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2005 C6: A Subjective Look at the Next Generation of Corvette


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Sep 16, 2000
New Hampshire
1990 Corvette ZR-1
2005 C6: A Subjective Look at the Next Generation of Corvette

What more can I say except, “wow, what a car!”

Before I start describing my impressions of the C6 Corvette, let me first explain a little about myself.

My experience with the C5 Corvette is minimal. In 1997, I went for a quick ride in a C5 at a local dealership. The owner was complaining that the car would stall when accelerating from a stop, so the Corvette mechanic drove it in the back of the dealership to try and determine if there were transmission problems. It was determined that the car was fine, but the owner, being an older gentleman, was not putting the car in proper gear when coming to a stop. I was invited to go along for the ride and I remember being very impressed with the ride, handling, level of refinement and egress and ingress as compared to the C4.

My second experience with a C5 Corvette took place last year. A salesman approached me at a local Chevrolet dealership and offered me a test ride in a 2003 Z06. I hopped in, and he proceeded to drive the car at about 5-10 miles per hour over a road in the back of the dealership that looked like it came from Iraq after a bombing run. While I was impressed with the overall sound of the Z06 and it’s ability to handle the potholes, the overall experience lasted for about 3 minutes and was really a waste of my time. I’m not even sure why he bothered, but in any case…

Other than those two experiences with a C5, the most seat-time I’ve had in a Corvette is behind the wheel of my 1990 ZR-1. I bought the car in September of 1994 with 179 miles on it and over the last 10 years, I’ve put on nearly 28,000 miles. Comparing the ZR-1 to a C5 is like comparing apples to oranges and comparing the ZR-1 to the C6 is like comparing coconuts to bananas, but not an impossibility.

In the past, I’ve been accused of being a GM employee, being financially influenced by GM or trying to kiss GM’s butt. However, those of you that know me well know that I don’t work for GM and I’m blatantly honest. I call it like I see it. I don’t beat around the bush and I don’t sugar coat anything. If there’s something I don’t like, I will tell you.

With all of that said, here is my impression of the 2005 C6 Corvette.


As I’ve said before, from the pictures of the car that I’ve seen, I liked what I saw. I warmed up to the C6 much quicker than I did to the C5 and, I thought it was because I felt there was a lot of C5 in the C6. After this weekend, my opinion has drastically changed.

On Friday night, Linda Lawler, a GM employee who works at the Bowling Green facility called me on my cell phone to announce that she was arriving in a red C6 and would be at the Auburn Inn shortly. Several people standing in the parking lot spotted Linda slowly rolling down the exit ramp coming to stop in traffic. I looked over and my first thought was “oh ****, I’m going to have to buy one of these!”

The car immediately appears shorter, smaller and tighter than a C5, even from a distance. As she pulled into the parking lot at the Inn, everyone swarmed around the car. I felt bad for Linda, because everyone immediately started asking her questions that she just couldn’t answer. I think her answer was “if you ask me about bolt-torque numbers, I can tell you!”


The C6 is nothing short of impressive. Pictures do not do this car justice. To see the C6 in 3D and in motion leaves you with a much different perspective.

The lines are crisp. The headlight design is fantastic and the overall look of the car from the front is much more aggressive than the C5 or C4. The rounded shape of the C5 has been removed. It’s been nipped, tucked and tightened all around. When comparing the look of the C5 to the C6, the differences really become apparent.

The C5 reminds me of the metallic blob in the movie Terminator 2. As that Terminator transforms from a human shape into its true form, it loses all edges. It becomes extremely smooth and flattened. The C6 is more like a professional gymnast. It’s lean, taut and muscular, with rippling muscles and the subtle hint of veins everywhere. One look at the C6 and the impression I got was, this Corvette means business.

The side profile is aggressive. The rear profile is aggressive. The entire car just looks more aggressive all over, and more like a high tech fighter jet than the C5. You can easily see hints of the 1963 to 1967 Corvettes in the shape of the doors. You can see hints of the 1968-1982 Corvettes in the front fenders. The rear end reminds me of the 1984–1996 Corvettes, and in all honesty, the only hint of C5 I found in the car, are the side mirrors.

Wheel design is excellent. Rear-end design is excellent. Even the third break light, which I thought I was going to hate, looks good to me. I honestly didn’t see anything wrong with the third brake light contrary to what many others feel about it.

Some people do not seem to like the look of the red paint used on the C6. Personally, I like it. On Saturday, Dwayne Fenton brought a silver C6 with him and I had a chance to closely examine the quality of the paint. It was excellent! The amount of metallic flake in the paint gave it impressive depth in the sunlight. No runs, blemishes, or orange peel could be found anywhere and the paint had an extremely smooth feel to it.

If I had to change one thing about the design of the C6, I would change the side mirrors from the C5. They may be highly functional, but the oval design of them doesn’t seem to go quite as well with the C6 as they did with the C5.

One of our forum members summed up the design of the C6 quite well. He felt that the C6 Corvette didn’t resemble the C5 at all. He felt that the car was perfectly capable of standing on its own and worthy of being called “The sixth generation of Corvette.” I strongly agree. The C6 designer, Tom Peters, should be commended for a job well done.


I found the interior to be equally impressive as well. Fit and finish, even for a pre-production prototype was excellent. The wide gaps found in some areas of the C5 interior are gone. The shape of the interior is reminiscent to that of the C4. It looks and feels more like the cockpit of a fighter jet but still has plenty of room. Seats feel very comfortable and supportive. Ingress and egress are just as good as the C5 and such a big improvement from the C4. The quality of the carpeting is excellent and the look of the dash with the brushed aluminum highlights is impressive. The gauges look fantastic and are easily readable. Buttons and controls seems logically placed and within easy reach. The radio and navigation system is very cool!!


If I had to change anything about the interior, it would be the appearance and tactile feel of the vinyl used on the dash and doors. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I like the look and feel of the vinyl used in my 1990 ZR-1. The appearance of the vinyl used in the C6 looks cheap and has a rough feel to it. It doesn’t seem to fit in well with the quality of the carpet, seats and dash.

Ride and Handling

The real test came Saturday afternoon when Dwayne took me for a ride in the C6. The view out the windshield is impressive. Once again, you can see those muscular arches over the front wheels reminiscent of the 1968-1982 Corvettes. They are not as apparent as the C3 generation, but more pronounced than the C4 and C5 generations and a welcome change in design. Again, seats are very comfortable and you continue to get that feeling that the C6 has been nipped, tucked and tightened.

The entire car feels extremely tight and almost like a go-kart. It doesn’t have that big, bulky feel that my ZR-1 and C5s have. It feels more aggressive and seems like it would be much easier to drive and handle than previous generations.

Dwayne drove us across town and I noticed how comfortable the ride was. The C6 had no problem gliding over bumps and cracks in the road. The same bumps and cracks would have sent my ZR-1 into panic mode. Acceleration was fantastic and the engine sounded healthy and aggressive when he stepped on it. However, once again, I was disappointed with the sound of the exhaust system. It’s too quiet and too refined.

When Linda and Dwayne pulled up and then left in their C6s, several members asked, “Is the car even running?” I had to ask myself the same thing. It’s just too quiet and this is the same complaint I had with the C5.

I’m used to my ZR-1, which is completely stock from engine to exhaust. Other than replacing some failed parts (vacuum lines, vacuum pump, alternator), it is the same as when it left the factory in 1990. When you start up a ZR-1, you immediately hear the engine and exhaust. The entire car sounds muscular and you know damn well, you’re not sitting behind the wheel of a Buick. At wide-open throttle, the sound of the engine and exhaust working in unison is intoxicating. That’s why unless I’m on a long road trip and humming along in 6th gear, I never use the radio. The sound of the car is better than any music that could come through the speakers. This is how it should be with the C6 in my opinion. Even the old F-bodies had a more muscular exhaust note than the C6. In all honesty, the only complaint I heard this weekend about the C6 was the sound of the exhaust, and that complaint was coming from young people as well as older, seasoned Corvette owners.

Dwayne pulled the C6 into an enormous, empty parking lot and showed me how well it handles. In my best Keanu Reeves tone, all I can say is, “whoaaaaaaaaaaa.” This is where the C6 really feels like a go-kart. Although I’m sure the feel from the driver’s side is better, from the passenger seat it’s quite impressive. The car does not dip or sway. Understeer and oversteer seemed to be nonexistent. Wherever Dwayne pointed the steering wheel, the car immediately responded. This is where you really get the impression that the C6 is smaller, leaner, tighter and more agile than previous generations. I have a funny feeling the C6 Corvette is going to be a serious match to beat in autocross competitions.

Main Conclusion: I've got to get one!

Overall, I am extremely impressed with the C6 Corvette. I liked what I saw in pictures, and I had a feeling I was going to like it even more in person. I was not disappointed. I honestly feel that GM is moving the Corvette in the right direction. Take the weight out. Make it a little smaller and place a little less emphasis on carrying golf clubs and luggage. I don’t play golf, and when I travel, I pack light. I don’t feel the need to bring half of my house with me.

If I had to find fault with it, again, I would say, change the design of the side mirrors to something a little more unique. Improve the feel of the vinyl used on the dash and doors, and please, PLEASE give the car a more aggressive exhaust note.

I love to drive and to me, the perfect sports car is one that stimulates my senses like no other. I want to feel the power and handling. I want to feel that level of engineering incorporated into the car. I want to feel and smell that leather and quality materials inside. I want to see a design that is artistic, sexy but functional. And last but not least, I want to hear the car in motion. Being able to hear the radio and hear your passenger is important, but it’s also important to me to hear what I’m driving and every now and then, be reminded that what I’m driving sees, feels and sounds special.

In summary, I think GM engineers and the folks at the Bowling Green facility should be commended for a job well done. I know that GM is striving for the ultimate in quality with the C6 and they want this first model year of this sixth generation to be like none other that has come before it. GM Engineers want perfection, and by God, I think they are damn close!
Rob, you hit the nail on the head. The only thing I didn't like was the quiet, but they have to leave something to the aftermarket;LOL
I too was impressed with my "ride", your discription is so good it is hard to add, but I have always said the pictures do not do it justice after seeing it in Detroit.
and these were only prototypes the production models will be more refined:D
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Good article Rob . I agree with most everything you said with the exception of your opinion of the C5 . That , of course , is a "to each his own" thing . Although I always loved the Torch Red of the previous years , I think the color of Red , on the Friday car was HOT HOT HOT ! I can't imagine anyone not likeing that . Ok , here again , thats personal opinion . But since I loved the early Vettes and feel they just keep getting better every year , the C6 was no supprise to me at all . I could say , I hate to say " I told you so " to the early naysayers , but , I won't . In fact I'm loving to say it . I told you so ! Cliff
Great impressions of the C6. I did not go for a ride, so I cannot comment on the ride or handling. I will just take your word for it.
This car is incredible looking. The 2-D effect of a photo does not give it any justice. To see it in 3-D is unbelieveable! The rounded lines of the C5 are gone. In their place are straight angles. They give the car the look of being taut, tight, angular & ready to pounce on just about anything. The autocross folks are going to have a field day. The rest of the world (Ferrari, Porsche, Lotus, BMW, etc.) had better watch out!
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DkBG said:
Good article Rob . I agree with most everything you said with the exception of your opinion of the C5 . That , of course , is a "to each his own" thing . Although I always loved the Torch Red of the previous years , I think the color of Red , on the Friday car was HOT HOT HOT ! I can't imagine anyone not likeing that . Ok , here again , thats personal opinion . But since I loved the early Vettes and feel they just keep getting better every year , the C6 was no supprise to me at all . I could say , I hate to say " I told you so " to the early naysayers , but , I won't . In fact I'm loving to say it . I told you so ! Cliff
Don't get me wrong. I like the C5....but now that the C6 is out, I like the C6 that much more! :D
Keep the C6 quiet! Let the aftermarket make their exhuasts to fit each individual's taste. Some people may even want it quiet...
You know....really quiet, so you can hear the aftermarket blower....
"You know....really quiet, so you can hear the aftermarket blower" Mindy Ya gotta love a girl like that ! Sorry if I misunderstood , Rob . I thought I heard a little tone in there about the C5 . Cliff
I have to agree with Rob on this one. After looking at the car I made immediate comparisons to previous generations. The most obvious was the exposed headlights which goes back to the C1. The next sytling factor was the door panels leading up to the door handle. The molding there fit the C2's perfectly. The next comparison i made was that of the rounded, but very sleek front fenders. They were smooth with the sharp edge characteristic of the C3. Lastly owning a C4 as I do the rear end of the car slapped me in the face. I stood off of the passenger side front wheel and looked back at the rear quarter. It fit my C4 perfectly. I then went around to inspect more closely and i really thought there was a connection. Lastly i guess since a lot of people think the car looks like a refined C5, this is how it connects to that generation.

Whether or not GM intended to sytle the car this way, that is what i see. I love the car after seeing it in person. The car is just awesome. I almost didn't want to drive mine home. When i got home i told my girlfriend i had fallen for another love, and she knew exactly what i was talking about.

vetteboy86 said:
When i got home i told my girlfriend i had fallen for another love, and she knew exactly what i was talking about.

Be prepared...this is a theme that will follow you throughout the rest of your life. I guarantee that many times in your life you'll hear the familiar phrases:

"How can you love something with 4 wheels?"

"What is it about that car!?"

"I hate that car!" --jealousy setting in...

"You're sick."

So, prepare yourself. If I had a dime for everytime somebody said one of those lines to me, I'd have a collection of restored L88s and an original Grand Sport sitting in my garage. :D

Non-Vette people will just never understand.

I remember when I brought a friend of mine for a ride in my Vette. He is not a car person at all.

He immediately got in and started pushing all the buttons....turned on the radio. I told him to shut the radio off and stop playing with the buttons. "Just sit there and enjoy the drive!"

He just looked at me like I had two heads. I don't know....it seemed like a simple request to me? :L :L

Then you get the folks that sort of appreciate the car, but they're not exactly sure what to expect of the car or you driving it.

Years ago, I took a friend for a ride in my Vette. I was getting on the highway, and he was in the middle of telling a story. As I was just clearing the on-ramp, I nailed it. The secondaries opened, the engine shot up to about 5,000 rpm and I grabbed the next gear. In the middle of his story, he grabbed on to the door handle and his voice went up to almost a shriek. By the end of his story, he was talking soprano. ;LOL ;LOL
Sounds just like my wife.

She says: "that car is my mistress"!

Great report Rob. Congradulations on getting C6s to the CruiseFest.
NC 50anny said:
Sounds just like my wife.

She says: "that car is my mistress"!

Great report Rob. Congradulations on getting C6s to the CruiseFest.
Thanks. :) I honestly will never forget the feeling I had when I saw Linda slowly rolling down the exit ramp in the red C6 as she was approaching the traffic at the stoplight. That was truly a memorable moment for me.
Enjoyed your story. Sure is the truth. People that have never ridden in or owned one will never know what they are missing.
I saw my 1st vette when I was 15 yrs. old. New 1968 yellow coupe. I could not believe that it was a car from our planet. I never forgot that moment.
Bought my 1st vette in 1991. New 1992 red coupe. Took 24 years. Worth every minute of waiting. This new C6 had the same effect. Took my breath away. I guarantee you that I will not wait another 24 years. This one is Awesome!
BTW, I was born in 1953. Must have been in the stars!
Sweet, looks like everyone had a good time at the Cruise. Did they let members sit in the C6?

Looks like C6 is going to be an awesome car; I can't wait to see them on the road. Just wait till the Z06 version comes out and all the tuners start making high performance parts for them.

Again, the standard has been raised.
Well said and well written Rob.

I completely agree about the mirrors. Their shape seems out of place with the edgier body. The C4 mirror (flat bottom, with wedge shape) would blend well with the C6 design, IMO.

Regarding the exhaust, the C5 struck me the same way the C6 strikes you. I think there may be some tightening Fed standards that are affecting the conservative sound. I too liked the sound of the F body LS1s. In the case of the C5, I was OK with the quiet because I would have desired more aggressive (larger) exhaust tips anyway. However, the billit type tips on the C6 look just about perfect IMO. I hope the aftermarket will make a lower restriction muffler (read louder and mellower) that will just slip in to replace the OEM mufflers and keeps the stock tips.

One caution - My '87 Z52 came with VERY low restriction "mufflers" and I have replaced the cat with a low restriction type. Now at 70 - 75 MPH I get a harmonic sound that rattles my teeth and mandates avoiding that speed range. I'd hate to paint myself into that corner again - with the C6. I've heard of some C5 owners who have replaced their exhausts three or four times.
Great Article

Thanks Rob,

Great review, makes me wish I could take delivery today! I noticed what I guess is the F55 ride selector knob on that interior shot. If that's correct, did you get a chance to feel the difference in ride and handling between tour and sport? Also, aside from a quieter exhaust profile, how was the interior noise level on the open road with the window up?

Thanks again,

Corvette's have been in my family ever since i was a baby. I am twenty years old and all throughout my childhood my dad had corvettes. The first corvette I remember was his 1970 convertible. He has had several more since then. I have come to believe that corvette runs through mine and my brothers viens. I think we were the youngest corvette owners at the Cruise Fest, and every bit of our hard work to achieve these cars paid off. My father loves the new vette, and so does the rest of our family.

Oh and lt4man my father was born in 1953 the first model year, and I was born in 1983 the only model year missed since the start. Go figure!

I do believe you were the youngest Vette owners at the Cruise-Fest. Very interesting about your Dad's and your birthday. Verrrrry interesting!
Anyone could sit in either car. And we did!
I asked Linda, the engineer, what she knew about the ZO6. She did not hesitate at all. She said they are looking at 500 horse! I could not believe what I heard. I guess they (Corvette) are very serious about spanking a Viper. I cannot wait until that comes out.

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