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GM offers 2011 Corvette buyers chance to help build car’s engine

A Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Grand Sport. Buyers of the ZR1 or Z06 can help build the car’s engine. A Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Grand Sport. Buyers of the ZR1 or Z06 can help build the car’s engine. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press/File)
By Dee-Ann Durbin
Associated Press / July 13, 2010

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DETROIT — Corvette owners could soon be revving up an engine they built with their own hands.

General Motors Co. said yesterday that buyers who order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 can help assemble their cars’ high-performance LS7 and LS9 engines. The automaker believes the program is the first of its kind in the industry.

The engines will be built at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich., where GM assembles all of its high-performance engines by hand. The facility can assemble up to 15,000 engines per year, GM spokesman Tom Read said.

Read said it will take buyers about six hours to assemble, adjust, and clean their engines with the parts provided. A skilled technician will supervise.

The 2011 Corvettes are just going into production and will go on sale soon. Read said the company expects to have customers building their own engines as soon as next month. GM sold 13,934 Corvettes last year, according to AutoData Corp.

GM suggests dealers charge $5,800 for the engine-building program, which doesn’t include air transportation but does include one night of lodging.

But that’s just a fraction of the cost of a Corvette Z06, which starts at around $75,000, or a ZR1, which is more than $100,000.