The Truth About Cars » ZR1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » ZR1 Capsule Review: 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Tue, 01 May 2012 19:15:37 +0000

 This is a test of TTAC’s Corvette ZR1 purchased with 0% financing. Better late than never, as I’ve marinated over both new and old ZR-goodness several times in my brother’s garage. No doubt, the Viper killing, LS9-FTW motivated Corvette is a worthy successor to the original, with the power-to-weight ratio to eat 458 Italias and cream GT-Rs…at least when AWD is a handicap. But almost two years later, the “King of The Hill” lacks the limelight it deserves. Does the average sports car buyer know the differences between Grand Sport, Z06, Z06 Carbon and ZR1?

To wit, the ZR1 needs more style.  The original’s coachwork necessitated a wider door, but the current makes do with fender lip extensions from the Z06. Sure, there’s the carbon fiber roof/splitter and a hood window that frames…an ugly plastic skirt around the LS9’s intercooler.  Perhaps clear hoods are better left to mid-engined exotics. Far worse, however, are the radioactive blue (from the “Blue Devil” days of this design) accents on the badges, brakes and engine cover: forget about playing “Little Red Corvette”, unless it’s played by The Clash. Color palette restrictions are in effect, but our Cyber Grey tester’s blue metallic flakes are a very effective complement.

At least the “3ZR” dress-up package helps the Corvette’s obvious interior flaws. Perhaps the world-class interiors promised to us so many years ago by Bob Lutz are just a C7 ‘Vette away? The asymmetrical Left-Right door panels stick out like JWOWW giving a lecture at the MoMA.  And the laughably fake carbon fiber center stack keeps the Porsche crowd in stitches. Sit inside and the biggest flaw comes to light: those shitty seats.

Pardon my digression, but…

While these thrones were a downer in our Z06 review, the ZR1’s astronomical asking price adds insult to injury.  After 20 minutes in the flat, unsupportive bottoms, my time in a Chevy Cobalt XFE was looking mighty desirable.  But perhaps you remember the Caravaggio name from an old Lingenfelter Z06 review.  After my brother befriended “John C” on the Corvette Forum, a deal was made – a prototype pair of Caravaggio’s finest seat foam, carbon fiber shells merged with the stock leather bits. Simply put, this is heaven in a C6 Corvette.   Combined with Caravaggio’s upgraded (i.e. real) leather shift boot, horn pad and real carbon fiber center stack, it’s a shame that Caravaggio-worthy bits aren’t standard fare like Brembo brakes.

There are rumors that Caravaggio’s finest will appear on new Corvettes much like Recaros on the CTS-V.  So consider this a sneak peek.

Speaking of Brembos, them’s some serious stoppers.  Experiencing them during the mandated break-in (pun not intended) 0-60-0 x 50 burnishing procedure displayed their physical prowess.  Pounding them proved unflappable, the perfect partner to the endless torque provided by the LS9, and hell, even the rims were clean when we finished! That said, the Brembo’s decreased unsprung weight must be the reason why the steering wheel gets light and loose when you mash the gas at cruising speeds.  (Or it could be the 604 ft lbs of torque!) The last time I felt this was in a RUF 911 Turbo. Not necessarily a bad thing, as the ZR1 steers less like a stereotypical Corvette and more like that Porker. And with that, I’ll let my brother put his ride on the track:

Sanjay writes:

Flogging the ZR1 on the bends of Spring Mountain Raceway in Pahrump and Motorsport Ranch in Angleton, TX proved that the active handling computer rarely intervenes when driven smoothly. But, with 604 ft lbs of torque, even 1/2 throttle in 3rd or 4th brings the back around promptly.  Tail-out is very controllable—more so than my 2006 Z06—but it takes a few laps to get enough heat in the Michelin run-flat PS2s. When warm, their grip is not much less than the (moderately fresh) Michelin PS Cup tires I used on Corvettes at Spring Mountain, and far more predictable in breakaway. Those CC brakes, combined with the C6′s fastidious attention to weight savings, meant lap after lap of 100% fade free, yank your Oakleys off stopping ability.

The ZR1’s steering/brake/shifter/unique twin disc clutch interface is so much smoother than any other Vette! And while you can take advantage of PTM by flooring the throttle and letting the computer manage torque in a corner, that’s a bit disconcerting. And it’s the wrong way to drive from a technique perspective. In PTM level 5, intervention is imperceptible for most of us non-Baruth types, but even members of the C6R LeMans team noticed tiny improvements in lap times with it on.

So let’s get back to the street.  No Super Car is ever plush, but put GM’s unquestionably awesome Magnaride suspension in mild suppression mode and things get civilized. There’s the de rigueur C5/C6 platform road noise from the 13″ wide rubber through that cavernous cargo bay, yet body motions are perfectly damped to leave the soul at complete ease.  You never feel punished with Magnaride and Caravaggio at your side: the Corvette is finally growing up to its price point.

Viva Detroit, via Caravaggio!

On the streets or the track, the ZR1 does what it promised: destroy just about any car for a Chevrolet price tag. After two years to simmer and enjoy, the ZR1’s engineering prowess is timeless. The fact that you can buy a bona fide 10 second quarter mile, 20+ mpg monster with factory reliability and a 5 year/100k warranty was laughable even a decade ago. Forget the not-unique styling, interior fit and finish, and radical incentivizing that muddied the waters, for this (12 year old) platform underpins one of the best super cars on the planet.


Zee Are WON (Courtesy: Tony Gonzalez Photography) 2 3 964623102_rNpo2-L 964633884_SkMmx-L 964644811_7rRTG-L 964662991_ddgFh-L 964677236_FRNe4-L IMAG0680 IMAG0682 IMAG0686 IMAG0688 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (photo: General Motors) corvette-zr1-thumb Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 160
Between The Lines: Them’s The Brakes, Corvette ZR1 Tue, 04 Jan 2011 17:56:32 +0000
Though an objectively awesome car by any (non-environmental) metric (review forthcoming, I promise) some Corvette ZR1 owners are plagued with a strange brake vibration. Which, thanks to the Corvette Forum, is available for all and sundry to see. But let’s dig a little deeper: bearing in mind the customer involved is a personal friend, and his paraphrased comments are as follows.

I picked up my new ZR1 on Oct 29 and as soon as I got up to 75 the steering wheel began to vibrate…I then took the car straight to the only person on this earth I feel good about working on my corvette, Danny Popp at McKluskey Chev in Cincinatti OH. Pulled wheels and all balanced 0 on Hunter balancer.

In simple English, the diagnosis made it clear that the Michelin tires are not the problem. The next diagnosis goes one step further: Brembo rotors.

Unhappy, scratched head, went back to Danny. Pulled rotors and stuck them on balancer and they were out 1.5 oz!

An imbalance of that size, on a car with such little un-sprung weight at the (ceramic) rotors can be a significant problem. The solution?

We then balanced my carbon rotors by inserting bolts from the inside out and then threading on nuts from the outside with a set of long pliers. Put them back on car and took it out and OMG for the first time since owning the car the highway ride was dead smooth. So happy I want back and hugged Danny. Mystery solved. Now for the permanent fix which obviously should be new (balanced) rotors and should only be a phone call away for a new 120 k vibrating car. (Or even a vibrating cobalt for that matter)

But then again, that often leads to another problem: Customer Service, or lack thereof:

GMs first reply was that they know about the problem and the fix is to counterbalance the assembly by adding 1.5 to the wheels and indexing them so if removed they could be placed back in same location. Bull$&@#!

But wait, there’s more:

Danny had to work his way up the food chain until he got to talk to a brake engineer who basically admitted that they had run out of the supply of “Validated” i.e. balanced rotors and at some point had begun to put on non-validated rotors but that he would immediately send me out a set of validated and balanced rotors which he did.

Which, of course, gets a customer thinking:

I have mine and I am happy, but I hate to think about how many man hours are spent by customers like myself who are taking time off figuring this out and getting it fixed while GM knows about the issue and is still putting these S#%t rotors on their flagship car. I have lost serious loyalty and faith in GM on this one. They need to come clean now and do a recall on these.

Tru dat. A recall is the only way, even if the problem comes from Brembo, not GM. Read towards the end of the thread, and we find the real problem: the major flaw in GM’s customer service. The following is taken from the Corvette specialist who worked on the ZR1 in question:

I have gone through all of the GM protocol to fix this car properly and GM is interested in fixing his and all Corvette owners problems correctly. They are very aware of current situations more than you know…..they may even know about this particular thread (ask me how I know ;-) ).

If GM knows, why doesn’t the person associated with the Corvette brand post on the Forum on their behalf? Is silence really a smart PR move in the Internet age?

New in stock rotors have balance potential from Brembo and in speaking with GM they are deriving a procedure to check and balance rotors for cars that have this problem in the field. They are feverishly working on the protocol for this. This is obviously not a GM manufactured component; they have worked with the supplier to have this not happen from here in the future.

In fairness to GM, we must consider these are not commonplace GM parts. Who else had the stones to put these on a mass-produced vehicle as standard equipment? Then again, that isn’t our beef.

For those of you who have these problems and are frustrated, please contact your dealer and have them address your concerns and involve technical assistance. On that note all dealers are not created equally and every dealer my not have a Corvette only specialist that may be as involved as I.

So where you buy a six-figure Corvette ZR1 isn’t necessarily the same place it should receive service. And now would be a good time to make a significant donation to the Corvette Forum, ‘natch. Which doesn’t speak well of any Chevy dealer lacking a Corvette specialist, if we had a list of said dealers. And while I once disagreed with RF’s way-back-when comment about the Corvette’s relevance to Chevrolet

“At some point in the near future, as soon as we can, the Corvette will rejoin GM’s fleet as a Cadillac. It will be a different car, with the same goal: to give enthusiasts the world’s best and most thrilling sports car, bar none. An all-American product.”

…honestly, a low volume niche car like the Corvette ZR1 deserves a more worthy customer experience. Perhaps Cadillac dealers should be the only retail distributors of the Corvette brand, as we can assume superior service comes with The Penalty Of Leadership.

And with that thought, back to you, Best and Brightest.

]]> 51
TTAC Moves Fast On A 0% ZR1 Tue, 20 Jul 2010 18:13:22 +0000

We don’t know for sure, but Dr. Sanjay Mehta (TTAC commentator doctorv8, awesome brother) did the deal on a 2010 Corvette ZR1 for 0% while the autoblogosphere still had it in editing. Not that the Internet is slow, he’s just that damn fast.The dude’s been keeping tabs on the inventory nightmare, calling out for GMAC’s corrective action on the Corvette Forum…almost a month ago.  It’s so nice to see the two brothers speak The Truth About Cars, via different media.

How did this all go down so quickly? Thanks to Jeff Hardy’s disturbingly comprehensive website, Sanjay cherry picked from the litter: 3ZR black interior upgrade, Competition Gray rims and Cyber Gray paint. Then he waited. When internet savvy salespeople spread the news, he signed the paperwork. Though Ed nailed the analysis there’s more: with nearly 500 units collecting dust/exposed to the elements, only a fool buys a ZR1 at sticker.  Try buying at invoice, minus dealer holdback.  Then add incentives aimed at conquest customers or loyal GM drivers in certain zip codes. Then add 0% financing on a six figure principal. Take that OnStar balloon off the wiper arm, because your dealer’s floorplan costs just plummeted. That puppy’s coming home, Bubba.

Granted, the addition of Sanjay’s ZR1 to the Mehta fleet means one must go: the Z06 that I literally cut my teeth on my second TTAC review is headed for a new owner. While I never loved the styling and interior bits, it brought a smile to my face in 50+ autocross laps, countless blasts on curvy roads and a coupla corners taken at opposite lock with terrified passengers. I will truly miss that Z06, it might be the pinnacle of GM’s engineering prowess. So now we find out if the ZR1 is a worthy successor to the throne: more on that when the break-in miles are over.

Stay tuned…

]]> 49