As much as people may pretend, I feel as though everyone has a favorite Corvette. It might be the first one you ever drove, the first one you ever saw, or the first one you ever owned. The C5 Z06 is my favorite Corvette, and I have a fairly long history as to why.
I was a child right in the middle of the C5's production run. In fact, it officially debuted two years after I was born, with sales starting a year and a half later. It was the Corvette that introduced me to the whole idea of the car being the working man’s sports car, the idealistic image of American design and ingenuity put towards a true thoroughbred of performance. I remember fondly as I sat inside a 50th anniversary model while my dad signed paperwork for his 2003 Silverado back in the day. It definitely imprinted something inside me that the fire still burns for to this day.
The fire only got stronger in 2000 when Chevrolet announced the Z06 variant. An updated engine, tuned suspension, new ground effects, and only available with the 6-speed manual. It was ideal, and the best part was that it completely shot the ham-fisted idea of an “American sports car” and shoved it right where the Germans and Italians weren’t expecting it. I knew immediately way back when that this was my type of Corvette...a bold statement from someone who adored the Porsche 911 of the time.
Although I’ve grown into a man now with completely different tastes, my love for Corvettes hasn’t wanted, and even though we’ve seen multiple faster and far better variations of the Vette, my love for the C5 Z06 is still as strong as ever. I have plans to buy one perhaps in the next few years before they skyrocket in appreciation, but as for now, I figured a 1/18 scale model would suffice.
At first I tried to let slide with an ERTL model of the 50th anniversary edition Corvette, but I found it lacking with various paint issues, poor overall quality, and the fact that the car represented had the dreaded 4-speed auto, which isn’t a very ideal Corvette in my eyes no matter how gorgeous the color is. I ended up selling it and replacing it with this proper Torch Red Z06 from AutoArt, which I got for a steal at $60, considering this model usually goes from almost $200 on the webs.
The quality of the model is honestly your standard AutoArt fare. It has the benefit of being an older model made of proper diecast metal rather than the new composites they’re using these days, meaning that the car has a solid, hefty feel that such models as my LC500 and E-Type Lightweight lack. Combine that with the spectacular detailing and fit and finish and this model is truly remarkable on all levels.
A massive step up from a bad ERTL with splotchy paint, no?
While I look at this thing, it’s hard not to immediately think of those famous lyrics:
Little Red Corvette...
Baby you’re much too fast...
I don’t think Prince had this type of Corvette exactly in mind when he wrote that song, but I think it fits perfectly. No matter what engine orientation, no matter what power output, no matter what Nurburgring lap time, this will always be the car I picture first when I think of Corvettes, and honestly, this model has only made me lust for one even more. Anyway, until next time, maybe I’ll be able to update this post saying, “I bought one,” someday...