Illustrated Corvette Series No. 162 – Special Edition Corvettes, Part II
A Look Back At Special Versions Of Chevy’s Special Sports Car, Part II
11×17 Color Laser prints available at www.IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com
The arrival of the ‘05 C6, and then the ‘06 Z06 created such a big splash, no one was expecting a special edition any time soon. So when the ‘07 Ron Fellows Special Edition Z06 was announced, Corvette fans were treated to what would become an almost yearly experience. Except for ‘10, there have been special edition Corvettes every year. IN ‘08 and ‘09, there were two special editions each year! Chevrolet was really getting into this “special edition” thing. Part II covers the special edition Corvettes from the ‘04 Commemorative Edition to the latest “to drool for” special-ed Vette, the ‘11 Carbon Edition.
2004 Commemorative Edition Corvette
In ‘99 GM got serious about a factory-backed Corvette racing team. After two seasons of sorting out the new car and team, the C5-R became a dominant force in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The C5-R team took GTS class at Le Mans in ‘01 and ‘02, with a runner-up finish in ‘03. The C5-R Corvettes won first place 8 out of 10 races in ‘01, 10 out of 11 races in ‘02, and 5 out of 10 races in ‘03! You can win at Daytona and hardly anyone will notice. But win Le Mans, and everyone notices!
The ‘04 Commemorative Edition Corvette was designed to celebrate the C5-R’s success. Unlike the ‘03 50th Anniversary Edition, this package was available on all ‘04 Corvettes, accounting for 20-percent of all ‘04 Vettes. The price for the coupe and convertible package was $3,700, and $4,335 for the Z06. Included was dedicated Le Mans blue paint with silver and red strips on the hood, roof and rear deck, with special badges and wheel centers, and the standard Z06 wheels were polished The Z06 version was the first American production car to use an exterior carbon fiber body part. Coupes and roadsters received special two-tone shale interiors and Z06’s had all black interiors. The package included heads-up display, power telescoping steering column, auto dimmer mirrors, memory package, and twilight system. C5 Corvettes didn’t get any better than this.
Ron Fellows Special Edition Z06 Corvette
Thanks to the success of the C5-R and C6.R Corvettes, Ron Fellows became a Corvette racing legend. The Canadian driver took two class wins at Le Mans, three ALMS championships, and was voted most popular driver in ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, and ‘07! To celebrate Ron’s success, Chevrolet created the limited edition, 2007 Ron Fellows Z06 Special Edition, with just 498 total units built – 399 for domestic sales, 33 for Canada, and 66 for the rest of the planet. Priced at $77,500 ($11,035 over the base Z06) this was the most expensive Corvette since the ‘95 ZR-1. Unique to the car was the Arctic White paint and Grand Sport-inspired red front fender hash marks with subtle Canadian maple leaf graphics. Sporting a full-width rear spoiler and a unique windshield banner, this super-sano Z06 was a real head-turner. The 2LZ option package added every creature comfort option except for the OnStar Navigation System. Ron signed every car, making this the first “signature series” production Corvette every offered.
2008 427 Limited Edition Z06 Corvette
For ‘08, Chevrolet offered the 427 Limited Edition Z06. Even though the Z06’s LS7 is a small-block, it does posses those magical numbers, “427.” Most obvious with this special edition is the brilliant Crystal Red Tintcoat paint with its contrasting, Stinger-inspired black hood stripes with classic “427” badges, and all-new, spyder-styled chrome wheels. Inside the dark titanium interior, every console armrest was signed and numbered by retiring Bowling Green plant manager, Wil Cooksey. The 3LZ option package included everything but the Bose Navigation System. This car had the brute force to back up it’s stunning good looks.
2008 Hertz ZHZ Rental Corvette
But one ‘08 special edition Vette could only be rented! As part of the Hertz Fun Collection, 500 special versions of the ‘08 Corvette coupe and roadster were built. Thanks to the Velocity Yellow paint, bold black stripes, rear deck spoiler, and 7-spoke chrome wheels, you can not miss this Corvette. For around $150 a day, you could cruise about in a loaded, 436-horsepower ‘08 Corvette! Available only with the paddle-shift 6-speed automatic, Magnetic Selective Ride Control System, and a Sirus Satellite Radio, this is one hot rental with plenty of scoot. Used ZHZ cars are not easy to come by.
2009 Competition Edition Corvette
Continuing the racing theme, the ‘09 Competition Edition cars offered owners that attend driving schools and track events some cool racing trim. Available on the Z51 and Z06 Corvettes, these were very reasonably priced. The $55,655, Z51 cars received the differential cooler, Dual Mode Exhaust, and heads-Up Display options. The Z06 was already loaded, so no additional hardware was included. Visual enhancements included a wide Z06 rear spoiler (on the Z51 version), racing stripes, a yellow windshield banner, painted red brake calipers, a special engine cover, and Jake badges. The Z51 cars were available in either Arctic White or Blade Silver and the Z06 cars were available in black or Blade Silver. Interiors were trimmed in Ebony with titanium embroidery, a Jake shifter knob, and Corvette Racing pedals. Owners could even get special designed racing numbers. But the market wasn’t in the mood, and only 72 cars were built, making them the rarest of all special edition Corvettes.
2009 GT-1 Championship Edition Z06 Corvette
Designed as a salute to 10 years of Corvette racing success in the ALM Series, the GT1 Championship Edition was available on the coupe, convertible, and Z06. The Velocity Yellow cars received black stripes with silver trim and the black cars featured yellow stripes with silver trim. The hood graphics included a ghosted image of Corvette Racing’s “Jake” mascot. In the silver trim area on the roof, the years of championships and driver’s national flags were included. The coupe version went for $65,310, the convertible cost $71,815, and the Z06 totaled $86,385. Chevrolet planned 600 units, but only 125 were produced.
2011 Carbon Edition Corvette
Marking the 50th anniversary of first Corvette appearance at Le Mans, is the ‘11 Carbon Edition Z06. Essentially, this is a Z06 with the ZR1 chassis and some of the ZR1’s carbon fiber body parts. Available in either Supersonic Blue or Inferno Orange, with painted black ZR1 wheels, front splitter, and side rockers, this is one smokin hot Vette. All of the carbon fiber parts (hood, splitter, side rockers and roof) are painted black, rather than the expensive clear coat. The ZR1 suspension and brakes allows the LS7 engine to flex it’s muscles even more on the track. . The interior is all business, trimmed in all-black leather and suede. As of this writing, no price has been announced, but speculation puts the figure between $85,000 and $90,000. Proposed production is set for 500 units.
The Corvette has evolved into GM’s halo car and the special editions are just a cut above. Some special editions were produced in the thousands, others in the hundreds, and a few in the tens. If you are considering a new special edition Vette, be sure to get the R8C Corvette Museum Delivery option. The experience and extra documentation will be an investment into what’s already an exceptional automobile.
Save the Wave! – Scott
PS – Color laser and high-quality Giclee prints are available of all 14 individual Special Edition Corvettes from parts I and II of this story. Also, we are offering a color laser and Giclee print of the Special Edition Corvettes montage that features all 14 cars on one print. Prices start ot $24.95 for the color laser prints and $99.95 for the color Giclee prints. Visit www.IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com for details.