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A brief history of the Corvette Z06

  1. With “at least” 625bhp, the new Corvette Z06 - seen for the first time at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this week - will surely rank amongst the quickest road-going Vettes we’ve ever seen.

    We think its introduction warrants a quick Zee-Oh-Six history lesson. So, eyes front and centre as we take a wee trip back to the Sixties, and the Six’s not so humble beginnings…

  2. 1963 Corvette C2 Z06

    The ‘Vette was launched in 1953 but it wasn’t until 1963 and the release of the C2 that the Z06 Pack first made an appearance. It was the idea of legendary Corvette engineer Zora Duntov, who, despite a ban (of-sorts) on OEM involvement in motorsport in force at the time, persuaded his bosses to sanction the continued development of race-ready parts. He knew Corvette owners loved tracking their cars, and wanted to give them one capable of withstanding a beating.

    The $1800 package - which increased the price of the Vette by half - added, among other enhancements, stronger shocks and springs, bigger anti-roll bars, power assisted front brakes and for a time, a vast 36-gallon endurance-spec fuel tank. The Z06 Pack was only available with the 327-cubic-inch V8, which GM rated at 360bhp.

    Just 199 were built - 198 coupes and one convertible.

    But, with the introduction of the next-gen ‘C3’ Corvette, the Z06 pack disappeared into the ether, and wouldn’t make a comeback until the turn of the millennium.

  3. 2001 Corvette C5 Z06

    The bulbous C5 Corvette reintroduced the Z06 Pack. The C5 Z06 had 385bhp - 35 more than standard - but this number was quickly boosted to 405. It was lighter than the standard car too, and had uprated suspension, revised gear ratios and a titanium exhaust. Chevrolet claimed the C5 Z06 could lap the ‘Ring in under eight minutes.

  4. 2006 Corvette C6 Z06

    The C6 appeared in 2005 with a mighty 505bhp. Its 7.0-litre V8 was the largest ever small-block V8, and for a time, the most powerful naturally-aspirated GM engine ever. Its modifications too extensive to list, the Z06 could hit 60mph in less than four seconds, and top 200mph.

  5. 2014 Corvette C7 Z06

    And finally, we come to this - the 2014 Corvette Z06. Chevy says its 6.2-litre V8 produces “over 625bhp” - almost as much as the frighteningly rapid C6 ZR1 - and a handy 635lb ft of torque. Given the old Z06 could reach 60mph in 3.9 seconds, this new Vette, with over 100 more bhp, should be quick enough to tear a hole in time. To keep all that power in check, it’s got adaptive dampers, ceramic brakes, and countless other parts and systems designed to make the C7 Z06 the best Corvette yet.

    And it looks the business, which is always helpful.

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