The Internet is the greatest communication tool since the invention of screaming at people from a balcony. The downside is that it allows wrong information to spread unfettered, like a virus. Here's one example involving Wikipedia, the Chevrolet Corvette, and diesels.
Earlier this week reader Michael Spadaro pointed out to me that the Wikipedia entry for the C6 Corvette contained an entry under "Concept Cars" heading about a Corvette called the Z06.D. As its name might imply, this Z06 was a diesel, powered by a Chevy/GMC Duramax V8 engine.
The entry, which has since been deleted, is surprisingly detailed. Here it is in full:
"The Z06.D was a concept that was based on the 6.6 liter Duramax turbo diesel normally found in light-duty and medium duty Chervrolet and GMC trucks. The engine used was a revised version of the Duramax, but utilizing a cast aluminum block and redesigned cylinder heads. It also had redesigned exhaust manifolds and a ceramic turbo. The pistons and connecting rods were made of an aluminum alloy, which made them more durable than the normal production Duramax. The engine's power output was rated at 410 hp (306 kW) and 495 lbft (671 Nm). The design proved to be too radical though and never went into mass production. Due to the heavy weight of the engine and the extra insulation for the cabin from the engine's heat, the Z06.D had a curb weight of 3,610 lbs making the steering attributes imprecise and handling quirky and less responsive. Only two Z06.D prototypes were produced. One is located at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant's front entrance and the other is in The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky."
Turbodiesel Corvette Z06 prototypes with 410 horsepower and 495 pound-feet of torque, only two of which were ever made. Interesting, right? And just full of enough specifics that it might be believable. I will say those power figures seemed a bit low, considering the old Z06 put out 505 horsepower and 470 pound feet of torque. You'd think this thing would be more of a torque monster.
So how come we've never heard of it? There's nothing on this car in the Jalopnik archives, and the buff books and other auto websites don't have anything either. It was certainly news to me, and unlike, say, a diesel Corvette prototype from the 1970s, it's recent enough that it's something I should know about.
Michael had never heard of it either, which is why he reached out to us. And Googling around for the Z06.D yields minimal results, mostly just forum posts with the same text. There's nothing in GM's press release archives about the car, either.
I thought it might be bullshit, so I reached out to our sinkhole-fighting friends at the National Corvette Museum, where one of the Z06.Ds is supposedly located. But Bryce Burklow from the museum told me they don't have one, and and no one he talked to had ever heard anything about it.
Okay, if the National Corvette Museum doesn't know anything about it, then it's probably a hoax. Right?
My last stop was to talk to GM's Corvette PR man, Monte Doran, and he had also never heard of it. "I would say it's either A.) incorrect; or B.) an outright hoax," Doran said.
Lacking any other kind of proof, I'm inclined to agree. In fact, besides the inevitable chat about Duramax swaps on various boards, the only other thing I can find about a diesel Corvette was this tongue-in-cheek April Fool's joke from 2007 on About.com. But that prank even has different details: it talks about a 5.7-liter twin-turbo diesel Corvette headed to production in 2009.
So as far as we can tell, there was never any diesel Duramax Corvette Zo6.D, and the entry on Wikipedia remains deleted, where it belongs. If such a car exists, or did exist at one point, I would love to see the proof.
Until then, chalk this up as one more reason not believe everything you read on Wikipedia, in case you didn't figure that out in 2004 for some reason.
Not that a diesel Corvette is a bad idea, mind you...