Joining the Vette Set With Our New Corvette

We couldn’t resist any longer. For a couple years now, we’ve been watching C5 Corvette Z06 prices fall steadily, while the cars themselves have seemed to hold up under the abuse thrown at them. We also saw these cars added to every “future classic” list penned by every member of the auto journalist sphere–including us. We figured that before our own reporting turned around the tide of depreciation, we should jump on the bandwagon.

We found a 93,000-mile 2004 Commemorative Edition Z06 advertised on a Facebook autocross swapper list. This is the model featuring the lighter carbon-fiber hood. The car was in Chicago.

We made our deal, settling on a price a bit below the $18,500 ask. Yes, that’s below market. But the car did have a history–specifically, a history of hitting a tire wall during a tack day, damaging much of the passenger-side fiberglass. After some research and chats with parties involved in the repair, however, we decided that it was a calculated risk for the money. The carbon hood wasn’t touched, fortunately.

Our gamble paid off when we saw the car in person. You’d never know it had hit even a shopping cart, let alone a tire wall.

Our first stop after pickup was Greenwood Motorsports and Wagons, where our old pal Jason Saini helped us do a quick inspection before our drive back home to Florida. We also mounted a set of BFGoodrich Rival S tires for not only the drive home, but a Chicago Region SCCA autocross scheduled for the next day. Of course we had to hit a local autocross with the car we had owned for less than 24 hours.

While we waited for the BFGs to come back from the tire shop, we threw a set of ARP studs into the front wheel hubs because we were bored and because the longer studs make it easier to mount the 18-inch front wheels and spacers required to run the BFGs in the SCCA Street Class. The car came with more than one set of wheels, we should note.

The next day, thanks to those sticky Rivals, we were competing nearly on par with the locals in the A Street class at the rather frigid and wet Chicago autocross. We considered this a good sign for a car we had barely driven 50 miles.

The day after that, we paid a visit to our favorite Corvette restoration supplier, Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Illinois. Founder Mike Yager looked over our car and declared it a suitable bargain, and we identified a few weak points that should be easily solvable through the Mid America catalog. GM cars of that era are notorious for fragile interiors and seating surfaces, and ours is not much of an exception.

Look for stories to begin in the magazine with our April edition, but the C5 Z will be a regular guest on our live show in the meantime.

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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/30/17 1:13 p.m.

It was fun watching your FB Live feeds over the weekend.

Part of me wants more info about this Facebook Autocross trading group... and part of me needs to stay far away...

Appleseedcougarmellonball
Appleseedcougarmellonball MegaDork
10/30/17 1:42 p.m.

And I for one welcome our Corvette overloards, and I'd like to remind them as trusted member of the community for over 10 years, I can be useful in rounding up others to toil in their underground LSX factories.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/30/17 1:48 p.m.
Ian F said:

It was fun watching your FB Live feeds over the weekend.

Part of me wants more info about this Facebook Autocross trading group... and part of me needs to stay far away...

It was this one. When that car popped up in my feed, I forwarded it to JG. And his reply wasn't something that we can share here since this is a family site. 

Jaynen
Jaynen SuperDork
10/30/17 1:58 p.m.

I just went to a Chin Track day at VIR and can tell you the C5 Z06's are definite competitors anywhere you put them on a track. For the money I think its pretty impossible to truly beat.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
10/30/17 2:19 p.m.

Dang, somehow I missed this (both that there was an scca autox double header weekend, and that you guys were going to be there)! I totally would have brought the Saab truck out to autox. 

Bobcougarzillameister
Bobcougarzillameister MegaDork
10/30/17 2:27 p.m.

As if I didn't have enough reasons to hate y'all. Why do you do this to me? 

Jaynen
Jaynen SuperDork
10/30/17 3:27 p.m.

So now I want to know how your as of yet stock vette compares to your built CAM-C mustang

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
10/30/17 3:37 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:
Ian F said:

It was fun watching your FB Live feeds over the weekend.

Part of me wants more info about this Facebook Autocross trading group... and part of me needs to stay far away...

It was this one. When that car popped up in my feed, I forwarded it to JG. And his reply wasn't something that we can share here since this is a family site. 

Dang you, David!  *shakes tiny fist*   Dang you to heck! 

 

- Request sent -

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds Dork
10/30/17 5:27 p.m.

A nice get. I’ve only autocrossed a C5Z once, also a Commemorative. I didn’t press it hard because it was a borrowed seat generously provided by another competitor (Tom Blount, R.I.P.) after I had a mechanical.  It seemed really eager to play. Looking forward to the in-depth writeups. 

sleepyhead
sleepyhead HalfDork
10/30/17 8:39 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
 

While we waited for the BFGs to come back from the tire shop, we threw a set of ARP studs into the front wheel hubs because we were bored and because the longer studs make it easier to mount the 18-inch front wheels and spacers required to run the BFGs in the SCCA Street Class. The car came with more than one set of wheels, we should note.

Look for stories to begin in the magazine with our April edition, but the C5 Z will be a regular guest on our live show in the meantime.

Read the rest of the story

Is there an article or thread somewhere around here on the preferred method "throwing a set of ARP studs on the thing?"

Also, this thing seems like the perfect car to come out and experience all of the week-long OneLap experience with.  Lots of other C5's out there to play with.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
10/30/17 9:01 p.m.

I did not need to know about that facebook group.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
10/30/17 10:58 p.m.
sleepyhead said:
JG Pasterjak said:
 

While we waited for the BFGs to come back from the tire shop, we threw a set of ARP studs into the front wheel hubs because we were bored and because the longer studs make it easier to mount the 18-inch front wheels and spacers required to run the BFGs in the SCCA Street Class. The car came with more than one set of wheels, we should note.

Look for stories to begin in the magazine with our April edition, but the C5 Z will be a regular guest on our live show in the meantime.

Read the rest of the story

Is there an article or thread somewhere around here on the preferred method "throwing a set of ARP studs on the thing?"

Also, this thing seems like the perfect car to come out and experience all of the week-long OneLap experience with.  Lots of other C5's out there to play with.

Fronts are a piece of cake: Take the calipers off (you can take the caliper brackets with the calipers attached off with two bolts), then the rotor comes off, then you can pop the studs out with the hub still in place. Ours came out with a few light taps, but there's dedicated pullers for such a job, too, if you don't want to hammer on your hubs. As long as you're not putting anything in longer than 2.5", you can replace them with the hubs in place. It's all of a 30 minute job, even if you're stopping to watch Bring a Trailer auctions, which we were.

Rears are a different matter. Basically you disassemble the entire car, remove the hubs, then reassemble the entire car around your newly studded hubs. Not looking forward to that one.

 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
10/30/17 10:59 p.m.
Jaynen said:

So now I want to know how your as of yet stock vette compares to your built CAM-C mustang

Oddly enough, the pax for AStreet and CAM-C are nearly identical. They go about their business very differently, though. I'll write more when I'm less tired. Been a long four days.

Mitchell
Mitchell UberDork
10/30/17 11:14 p.m.

Buying a pristine example of a car for top dollar is easy.  Tell me more about your calculated risk taking.  What did you look for on the buy?  

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny Reader
10/31/17 1:23 a.m.

Not bad! I bought a 1998 Corvette Coupe for a looooot less money. Mine also has accident damage, but in my car's case it was enough to earn it a salvage title. Fine by me, since I intend to beat on the car mercilessly.

I did a 60-foot burnout earlier tonight, it was fun.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/31/17 6:32 a.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

Rears are a different matter. Basically you disassemble the entire car, remove the hubs, then reassemble the entire car around your newly studded hubs. Not looking forward to that one.

 

Sounds like a good Weds evening project. wink 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
10/31/17 7:29 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

I did not need to know about that facebook group.

So, there is no way that I can tell of to sort classifieds by date?  I clicked on something pretty high up on the page and it was from november of last year.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/31/17 7:43 a.m.
ProDarwin said:
ProDarwin said:

I did not need to know about that facebook group.

So, there is no way that I can tell of to sort classifieds by date?  I clicked on something pretty high up on the page and it was from november of last year.

I'm a member of that group so stuff just shows up in my regular Facebook feed--cars, wheels, etc. Whatever algorithm they're using seems to be working for me. Some good stuff in there for sale. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
10/31/17 8:22 a.m.

I must confess I have nearly zero idea how to use facebook and haven't looked at my feed in probably 8 years.  I'm willing to try if it results in cool cars though.

 

I have tried groups because its how our local rallyx group seems to communicate.  I can't tell if they just aren't communicating well (likely), or I am using it wrong (very likely).

ZombyCougar  Woofencamp
ZombyCougar Woofencamp PowerDork
10/31/17 9:16 a.m.
Mitchell said:

Buying a pristine example of a car for top dollar is easy.  Tell me more about your calculated risk taking.  What did you look for on the buy?  

I'm curious too.

That seems like a tall buck for a Z with a story and mileage.

JBasham
JBasham Reader
10/31/17 11:48 a.m.

I am in the camp that the C5s, Z06 and otherwise, are potentially the best track tool for the money these days.   

I was at the same VIR event with Jaynen, where I noticed the other thing C5s are good at:  hitting tire walls.

Be careful out there.

Jaynen
Jaynen SuperDork
10/31/17 4:09 p.m.

Oh I was in the stupidly stock/slow white WRX in the novice group :P

 

A-Street and CAM-C might have similar pax but theres a pretty big prep difference between the two

This is what most of my day looked like

Erikl
Erikl
10/31/17 7:17 p.m.

I dont think that was a great buy but an OK deal based on what I have been seeing on the market.

I did not know that the 2004 commemorative had a CF hood, perhaps that has a large impact on value - How much weight does it save? 

I am very excited to see this project, I am curious how you handle oil control with the suspension dialed in and R comp tires on the track.  I think the corvettes have terrible problems with oil slosh in long high g turns - hence the C6Z06 and C6 GS with the dry sump.

I always thought that the accusump systems were the answer but lately I have been reading they are not fast enough to help with oil starve in high G corners.

   

 

noddaz
noddaz SuperDork
10/31/17 7:17 p.m.

Ahh nutz.  I was posting a snippy post about a Corvette that was posted.  But I deleted the post I posted, and will post instead, congratulations!  And a great time will be had by all as we follow along.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
10/31/17 7:52 p.m.
Erikl said:

I dont think that was a great buy but an OK deal based on what I have been seeing on the market.

I did not know that the 2004 commemorative had a CF hood, perhaps that has a large impact on value - How much weight does it save? 

I am very excited to see this project, I am curious how you handle oil control with the suspension dialed in and R comp tires on the track.  I think the corvettes have terrible problems with oil slosh in long high g turns - hence the C6Z06 and C6 GS with the dry sump.

I always thought that the accusump systems were the answer but lately I have been reading they are not fast enough to help with oil starve in high G corners.

   

 

You're market is different than what we've been seeing, then.

We've been shopping for about a year. From what we saw the top of the market (under 50k mile car at a dealer) is a $24-25k proposition. Knock off $1-1.5k for non-commemorative and $1-1.5k for private seller. Middle of the market was higher mileage cars for $19-21k. Anything below that usually had a LOT of stories or clearly needed a lot of TLC. 

I don't necessarily think ours was a "once in a lifetime" deal, but I think we got in for fair money without paying unnecessary premiums to a dealer or an overly aggressive seller. What we liked the  most was that the car was represented fairly and honestly. The only surprises when we showed up were pleasent ones.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
10/31/17 7:53 p.m.

Oh, and on the live show tomorrow (Wednesday the 1st of November) we're going to do a C5 shopping guide and some basic checks and performance tips with Sam Strano. Good times will be had by all.

Jaynen
Jaynen SuperDork
10/31/17 9:20 p.m.

Nice, Sam is super knowledgeable on C5's for sure

ztnedman1
ztnedman1 New Reader
11/1/17 7:58 a.m.

Need to do a Dyno day on the stock tune with different fuels like with that Miata.  91,93,95,100 octanes.  You know....for science lol

It would be quite popular given the new proposal in Autox circles.

JBasham
JBasham Reader
11/1/17 2:19 p.m.

In reply to Jaynen :

Cool, I always wanted a chance to track a WRX. 

Ovid_and_Flem
Ovid_and_Flem Dork
11/1/17 2:48 p.m.

The slope is slippery, I fear.laugh

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
11/1/17 3:14 p.m.
ztnedman1 said:

Need to do a Dyno day on the stock tune with different fuels like with that Miata.  91,93,95,100 octanes.  You know....for science lol

It would be quite popular given the new proposal in Autox circles.

This is an excellent idea and I will endeavor to make it happen.

ZombyCougar  Woofencamp
ZombyCougar Woofencamp PowerDork
11/2/17 4:13 p.m.

I have an 03, so I'd be interested in seeing that.

 

The dealer I bought my Wife's car from, one of those mega used car dealers, had one of those 04 commemorative cars in the showroom for about 3 years. I remember seeing it when I was looking and was surprised to still see it when we bought the Sonic. I don't think they wanted more than about $15k for it, but it may have had that ridiculous red and black interior

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