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Missing Roof Panel? No Big Deal!

by Keith Cornett on April 24, 2006

Automotive pundits have jumped all over the story of a Z06 that lost its roof at 60 mph as told by the owner on

“I still can’t believed this happened. Had just shifted out of first @ around 6900-7000k, hit 2nd and hear a loud crack, pull over and my roof is missing…”

Some want you to believe that this problem is a result of shoddy workmanship or inferior materials. If we are talking about multiple examples, then I would be open to listening to these arguments. Others are all over the story because they think they finally found the Achilles heal of the Z06. GM did issue a recall for C6 Coupes relating to the laminate separating from the panel. Whether or not the Z06 has a similar problem has yet to be decided.

All manufactures from Porsche to Kia have defects in their products. Some have more than others. Corvette has won kudos from owners and industry awards for one of the smallest reported defects per car. Now, when the Z06 in question lost its top, was it scary for the owner? Yes. Could a flying roof panel cause safety issues with other vehicles on the road? Yes! But until it happens more than once, I’m unconvinced that this is a systemic problem to the Z06 in particular and Corvette in general.

In a related note, I got a good laugh listing to the Jalopnik podcast (precast) about this story. Seems there is some confusion on what to call a Corvette’s roof:

“First off, we have to say that the Corvette that had a roof fly off was a Z06. So when you’re listening to Farago and I talking about it being a coupe with a bolted on Targa top we’re talking about a Z06 that only comes as a coupe and not the regular Corvette C6 that only comes with a removable Targa. So when we say “coupe” we really mean Z06. It’s all very confusing.”

Let me help set the record straight with a little lesson on the vernacular when discussing Corvette body styles:

Corvette Coupe: A single roof panel that stretches across the entire top. Some are painted, some are tinted glass. Porsche owns the “targa” name, so technically you can’t call it a targa top. It’s a roof panel.

Corvette Z06: The Z06 evolved from the early C5 hardtop or Fixed Roof Coupe (FRC). It’s not a coupe because the roof is not removable.

Corvette Convertible: The soft top folds into a storage area behind the seats allowing the passengers to bask in the sun.


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