I don’t share my birthday with too many famous people. When I was a kid I would listen to the radio as they ran down the celebrities celebrating a birthday on my day and hear names like Charles Nelson Reilly, Penelope Ann Miller, and Richard Moll. Recently it has gotten a little better with race car driver Patrick Dempsey. I think he acts a little too. That is going to change this year with the introduction of the next generation of the Chevrolet Corvette. The news that the new car would debut on my birthday has thrilled me to no end. I have even sent tweets to General Motors to try to get them to organize a contest to give one away to someone who shares the birthday but with no luck.
I have loved the Corvette since I was a little boy, staring at them on dealership lots. In the late eighties they seemed like cars from the future with the wedge shape profile and countless creases in the bodywork. They also had the school boy favorite flip up headlights. Flip up headlights had to make you faster! I think that if you asked any American boy to draw a car at that time, that wedge shape with flip up headlights would almost always be the result. It was the American Ferrari, everything you could want in a car and sitting on a Chevy lot. You could almost believe that you had a shot in talking you folks into buying one. I remember looking at a black one thinking that it wasn’t that much more than the cars my family was looking at. Maybe if I got Dad at a weak moment I could convince him. After all, did he really need to take more than one other person with him at a time?
That allure still holds true today. I was recently at my local dealer and ran into this gorgeous Corvette Grand Sport. It was the same price as an LTZ Suburban! That entire American sports car pedigree for the same price as the family truckster! And, let’s be honest, the roof doesn’t come off the Suburban. I am not sure where I would put my son’s stroller but he won’t need it forever. Some compromises might need to be made, but I am sure my wife won’t mind having to wait for me to come back for her.
I love this car in its’ current form. It is as fast as a Porsche 911 for much less money. The difference is about the cost of a new Equinox, so you can buy the Vette and have something to drive in the winter. If that’s not fast enough for you, you can always buy the Z06 version, or the top shelf supercharged ZR1. I would choose the basic car. There is nothing wrong with 430 horsepower or going 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds. That is 80 horsepower more than the Porsche and .4 of a second faster to 60, all for about thirty thousand dollars less. Sure there are people that will only buy the Porsche. They consider the Chevy to be too rough around the edges in handling, too sparse in the interior, and too plebian. I agree, and that is exactly why I love the car.
I like rough around the edges. It’s fun, in a grin inducing power slide kind or way. I want the car that makes me smile, every time. If the Porsche is precise like a medical scalpel, the Corvette is a sledgehammer. Tim Allen never said he wanted less power! I love that about the Corvette. It is a huge hammer and it doesn’t apologize for being one.
I also like saving money. The interior is not crafted from virginal cowhide that has never seen barbed wire or hand crafted by wizened old men using methods of stitching passed down in sacred rights of old world tradesmen. It’s a place to site and drive the car. I want engineers to make it functional and move on. If I have to choose between genuine synthetic suede alcantara wrapped headliner or getting to 60 miles an hour faster, I will take the .4 seconds every time, especially with thirty grand in my back pocket. That helps the seat feel better every time.
I’m an American, and there is nothing wrong with plebian. Exclusivity comes at a price, not at a certain quality. People who pay thirty or forty grand more for their car to go slower need to hang their hat on something, but again, I would rather have the money back. I don’t mind of someone down the street has another Corvette. I hope they do because that means that Chevrolet is doing well and will keep building them.
With all of that being said, Corvette engineers have addressed the criticisms in the new generation. It will be the next step in the American icon’s development. The teaser videos on the web have already shown a more technological interior with thin film transfer displays. There will be new seats from Sabelt. The car will be even faster, even sexier, and even more efficient; all while still being the best deal in car buying history. That is an amazing accomplishment. I have never been able to drive a Corvette; I really hope that one day I will be able to drive the C7 version that I will share my birthday. The only real problem will be prying me out of the car after the drive!