With the C7 indefinitely on hold, the C6 is going to be with us for some time. So let’s have some fun goosing up the C6 on a shoe string budget.
Is there more juice left in the C6? Absolutely! What follows is purely my personal speculation on this question: What could be done to the C6 to keep it fresh and interesting without costing billions in development? Here are ten ideas to ponder…
1. A new steering wheel: PLEASE! I’m tired of reading reports where the writer grumps about the steering wheel. Okay, it’s not all that “great,” but it’s not as if it’s out of a Vega, like the ‘76 Vettes.
2. New interior options: Offer two trim packages; one with enhanced leather and metal trim, and the other with racer-like trim, such as a roll bar, extra gauges, fire bottle, and carbon fiber trim.
3. More wheel options. The ‘09 Corvettes had 10 wheel designs to choose from. Several combos were the same design but with different finishes. More wheels could be made available through outside sources.
4. More rear spoilers. I love the Z06 and ZR1, but from a visual perspective, the spoilers look a little small. A variety of spoiler designs could be outsourced, like the wheels.
5. Side skirts and front air-splitters / spoilers. Lets get creative here, this a no-brainer!
6. Modified front and rear bumper covers. This is more involved but not impossible. The C4 went through two fascia styles and 3 front fender vent designs.
7. ZR1 to the extreme. The low volume ZR1 could receive a new front and rear fascia, hood, side vents, side skirts, and rear spoiler. And let me dream a little, I want to see some side-pipes. One version could look like the GT-2 cars and another could run the full length of the sides, replacing the side skirts. Then the current ZR1 body parts could replace the current Z06. The Z06 body parts could then make up the new base Corvette. The Grand Sport can stay as it is, with its unique fender vents and performance package.
8. The Z06 and the ZR1 get married. The baby looks like Mom (the Z06) and has Dad’s chassis and suspension. When the Z06 came out in ‘06, it didn’t take long for customers to realize that they had purchased a Bengal tiger! A Z06 built on the ZR1 frame with the ZR1 suspension would be awesome.
9. More Horsepower? Lets hope it’s not 1970 all over again. The horsepower race took off in ways never imagined in ‘70. A 638-horsepower (net) for a street Corvette? A base Corvette with 430-horsepower? The ‘70 base Corvette had 300-horsepower (gross). Would we “want” more power, SURE! Do we need more power? Ah, not really. How much quicker do we need to get to 60-mph. Maybe we could give it a rest until GM gets on its feet again.
There’s been a lot of talk about direct-injection systems that would allow 2 or 4 cylinders to be “off” under certain driving conditions. And why haven’t we seen a flex-fuel system as standard equipment? E85 isn’t readily available, but it sure would put a green halo around the Corvette.
10. More graphics packages. The longer the C6 is around, the more I like looking at the car. The fender humps have a slight C2 flavor and all of the lines connect and flow. Check out the deco package created for the National Corvette Museum’s 15th anniversary Grand Sport raffle car. That’s a SWEET package and a great example of what you can do with a car as good-looking as the C6 Corvette.
Closing Thoughts. The C6 arrived in ‘05 as complete and finished as any new generation Corvette ever. The Corvette design team has the opportunity to take the C6 to astonishing levels of performance and accommodation. Could the Corvette maintain its market share and performance value for another five or six years? I think so. The men and women that design and develop the Corvette are, in my humble opinion, the finest mass production car designers on the planet. From what I see what they have done with the C6 so far, I believe they’ll have no problem dazzling us with new visual and mechanical upgrades. Let’s just hope they get the budget to do so. – KST
This article was written by K. Scott Teeters, an editor for Alex Schult of http://www.SmokinVette.com , and a freelance columnist and artist with VETTE Magazine. His monthly column, “The Illustrated Corvette Series” has been running consecutively in VETTE since 1997 and can be found on the very last page of every issue. You can find reproductions of his Corvette art at: http://www.IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com ,