Car enthusiasts often struggle to decide which car or version of a car they want to fill up their precious garage space with. For Corvette aficionados, few choices are harder than picking between the two performance variants of the C6 generation.
The most desirable Z06s were built between the years 2011 and 2013 and were created when the original owners checked a box on the option sheet labeled RPO Z07.
Chevrolet introduced the Z07 Ultimate Performance Package in an attempt to close the performance gap between the aging Z06 and the new-for-2009 ZR1 and it worked marvelously. The Z07 package brought enhanced cooling, magnetic ride control, sticker tires, the wicked Ferrari Enzo-spec carbon ceramic brakes, and when paired with RPO CFZ; carbon fiber roof, rockers and splitter to go along with a ZR1 style spoiler. This was some extremely impressive kit that enabled Z07 equipped cars to lap the famed Nürburgring within three seconds of their 638 HP big brother (an incredible 20-second improvement over the regular Z06)!
Z07s are exceedingly rare. Throughout the three-year run, just 740 Corvettes left Bowling Green with the Ceramic Brake-LS7 combination; 540 in 2011, 117 in 2012, and just 83 in the final year of C6 production. While each and every one of these cars is highly desirable, many argue that the 2011 Carbon Special Edition and its unique VIN, Carbon Fiber Hood, and several cosmetic nods to Corvette’s 50 year history (at the time that the car was released) of racing in the 24 hours of Le Mans are the cream of the Z07 crop.
After an announced run of 500 cars, Chevrolet only produced 252 Z06 Carbons. Rick Hendrick won the rights to Carbon #1 for $297,000 and Chevrolet also presented him with the final Carbon edition, painted Black at his request. The other 250 Carbon Special Editions were either Inferno Orange Metallic or Super Sonic Blue Metallic. Of the two colors available to the public, 185 wear the Blue paint and only 66 (barely over one quarter of total production) are Orange. Some like the subdued look of Super Sonic Blue but the in-your-face Orange along with the rarity make the Inferno Z06 Carbon the definitive C6 for me.
Several months ago, during an unusually deep dive of the internet in search of an ever-elusive stock, low-mileage Inferno Orange Z06 Carbon, I stumbled upon a picture of one that I hadn’t seen before (I like to think that I’ve seen them all). It was my Orange and Black whale looking simultaneously neglected and brand-new while dustily sitting in a garage next to an unorganized pile of boxes and used office furniture in non-PDI’d condition.
It turns out that in a small-town Chevrolet dealership next to the world’s largest open-pit iron mine, Z06 Carbon #15 has been sitting unsold since it was delivered to Minnesota in 2010.
After further investigating, the last known unsold C6 Z06 has an interesting but sad story behind it.
Originally delivered to Ranger GM in Hibbing MN, the 15th of 252 Corvette Z06 Carbon Special Editions was set aside by sharp eyed dealership owner, Donald Hilligoss as an investment. So, there it sat in a dealership storage facility between an old pop-up trailer and a skid-steer with just 7 miles on the odometer and plastic wrap on the seats until about a year ago when Hilligoss and his 2007 Harley Davidson Touring Street Glide were struck by a Hyundai Sonata. Hilligoss was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth where he passed from severe injuries sustained in the crash; he was not wearing a helmet at the time of impact.
After the accident, Hilligoss’ son and new dealership owner, Charlie made another tough ‘Vette owner decision and posted the car for sale (not aggressively though as it doesn’t show up on Cars.com, Autotrader, or any other vehicle marketplace). He is waiting for the right buyer to come along as it is a tough sell; listed at MSRP with no factory warranty and likely suffering from a few small issues that plague unused vehicles. The car reportedly stays covered in the shop where it is started every few months.
This Z06 should be quite tempting to collectors as it is likely the most well-preserved example of the Holy Grail C6. I’d love to see the next chapter of this car’s story unfold on BringATrailer or the auction block at Mecum; hopefully, it doesn’t sell privately and get lost to history again!
[PICS] First Look: The 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition
Introducing the 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition
These are the Corvettes Featured in My New Book on Corvette Special Editions