A new seventh-generation (C7) Corvette is at least three years away. That means the current C6 Vette will have to soldier on for nine, possibly ten, full model years. To keep the old girl fresh, Chevy will continue coining limited-edition packages and model variations to juggle the storehouse of engines, transaxles, frames, bodystyles, and chassis components developed for the sixth generation.
A run of 600 GT1 Championship Edition Corvettes celebrated the C6R's 2009 graduation from GT1 to the GT2 class of ALMS road racing competition. The 2010 Corvette Grand Sport replaced the longstanding Z51 option with upgraded wheel, tire, brake, transaxle, and bodywork components.
To rebuild momentum after last summer's quick rinse bankruptcy--which diminished Corvette calendar-year sales to less than 14,000 units (the lowest volume since 1961)--the Corvette team ginned up a 2011 limited edition that helps fill the yawning void between the $75,235 Z06 and the $109,130 ZR1.
Called Z06 Carbon, this Corvette is essentially a Z06 blessed with the ZR1's carbon-ceramic brake system, 20-inch Michelin tires with appropriate black-painted wheels, and Magnetic Selective Ride Control adjustable dampers. The Z06's high-revving 505-horsepower LS7 7.0-liter dry-sump V-8 and its hydroformed aluminum space frame carry on unchanged.
Body features that make the leap from the ZR1 include black headlamps and rear-view mirrors, body-color door handles, and a rear deck spoiler. The list of added carbon-fiber components includes the ZR1's front air splitter, side sill extensions, and hood (minus the acrylic peek-a-boo window). Two paint jobs will be offered when this limited edition enters production this summer: a low key Supersonic Blue and a flamboyant Inferno Orange. Special stick-on racing number placards (11) are included for dealer or owner installation. Chevy pledges that only 500 Carbon edition Corvettes will be built during the 2011 model year.
Naturally there are interior embellishments. Black and charcoal leather and suede trim is standard. Accent stitching in blue or orange is keyed to the exterior color. The Carbon identification is displayed in a steering wheel emblem, door sill plates, seat headrest embroidery, and on a new engine cover.
For customers who prefer the chassis hardware without the body and interior components, Chevy will offer a package called Z07 that can be added to 2011 Z06 Corvettes. And for those with a carbon fiber fetish, there's a new CFZ option containing just the light weight rocker panels, front splitter, rear spoiler, and roof panel available for Z06s (but not base Corvettes).
Prices won't be revealed until the Carbon package is ready for consumption but we're guessing it will cost between $85,000 and $90,000. Look at it this way: at least the proceeds are funding the development of an all new Corvette.