Ten Corvettes, Ten Days: Day 5 – C5 Z06 “Tiffany”

Long Beach

If there is anything that can redeem the Corvette name after yesterday’s misadventures it is the raw potential of a C5 Z06. Yet again, the GPS leads me off in another new direction, south west towards Long Beach, and the first privately listed Corvette in this series.

Now: some cars are friendly. They seem to say, “let’s go for a drive, it’ll be fun!” Other cars are simply comforting after a bad day and other cars might want to kill you or give you the ride of your life.

If this Z06 were a person, her name would be Tiffany. Now Tiffany is as scary as she is sexy. Try making a move on Tiffany and it can go two ways: she’ll either like it or she’ll cut you.

“Some say” that the C5 Z06 is the current pinnacle of bargain performance. This particular faded black on black Z06 comes equipped with a fixed roof coupe body, a honking great V8, a manual gearbox, rear wheel drive and not much else. The V8 makes 430 horsepower, that’s only 30 more horses over the standard 400 by way of head work, a big cam and an exhaust that is too ‘Merica for California emissions standards. This Vette has zero f**ks to give.

“Startup” is far too bland a term to describe the experience of waking this monster. The engine fires with a sudden, menacing roar from the exhaust which is accompanied by a steady car shaking throb. It’s so powerful that first gear isn’t even necessary (or functioning?) the car is pulling away from  standstill in second gear with torquey ease.

The owner fitted this Z06 with drilled brake rotors that bite down hard. The steering was weighted yet fast, although the wheel seems less a helm and more a grab handle when hanging on.

Surprisingly, one of the most helpful aspects of the Corvette driving experience that arises here is in how the throttle has two modes: below half throttle the car accelerates in a smooth civilized manner like any normal car. Beyond half throttle, the car says, “oh we are doing this?” Then the Vette whips you with the kind of speed and ferocity that makes you want to yell “BORN IN THE U-S-A.”


Fun? It’s fantasy!


The adrenaline is addictive, but even though the Z06 has had several modifications the power is well enough harnessed.

It seems strange, but I kinda like Tiffany. I’ve never been so drawn to a car with peeling clear coat.  I like the shifter that buzzes and shakes in my hand. I like the noise and the power that makes first gear unnecessary and I like the stiff “man’s man” clutch.

Unfortunately, it’s all a bit much. She’s too wild for me. Burnouts just standing in line at the In ‘n Out? I don’t think so.  I have a feeling Tiffany may have a death wish. This Z06 is the most powerful and volatile car I have ever driven. And I decide here and now that I have a ton to learn before I can handle power like this. Back to Facebook Marketplace.