Choosing the Best C8 Corvette Side Rocker Skirts for your Midengine Corvette

Choosing the Best C8 Corvette Side Rocker Skirts for your Midengine Corvette

Choosing the Best C8 Corvette Side Rocker Skirts for your Midengine Corvette

Side skirts, Side rockers, side rails, ground effects are words used to describe the long boards that run below your doors from one end of the front fender to the beginning of your rear quarter panels.

What is a side rocker

There are many benefits to installing side rockers on your Corvette, but ultimately, 

Side skirts stop the amount of high pressure that makes its way underneath your car. It does this by blocking the side high-pressure area from the underbody. When you do this effectively, what you're left with is high pressure on the outside which causes downforce and improved performance.

Typically, you will find race cars utilizing side skirts to add downforce to their setups. It's one of a drivers' most important criteria for developing a strong track car. Take a look at the side of the Corvette Racing C8.R and you will find a low sitting and flat-back full length rocker.

C8.R Corvette Rocker Close-up
You might be thinking to yourself, "But, I am not racing my C8 Corvette, and I don't take it to the track, so are side rockers important for me?" While you might not be Oliver Gavin in your C8 Corvette, you can still benefit from having side skirts on your Midengine Corvette. Here are two benefits besides aerodynamic performance that side rockers provide:
  1. Paint protection: Believe it or not side rockers can help reduce the amount of road debris such as rocks flying up and damaging your paint. Much like a set of C8 Rock Guards, side rockers will catch errant rocks and debris from flying up and hitting the paint around your doors and rear scoops. FYI: Take a look underneath your C8, and you'll find that your painted body panel rolls underneath and is exposed to the road.
  2. Aesthetically pleasing: Protection and performance aside, side rockers just make the car look better! Adding a set of side rockers will help make the Corvette appear lower without actually lowering the car. A low-profiled car always looks better than one that is not. Secondly, we often talk about how ground effects create a belt-line with the car by separating the body color of the car, and a different color on the ground effects (Carbon Flash Black for the case of Corvettes).

A C8 Corvette with and without side rockers

A C8 Corvette top with 5VM Side Rockers, and bottom without side rockers.

Now that you are thoroughly convinced about putting side rockers on your C8 Corvette, let's look at the options available to you!

C8 Corvette Side Rocker Options

Side rockers come in several styles from conservative options to ones that are more aggressive in styling. While there are endless options to choose from here are some of the more standard styling you could find for your C8 Corvette starting with the General Motor (OEM) options.

1) 5VM Side Rockers in visible Carbon Fiber

The earliest pictures of the C8 Corvette sported the 5VM ground effects kit, which featured a front splitter and side skirts. The 5VM is easily identified by the tall angular winglet on the ends of the rocker.
OEM 5VM Side Skirt
This package is available in a visible carbon fiber weave at an eye-watering $6098 price tag. This package was discontinued by GM early on making it difficult to get hold of and many owners had this package removed from their build. 
Additionally, C8 Corvette owners shied away from this side skirt because the installation called for a hole to be drilled in the side of their car where the winglet is located. This meant if you ever removed the rocker that a visible hole would be seen. A potential eyesore and nightmare for resale. You can get a better view of this package in the video below: 


2) C8 Z51 OEM Spears

If you did not select the above 5VM package, or it got removed from your order sheet, then your next option were the Z51 Rockers, or as we like to call them Z51 Spears. 

Recall above that rockers are meant to be low to the ground, and full length like we saw on the C8.R, the Z51 Spears do not do this. They simply cover the integrated spear on the C8 and act more like a cover. That's why we don't really call them rockers since there are no performance benefits from them. You can check them out below:

C8 Z51 Rockers

While they may not enhance the performance of your C8, nor would they protect your C8 from rock chip damage, they do create that belt line by creating contrast between the body color and the ground effects.

The OEM Z51 Rockers are made in a soft plastic with a textured finish on them. At ACS, we offer the original finish along with the same rockers in carbon flash black, which helps further enhance the belt-line of the car. Starting at $449.00, they are a great budget friendly entry into the C8 side rocker market. You can check them out here:

Let's take a look at the options we created for your C8 Corvette.

3) ACS-5VM Rockers | Part number 50-4-037

Keeping true to the style of the OEM 5VMs we decided to re-create this styling on our own side rocker. We opted for our PC Composite material over the Carbon Fiber version.

PC Composite is made using plastic injection and provides a durable, long-lasting material that is resistant to high temperatures, and less likely to chip when stopping rocks. Did you know we had PC Composite tested against our competitors' products? Check out Sandy Munro test our product below: 

Unlike carbon fiber, which appears white when it is chipped, PC Composite has a black substrate that conceals any possible damage. 

Additionally, we top coat the side rockers in the native C8 carbon flash metallic black finish instead of a visible carbon fiber. This helps further enhance the belt-line look we want with our ground effects. 

ACS Composite 5VM Side Rockers product page

At $1948.00 for a set of the ACS-5VM Side Rockers, they are a fraction of the cost of the true OEM 5VMs, while maintaining the same benefits with the added bonus of an extended panel underneath the C8.

The extended panel will protect the rolled painted body color underneath your Corvette from being damaged over daily use. The extended panel, or undertray, also gives the rocker leverage to no longer require drilling a hole into the side of the C8! You can check out our 5VM Rockers here:

4) ACS-1VM Rockers | Part number 50-4-035

We couldn't call ourselves Corvette aftermarket manufacturers if we didn't come up with our own designs, so let's take a look at the ACS-1VM Side Rockers.

The ACS-1VM Rockers are identical to the 5VMs except we omitted the identifying side winglet. The 5VM package can look overly aggressive to some, and the 1VM does away with that aggression.

The winglet-less rocker is a bare bone, straight back full length rocker that performs just as well while offering the same benefits as the 5VM such as the full protection and the underside protection from the undertray.

ACS-1VM Side Rockers in Carbon Flash Black

Recall the C8.R side rocker, the 1VM is reminiscent of this design. If it's good enough for the pros, then it should be good enough for you! And, at $1699.00, it is a great deal over the 5VM counterpart. Moreover, they are painted in the Carbon Flash Metallic Black finish as well! You can check them out here:

How to install C8 Corvette rockers

You chose your side rockers for your C8 Corvette, and now you should be thinking to yourself, "how do I install these?" And, can you do it yourself or should you hire a professional?

Professional installation is never a bad thing, but at ACS Composite we design our parts to be as accessible as possible. Whether you've worked on Corvettes for 20+ years, or you own a handful of tools you can install side rockers yourself!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million, so here's a video of installing both the OEM Z51 spears and the 1VM Rockers. Note: the 1VM Rocker and 5VM Rocker install the same way.

Front Splitters

After checking out a set of side rockers you can look to complete your ground effects package with a front splitter. We also offer several options of front lip spoilers to take your Corvette to the next level. To help you make the best chose make sure you check out our last blog, "Choosing the right C8 Front Splitter for your Chevrolet Midengine Corvette" 

Related Reading

"A Low-Profile Spoiler for the Midengine C8 Corvette | ACS C8 Speedtail Spoiler"

"Mixed for the Corvette -- Carbon Flash Black Paint Treatment Wax"

"Our first Chevrolet Corvette C8 Product! ACS C8 Z51 Wickers."


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