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The C5 Corvette Z06 Is the Best Performance Bargain Available Today

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Used 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe
Used 2001 Chevrolet Corvette
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author photo by Will Kinton September 2016

The current Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the C7, is an absolute performance monster, capable of keeping up with supercars that cost twice as much. But if you don't have $80,000 to spend on a new Z06, look back a couple of generations and buy a C5 Z06 instead. This Corvette is fast, simple and -- with prices hovering between $20,000 and $25,000 -- relatively inexpensive, making it a bargain for those who want cheap performance without any headaches.

The Z06 was introduced in 2000 as a high-performance version of the already-quick C5 Corvette and as a spiritual successor to the previous-generation Corvette ZR1. The Z06 featured a lightweight 5.7-liter LS6 V8 that initially made 385 horsepower, but that was increased after the first model year to 405 hp. The C5 Z06 also featured an upgraded suspension from the standard Corvette, along with larger wheels, better tires and functional brake-cooling ducts. Chevy engineers also lowered the weight of the car by fitting a titanium exhaust, reducing soundproofing and even equipping the Z06 with a lighter battery. These improvements allow the C5 Z06 to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds and hold 0.98 Gs in the corners, which is better than almost anything Italy or Germany offered at the time.

The other major benefit of the Z06 is that it's relatively inexpensive to maintain compared to its rivals. The Z06 is a simple car, and most work can be done in your driveway if you're willing to spend your Saturday tinkering with your sports car. It's also fairly reliable for a 15-year-old high-performance car, and Chevy small-block V8s have a reputation for headache-free ownership. Of course, you'll still have to spend money on wear items like tires and brakes.

So what are the drawbacks to the C5 Z06?

That would be the interior. The C5 Z06 has an interior that's typical of late-1990s and early-2000s General Motors vehicles, and the fit and finish on even the nicest, lowest-mileage garage queens won't be pretty. The other issue: The stiff performance suspension can make everyday driving uncomfortable. Then again, the Z06 isn't supposed to be a daily driver but rather a track-day toy -- a really great bargain of a track-day toy.

At the time of this writing, there are over 250 Chevrolet C5 Corvette Z06 models available on Autotrader with an average price of $24,500.

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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe
Used 2001 Chevrolet Corvette
$19,635
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The C5 Corvette Z06 Is the Best Performance Bargain Available Today - Autotrader