Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires for enhanced grip and Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors that improve braking performance and contribute to greater handling.

During its first outing at the track, the 2015 Corvette Z06 recorded some of the fastest lap times ever for a Corvette, surpassing even the ZR1.

Production for the Corvette Z06 will begin at the end of 2014 and will begin shipping to customers in early 2015.

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