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The Chevrolet Corvette is synonymous with affordable performance and eight-cylinder antics. However, while the C8 model is unobtainable for many fans, some previous generations are much more wallet-friendly. Enter the Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06, a range-topping fifth-gen ‘Vette with used sports car credentials to rival even modern performance cars.

The C5 Z06 is a used sports car bargain unlike any other

A blue C5 Corvette Z06 sits under a sunset.
2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 | General Motors

The Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06 topped the nameplate’s range from 2001 to 2004, taking the already capable package of a fifth-gen Corvette to the next level. Better yet, fans can still snag one of these used sports cars with average mileage for as little as $20,000. 

YearAverage value

According to, the 2004 model is the most expensive iteration in the C5 Z06’s four-year run. It’s unsurprising, given that the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette was the last year for the fifth-generation model. Furthermore, typical sales put the 2003 and 2004 models at around $30,000 for a decent example. However, low mileage models in show condition have sold for over $70,000 at auction. 

How much horsepower does a C5 Z06 have?

The first C5 Z06, the 2001 model, developed 385 horsepower from its naturally aspirated 5.7L LS6 V8. However, by 2002, the brutish sports coupe produced 405 tire-shredding ponies. 

2001385 horsepower385 lb-ft
2002405 horsepower400 lb-ft
2003405 horsepower400 lb-ft
2004405 horsepower400 lb-ft

Chevrolet accomplished the bump in power over the base model by massaging the Corvette’s LS1. Most notably, the LS6 received a more aggressive camshaft. Moreover, engineers gifted the performance nameplate with tougher components like fortified valve springs to handle the extra ferocity.  

Better yet, the C5 Z06 channels its power and torque via a T-56 six-speed manual transmission. As a result, the V8-powered driver’s car was a proper match for pricier competition of the day, like the 996-generation Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo. 

Is the C5 Z06 fast?

While 405 horsepower might not seem like an abundance of grunt, the Z06’s 3,116-lb curb weight makes for an affordable rocketship. 

Top speed171 mph 
0-60 mph3.9 seconds
¼ mile12.4 seconds at 116 mph

In fact, the late-model C5 Z06 is one of the few manual-equipped performance cars on the used sports car market to hit 60 mph in under 4.0 seconds. What’s more, the Z06’s Z51 suspension and low weight establish it as a competent companion in the corners. The Z06 sits right between potential collector car and turn-key track rat. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another used sports car with the C5 Z06’s performance credentials at its price point

A yellow Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06 shows off its used sports car lines.
A yellow Chevrolet Corvette Z06 | General Motors

The Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06 is ballistically fast, fun, and, among Corvette fans, revered. Better yet, the Z06’s explosive thrust is enough to contend with more modern sports car staples. 

For instance, the 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 will outrun the fifth-gen Corvette model to 60 mph by a third of a second. However, the Supra could demand twice as much as the veteran ‘Vette. Indeed, the Kentucky performance car holds up well among used sports cars.

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