I speak to you here as a confirmed and unapologetic fan of the old C6 generation Chevrolet Corvette.
Particularly the 505hp Z06 model, which is built from balsawood and carbonfibre and feels gorgeously raw from behind the wheel. Preferably a Centenary Edition with the Z07 pack. Father Christmas, you just know I’m going to be good this year.
This is not a digression. I mention my weakness for the previous Z06 in order to properly put the new ‘basic’ version of the C7 Corvette Stingray into perspective. Which is to say the new car makes the old car feel like a soggy cardboard box that’s been left in the shed for several years.
Simply: the C7 Corvette is amazing.
I know this is probably going to be difficult to believe from our smug European viewpoint. And yes, it is wrong-hand drive for the UK. But Chevrolet has done a real piece of work here, and created a car that should give any serious enthusiast reason to pause before pulling the trigger on that next 911 purchase.
It starts with the looks – which come across all gauche in pictures but have both presence and elegance in real life. The Z51 track pack, standard on all EU cars, adds extra visual purpose, not to mention a sports exhaust for extra noise. The interior is strongly finished (though remains the weak point, I feel), while the drive mode selector and head-up display underline the technical sophistication of this very modern car.
Yes, it still has rear leaf springs. But using the same adaptive damper tech as Ferrari, the Stingray is both pliant and assured. With 466hp and 464lb ft of torque it obviously has performance to burn, yet it’s the unexpected accuracy of the steering and the chassis that will have you questioning your grip on accepted reality – this isn’t a hot rod, it’s a driver’s car.
Great visibility, reasonable practicality and a ridiculous bargain of a price really ought to seal the deal. Getting potential buyers to overlook their prejudice and giving them some seat time will be a significant challenge for Chevy – but if any car is going to reward that kind of effort it is undoubtedly this one.