Photos by Tony Firpi
The Corvette is one of those cars that, due to high production costs, rarely gets to update its body design on a regular basis. Because of this, Chevrolet typically focuses on drivability and performance upgrades for most upcoming model years. For the 2008 Corvette, then in its fourth year of the C6 body design, the only change to the exterior were new wheels. The Corvette still looked fresh, and enthusiasts were soon to find out how much actually had changed with America’s only sports car.
Some years back, Corvette was known for poor fit and finish and marginal paint application. By 2005 and through 2008, it was clear the team at the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant had made immense improvements to eliminate Corvette’s poor quality image. Body panel fit was exceptional. Doors, hood, and deck lid closed with ease. Paint quality was second to none, with deep metallic and solid colors having a mirror finish. It was obvious Chevrolet had done its homework.
The 2008 Corvette was available as a coupe, convertible, or Z06 performance coupe. All standard coupes had a removable top. The exception was the Z06–its top was fixed to the body for the added rigidity necessary with the added horsepower. Chevrolet continued the use of exposed xenon headlamps, and an aggressive looking hood with a center bulge was standard (Z06 vehicles had an added functional scoop). All Corvettes received a distinctive emblem on the top of the front fascia. From the side, remembrance of vintage Vettes came through with sculptured horizontal lines that included a side cove at the rear of the front fenders. Flush-mounted door handles continued the smooth look. In back it was all business, with four beautifully designed taillamps, a graceful high-mounted stop lamp, a softly molded license plate housing, and four exhaust pipes exiting from the center area of the rear fascia. The Z06 required wider front fenders and rear quarter panels to surround the wider tires. A quarter panel air vent kept the rear brakes cool.
Under the hood, a new 6.2-liter LS3 engine replaced the 6.0-liter LS2 as the base powertrain. Horsepower was increased from 400 to 430 (or 436 with optional dual-mode exhaust) through the use of high-flow heads, an enhanced valvetrain, and a higher-flow intake manifold. When combined with the quicker shift times of the paddle-shift automatic and the improved shift effort of the manual transmission, the 2008 Corvette would certainly outdo prior models.
For even bigger speed freaks, the Z06 was on the option list. With 427 cubes and 505 horsepower, it was as close to a race car engine as possible. Each engine was hand-built by a special group of powertrain employees. Bigger brakes added to the thrill of the ride. The Z06 included a unique magnesium cradle that serves as the attachment point for the engine and some front suspension components, while also lightening the vehicle.
Inside, Corvette stepped it up a notch or two with an optional Premium Interior Package. The package consisted of a two-tone, leather-wrapped upper and lower instrument panel, door pads and seats, additional interior colors, padded door pad armrests, a “Corvette” embroidered emblem on the passenger side, and embroidered crossed flags on the headrest. Corvette finally had an interior that matched the quality of the rest of the car. Every Corvette built is unique. For 2008, the team at GM did their homework and provided enough substantial changes for previous-model owners, or those who have been waiting for the ultimate Corvette to bring one home and enjoy the hell out of it.
This month’s feature vehicle is one of 500 Corvette 30th Anniversary Pace Cars. It commemorates the 30th Anniversary by featuring a black exterior with green and silver graphics to honor the 1978 model. The interior includes a special, two-tone titanium color with the Indianapolis 500 logo on the seat. Every Pace Car features a Z06 rear spoiler, and is signed by racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi.
Special thanks to Dimmitt Chevrolet in Clearwater, FL (www.dimmittchevrolet.com) for allowing us to shoot one of its 2008 Corvette Pace Cars.
Fuel For Thought
First year for LS3
Improved interior with optional 4LT package
First year for XM radio
Spend $45,000, go 190 mph!
The ultimate cool car
Number built – 23,510
Construction – Composite body panels, steel hydroformed frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. (Aluminum hydroformed frame standard on Z06)
Engine – 376 cubic-inch V-8, 427 cubic-inch V-8
Power/Torque – 376 cubic-inch V-8, 430 horsepower, 424 lb-ft torque, 376 cubic-inch V-8, 436 horsepower, 424 lb-ft torque(optional exhaust), 427 cubic-inch V-8, 505 horsepower, 470 lb-ft torque
Transmissions – T6060 six-speed manual, heavy duty T6060 six-speed manual, six-speed paddle-shift automatic
Suspension front – Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring
Suspension rear – Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite leaf spring
Steering - Speed sensitive, magnetic power-assisted rack and pinion
Brakes – Power assisted four-wheel disc, 12.8-inch front/12-inch rear, 13.4-inch front/13-inch rear (Z51), 14-inch front/13.4-inch rear (Z06)
Length/width/height – 174.6/72.6/49 inches, 175.6/75.9/49 inches (Z06)
Wheelbase – 105.7 inches
Weight – 3,217 lbs. (coupe), 3,246 lbs. (convertible), 3,162 lbs. (Z06)
0-60mph/quarter mile – 4.5 seconds, 12.8 seconds at 113.5 mph (Road & Track, September 2007)
Top speed – 190 mph est.
MPG – 16 - 26 mpg est.
Price – MSRP - $45,170; Today – $34,475 - $43,800
Insurance cost is $717/year for a $36,875 2008 Corvette. This is based on 3,000 miles per year of pleasure driving.
*Based on a quote from Heacock Classic Car Insurance, www.heacockclassic.com
Engine – Corvette’s LS3 engine provides fantastic performance. Displacement increase, advanced valvetrain, improved heads, and high-lift cam provide the additional 36 horsepower compared to 2007.
Handling – Road handling is about as good as it can get, with performance approaching 1g. With three different suspension options, the owner can choose how neck-wrenching they want their Corvette to be.
Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe
Number built – approx. 1,700
0-60/quarter mile – 3.7 seconds, 11.9 seconds at 124 mph
Top speed – 202 mph
Price – MSRP - $89,340; Today – $63,000 - $83,000
2008 Mustang GT500 coupe
Number built – 6,513
0-60/quarter mile – 5.1 seconds, 13.4 seconds at 104 mph
Top speed – 147 mph
Price – MSRP - $42,170; Today – $35,000 - $50,000
Very reliable performance car
Still not as refined as some competitors
Limited trunk space
That’s about it
Since the 2008 Corvette is a relatively new car, most fall into the “daily or weekend driver” category. A few Z06 cars might be stored away to cash in on future values, but these are few and far between.
What to pay
MSRP – $45,170
Low – $34,475
Average – $36,875
High – $43,800
*Prices courtesy of NADA, www.nadaguides.com
Hood - $1,001.00
Left front fender $1,739.00
Front fascia $858.69
Driver-side seat cover $357.39
Based on information from General Motors Parts Division, www.gm.com
Corvette Black Book 1953-2008, by Mike Antonick
Mike Yager’s Corvette Bible by Mike Yager
The Corvette Dynasty by Mike DeLorenzo
Corvette C6 (Launch Book) by Phil Berg and David Hill
Corvette: America’s Sports Car Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by Gerald Burton
The 2008 Corvette is considered one of the best values in factory sports performance vehicles. With more horsepower than any sane person truly needs, it provides the ultimate driving experience for speed and handling freaks. And unlike Corvettes of the past, vehicle quality is superb, and drivability is second to none at its price point.