Courtesy of Worldwide Auctioneers
  • VIN: 1G1YY12S615124660
  • One of 5,773 produced
  • 385-hp LS6 engine
  • 6,500-rpm redline tachometer
  • Titanium exhaust system
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE760 tires
  • FE4 suspension
  • Rear brake-cooling ducts
  • Quicksilver paint
  • Bose AM/FM/CD stereo
  • Service records and original window sticker
  • Driven 100 miles per month since new
  • Presents in showroom condition

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Years Produced:2001
Number Produced:5,773
Original List Price:$47,500
SCM Valuation:$22,000–$27,500
Tune Up Cost:$300 (estimated)
Distributor Caps:N/A
Chassis Number Location:Under lower left windshield corner
Engine Number Location:On block just behind driver’s side head
Club Info:National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS)
Alternatives:1974–75 Corvette convertible, 1988–91 Callaway Corvette, 2005–06 Corvette coupe
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 69, sold for $29,700, including buyer’s premium, at Worldwide Auctioneers’ auction in Fredericksburg, TX, on October 24, 2015. It was offered as part of the Ron Brown Estate Collection.

Whenever the final and forevermore history of Corvette is written, the Z06 will hold a vaunted position — arguably higher even than the ’57 Fuelie or L88. That’s because while Chevy’s exotic first fuel injection and the ground-shaking L88 were options that few people actually bought, the Z06 has enjoyed two very important lives within the Corvette brand.

The first was in 1962–63, when the Z06 competition package helped take the new Sting Ray to the track to challenge the original Cobra. Just 199 of these Z06s were produced, and admittedly, like the 1967–69 L88, high cost and hard-edged performance ensured that most were purchased either by racers or high-performance zealots in the know.

So while the first iteration of the Z06 helped establish the Sting Ray as a competitive sports car, the option did its job and then disappeared. However, the pivotal second act for the Z06, starting in 2001, was far more important.

Powertrain chief engineer Bill Nichols suggested naming a new performance package intended for the slow-selling hard top after the historic racing equipment. The name stuck and the new Z06 went on a tear, with nearly 55,000 built between 2001 and 2014. It was a lighter, more powerful, better-handling Corvette.

Unlike many classics (notably a few Thunderbird and Mustang generations), the Z06 name has never been diluted though smoke-and-mirrors marketing. It has always been, and hopefully will remain, full of substance. If you are a buyer, an owner, or a seller of a Z06 of any year, you can enjoy confidence that your car is the real deal.

One door closes, another opens

Although the 1999–2000 hard top was offered as a more “affordable” Corvette, it underperformed on the sales floor compared to the coupe and convertible. Its failure allowed the modern Z06 to live.

I’m not an anti-hard-top C5 guy at all — a Corvette is a Corvette, and today the relative scarcity of the hard-top body design and its use as the basis of the first modern Z06 should overcome any objection that the hard top isn’t fully a Corvette, either in DNA or design. Plus, there are actual benefits to the hard-top setup — namely lower weight, a reduction in exhaust booming and tire noise from the rear, and the ability to lock valuables out of sight in the trunk. You can even add a suitcase rack if you want. Try that on a coupe.

Personally, I’m predisposed to liking this era of Corvette, and in particular the Z06, thanks to several great experiences that include a period engineering ride and drive up the California and Oregon coasts with Nichols, chief engineer David Hill, NCM Hall of Famer Jerry Burton and others. I also had a memorable (albeit brief) test in a Motorola Cup racer at Daytona, seat time in an SCCA race at Sebring, and ultimately a test of the Le Mans C5-R near Indy.

Now is the time

There is good reason to go looking for a first-year Z06 now. As a collector, 15 years is exactly where I’d want to buy into a car, using the general assumption that vehicles reach their lowest value level at this juncture. But being at low ebb in value also means cars run the risk of neglect. So I’d buy from a prosperous owner who has well cared for and sparingly used the car. From here on, there’s a realistic chance that its dollar value will at least be stable, if not ascending. And in a further serendipity, collectors are already showing strong interest in cars of the 1980s and 1990s. Can the 2001 Z06, with its fire-breathing LS6 mill and top-notch handling, be far behind?

As normal as normal gets

Not much information was offered about the Ron Brown Z06 sold by Worldwide Auctioneers. Among the 102 lots offered at the auction, sales ranged from $1,100 for a little Honda minibike to $220,000 for a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda, putting this Z06 toward the low end of the range.

In total, 16 ’Vettes were offered, with the results for these cars starting at $8,250 for a bronze 1984 coupe and reaching $170,500 for a white 1963 Split-Window. Among the top 10 sales, four were Corvettes — all of them mid-years.

We don’t know the mileage of this car, although there are clues. The stated 100 miles per month pencils out at 18,000 miles over 15 years — not bad at all. A Battery Tender lead under the hood suggests the car was kept in running condition, and the interior shows little use commensurate with the miles; dirty floor mats, although unattractive, may simply reflect the car being moved around and aren’t necessarily indicative of abuse. The only question arises from the tires — Bridgestone Potenza RE760s instead of the Z06’s original Goodyear Eagle F1s. Old tires are a bad deal on a powerful car, so the switch to later rubber might actually have done the buyer a favor.

The current American Car Collector Pocket Price Guide shows first-year 2001 hard-top Z06 values ranging from $22,000 to $27,500, and the final-year 2004 hard-top Z06 values ranging from $28,000 to $32,000. Only the 2001 model had the 385-horse engine; the 2002–04 models enjoyed intake, camshaft, valvetrain and exhaust upgrades that pushed the LS6 to 405 horses.

This price, therefore, means the Ron Brown Z06 was either an exceptionally nice car, or that the market for these first-year modern Z06s has already bottomed and is now heading back up. On the auction day, I’d have called this one well sold. In another year or two we’ll know if it was also well bought.

(Introductory description courtesy of Worldwide Auctioneers.

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