I think it’s interesting to analyze the age of when an enthusiast gets their first Corvette, as you have one crowd, we’ll call them the “wise and conservative” group, who wait till later in life. They get the family established, wait for the kids to graduate, prepare the accounts so it really makes sense financially, then eventually pull the trigger.
Then you have the other group, (I was definitely in this one!), which we can call the “reckless abandon” group, where as soon as they have a job that can cover that payment they’re getting their first Corvette, most likely new, then their second, then their third, like an affliction to always have the newest and best. Sure, there is some middle ground, but these extremes paint a common picture with us enthusiasts.
The purchase of this beautiful Torch Red 2002 Z06 by Mark D, a self-professed “Car Guy”, falls into the former, as the 53-year-old from New Boston, Michigan says that the search began after the kids were grown. Before we talk more about Mark and his glorious first Corvette, I need to get this out of the way. I’m jealous of Mark, as he has the exact car I want. The exact year, the color, the originality, all absolutely perfect.
The “Car Guy” seed was planted in Mark in a way many of us can identify with, as it was a ride in his uncle’s white 1969 Stingray at the age of 4 that lit the fire within. Oddly though, Mark gravitated to the Pontiac Fiero first and was a proud enthusiast for a number of years, owning 3 different Fieros over a 13-year time frame. Despite this fork in the road, Mark says that adolescent ride, “left a mark and I would long for a white ’69.” Mark started his quest by looking at white C4s, but soon his passion for one of his favorite body styles, the Fixed Roof Coupe, took hold. He remarks, “I initially started to look for one but was quickly drawn to Z06s on my hunt. The more I looked, the more I would focus on the Z06.”
The first thing you’ll notice about Mark’s Z06 is how original it is, right down to the “4×4 effect” that adjustable suspension from the factory produced when in its up position. I asked Mark if he planned on lowering it (I have a how-to guide here), but says he’s “always been a stock guy” and plans on keeping it “mostly stock appearing”. And it definitely is, aside from a few common appearance mods like the lettering kits and exhaust plate.
Mark’s Z still has that uber-cool Z06 exclusive Titanium exhaust, designed primarily for weight savings, which produces a tin-like roar as you approach that 6500 rpm LS6 redline. The lightweight Speedline Italian-sourced OEM wheels accommodating fresh and beefy Pilot Sports are still intact, and that original LS6 hasn’t been diluted with any silly high-horsepower performance modifications. If you’ve ever driven a 405 hp Z, you’ll know what I mean, as this engine output was perfect for the 3118-pound Z06.
Mark is a Chevy family, with an obvious affinity toward red.
I didn’t ask Mark how much he paid, as that is personal, nor did he share. But given the low miles at purchase, only 20,477 clicks, and the near all-original unmolested condition, I would imagine the price is pinging the Z06 values I showcased in this Bring a Trailer article.
Mark is less than a month in on the honeymoon with his first Corvette, and once the giddiness wears off the realization of owning a near quarter-century GM product will set in. He already has plans to address the LS6 valve spring issue, and thankfully there are many resources here at CorvSport for common C5 issues that may arise, like the steering column lock fix I did a guide on here. Other plans are upgrading the seat cushions and covers, and fixing a few minor flaws.
The road ahead for this first-time Corvette owner sounds fun, as Mark says, “My plans are to drive it, take it to some local cruise nights and enter it into a few car shows. I’d also like to take her down to the Bowling Green plant and Museum in the near future.” Tell me about your first, and where you were on the spectrum. Were you “wise and conservative”, “reckless abandon”, or somewhere in between? We have an active community on our Facebook page, I would love to hear from you! Douglas B.