The Last C6 Corvette – Was it the Best? by K. Scott Teeters


Words and Art by Scott Teeters, written for Vette Magazine and republished from

Was the “Best C6” the Last C6? Illustrated Corvette Series No. 222 – The Last C6 Corvette

Milestone Corvettes have become a fascinating part of the Corvette story. Prior to the white 1992 1,000,000th Corvette convertible, no one was paying any attention to numerical milestones or first and last of any Corvettes. When the C4 1984 Corvette came out, 51,547 customers said, “I’ll take one!” When the C3 1968 Mako Shark II-inspired Corvette was unleashed, 28,569 fans placed their order. The ’63 Sting Ray was a total game-changer from the C1 and 21,513 customers got in line with the roadster out-selling the now-iconic split-window coupe, 10,919 units to 10,594 units. And when the ’53 Corvette came out, most of America said, “What’s that?”

Prior to Mike Yager proposing to Chevrolet that he be allowed to buy “The Last C4” and adding it to his already impressive collection of Corvettes in his “MY Garage,” no one gave any thought at all to the first or last of any generation Corvette! The only other “Last” Corvette that has been preserved is Terry Michaelis’ “The Last Sting Ray” which was a lost-and-found Corvette that was given the royal restoration treatment. So, thanks to Mike Yager and Chevrolet, “first and last” generation Corvettes, as well as major numerical milestone Corvettes, (the 1,000,000th and 1,500,000th) get special consideration. So when it came time to build “The Last C6” a very special model was chosen to close out what was a very challenging generation.

I suppose we’ll have to wait a few more years, or perhaps a decade or so to see how history judges the C6 Corvette. Part of the problem with older Corvettes is that the subsequent cars keep getting better and better in terms of quality, performance, efficiency, and amenities. The C6 was more refined and stronger than the C5, but took it on the chin for two things. First, there was the interior – specifically the seats. When the C6 arrived in the fall of 2004 the new interior looked just fine and no one complained. But competing performance cars started offering very well trimmed out interiors that had a diminishing effect on the C6. After a few years and thousands of miles, the complaints became to roll in about the seats. The answer as to why Chevrolet didn’t bling-up the interior and replace the seats might have been connected to the second sock to the jaw. It was “the economy, stupid.”

In 2007 Chevrolet sold 40,561 Corvettes, the best year since 1984 when the C4 came out and sold 51,547 units. Obviously, there was nothing seriously wrong with the C6. But by the time The Great Recession kicked in summer of 2008, the bottom was beginning to fall out and sales slipped to 35,310. Then in 2009 it was a nosedive with sales dropping 52-percent to just 16,956. 2010 was worse as sales fell to 12,194. Between the terrible sales and GM’s bankruptcy, for a time, even the future of the C7 was in doubt. Then the Corvette haters trolling the blogosphere started to pile on, erroneously concluding that the poor sales was because of a deficient Corvette. Because of seats and interior bling? Really? In 2009 Chevrolet released the first supercharged Corvette, the 638-horsepower ZR1 and then in 2010 two more new models were introduced, the Grand Sport Coupe and Convertible. “Trolls be gone!” I say. “We know about the seats, get over it. The company was having some problems.”


Sales never did recover after 2010, however two interesting things happened. Around 2008 rumors started on the net about the C7 Corvette, which seemed premature considering that the C6 was only four model years old and selling well. But the rumor mill started smoking in 2009 when the Stingray Concept Corvette came out, tripping off a feeding frenzy of C7 speculation. The prospect of a pending “better” Corvette didn’t help the then-current Corvette’s desirability.

The second thing that happened was the release of the Grand Sport Coupe and Convertible in 2010. For an extra $5,840 customers could get into a Grand Sport Coupe with the tough guy Z06 wide-body and unique styling features. By the end of the C6 run, it is not an exaggeration to say the Grand Sport was the C6’s saving grace. From 2010 to 2013 the Grand Sport Coupe and Convertible took the lion’s share of Corvette sales: 2010 – 49.6-percent, 2011 – 58.7-percent, 2012 – 62.9-percent, and 2013 – 49.3-percent. And it wasn’t just because of slightly higher price tag, because it was easy to trick out a Grand Sport to close to the price of a Z06! No, it was all about style and class, and the Grand Sport had it in spades.

But anything can be made better. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Corvette in 2013, Chevrolet offered to customers what magazines consistently touted as “the best Corvette ever offered,” the 427 Convertible. The Corvette was born a roadster, so it was fitting that the 60th Anniversary Corvette should be a drop-top and powered by the mighty, 505-horsepower LS7 engine that had previously only been available in the Z06. By the end of 2013, sales of the 427 Convertible came in at number three, just behind the base Coupe with 2,552 units for the 427 Convertible (18.9-percent) and 2,597 (19.2-percent) for the base Coupe. The Grand Sport Coupe and Convertible took 49.3-percent together – 4,908 Grand Sport Coupes (36.4-percent) and 1,736 Grand Sport Convertibles (12.9-percent).

On February 20, 2013 the last C6 hydroformed steel frame was built for what would be the Last C6 427 Corvette Convertible. Eight days later, on February 28, 2013 the Last C6 Corvette (the last 427 Convertible, too) rolled off the assembly line at 8:04 am. Bowling Green plant manager and 500 workers took a short half-hour break to celebrate a milestone in Corvette history, the Last C6 Corvette. This car was the 215,125th C6 Corvette. When the car rolled off the assembly line it did not have the RPO Z30 Silver-Blue pearl graphics package, but it was installed before the car was sent to the GM Heritage Center in Warren, Michigan. And lastly, to make the special car a little extra special, Corvette Chief Engineer, Tadge Juechter built the LS7 engine at the Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan. Yes, the Corvette Chief Engineer can build engines. Plant manager Dave Tatman expressed worker’s sentiment best when he said, “As I always say, we don’t build cars, we build dreams.”


“First and last” Corvettes will be a point of interest for a long time. Rick Hendrick made his own Corvette history in 2013, 2014, and 2014. In January 2013 Rick bought the First C7 Corvette (VIN #0001) at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction for $1,050,000. In April 2013 he bought the first C7 Convertible at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction for $1,000,000. Then in April 2014 Hendrick bought the first 2015 Z06 Coupe at the Barrett-Jackson Palm beach Auction for $1,000,000 and finally in January 2015 Rick bought the first 2015 Z06 Convertible at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction for $800,000.

Perhaps some day VIN-hunters will find previous generation “first and last” Corvettes. No doubt they’ll be barn finds or beaters in bad shape. If you expand the parameter to include “first and last” coupes, convertibles, special editions, and pace cars, there are a few dozen lost Corvette gems out there. Check your VIN number, yours might be one of them! – Scott

PS – The below 11” x 17” color print is signed and numbered by the artist and is available from our safe, secure Amazon Store. CLICK HERE to order today!