Welcome to the Corvette Forums at the Corvette Action Center!

Z06 Roadster


Gone but not forgotten
Jun 12, 2002
West Townsend, MA
2001 Quicksilver Lingenfelter Convertible
The subject of a Z06 convertible has been discussed many times on this site and Lord knows I've started a few. Nothing would be sweeter than a Z06 with a drop top. When I bought my C5 I had to make that decision. I felt that GM was forcing me to make a compromise.

Last summer I went to "Corvettes at Carlisle" where GM had a tent showing their 2004 Vettes. I got a chance to pose the question about a Z06 convertible to Dave Hill. His answer was just what you might expect. "We'll stick with the FRC layout because it offers the structural integrity required for the torque of the LS6". Beyond that he said the same would hold true for the 2006 C6 Z06.

After the Q&A was finsihed he walked over to where I was standing and asked if I was satisfied with his answer. I told him I appreciated his position but could he explain why GM built so many 400 - 500 HP convertibles in the 60's and early 70? He said he was glad I didn't ask that question. Now what do think he ment by that?

Remo :cool
He meant that he wouldn't have had an answer for you and he would have been put on the spot. ;)

I'm looking at the C6 vert as the convertible Z06 that was missing for the C5, 400HP and a drop top. Good enough for me. :)

I understand the structural rigidity problems associated with the verts, but I don't understand why they can't produce the regular coupe body with the targa top in the Z06
The C5 was built as a convertible first, so structural rigidity is just BS. I would bet that the C6 would be even better from a rigidity standpoint. By the way, if the FRC is needed to "handle the torque", then why is the base C6 over 400 hp? Will the cars be falling apart on the road? Not hardly! While I think Hill's answer was a diplomatic one, it was not necessarily true. I think he said, "Glad you didn't ask me that one," because then he might have had to say, "Really it's just a marketing thing because the FRC was not selling well as a "base" Corvette. There's my $.02...
Bryan Wins the Enormous Prize


You and I are in 100% agreement. The FRC was not meeting its sales targets so someone in Marketing had to come up with another method to pump up the volume. The Z06 idea did the job and helped GM meet their corporate goals as well as their vendor obligations. Unfortunately their goals and customers desires are very different - now and into the forseeable future. You bet he was glad I didn't ask the question.

Remo :cool
I agree with Bryan and Remo, rigidity is a cop out. The FRC was a slow sell but part of that was because they changed their marketing stategy in the middle of the game. Back when the C5 debuted we were primised a ragtop a year later followed by an "affordable Vette" with less features and a hardtop. It was to be somewhat of an entry-level Vette costing much less than the coupe. Well when C5 sales took off like a shot, there was no need to stimulate sales with a cheap Vette so the FRC got loaded up like every other Vette and low and behold, most people didn't want to be closed in for nearly $50k. The Z06 was already in development so it just fit. JMHO.

- Eric:w
I'm not totally in agreement with some of these arguements. The FRC started at less then $39k in 99, the cheapes C5 which included $1175 woth of options, 6-speed and Z51, as standard equipment. Right there you are $1570 cheaper than the base coupe. Even with the $3000 optional magnesium wheels you couldn't option this thing close to $50k.

The 500hp convertibles of the past do NOT handle on the track like today's Corvette. Straight line performance was as different story. If I was to make the decision, it would have been for the FRC to get the go for the performance model. While the vert and coupe are rigid structures, I would assume that the FRC would pull slightly better skid pad and slalom numbers and that would be where I would place the components for improvement to take on the world. There is some pretty stiff competition out there, so let's give it all we have.

I can't speak on the business end of things, but I assume that with the FRC sales dropping that something needed to be done. I don't have any insight into whether GM was loosing money on the design, but since C5 sales have been steady for every C5 model year I would assume that if the hardtop died off they would have been fine.

I really enjoy the FRC model. It took some time to grow on me, as did the C5 in general, but I really love this car.

It's also not quite fair to compare past 400 - 500 hp figures to todays HP ratings. The 405 net Hp of today equates to about 486 gross HP as engines were rated back "in the day". To be sure those big blocks were producing massive mounts of TQ and HP, but they were holed up in a poor chassis design, (by today's standards) and those skinny bias ply tires had about 1/3rd the road surface contact as todays Z06 rear meats.
By the way, the FRC body style does have a slightly more rigid structure than the coupe and vert. This is because the FRC has both of the structural enhancements of the coupe (the halo frame work) and the Vert, (the cross member just in front of the trunk). This combination makes the FRC a little more rigid than either of the other two models.
The basic premise of the Z06 was to make a track ready Corvette that was lighter and more rigid than either the coupe or
vert. They hit the mark quite well I think.
However, I do agree that they could have offered the LS6 in the other two models, and market them differently than the Z06. I'm certain it would have sold very well.

FRC Changing Stategy

Leon, Stan,

Thanks for the input and of course you're right about the history of the current Z06 and how it evolved. Just the same there were some tactical decisions made based on unattainable sales targets. And you are both correct about the camparisons between today and yesterdays preformance measurements. But - wouldn't be nice to have it all.

My plan is to trade in the 01 vert for a 2006 Z06. I'll miss the top down driving but up here there's not that many days (opps - there's that compromise again).

What the heck - it's winter up here and I'm grouchy as usual. I'll bet you guys are driving those vettes every day. Hope you two have a safe and secure 2004.

Remo :cool
Thanks Remo, and you the same.

I can also see why you would be interested in the Z06. The C6 vert will have a power top option and I'd hate to see the same thing happen to your new C6 vert as happened to the XLR you worked at Bowling Green. ;)

Yes, the weather has been good here. Mid-70's and perfect for top down driving. But the vert is currently under the weather with a corroded battery cable and a dead battery. :( New cable on its way and should be here soon and hopefully she'll be good as new.

So, to cheer me up the wife has been letting me drive the FRC. :D Wow, this thing's so much faster than the C4. ;)

Thank you, and you have a safe and happy 2004 yourself.
Well it's chilly this morning, we had a light frost overnight but should be nicer as the day progresses.
I sure don't miss those snowy weeks up north when it comes to driving around, but do miss the beauty of a fresh snow covered field and the quiet serenity it brings. I grew up in New England, (Rhode Island to be exact) and my sister now lives near Conway, New Hampshire and often reports, via e-mail, of the deep snow drifts off their porch. While I'm golfing for my winter exercise, she does x-country skiing, and snow shoes out to visit the neighbors.
Meanwhile my broither-in-law plows many driveways to keep busy. He has a yard full of life size "Tonka Toys" to play with year round. :Steer ;LOL ;LOL

The thing is, as a guy in my early 20's, I was actually pulling for the FRC to be a stripped down "Billy Bob" car! My wife doesn't really like the open top feeling (it messes up her hair, can you imagine that ;)), so the FRC was what we were going to look at. I was even going to sell the '78! In the end, I chickened out, and now we will just have to wait a few years before we can park a second one in our garage, lol.

I definitely see a C6 in my future. Still have my fingers crossed on an open air Z car. It's not too late to change their minds or offer other options. My order is down the minute I see anything like that on the C6. The option still remains on cutting the roof if need be, but I really want the "factory" option.
I'm sure if GM doesn't do it, Caravagio will be more than happy to oblige once again. - Eric:w
I thought the idea behind the FRC was weight savings in the birdcage as less need for the heavier reinforcing required for the vert or even the t-top to achieve the structural integrity desired. Weight has always been as issue with Vettes, so anything which reduces weight can't be a bad thing.

Excuse my lack-o-knowledge since I'm into the classics rather then the newer stuff so don't beat me up too bad.
Good point Mac, one I forgot to include in my post. FRC was 80 pounds lighter than the base coupe. I think when they finished the Z06 with all the go fast parts and the weight saving parts the Z06 was only about 30 pounds lighter than the FRC. I'd have to double check that though.

Re: FRC Changing Stategy

Remo said:
....My plan is to trade in the 01 vert for a 2006 Z06. ...
Remo :cool

Hey, wait a minute here, Remo! At lunch today you didn't say anything about trading in the C5. You said you'd sell it to me ;LOL.

Mac wins. The correct answer was "less weight".
Here are quotes from Autoweek:

On sale in the fall....LS-2, 6.0 Liter 400hp, 400 lb.ft.
curb weight 3245 pounds, 0-60 in 4.3 seconds (est.)....Base price $45,000 (est).... honest, autobahn tested 180mph top speed...it is 5 inches shorter, one inch narrower, "more graceful" says Dave Hill....sleeker, tighter, quicker, and more refined.... A C6 with Z51 option will rival this year's Z06 for performance, Hill said.....reinforced windshield frame...the Tremec 6-speed transaxle has been refined...there is a dual-mass flywheel for smoother, quieter clutch action, the gearshift lever is an inch shorter and angled toward the driver, and the travel for all synchros is reduced 10 per cent...all new shift linkage, and shfit rail bearings that contribute to a quic, more snick-snick action...base engine has a 6,500 redline.

The engine is 15.4 pounds lighter than today's Gen III engine....compression ratio is up from 10.1 to 10.9....intake airflow has been improved by 30 per cent....there's a new throttle body and new composite intake manifold....stiffer valve springs and revised camshaft for more valve lift, as well as a new heavy duty timing chain...33% lighter exhaust manifold..external knock sensors, drilled main crank bearings...new oil pan and an upgraded water pump...new wingless oil pan better maintains oil pressure in extreme handling maneuvers, even while containing one less quart of oil and draining more easily for the home mechanic...the engine electronics are fullly integrated with an active handling system that will allow the driver to slide the car some, even when engaged in what GM calls the most sporting handling assist mode on the market.... the real story of the C6 will come when (Autoweek) drive it and find out how much the car's dynamic's have improved... (note, the article says they have not driven the car yet.)

B-pillars slant rearward instead of forward as on the C5.... windshield is slightly more upright, the idea here was to cut wind buffeting when the top is out.....coefficient of drag is improved to 0.28 from 0.29......re-configurable heads up (optional) display offers two modes, street & track....track version of HUD has a real time accelerometer..only the coupe will be shown in Detroit, the convetible will be shown later in the year, and the Z06 will be a 2006 model, and it will differ from the C6.

13 millimeters of suspension travel was added to the front, 20 mm in the rear, and 8 degrees of caster was added for better on-center feel.

The Z51 performance suspension and you get stiffer springs and dampers, more aggressive tires, brakes and its own gear ratios (shorter through most gears for better accelleration, with a longer fifth for high top speed).

The wheels are an inch bigger in diameter (18x8.5 front and 19x10 rear), and the tires are 10 mm wider at 245/40 and 285/35.

Sounds to me like GM was listening to Corvette enthusiasts with this new C6 Convertible
I'd love a C6 in my future, but not until I see a factory Z-like, Vert C6. I looked at the C5 options for 'aftermarketing' either a Z or a Vert, and walked from both, plus I passed on buying a new C-5.

'All Corvettes are Red' spoke of the internal GM politics, which leads me to believe that NIH syndrome overrides customers', many of us quite loyal, wishes; at least at the level where such decisions are made. Apparantly, Dave Hill knows what many of us want and has insufficient personal horsepower to make it so.

What a shame. I guess I'll be on the sidelines on the C-6, too. I have number six in the garage; that'll be MY C-6, it seems. If I am going to pay the freight on a new Vette, I want it my way.

Corvette Forums

Not a member of the Corvette Action Center?  Join now!  It's free!

Help support the Corvette Action Center!

Supporting Vendors


MacMulkin Chevrolet - The Second Largest Corvette Dealer in the Country!

Advertise with the Corvette Action Center!

Double Your Chances!

Our Partners

Top Bottom