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C5 Corvette Z06 – The holy grail of analog Corvettes

The used market is a funny thing to watch and an even funnier one to shop. Amidst the “for the price of X, you could have a used version of Y!” articles and endless discussion of where money is better spent, it truly is remarkable to watch depreciation curves and play the much more important game of “What should I buy next with ~$25k?”

While some vehicles hold value well enough to justify buying new, prices of others plummet enough to rationalize the purchase of a high-performance vehicle at new economy-car cost. Few cars are better examples of this than the C5 Corvette, and especially its beefed-up, track-focused Z06 variant. With prices for a clean, well-maintained example dipping under the magical $20k-mark (and even dropping below $15k in some cases), the C5Z is a massive amount of car for very little money especially considering it’s one equally capable of handling the daily grind as it is a weekend of track time.

In an attempt to heed my own advice of “drive everything you’re considering before actually deciding on your next car,” one fall day I found myself in the driver seat of a bright red fifth-generation Corvette Z06, wringing out the LS6 and playing with the supposed race-car-for-the-street handling in order to find out if driving the widely-respected C5Z would be enough to convince my money out of me. I found good things in my brief test-drive, and for enthusiasts looking for a performance bargain it’s simply impossible to ignore this car. Jump with me to see how it fares on the street.

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When Trucks Were Trucks

Your narrator grew up in rural Michigan, where livestock outnumber people tenfold, and every household has at least one truck. My family wasn’t particularly brand loyal, but our trucks were always made in the USA, and were always single-cab bench-seat rubber-floor-mat work truck specials. Our trucks, be they Ram, Silverado, or F-150, had an AM/FM radio, maybe a tape deck if you were lucky, a pair of tinny speakers in the doors, a trio of safety belts, and an American V8 engine powering the rear wheels. Even four-wheel-drive was too fancy for our old farm. These trucks were used and abused, hammering through the fields, hauling hay, sheep, firewood, etc., but they were a necessary part of our daily operation.

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2016 Camaro RS V6 Convertible- Is the V6 good enough?

When you think of the Chevrolet Camaro and the V6 you automatically think “penalty box,” but things have changed. Now with smaller displacement and, more importantly forced induction, the lower-tier powertrain options you used to get 10-15 years ago might just be considered the enthusiast’s choice. Still, the Camaro is still one of the last cars to offer a RWD-V8 layout with a manual transmission and that is certainly s good thing.

Living in California, I really enjoy open top motoring, but even higher on my list of priorities are good driving roads. I’ve traveled all over the globe and have enjoyed many different types of cars each with their own driving experiences. Convertibles seem to offer an experience that allows you to slow things down a bit and soak in your environment.

What happens when you are on a road where you wish to speed things up just a bit. We traveled from Southern California up to Big Sur to experience the Pacific Coast Highway with the latest Alpha platform Camaro Convertible to see if the V6 is good enough to really make you want one.

[Disclaimer: Chevrolet tossed me the keys to this Camaro for seven days with a full tank of fuel. I lathered up with sunblock and hit the road even though my head ended up getting sunburnt]

First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

It should fall right into the middle of the Corvette lineup. It doesn’t though… the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport is the purist expression of the Corvette experience, and it’s the one you want.

To find this out, I trekked to Atlanta Motorsports Park to take in the latest version of Chevy’s hallowed Grand Sport. It’s a name with history, and the latest version is a 460 horsepower love letter to pure driving bliss.

The video above is for your eyes and ears. If you want to read more, check out .

[Disclaimer: Chevrolet put me on a plane and flew me into the humid insanity that is Atlanta. My hotel had lovely air conditioning, and I was fed and given booze.]

2016 Chevy Camaro: So much better than before

I don’t care for the Camaro.

I admire the 1st-gen cars and am starting to like the 2nd-gen examples, but all of the other ones? Never really gave them much of a thought. Nothing against Camaro fans and their rides, mind you, it’s just a vehicle that was never for me.

Now the 6th-generation Chevrolet Camaro has arrived… and it’s a whole different ballgame. This 2016 Camaro SS rides on the new Alpha Platform, and it transforms the car. Weight is down, while power is up and the interior space is better as well.

The greatest enemy of the Camaro is the Ford Mustang, and that Blue Oval-badged baddie typically wins the sales war. The latest Camaro, however, should win everywhere else… especially when it comes to places with corners and lap times.

[Disclaimer: Chevrolet tossed us the keys to this Camaro SS and included a full tank of fuel.]

2016 Camaro 2.0 Liter Turbo: The Death Valley Review

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Loosed across the desert floor as a stone loosed from the hand of God himself, skipping across the surface of the otherworldly terrain though we were bright yellow flat-edged stone. The Camaro quietly ZRINGs underneath my right foot as we gently accelerate toward the next gear. We may as well be on a paved Martian road for as desolate the horizon, not another living soul in sight. For the better part of an hour, things remain as such. The world seems stagnant and immobile, stopped, frozen, yet we move rapidly through it. Making haste so as to not be stuck out here in this stuck world. The scenery is beautiful, yes, but I’d rather not become part of it. Clutch-in, select 5th, clutch-out, hammer down.

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First Ride: 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The ZL1 features a supercharged LT4 6.2L V-8 Small Block engine, with intake and exhaust systems tailored for Camaro. It is rated at an estimated 640 horsepower (477 kW) and 640 lb-ft of torque (868 Nm), backed by a standard six-speed manual transmission or all-new, available paddle-shift 10-speed automatic. The 10-speed automatic has 7.39 overall ratio for smaller steps between gears. It enables the LT4 engine to remain at optimal rpm levels during acceleration, particularly when exiting corners, for quicker laps and lightning-quick responses on both up- and down-shifts.

Last week Chevrolet invited us to the middle of the desert about an hour outside of Las Vegas to drive the new Camaro Convertible and try out the new four-cylinder turbo Camaro as well. The day we arrived, Chevrolet invited us to dinner. However, we were told to leave our cameras behind. That always means something interesting, but what could it be? We were shuttled to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch and at the front of the room was a clearly Camaro-shaped car under sheet. There was some speculation among those in attendance about what it would be. Is it a new Z28? A new ZL1? A Berlinetta perhaps? Something altogether new? After a brief discussion reminding us that Chevrolet’s performance division exists,  and the new ZL1 was unveiled. Within minutes, Chevy executives had us whipping around the track strapped into the passenger’s seat of pre-production swirly painted test mules with helmets and HANS. It’s a serious car, and it has the beans to back up its business. The supercharged rocketship of the Camaro lineup is back, and this time it can actually turn corners, too.

For a video of our on-track action, and more photos of the car, click the jump.

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LeMons Tow Rig Review: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2015 chevrolet silverado review

Before returning the our 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, I had to do my best to get the get the oil, beer, and food spills out of the bed and the wiff-of-homeless-guy out of the interior. Three days of LeMons Support duty will do that to a truck. The Car Blog Commenting Guild™ endlessly laments the increasing niceness of pickup trucks. Trucks like the high-end F150 Kamil reviewed cause wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Whatever happened to cloth interiors? I don’t want a Cadillac, I just want a truck!”.

This is a Truck.

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2002 Corvette Z06 – Plentiful Power Priced Right

Usually when you meet your heroes you end up highly disappointed. I’ve driven all sorts of Corvettes ranging from a 1969 427 Stingray to a C4 ZR-1 and a C6 ZO6 at Bondurant. Sure I’ve driven C5’s before and yes the automatic is as terrible as everybody says that it is, but the Z06 was a bit of a Corvette unicorn for me. Years ago I got to see brand new C5 ZO6’s on the dealer showroom but I never did get a chance to sample the flavor of the C5 Z06… until now.

Friend of Redusernab Rick Radcliffe went out and bought one. And his very clean driver example finally had me behind the wheel of a car that I’d lusted after for quite some time. The C5 Z06 has one of the highest levels of performance capability you can find on the affordable used market at the moment. If you want cheap speed with high levels of handling in a lightweight package, you really can’t do wrong with a Z06.

Does this level of performance bargain awesomeness have the best bang for the buck on the used market? Watch the video to find out.

[Many thanks to Rick Radcliffe for supplying his Corvette and allowing me to perform the ceremonial transformation of six year old Bridgestones… into smoke]

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Bang for the buck… redefined

Remember when the rest of the world used to make fun of the Corvette? It wasn’t completely warranted, yet there were some criticisms that both stuck and stung. Those days were officially pushed into the past when the new C7 Corvette arrived.

The 2015 Corvette Z06, however, takes those old notions, douses them in high-octane fuel, and sets them ablaze. That’s because it just might be the best bang for the buck performance machine on the planet.

Hell it might be one of the best performance machines on the planet *period*

[DisclaimerChevrolet threw us the keys to the Z06 and let us borrow it for a weekend. Fuel was used to generate noise, tire smoke, and a burning desire to own a new Z06.]