Skip the Skip Shift

The last few Corvette generations contain the very annoying “ship shift” technology (CAGS- Computer Aided Gear Selection). Under certain -usually relaxed- conditions the driver is compelled to shift from 1st gear to 4th gear. In addition to irritating the driver this action allegedly increases fuel economy. Love for the earth aside, this is just not how civilized people shift.

Luckily the skip shift is easily defeated-  you simply need a “skip shift eliminator.” These can readily be purchased online for between $15 – $20. You can do the installation yourself- all you need is a safe way to get under your car, minimal skill and an impassioned hatred for the “system.”


The first pic shows what a skip shift eliminator looks like including both plug ends. Following are the install instructions on a 2015 Z06.

1A – Cut off the zip tie.
1B – Push the cover off of the skip shift plug on the transmission.
2A – The skip shift harness exposed. Make sure you find the right one!
3A – Unplug the harness. There is a tab you need to lift up and the the harness unplugs.
4A – Plug the skip shift eliminator into both ends of the old plugs.
5A – Use a new zip tie to secure the wires back to the car’s frame.
5B – Fold the new harness together and then you can slip the cover back into place.

Take your modified car for a spin (hint: if you can’t shift into reverse you tapped into the wrong plug). No matter the driving conditions you should now be able to shift from 1st gear to 2nd gear with no impedance. Happy driving!

2015 C7 Z06 / Z07: First Impressions


After inadvertently locating my “dream car” a couple of months ago I decided to take the plunge. In a very real sense this represents my last effort to enjoy owning something like this. It’s powerful, unmodified, unasbused and fully warrantied. If this car causes me excessive emotional trauma then I know there’s no real hope. Right now I’m in the break-in period. That means I keep it under 4K RMPs and I don’t really get to experience a lot of what the car offers. Nevertheless, here are my initial impressions of the car, having had it for a couple of weeks (I’ve put on a whopping 160 miles).

With no love from my local dealers I ended up getting my car through Castle Chevrolet in Illinois. Zach was my sales person and he was fantastic. He kept me updated at every step, answered all my questions and has been responsive following the sale as well. I used Don with Specialty Mobile Transport to bring the car to Utah. He picked it up on a Thursday and had it to me Friday- Overnight car delivery. Unreal. Buying out of state can be a bit stressful but everything went smoothly and was nearly stress free.


Visually I think the car is breathtaking. When the C7 first emerged I had some reservations about how the car looked (especially from the back). The Z06’s wider stance alleviated some of my concerns but it wasn’t until I was standing in front of (and behind) the actual car that I knew I’d been unfair. It’s aggressive, sleek yet refined and it seems to turn heads everywhere it goes. There’s just nothing legitimate to dislike. I’m really happy with the Arctic White and I feel like the black accents and wheels go perfectly with it.

And finally some carbon fiber! For some reason I held out and never put any CF on the outside or inside of my C6. But I was thrilled that Chevy offered it on the C7 and the visible carbon fiber package does not disappoint.


The interior is a huge step up from the C6. The dash has a carbon fiber surround, leather trim and door inserts, microfiber roof lining and a refreshed feel. The red and black interior mix on my car is just right (for me) and the red is gorgeous. I appreciate the little touches like LED map lighting, the multi-colored HUD and the secret compartment behind the stereo screen. People overused the word “driver-centric” when talking about the C7 but I don’t know how else to describe it. Nearly all of the interior focuses on the driver’s interaction and experience with the car. The seats and interior are comfortable but it does feel like headroom and legroom are diminished. I’m most surprised about the headroom- I don’t recall an issue on the C6. And the 911 has a ton of headroom with a sunroof.


The technology in this car is amazing. Most of the “help you drive better” features I can’t really get a feel for yet but the ride control selections are great. The digital dash is a nice addition (if not a little over the top). Want to change the way your display looks? No problem. You can tap into a ton of the car’s systems and display real time data. You’ve even got an option to change the way your car’s exhaust sounds right from the headunit. You also get a PDR (performance data recorder) that allows you to record video while you drive. No more need for a dash cam! The system can time your 0-60, quarter miles and even track events. Valet mode records events and locks your car down when someone else is at the wheel. There’s just a ton of stuff here and I’m stoked to play with it.

The interface is well laid out (for both the dash and stereo) but the system has a few glitches (I put up a post on – so far it appears no one else is having my issues). The biggest “problem” I have is that voice recognition doesn’t seem to work on my phone anymore (it was working). Frustrating but not the end of the world.


The Bose stereo is one of the better stock systems I’ve heard. That’s not to say it’s great but it’s on the verge of being good enough not to mess with. Plenty of volume. The base, although a little boomy, is more substantial than you’d usually find. The highs lack some detail, but the system seems well balanced and nothing is piercing or painful when listening. I wish there were more EQ options but overall it’s enjoyable.

Thus far I am very impressed with how the Z06 drives (again keeping in mind that I’m putting around like an old man). Steering and handling is tight and responsive. The car feels well planted to the road where my old C6 felt a little sloppy (and I’ll be very curious to see how the car compares to my old 911). Braking with the Z07 carbon ceramics seems exceptional too. The transmission seems good- shifting is nice and crisp and and the clutch pressure is okay (it could be a little tighter). I’m not sold on seven gears yet either. I don’t know if I’ll end up tracking my car at all but I’ll bet it would be a blast.

It’s not a perfect car, of course. The aforementioned stereo and lack of cabin space is worth noting. Turning at low speeds produces a lot of wheel chatter (the car comes with a tag explaining it’s normal but it seems excessive to me). The Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires are super sticky and pick up every little piece of road gravel (these are not the tires I would have picked for daily driving). I realize this isn’t a luxury car and while tolerable cabin noise seems excessive as well. Minor gripes so far.


I have noticed the C7 Z06 seems like it’s taking a bit of a beating in recent reviews and comparison tests (i.e. versus the Viper, Hellcat, GT-R, Porsche, etc). Anyone who knows me can attest that my relationship with cars has been tumultuous and so seeing the bad press causes me a little worry. Many people point to a potential “heat soak” issue or overly conservative tuning as part of the problem. I will base my opinions of the car on my experiences but I’ll be curious to see if the situation ends up affecting me. What I’d like the car to be is a comfortable cruiser, potential daily driver and a weekend track warrior.


Negative press aside I think the C7 Z06 actually represents a great value. When you compare it to the Porsche 911, the GT-R Nismo or even a Viper it’s downright inexpensive, And the amount of available features surpass even some of the most expensive model variations other manufacturers offer. So far so good. Just a few hundred miles to go and I’ll see what she can really do.

I’m obviously not a videographer but I’ll call it a day with a quick walk-around of my car:

Corvette C7 Z06 Splash Guards

Based on my experience Utah roads are not kind to cars. And this time of year dirt, rocks and salt abound. In an effort to prevent inevitable paint damage I installed the available GM splash guards onto my car. The GM part numbers are 22935635 (front) and 22935639 (rear). I’m not sure why parts like these aren’t standard- they look great (to me, anyway) and I’m certain they will help prevent rock chips. My local dealer happened to have these in stock but they can be ordered from any store that sells GM parts.

Installation is super easy as these guards replace the ones already on the car. You need a socket wrench with a 7mm bit, 15 minutes and a flashlight is helpful. The installation process is the roughly same for the front and back. Remove the 7mm bolt that holds the original guard into place. There are five tension clips that secure it to the car. Gently pull the old part out starting the top.


On the rear guard transfer the clip nut to your new guard (the orientation of the clip doesn’t really matter as long as it’s centered- this is how mine looked when I removed the original part). When installing the new part note that there is a small tab that needs to go into the wheel well liner. Then simply align the push clips with the body and press them into place. Finish by screwing in the 7mm bolt.


At the widest point the splash guards add about an additional inch of protection. A must for people who live in a place like Utah!

Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame

If you were able to order the CFV option then your C7 Z06 has a lot of visible carbon fiber and it looks good- really good. If you’re like me you start thinking that more carbon fiber would look even better! Rear diffuser, side mirrors, spoiler, brake vents…the list is endless. All in good time (APR Performance has some great looking parts coming). For now I figured my big splurge would be a carbon fiber license plate frame. There are a few online shops that sell “real” carbon fiber frames for $40-$80 but after shopping around I settled on one from lexan123 (eBay) for $18 shipped.


Not bad at all! It’s advertised as and definitely is “real” carbon fiber. The molding is good (not perfect) and the weave is fairly even. It looks great on the car against the black diffuser. For $18 I don’t think you could do much better .

Update: When I got the actual plate I had to cut off about 1/4″ from all sides of the plate to make it fit inside this frame. So… something to be aware of.


The 2015 Z06 – Looking Good and Available Now!

The new 2015 Z06 is finally available (customers have started getting their orders as of a week ago)!  Availability doesn’t seem as limited as I’d imagined and some dealers have started putting them on eBay. I have to admit this one caught my eye: corvette-z06-white-red

I love the white and red interior / exterior combo. And the black accents really work for me. Very nice. This particular dealer has the car priced way over the MSRP. Part of me understands the desire to make a few extra bucks but I also feel like it’s price gouging. I would never pay anything over the suggested retail price just to bypass a few weeks (or months) of waiting. Shady business practices aside I love how this car looks- it pushes all of my buttons. It’s fun to see pictures of ready to buy production Corvettes.

Speculated availability on these cars suggested they were going to be hard to come by. However, after poking around a bit, it appears that several local dealers have Z06 models in stock (or will shortly); Their websites are a little unclear on what’s available. If they do have access to a Z06, I’m a little surprised that I didn’t hear from any of them. Shortly after the new Z06 was announced I visited the two closest dealers to me in person to see if I could secure one. At one dealer the manager told me “I could order you a Z06 but I’d never get it.” Regardless I left my phone number and contact info with several sales people. I did the same thing at Another dealership as well. Later I tried several online chats to see if anyone was keping a list of people who were interested in the Z06 (one dealer was extremely rude). I sent several emails as well. Eventually I  heard back from a dealer that I emailed (I had bought a car from them before) but was told it would be about a year before they could order a car. All things considered it was a little disappointing. If (when?) I decide to make a move I guess no one local is getting my business. Note: The Z06 is not the car I mentioned trying to buy in another post. 

I also spent some time looking online at out of state options. From what I can tell getting a 2015 Z06 at MSRP shouldn’t be too difficult. In fact, I recently talked with a dealer in Chicago who will have an identical car to the eBay listing I mention for sale at MSRP (the only catch is a short wait). That might just be too good to pass up. If you’re looking for some good leads you can try They have quite a few supporting dealers and someone always seems to know where to find a car or two. Be careful as you shop- there’s no reason to get gouged or be subjected to disinterest or apathy.

And now I will continue my Corvette wanderlust.


A Car-free Life… Will it Last?

I have now been car-free for over a month. After I sold my last car I went through a kind of withdrawal. I felt like some part of me was missing and occasionally I felt like I had to get something right away to fill the void. But at the same time the past few months have been some of the most stressful in my life so not having to worry about any car-related issues was nice change. I decided I would take my time and think things over carefully before doing anything . I would even put “no car at all” on the table as an option.

In the spirit of fun I have looked at quite a few vehicles over the last month or so (Internet looking) and I’ve had people give me a lot of suggestions. Below are some of the vehicles I’ve considered or that have been recommended (some as a joke):

ford-raptor-june-2014 I love the Ford Raptor. If I went this direction I’d have to go with the Roush package (which includes a supercharger). Even though my local Ford dealer could install and warranty the package I’m just not comfortable pushing vehicles past their intended thresholds anymore. And at the end of the day this is a truck. A large, gas hungry, plodding truck. I am totally satisfied with my Tacoma so I don’t think there’s a Raptor in my future.

Someone suggested the Audi R8. I saw one at RaceCo and the general consensus was that they didn’t handle well, the reliability was poor and you really didn’t get a lot for your money. Not a glowing endorsement. Couple that with what is, in my opinion, a strange looking design and then R8 doesn’t make the cut.

I had an SS Camaro. It was a great car in a lot of ways, but fell short in others. Visually it pushed all my buttons, but it was large, heavy and didn’t handle particularly well. And it had no headroom- none. A sunroof wasn’t even an option for me. The supercharged ZL1’s power and handling have been enchanced but I’m not sure if that’s enough to make me walk back down that path.

c7-z06-corvette-june-14 The Corvette C7 Z06 looks like it’s going to be an amazing car. It’s hard to judge a car that’s not actually available though. The 650 HP supercharged engine is appealing, but I’m leery of first year production vehicles (I know the Stingray has been out for awhile so a lot of the kinks will have been worked out). Visually this car is a miss for me in some ways, but I wouldn’t let the look necessarily stop me.

jaguar-f-type-june-14I can’t say exactly what it is, but the Jaguar F-Type just doesn’t do it for me. Despite it’s supercharged 550 HP engine it’s the slowest of all the cars listed here. Couple all that with the fact that I’m not British and the F-Type doesn’t make the cut.

lamborghini-gallardo-june-14Haha… no. I think most people can appreciate the outlandish beauty of the Lamborghini Gallardo. Probably the most expensive car here and by far the most impractical. With no place to service it in Utah I can’t imagine this would be an easy car to own. And if I could find a way to afford this I’m sure it would garner a lot of unwanted attention as well.

bmw-m6-june-2014 The BMW M6 certainly pushed a few of my buttons. My friend owns an M3 and it’s an amazing car. In terms of value I think the M6 would be on the top of my list- the technology they’ve put into this vehicle is second to none.

porsche-911-turbo-june-14The Porsche 911 Turbo (the 911) is expensive, but there is a lot of engineering and technology in this car that have contributed toward it’s stellar reputation. In terms of 0-60 and the quarter mile the car is unmatched in its class. Add great handling, understated elegance and superior comfort to the mix and you have a winner.

vespa-june-14 No. Just… no. And yet I wonder.

So, what’s the plan? I’m going to create an outline detailing points that explain exactly what I’m looking for (or not looking for). Then I can process potential cars through my criteria crusher and compare them to each other. Then when the times comes I can test drive the remaining cars (maybe?). Although between you and me- I think I already have a good idea of what direction I’m going to go.