Even 14 years later, Pratt & Miller’s uber-rare C6RS is a monster on the street.
Comedian Jay Leno owns the very first of only seven C6RS models produced in 2006 by the legendary Pratt & Miller of Corvette Racing fame in a valiant attempt to produce the ultimate roadgoing Corvette.
Leno, in his current edition of Jay Leno’s Garage, takes us on a spin around the outside of his black on black car, peering under the hood and inside the rear hatch, before settling into the “comfortable” driver’s seat and cranking up this 600+-horsepower creation that provides listeners with a symphonic melody created by its normally aspirated engine.
Of course, this kind of supercar didn’t come cheap, and at $185,000 plus your donor Z06, it was right up there in Lamborghini and Ferrari territory at the time. Unfortunately, with the introduction of the 638 hp ZR1 from the folks at Chevy a few years later in 2009, at a much lower price, the handwriting was on the wall for the C6RS.
But we’re sure the lucky seven folks who bought one of these cars have no regrets.
After receiving their donor Z06, Pratt & Miller began the destruction of the car, removing the stock 7.0-liter LS7 engine and replacing it with their own 8.2-liter all-alloy engine built by Katech. The new powerplant put more than 600 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque on the road, similar to the ZR1’s 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft of torque.
And it’s all that torque that really puts a smile on Leno’s face.
“Boy, just the torque, any gear you’re in,” he gushes. “It just pulls so nicely. This is a wonderful car.”
Leno praises the engineers at Pratt & Miller for the sum of their efforts. “You got something fast, you got something dependable, and you got something safe,” he says. “Engineers don’t like to let something out of their sight unless it’s right. That’s why this car cost so much. I don’t believe they’re probably making much profit on these even with the price they charge because it’s all in the vehicle.”
Without a doubt. Leno says his car has been “the most dependable” car and he’s never had anything go wrong with it. Quite a compliment considering the exotic nature of this creature.
Besides the powerful engine, his rare Corvette features a blueprinted Tremec six-speed manual transmission. Jay explains that blueprinting doesn’t mean a beefed up or stronger transmission, just going over it to create the perfect version of what it should be. “What that means is they go through it and make sure all the tolerances are correct, what they should be,” he says.
The resulting transmission shifts “like butter,” Leno claims. “It just shifts so nicely; it’s such a pleasure to drive.”
The car also includes features that were exotic at the time, like an Arvin Meritor Dynamic Ride Control suspension with a front lift system to clear obstacles, not to mention the extensive use of carbon fiber throughout the widebody conversion that features integrated ducts for cooling the brakes, Pratt & Miller’s C6.R “waterfall” hood and louvered fenders, center lock 18″ wheels on the front and 19″ wheels on the rear, and Brembo brakes with monoblock calipers.
Jay calls the C6RS interior “the greatest Corvette interior I have ever seen,” and no wonder, considering that Pratt & Miller put 150 hours of work assembling each one of them.
Unlike many of his C6RS counterparts, Leno has actually been driving his car, so much so that he now has close to 10,000 miles over the past 14 years.
Still not many compared to, say, a Silverado or a Suburban, but downright ridiculous for a supercar. He would have even more miles on it, but in the early months, he says he was afraid to drive it too much because he was afraid it wouldn’t pass future emissions tests.
That turned out to be a false expectation, however, as the car has religiously passed emissions every time, he says.
We know 10,000 miles aren’t many to put on a set of tires, but we certainly hope for Jay’s sake that he wears them out soon so he’ll feel OK with replacing them. He just hates to take them off when there is so much tread left, but we think it might be a wise move to go ahead and bite the bullet to prevent a tragic accident caused by the kind of blowout that killed actor Paul Walker a few years ago in a Porsche with dry-rotted tires.
By the way, if you’re wondering which is faster, the C6RS or the ZR1, Leno doesn’t say for sure, but he does point out that road tests of the two cars seems to indicate the Pratt & Miller version handles better “just because of all the race tech in it.”
Jay Leno’s Garage