I want – need, maybe – to explain to you why I am having a hell of a time deciding between two cars, neither of which I can afford, but one of which must be the object of my lust.
 
It’s between a Viper and a 911 Carerra.
 
Let me explain further.
 
It’s not a Corvette.
 
Sure, this past week-end, Chevrolet decided to plant a teaser before the crowd at Laguna Seca. Leaking the information to the blogs before hand, the boys at the bowtie unleashed the 650 hp ZR1 Corvette, a.k.a., the “Blue Devil” on both the racetrack and the crowd.
 
But, I kept wondering why they did it.
 
You know how people remember where they were and what they were doing when Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Kennedy was shot, or when the World Trade Center was attacked? A memory as vivid today as it was when it happened?
 
Well, that’s me and the first C4 Corvette. It was 1984, I drove a Z28 and the salesman showed me the first C4 that came to the dealership, all of two days after it had been introduced.
 
It was a spaceship. I didn’t know they could make a car that low, or one with tires that wide. Everything about that car spelled “L U S T” and, not coincidentally, “F A S T.”
 
But the real killer was that it was a trade-up from my Z-28. Sure, I’d have to romance the bank a bit. But I could buy that car.
 
And I did. Took me a few years, but I got a brand new 1989 Corvette, with everything – the performance suspension, the road adapting shock absorbers – everything. It cost real money, but it ws money that I, and many others, could come up with. Sure, I wasn’t going to buy a new Bass boat. But, I owned a CORVETTE.
 
I traded that one on an LT1 in 1992. That one was the one that put the first ZR-1 out of business. Same ass, and almost as much power. But, it came from a small block while the ZR-1 got its power from those toadies at Lotus. It was THE car. Bulletproof. You could do what you wanted to the clutch, as long as you were kind for the first 500 miles. They hung a notice from the rear view mirror that, basically, said exactly that. They even delivered that car with a video that explained precisely how to powershift the car once that 500 miles had bedded in the differential gears.
 
You can make a strong case that this was the last real Vette, that everything since then has been less raw, more effete, sort of a 300ZX for the masses.
 
And, you’d be right. The Corvette of today is not a real Corvette. It’s another GM car that isn’t what it could have been.
 
To this mix, Chevy again adds an unaffordable car that is marginally quicker than the car that costs forty grand less, or even the car that costs sixty grand less.
 
Is this supposed to make me want to buy a Corvette? I want to buy a base Vette because they make one that costs twice what I can afford, so I’ll go for the one that’s not so fast, not so quick, not so fashionable?
 
I don’t think so.
 
They can hype the car and they’ll probably sell the car.
 
But, until Chevrolet and General Motors make a car that is a real Corvette – the car that has everything that the company can dream of in one car – I won’t be buying another.
 
I won’t buy a Viper, either. It’s too retro.
 
I won’t buy a Carera. Overprice and old.
 
Nor any of those quickies from Audi, Nissan and Mercedes.
 
There is nothing on the market that stops the world the wy that first C4 did.
 
Maybe the first C7 will do it again.
 
If so, I’m going to be the guy that you see beating off everyone nearby to get to the Chevy dealer’s order book.

What do you think?
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1 comments:

tango  (372) posted on 10.23.2007

This is what I’ve been saying all along. The Corvette doesn’t need any of the "technology" that is supposed to be "guaranteed" from the recent UAW contracts. The mid-engine, the this the that. It should be a car that, with a little discipline and a bit of prayer, is manageable for someone who is in the upper middle class bracket. To a large extent the C6 is just that, with prices hovering around where many of these upper-mids would be plopping their money for an SUV (a Tahoe LTZ 2wd is actually more expensive than the Corvette LT1 and only a few dollars shy of the LT2). Sometime manufacturers build cars because they can, not because they need to. The Veyron for example was just that, with VW losing about 1 million Euros on each one built. But look at the exposure they got for it. Priceless. It was a steal when you consider how many media ads would have to be run to show off the technology that VAG could wield. BILLIONS of dollars spent, to uncertain ends. So perhaps that’s what we see here. Softening the market perhaps for a sportscar ABOVE the Corvette. Making use of that mid-engined chassis that the UAW (with their slick negotiating skills) guaranteed would be built.

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