This amazing Ringbrothers Chevrolet K5 Blazer is available to buy right now

BaT Ringbrothers K5 Blazer

For those in the know, the Ringbrothers workshop has become synonymous with incredible custom builds and unique modifications.  

This 1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer, currently available for auction on the Bring a Trailer website, is a rare chance to buy one of their creations. 

Thoroughly upgraded and modified throughout, this could potentially be the ultimate example of the collectable K5 Blazer. 

Blazing a trail

BaT Ringbrothers K5 Blazer

Based in rural Wisconsin, brothers Jim and Mike Ring co-founded Ringbrothers as a collision repair and bodyshop.

Today the company still operates as a bodyshop for the local community, but also produces incredible bespoke custom builds. 

The level of attention paid by the Ring brothers has seen them win multiple awards, including several prizes at the 2019 SEMA Show. Ringbrothers also collected a trophy at the Las Vegas event for winning the “battle of the builders” prize for their bespoke 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.

Seeking out success


BaT Ringbrothers K5 Blazer

The K5 Blazer offered for sale on Bring a Trailer has a striking resemblance to their “Seaker” truck, unveiled at the 2018 SEMA Show. 

A detailed build process was undertaken for this truck, seeing the original panels removed from the frame. Acid dipped and repainted in Glasurit Waterborne Black, a Ring Brothers carbon fiber hood was also added to the body. 

Ringbrothers even worked to ensure better alignment of the tailgate, whilst all the brightwork was rechromed. The hard top was also removed, with a brand-new custom soft-top roof and roll bar installed. 

Bowled over by the performance

BaT Ringbrothers K5 Blazer

Chassis modifications included the addition of box strengthening in several areas, with all-new upgraded Bilstein suspension added both front and rear. New brakes were installed, hiding behind 17-inch Custom Circle Racing wheels.

Beneath the carbon fibre hood is a rare GM Performance Parts ZZ430 crate motor. The 350-cubic inch V-8 produces 430 horsepower in stock form, but has benefitted from a Holley Dominator fuel-injection system, and a custom stainless steel exhaust. 

A Bowler Performance four-speed automatic transmission can send power to either the rear or all four wheels. A new Bowler Performance two-speed transfer case was also installed by Ringbrothers. 

Classic heart with modern touches

BaT Ringbrothers K5 Blazer

The customization did not stop inside, with an Upholstery Unlimited kit replacing the seats. These are covered in blue vinyl with houndstooth inserts, whilst Ringbrothers have also installed their own bespoke machined-aluminum door handles.

An Alpine touchscreen display now sits within the dashboard, with custom trim helping the installation look like a factory fitted item. A full Alpine sound system is also present. 

Dakota Digital gauges have been fitted, along with a Vintage Air cooling system. A new wiring harness is also present, whilst retrofitted LED lighting brings the Blazer into the 21st century.

Ring the sales bell 

BaT Ringbrothers K5 Blazer

Chevrolet K5 Blazers have enjoyed considerable interest in the collector market, with fans flocking to classic SUVs. The opportunity to buy an example modified by an award-winning shop is a rare chance. 

Having been driven just 450 miles since the custom work was undertaken last year, this K5 Blazer is arguably in better than new condition. 

The auction closes on Friday, April 24th, with the Blazer having already rung up several large bids.

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

Chevrolet Suburban is the only car to get a Hollywood star

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is usually reserved for the most famous movie stars. But now a car is joining them. Congratulations are in order for the biggest movie car, the Chevrolet Suburban, which has received its own Award of Excellence star.

No, it’s not an Aston Martin riddled with bullet holes, or a time-travelling DeLorean. It’s not an ocean-dwelling Lotus, nor a ghost-busting wagon. It’s an all-American Chevy SUV.

Why? Well, the Suburban has had the most on-screen appearances of any motor vehicle, since its first iteration in 1952. Across television and film, Suburbans have been in front of the camera 1,750 times.

You can watch a bulletproof, gadget-laden Chevy fight off SWAT teams with Sam Jackson behind the wheel in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And in 2020, similar models will be appearing in Black Widow.

Chevy Suburban Hollywood

“For six decades the Chevrolet Suburban has been Hollywood’s longest-working actor,” said Rana Ghadban, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

“Appearing in classic feature films and on must-see television shows, the Suburban is a well-established industry mainstay. With the Chevrolet Tahoe also making an impact in movies and on television, it’s impressive to have both vehicles now join an illustrious group of actors and characters that are forever known as Hollywood legends.”

The Suburban is the long-wheelbase sibling of the Tahoe. If you combine the film careers of these movie star brothers, they’ve had more than 2,500 on-screen appearances. The Tahoe has an average of one on-screen appearance every year since its introduction in 1995.

New Tahoe and Suburban: made for moviesChevy Suburban Hollywood

It’s claimed the new Chevrolet models, just revealed, have been designed with Hollywood in mind.

“The popularity of Suburban and Tahoe in film was first inspired by the real-life roles they played in the military, in law enforcement and family trips around the world,” said Tim Kozub, design manager for Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe.

“Today, their role in Hollywood inspired the design of the all-new models, as we integrated the sense of capability, action, and importance associated with Suburban and Tahoe on screen.”

Buy this Camaro V8 muscle car and meet its Top Gear owner

Chris Harris Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

You could buy the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 currently owned by Top Gear presenter Chris Harris. The V8 muscle car will be auctioned online by Collecting Cars.

Harris has owned the Camaro for just under two years, having acquired it in autumn 2017. Since then, he’s added more than 7,500 miles to its odometer, which now shows 7,962 miles. Refreshing to see the car has been used, then…

Hot laps with Chris Harris

Chris Harris Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

This is an auction with a difference, even for rare track-prepped muscle car. The winning bidder not only receives the keys to a Z/28, he or she also gets hot laps around a track with Chris Harris.

If you’re thinking that a bowtie-badged 7.0-litre coupe is an odd choice for a motoring journalist with a well-documented penchant for bewinged Porsches, you’re not wrong.

The Z/28 is a bit special, though; Collecting Cars reckons there are just five in the UK. Think of it as Chevy’s answer to the Porsche 911 GT3. It’s 130kg lighter than the next fastest Camaro and has ceramic brakes, track-focused ‘Cup 2’ tyres and race-spec suspension.

Chris Harris Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

That 7.0-litre LS7 all-alloy dry-sump V8 is a ripper, too, with 505hp and know-how from Corvette racing. The Z/28 is so hardcore that even air conditioning was optional. Now, that does sound like more of a ‘Chris Harris’ car.

The lucky buyer will be pleased to note that the Cup 2 tyres it currently wears are in reasonable health.

At the time of writing, bidding has started at £30,000 (around $37,000) with just over two weeks to go. If you fancy a slice of the very finest track-honed American muscle, there are nine others ‘watching’ the auction, so get ready to flex that credit card.

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2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Opinion: Is the new Corvette ZR1 the last American hero?

2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1It’s hard not to get taken in by the figures swirling around the newly-announced Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. From its 755hp supercharged 6.2-litre V8 – the most powerful Corvette motor ever – to the claimed 210mph top speed, the numbers are as big as the giant rear wing.

Thankfully, the latter is optional, but even the less dramatic ‘Low Wing’ setup generates 70% more downforce than the Z06 Corvette. An eight-speed paddle shift automatic gearbox is a ZR1-first, but purists can still pick a seven-speed manual to drive the rear wheels.

Subtlety has never really been a ‘Vette strong point, and when painted in special Sebring Orange the new ZR1 certainly doesn’t blend in. Other colours will be available, but whatever hue is chosen a V8 coupe with 715lb ft of torque makes a statement. Rock up in a ZR1 and everyone is going to take notice.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Exactly who the new ZR1 is trying to impress is a bigger question. With the Dodge Viper now out of production, domestic competitors for the ultimate Corvette are hard to find. Modern muscle cars such as the Dodge Hellcat and Ford Shelby Mustang may have the power, but they’re not really sports cars like the ZR1.

You can discount the Ford GT, too. As impressive as its carbon fibre monocoque construction may be, having applications to buy judged on social media following rather diminishes the blue-collar accessibility. We won’t mention the Ecoboost engine only being a V6 either…

2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The ZR1 will most likely be a bargain alongside other hardcore exotic machinery, such as the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, but we don’t imagine Stuttgart will lose sleep over sales.

It all makes the ZR1 look like the last contender standing in a battle nobody is actually fighting. Which begs the question of how long the ‘Vette can continue in its current form.

There are also constant rumours that the current C7 will be the last front-engined Corvette. Various prototypes of the elusive mid-engined ‘Vette have been spotted testing, adding further weight to the suggestion that the next C8 model will have the motor in the middle. After more than 65 years, that would be a huge change in the Corvette’s narrative.

1972 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ZR1

The history of the ZR1 stretches all the way back to 1970, with the introduction of a special option package for the contemporary C3 Corvette. Offered in combination with the LT-1 350-cubic inch (5.7-litre) V8 that produced 370hp, the ZR-1 package added a four-speed manual gearbox, uprated suspension and heavy-duty brakes. Just 53 examples were built during a three-year production run.

1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

It would be nearly another two decades before the ZR1 name reappeared in 1989, attached to the C4 Corvette, and featuring a Lotus-designed 32v V8 engine with 375hp. After years in the doldrums it put the ‘Vette back on the map, setting a number of speed and endurance records to boot.

2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The most recent outing for the ZR1 badge came in 2009, boosting power of the C6 Corvette to an epic 638hp. A claimed top speed of 205mph from the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 was so dramatic, it needed a polycarbonate ‘window’ in the bonnet to show it off.

So, after decades of progress and development, are we witnessing the end of the front-engined, rear-wheel-drive Corvette? WIth few natural competitors, the lingering suspicion that a mid-engined layout is on the horizon, and the changing automotive landscape, it seems more plausible than ever.

A mid-engined Corvette would undoubtedly be more balanced, and allow Chevrolet to push into genuine supercar territory. But knowing that a big V8 is no longer hiding beneath the bonnet would be the end of a lengthy lineage. America might gain a new supercar, but it would lose a key part of its automotive ideology.

2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

We won’t have to wait long to discover the fate of the Corvette, with a 2018 Detroit Auto Show debut mooted for the unveiling of the mid-engined machine. Until then, raise a glass to the bittersweet ridiculousness of the C7 ZR1.

>NEXT: Chevrolet Corvette: 65 years in the making

Chevrolet Corvette: 65 years in the making

In production for more than six decades, the Corvette has been through many changes in its seven generations. We’ve documented the highs, and the lows, as this American icon prepares to celebrate its 65th anniversary. 

Enthusiasts are often split over who can truly be called the ‘father’ of the Corvette. Harley J. Earl (left) was the GM designer who commanded the initial project on the car that would become the Corvette. However, Zora Arkus-Duntov, a Belgian engineer, would lead mechanical development, taking the Corvette from convertible cruiser to all-American sports car.

1953 Chevrolet Corvette Motorama Show Car

Between 1949 and 1961, General Motors held its own car show, known as Motorama and designed to promote new models directly to customers. For January 1953, a hand-built pre-production prototype of the Corvette was shown to excited crowds. Designed to compete with sports cars like the Nash-Healey, the enthusiastic reception convinced GM to rush the Corvette into production.

1953 C1 Chevrolet Corvette

Just six months after being displayed at Motorama, the first production C1 Corvette rolled off the Flint, Michigan production line on June 30th 1953. Only 300 cars were built in the first year, all finished in Polo White with a red interior. Despite the sporting looks, the C1 was powered by a modest 150hp ‘Blue Flame’ straight-six engine combined with a two-speed automatic transmission. Even with a lightweight fibreglass body, performance was underwhelming. Prices started at $3,498, but values today are over a hundred times higher – at nearly $400,000 for a concours example.

1954 C1 Chevrolet Corvette

The lack of performance translated into a lack of sales the following year, with a substantial number of the 3,640 Corvettes built unsold. Quality problems with the fibreglass body caused complaints from those who did buy one, too, with General Motors later moving production to new factory in St Louis, Missouri. Under the management of Arkus-Duntov, changes would be made for the coming years to give the Corvette a fighting chance.

1958 C1 Chevrolet Corvette 283 V8

While the six-cylinder engine would be upped to 155hp in 1955 – with a three-speed manual gearbox also offered – the introduction of a 265-cubic inch (4.3-litre) 195hp V8 engine was a bigger deal. By 1958, this had grown to a fuel-injected 283-ci (4.6-litre) unit, producing 290hp. Styling changes included the adoption of quad-headlights, more chrome trim and a redesigned grille.

1960 C1 Chevrolet Corvette

The improvements to the Vette worked, with sales increasing year-on-year between 1956 and the end of C1 production in 1962. The final year would see the option of a 327-cubic inch (5.4-litre) V8 engine with 360hp, representing a substantial increase from the original ’53 model cars. A total of 69,000 first-generation Corvettes were built, proving that Harley J. Earl’s dream to produce a two-seat sports car was the right idea.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer concept

Long before production of the C1 Corvette had finished, Chevrolet was already working on taking the second-generation car in a more radical styling direction. Built by GM designer Bill Mitchell, the XP-87 Stingray Racer was ostensibly created to test handling and performance. However, the styling features were clearly a preview of the C2 Corvette. XP-87 also ended up competing on track, taking an SCCA National Championship in 1960. Mitchell would later use the XP-87 as his own personal car at weekends.

1961 Chevrolet Mako Shark Concept

Although styling for the next Corvette was already completed, Chevrolet wanted to generate interest in the forthcoming new car. Designed by Larry Shinoda, under the direction of Bill Mitchell, inspiration came from a Mako shark Mitchell had caught while fishing. The pointed nose, streamlined sides and short rear made it look futuristic and aggressive, marking a clear distinction between the old and new Corvettes.

1963 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe and Convertible

The styling of the new C2 Corvette was the most obvious change when launched, but the work of Arkus-Duntov in overhauling the mechanical elements was also revolutionary. Suspension was upgraded front and rear, with the latter using a new independent design instead of the C1’s solid axle. A 327-cubic inch (5.4-litre) V8 was the only engine option, available in outputs ranging from 250hp to 360hp. A three-speed manual gearbox was standard, with a four-speed manual and two-speed auto also on the options list.

1963 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

Unique to the 1963 model year Corvette, and one of the defining features of the second-generation car, was the split rear windscreen on coupe models. Hated by Arkus-Duntov, but loved by Mitchell and Shinoda, it would eventually be replaced due to visibility concerns. The coupe was also notably more expensive than the convertible: $4,257 against $4,037. Despite this, sales were split equally between both, with 21,500 examples sold in total during 1963.

1963 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Race Car

General Motors had banned factory-sponsored racing, but Arkus-Duntov was still keen to use motorsport to promote the prowess of the second-generation Corvette. As such, the development of racing parts for the C2 continued, culminating in the ‘Z06’ option package, which added $1,818 to the price of the car. The first Z06 race cars went straight into battle, winning their first race at the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix.

1963 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ‘Big Tank’

Whilst the Z06 package was meant for racing, nothing stopped a road car being ordered with this box ticked. It meant upgraded suspension, power-assisted brakes with extra cooling and the 360hp fuel-injected V8. A larger fuel tank was also fitted to coupe models and, with just 63 examples built, these ‘big tank’ cars are seriously collectable. This particular car is set to go to auction in May 2017, with the potential to sell for up to $750,000 (£585,000) based on previous results.

1966 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 427 big-block V8

Development continued throughout the life of the C2 Corvette, with the addition of a ‘big-block’ 427-cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 for the 1966 model year. With 425hp, it was no more powerful than the 396-ci (6.5-litre) V8 introduced the previous year, but it did pack extra torque: 460lb ft.

1967 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 427 Tri-Power

The ultimate C2 Corvette came in the final year of production, with an arrangement of three two-barrel carburettors maximising output from the 427 V8. Named the ‘Tri-Power’ and fitted with uprated camshafts, plus other internal changes, this engine officially produced 435hp – although some believe it to be substantially more. Also unique was a cowl induction hood, feeding air directly to the carburettors and giving the 427 a menacing look.

1963 C2 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Arkus-Duntov had been determined to make the C2 into an effective race car, running a secret project to create a lightweight version to beat the Shelby Cobra. Initial plans were for 125 cars, but when GM executives became aware of the programme, all work was stopped. Just five Grand Sports cars ‘escaped’ the factory, and they proved to be effective in racing – taking wins throughout 1963. The rarity of the C2 Grand Sport, with values in the region of $5-10million (£4-7m), has created a substantial market for kit car replicas.

1965 Chevrolet Mako Shark II Concept

Aquatic life made another appearance on a Corvette concept, with the Mako Shark II shown at the 1965 New York Auto Show. Ultra narrow Coke-bottle hips, a louvered rear window, and high wheelarches were cool features, but would require substantial modification to make a usable road car.

1969 C3 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe

Although styling elements were toned down, the overall shape of the C3 Corvette owed much to the Mako Shark II when released in 1969. Pop-up headlights, a removal T-bar roof on coupes and hidden wipers brought the C3 up to date. Initial engine choices kept the 327-cubic inch and 427-ci from the C2 Vette, with a new 350-ci (5.7-litre) unit added in 1969. The two-speed automatic transmission was also finally ditched, replace by the exotic-sounding three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic.

1969 C3 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Apollo astronauts

General Motors was always keen to snap-up a marketing opportunity for the Corvette, so what better chance than supplying cars to NASA Apollo astronauts? Pete Gordon, Alan Bean and Richard Gordon of the Apollo 12 mission took the option to lease matching 1969 Corvettes for just $1. Each car featured a gold and black colour scheme, plus unique personal badging with the initials of each astronaut’s mission role on the wings.

1972 C3 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible LT-1

American car manufacturers found themselves contending with new emissions regulations in the early 1970s, and the Corvette was no exception. By 1972, Chevrolet was already limiting engine choices in California, and had lowered compression to allow engines to use low-octane fuel. Changes to horsepower measures also meant the output of the 350-ci LT-1 engine reduced from 330hp to 255hp, with 1972 being the last year it was offered.

1977 C3 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

More changes would take place over the next five years, with the 1977 Corvette sporting urethane bumpers front and rear to withstand 5mph impacts. Catalytic converters were also introduced in 1975, with the convertible body style dropped the same year. And 1976 saw the end of Stingray badging, with new Corvette emblems added the following year. Power languished at just 180hp or 210hp.

1978 C3 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe Indy 500 Pace Car

Despite having been in production for over 25 years, the Corvette didn’t receive the coveted honour of acting as pace car for the Indianapolis 500 until 1978. A special edition of 6,052 cars – one for each Chevrolet dealership – was built to celebrate, wearing a unique black and silver colour scheme. Interiors were finished in a choice of silver leather or grey cloth, with the option of an eight-track tape player or CB radio reminding everyone that this was the late 1970s. Pace car stickers were supplied unattached.

1984 C4 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

With the origins of the C3 Corvette stretching back to the 1960s, Chevrolet went for clean slate with the fourth-generation car. Its aerodynamically optimised design was dramatic and modern, featuring panels that made use of plastic rather than fibreglass. An all-new interior included a cutting-edge LCD dashboard, too. The C4 was also the first Corvette to feature the mono-leaf spring suspension setup, replacing the coils of the C3. An emphasis on handling was important, given the C4 Vette initially made do with the 350-ci (5.7-l) V8 engine with 205hp and 290lb ft of torque.

1986 C4 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car

Big news for the Corvette came in 1986, when Chevrolet re-launched the convertible body for the first time since 1975. Chosen as the pace car for the 1986 Indianapolis 500, all 7,315 convertible ’Vettes sold that year wore a commemorative plaque. For 1987 the convertible became part of the regular range.

1990 C4 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

Having acquired Group Lotus in 1986, General Motors opted to use the engineering prowess of the British firm to build the ultimate Corvette. Lotus designed a new 350-ci (5.7-l) aluminium V8 engine, with 32 valves and four overhead camshafts. Power peaked at an impressive 375hp and 370lb-ft of torque, making the ZR-1 capable of 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of over 175mph. Chevrolet would also set numerous FIA speed and endurance records as testimony to the reliability of the new V8 engine. Almost doubling the $32,479 price of the base C4 Corvette meant numbers sold were low, with around 6,000 ZR-1s sold between 1990 and 1995.

1992 One-millionth Chevrolet Corvette

When the one-millionth Corvette rolled off the production line in 1993, finished in white with a red interior like the 1953 original, it was preserved for posterity. As an exhibit in Chevrolet’s National Corvette Museum it, along with seven other Corvettes, was damaged by a sinkhole that opened up directly beneath the museum floor. Chevrolet committed to restore the car to original condition, investing four months and 1,200 hours to recreate it perfectly. This even extended to scanning and reproducing the signatures beneath the body panels of those who built the car in 1993.

1993 C4 Chevrolet Corvette 40th Anniversary convertible

Turning forty is always an excuse for a celebration. To commemorate edging closer to the average age of a Corvette buyer, the 40th Anniversary package was available on all models produced for the 1993 model year. Ruby red paintwork was combined with matching leather seats, while the wheels featured red centre caps.

1996 C4 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

The final year of C4 Corvette production saw two special editions offered, but the Grand Sport is the most noteworthy. Just 1,000 examples were produced, with all cars finished in Admiral Blue with a white centre stripe, plus black alloy wheels. Two red stripes above the driver’s side wheelarch were intended as a reminder of the car’s 1963 C2 Grand Sport namesake.

1997 C5 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

With the C4 having restored the image of the Corvette, Chevrolet continued to push on making improvements with the new C5. An all-new aluminium 5.7-litre LS1 V8 engine was standard, with 345hp and 350lb ft of torque. The transmission was mounted at the rear to form a transaxle setup, with a new six-speed manual gearbox also introduced. Critics took issue with the cheap plastics found inside, but for a bargain price of $37,495 something had to give.

1998 C5 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Indy 500 Pace Car

Launched a year later, the C5 convertible was the first soft-top Corvette since 1962 to feature a boot. The C5 convertible was, just like many Corvettes before it, chosen to be the official Indianapolis 500 pace car, with a terrifying purple and yellow colour scheme. A replica version was offered for sale, including the yellow wheels and upholstery. Despite its garishness, the pace car replicas enjoy a cult following amongst collectors.

1999 C5 Chevrolet Corvette hard-top

The final choice in the C5 Corvette body style roster came in 1999, with the unveiling of the hard-top option. Officially known as the Fixed Roof Coupe, it lacked the targa T-top roof of the regular coupe version, making this the most structurally rigid of C5 body types.

2001 C5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Additional structural rigidity meant that the C5 hardtop was used as the basis for a brand-new Z06 Corvette, playing homage to the name first used in 1963. Powered by a modified version of the LS1 engine, renamed to LS6 to recognise the changes, output was rated as 385hp and 385lb ft. A titanium exhaust, thinner glass and a lighter battery helped save weight, while suspension upgrades and performance tyres made it perform on-track. Brake ducts in front of the rear wheels were a visual clue to the Z06 option, and were actually functional.

2001 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R

Having been officially absent from sports car competition for over a decade, Chevrolet took the decision to enter the C5 in global endurance racing. Pratt and Miller were picked to develop the C5 into the C5-R race machine, with the first outing in 1999 at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Upgrades and modifications turned the C5-R into a dominant GT-class racer, taking wins at Le Mans in 2001, 2002 and 2004. This was also combined with 31 class victories in the American Le Mans Series, along with an overall victory at the 2001 Daytona 24 Hours.

2005 C6 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Shorter, narrower, and the first Corvette since 1962 to feature exposed headlights, the C6 Corvette was something of a revelation when introduced. Under the skin, much was carried over from the C5, although there was a new 6.0-litre LS2 V8 engine, producing a neatly rounded 400hp and 400lb ft of torque. The Fixed Roof hardtop version was dropped, with a convertible body appearing late in the 2005 model year.

2006 C6 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Buoyed by the positive reaction to the C5 Z06, the performance option would feature again in the C6. Billed as the fastest Corvette ever made, an even bigger dry-sumped 7.0-litre LS7 engine was fitted, making 505hp and 470lb ft of torque. The 0-60mph sprint was dusted in 3.7 seconds, with the Z06 pushing all the way to a top speed of 198mph. Carbon fibre was used in the construction of the front bumper and other body parts. Bigger brakes, wider wheels and stiffer suspension rounded out a comprehensive makeover.

2008 C6 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible LS3

Following a pattern used since the original C1, the Corvette gained enhanced engines for the 2008 model year, with a new LS3 V8 motor. Displacing 6.2 litres and producing 430hp and 424lb ft, the LS3 was combined with a new six-speed manual gearbox. Other improvements included changes to steering feedback, with a new five-spoke alloy wheel design also added.

2009 C6 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Surpassing even the Z06 as the ultimate C6, the ZR1 firmly pushed the Corvette into supercar territory. A supercharged 6.2-litre V8 produced a monstrous 638hp with 595lb ft of torque, with the intercooler visible beneath a polycarbonate window in the carbon fibre bonnet. Carbon ceramic brakes were standard, as were specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres, plus multi-spoke alloy wheels. Carbon fibre also featured in the roof panel, front splitter and widened wheelarches. With a top speed of 205mph and 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds, the ZR1 was peak C6.

2013 C6 Chevrolet Corvette 427 convertible

Built as the fastest Corvette convertible to date, the 427 special edition commemorated the end of C6 production along with the 60th anniversary of the ’Vette. Using the 7.0-litre (427-cubic inch) V8 from the Z06, with the same 505hp output, 0-60mph was dispatched in 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of more than 190mph. The 60th anniversary package included Arctic White paintwork with optional stripes. Inside, all Corvettes built in 2013 featured a special plaque to mark 60 years of production.

2014 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

After an absence of more than 30 years, the Stingray name reappeared on the C7 Corvette. General Motors believed the C7 was good enough to wear the iconic badge, even if it lacked a split rear windscreen like the 1963 original. Intended to appeal to a younger audience, the body of the C7 is angular and edgy, making extensive use of carbon fibre throughout. A new 6.2-litre V8 engine provides 460hp, and is coupled to a seven-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

2014 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible

Following the C7 Stingray coupe, the convertible version was launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. With no additional chassis stiffening required over the coupe, Chevrolet was confident that the soft-top would be on par with hard-top versions. The power-folding roof is capable of operating at speeds up to 31mph, avoiding those awkward moments when the traffic lights turn green half-way through opening.

2015 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

With styling inspired by the C7.R race car, the Z06 was launched as hardcore track-focused machine, even down to its data logger that captures HD video and telemetry. A supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine bellows out 650hp and 650lb ft of torque, making it the most powerful car General Motors has ever built. Hitting 60mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 195mph are considerable achievements for a supercar that costs only $79,450 (£90,455 in the UK).

2017 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Continuing the Grand Sport name first used back in 1963, the latest GS combines elements of the Z06 to produce another track-oriented Corvette. Using the 6.2-litre LT1 V8 engine with 460hp, an optional Z07 Performance Package adds Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, tuned suspension and an aggressive carbon fibre bodykit.

2018 C7 Chevrolet Corvette Carbon 65 Edition

How do you celebrate 65 years of production? If you’re a Corvette, it’s with unique Ceramic Matrix Grey paintwork, special stripes on the doors and wheelarches, a bodykit with visible carbon fibre and an interior with, well, even more carbon fibre. Limited to just 650 examples globally, the Carbon 65 Edition will be available on both Grand Sport and Z06 C7 ’Vettes.

Chevrolet Sail Global NCAP crash test zero stars

Global NCAP pleads with GM to urgently fix ‘life threatening’ zero-star new car safety

Chevrolet Sail Global NCAP crash test zero starsAnother Latin American Chevrolet has scored zero stars in Global NCAP crash safety tests – and the organisation has taken the unprecedented step of writing to the chairman and CEO of Chevrolet parent firm GM, Mary Barra, to express its concern.

Global NCAP’s concern is clear: the Chevrolet brand has a poor overall safety performance in the huge Latin American market, it says, with the worst average safety star rating of any major volume brand.

The Chevrolet Sail has just scored a zero star in the Latin NCAP tests, following the similar zero star of the Chevrolet Aveo. Global NCAP says this means both cars have a high risk of life threatening injury.

What’s more, neither would pass the United Nations’ minimum crash test standards.

GM ‘exploits weaknesses’

Urgent steps must be taken to address this, said Global NCAP secretary general David Ward. “GM has chosen to exploit the weak application of minimum crash test standards in Latin America to provide a version of the car that the company would be unable to sell either in Europe or North America.

“Two years ago GM announced a ‘Speak Up for Safety’ programme billed as an important step toward embedding a customer and safety-centered culture in every aspect of the business.

“Global NCAP warmly welcomes these commitments but believes that they now must have practical application in Latin America and in other emerging automotive markets.”

The letter details how the Euro NCAP test warned GM back in 2006 that the Aveo was unimpressive: the car’s bodyshell became unstable in crash tests and injuries to the crash test dummy “indicated an unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury”.

Yet in the 2015 Latin NCAP test, the Chevrolet Aveo bodyshell again became unstable and poor dummy readings were again recorded for both head and chest.

This resulted in an even worse score of zero stars “primarily because, unlike in Europe, the Aveo in Mexico has no air bags fitted as standard,” said Global NCAP.

“For at least ten years, therefore, GM has known that without any airbags the Aveo will have a high risk of fatal injury in a frontal crash test at 40 mph. So clearly the safety of your customers in Mexico and in other countries in Latin America has been knowingly compromised.”

Damming words indeed. So what should GM do? Quite simply, adopt a new approach to vehicle safety, says Global NCAP.

The organisation wants GM to firstly, “globally ensure that from 2018 all its production in Latin America and worldwide pass the minimum UN crash test regulations (and equivalent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) and include the crash avoidance system, electronic stability control.”

Second, it wants GM to “inform the Mexican Government that GM will support legislation for both minimum crash test standards and electronic stability control to be applied from 2018.”

GM has yet to respond.

UPDATE: GM responds

A GM spokesperson has contacted Motoring Research to say “GM shares the goal of improving road safety worldwide, including the adoption of basic auto safety standards in global markets and the phase-out of zero-star cars”.

The firm’s planned $5 billion investment in an all-new vehicle family for Latin America and other emerging growth markets will achieve this, it believes: the cars will have, at the very least, twin airbags, three-point seatbelts for all occupants and meet United Nations standards for structural performance in front and side impacts.

They will replace most of the high-volume cars in Latin America, including the two zero-star models criticised by Global NCAP.

They are, however, still some way off: the new vehicle family won’t appear before the 2019 model year. So, in the interim, GM is “expanding the availability of front airbags in a number of existing cars in Latin American markets, starting with the 2017 model year”.

Chevrolet Volt

Great Motoring Disasters: Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet VoltIt promised to be a revolution. A revolution of propulsion, a revolution of design and a revolution for a newly-adventurous General Motors. But today it looks like an irrelevant revolution, and a very expensive one at that. Yet there is little wrong with the Chevrolet Volt in itself, and a hell of a lot that’s right. And genuinely revolutionary, too.

But this car, and its slightly more handsome Vauxhall Ampera cousin, are that rare in Britain that it’s worth reminding ourselves of what this wheeled revolution is. Which is an E-REV, or extended-range electric vehicle.

On battery power alone, it’s capable of travelling 30-50 miles, which is more than enough for most commutes. When your volt and amp supply is exhausted, you have an 86hp petrol engine that kicks in to part-replenish the battery, and provide the 150hp electric motor with juice, enabling you to travel another 310 miles without needing to plug your E-REV into a power supply or pump petrol in its tank.

Chevrolet Volt

The revolutionary part of all this is that you have a zero emission electric vehicle with a more than decent range when the battery’s exhausted, a pretty economical car when the petrol generator is running and a spectacularly economical car when it’s running on electricity alone. And a spectacularly green one should the electricity used to recharge it comes from renewables or a nuclear source.

All of which sounds relatively simple conceptually, but required a gargantuan research and development push (and money pile) from GM to realise, its tasks including the development of lithium-ion battery packs for safe use in cars, and evolving safety systems that would enable the Volt to score the full Euro NCAP five stars.

Chevrolet Volt

Indeed, when GM triggered the serious investment phase in the programme, the project’s bosses freely admitted that they weren’t actually sure that the Volt could be developed for the showroom because the battery technology wasn’t where it needed to be.

Which might make you wonder why GM wanted to make such a large bet on a semi-unknown technology. There are lots of reasons, of course, but a major one was that this often troubled organisation began to get fed-up with the positive PR that Toyota was getting with its Prius, and how few glowing column inches GM was winning for its (admittedly unbuyable) fuel cell initiatives, the cost-effective hybrid system it had developed for its big trucks and the fact that its recently acquired Hummer brand was being vilified despite its trucks being no less thirsty than many rivals’. Including Toyota’s.

Plenty of the kicking was justified – a ‘Breaking Bad’ Pontiac Aztec, anyone? – but not all of it was and a man getting particularly cheesed off with this situation, was one Bob Lutz.

Chevrolet Volt

Car guy, business book author, fighter-jet flyer, classic car collector and serially successful auto executive, Lutz made several failed attempts to convince his bosses that GM should build a new electric car to take on Toyota.

That his bosses were reluctant is understandable when you consider their all-too recent memories of the ill-starred, patchily admired, feature film-inspiring PR disaster that was the EV1. GM eventually crushed most of these neat and rapid little electric coupes, squeezing the life out of any PR advantage they might have garnered and prompting widespread (and misguided) accusations that General Motors had killed the electric car. It hadn’t, but it could certainly have handled the project more eptly.

Chevrolet Volt

So Lutz’s attempts to trigger a new EV project were repeatedly batted away, until the day that Tesla launched its Elise-based Roadster with a lithium-ion battery pack, a 200 mile range and a 0-60mph time of 4.0seconds. That a silicon valley start-up was showing GM the way was enough to get Lutz a grudging go-ahead and the chance, he hoped, to win back some of Toyota’s hybrid advantage.

His electric car very rapidly turned into something else when engineering boss colleague Jon Lauckner persuaded Lutz, with the aid of a pad and a gold-knibbed fountain pen, that what was needed was a range-extending hybrid and not a pure EV. The batteries required to give an EV a decent range (ie, something a lot more than the 100-mile maximum that most of today’s EVs give you) would have been more expensive than the entire car at that point, argued Lauckner, who saw a range-extender as a way to reduce the size and price of the battery pack to (semi-) affordable levels.

GM showed a sexily styled concept called the Volt at the 2007 Detroit show which won the kind of headlines Lutz was dreaming of, and gave itself the headache of delivering on its promise, something this American giant often failed to do. Four long years and many press briefings later a Volt emerged that looked nothing like the sexy original, whose shape sliced air about as cleanly as a combine harvester. But it certainly contained the promised technology and what’s more, it worked.

Chevrolet Volt

True, there were some early troubles. GM’s foolish claim that the Volt only ever ran on electric power was eventually uncovered, the petrol generator engine occasionally lending a direct hand when the car was running flat-out to save the battery, and a fire from a parked test car didn’t help its case either, but mostly the reviews were positive. Positive enough to win it a heap of awards, including the 2011 World Green Car of the Year.

But none of this was enough to overcome the one big problem with this revolution. Which was that it was not a revolution of the people, the Volt and Ampera simply too expensive to silently glide onto people’s radar. Even after generous government subsidies here and in the US, the pair cost getting on for double the price of a similarly sized Vauxhall Astra or Chevrolet Cruze.

Chevrolet Volt


There was the further drawback of only four seats rather than the usual five, the bulky T-shaped battery pack stealing the back-bench’s middle seat. And the Lehman Brother stole much of the Volt’s PR thunder, the collapse of this bank and the subsequent whirlwind economic depression tipping General Motors into bankruptcy. Suddenly, the angst over Toyota’s perpetual PR advantage was dwarfed by GM’s need for survival.

Chevrolet Volt

By the time a leaner, more humble General Motors had emerged, the Volt’s moment in the sun was passing, and the realisation that fuel prices simply weren’t high enough to interest American buyers in amazing fuel consumption were undermining its economic case. The payback period for the extra outlay required to acquire a Volt over an equivalent Cruze has never been definitely calculated (though many have tried) but there’s no question that you’re looking at a around eight years or more. And that’s too many.

Chevrolet Volt

That led to GM selling far too few Volts, only 65,000 finding US buyers since 2010. At one point, previous GM boss Dan Akerson reckoned on selling 60,000 a year in North America alone. In Britain, few Volts and Amperas have been sold, and the model will go unreplaced later this year. In the US, however, there is an all-new new Volt that we won’t get. It goes further on amps and gasoline, fields the missing fifth seat and critically for GM, costs an alleged $10,000 less to make. And that should give the second-generation model a better chance. Especially if the oil price goes up.