For the 2011 model year Chevrolet is adding what may be one of the most unique options in the auto industry for buyers of the Corvette Z06 and ZR1. Anyone purchasing the two highest performance Corvette models now has the option of building their own engine.
The normally aspirated LS7 and supercharged LS9 are both hand-built by a small group of technicians at the General Motors Performance Build Center (PBC) in Wixom, MI. Each engine builder at PBC starts with a bare machined block and produces a complete engine as they proceed around the assembly loop. At the end of the process they apply a tag with their name on it.
When customers select the $5,800 Corvette Engine Build Experience on the options list when ordering their car, they will be able to go to PBC and work alongside one of the engine builders and create the engine for their Corvette. Depending on how quickly they work, the process will probably take about 2-3 hours. At the end of the build process, the buyer will be able to put a placque with their own name on the engine block.
Once the engine is completed and tested it will be shipped off to the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky for installation. At this point, Chevrolet is not allowing customers to participate in final assembly, but they can visit the plant to watch the car being built. The Buyers Tour is a $400 option. For $490 buyers can also opt to take delivery of their car at the National Corvette Museum across the street from the factory.
Every ZR1 buyer also gets a two-day driving school at either the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev., or Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Ariz.