Chevrolet Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette has become the halo car of the Chevrolet brand. It generally mixes the small block chevy V8, with a rear wheel drive chassis putting out as much horse power as current technology can at the time. The other thing the Corvette is known for is providing the performance of a Ferrari or Porsche for the price of a Chevrolet. It is a remarkable sports car.

It was not until the C2 in the 1960s that the current formula for the Corvette came into production. The body was fiberglass to save weight and the engine was the small block chevy which has been one of the most versatile engine blocks in the history of the internal combustion engine. The small block chevy with its push rod construction has provided increasing horse power and torque for sports cars, sedans, trucks and racing cars since the mid-1950s.

Corvettes in Australia

Corvettes are as rare as hen's teeth in Australia. You are more likely to see Ferraris driving around than you are a Corvette. For a Corvette built after the 1970s to come to Australia it would have to be a private import, then there is the problem of converting the Corvette to right hand drive. Fortunately the Corvette drive train is used in the Commodore SSV's and the HSV Holden's so that part isn't an issue but it is still an expensive process. What you can buy in the United States for 30K would be 100k in Australia. As a result I thought I was a million bucks in the United States driving around in a Corvette.

Summer Cars

A mate of mine in Virginia used to buy summer cars. He would buy a car like a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Porsche Boxster or a 1970s Jeep and drive it through the Virginian summer and then sell it as fall came and make his money back. The first Corvette I bought was intended to be for the same reasons. It was a 1988 dark Silver C4 Corvette Coupe. As summer came and went, I put more money into it, upgrading the cooling system, the fuel system, the electrical system until I couldn't sell it. I was too emotionally attached to the car.

Soon after, I did a software project for an Energy Management system that was particularly strenuous and difficult, and as a reward for completing the project I bought myself a 1999 C5 Black Corvette Coupe with an Oak interior. I still had the C4 which I drove on the weekends, while I used the C5 as a daily driver. I found myself using the C4 less and less, until finally I sold it.

When I came to Arizona the C5 was shipped across for me by the company I was joining. The C5 was starting to get up in miles and when it hit 100,000 miles I decided it was time to get a more modern Corvette. I test drove a C6 and that led me to buying a 2005 Black Corvette Coupe with a Black interior.

I kept this until it got to 80,000 miles and then - with the C7 around the corner - I got a low mileage 2005 Black Corvette Convertible with gray interior that only had 6000 miles on it.

When that Convertible hit 32,000 miles the 2014 C7 Couple started to become available. I was fortunate to pick up a pre-ordered Corvette that was black when it was supposed to be red. It was a 2014 C7 Black Coupe with a Black leather interior. What a wonderful car. It was Corvette number five.

2014 C7 Corvette Stingray

Corvette number five. This is so much more sophisticated a ride over the C6 while being better looking and having more horse power. The ability to use the power available to the car is greater too. Probably the best compliment to the C7 is my wife's comment that the C6 used to frighten her, but this car does not. She feels in control and comfortable in the C7.

I bought a C7 soon after they came out. Because of the large backlog for orders, I had one of the few C7s on the road in Arizona during 2013. I was not prepared for the reception the car got. I had people stop me, want to talk to me about it, i got the thumbs up from drivers constantly, cars would slow down to look at it, I even had one guy run in front of the car when I was in a parking lot and take a selfie in front of it.

One time, I was in North Scottsdale grabbing beer and wine when two guys were hang in around the car. One of the guys had a C6 and was interested in the car so I said to him, sit in the C7 and see what you think. The other guy said, "It seems like you are used to this?" It was true, and it was cool. I didn't mind showing the cars to other Corvette owners who were interested in the car.

I felt like it was kind of the responsibility for having a new model Corvette since Corvette owners tend to be so enthusiastic for the marque. I was at a party recently and one of the guys there had ordered a C7 but hadn't received it yet. He told me it was his fifteenth Corvette. Remarkable.

Something else that needs to be mentioned for the Corvette is the quality of engineering. The car has a 6.2 Liter V8 in it that produces 460 horsepower. It is a powerful engine. However it has the ability to drop to a V4 configuration when it doesn't need all the cylinders.

We drive a lot to Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas. On a recent trip to San Diego over a fifty mile length the car averaged 39.6 mpg. For most of the trip the car averaged between 34 and 36 mpg.

The way the Corvette is setup it records the mpg for either 25 miles, 50 miles or 400 miles. The default is 50 miles. During one of those 50 mile periods the car managed 39.6 mpg. I was actually disappointed it didn't over 40 mpg. Considering that I was wavering on buying a Tesla it is impressive what the engineers have been able to get the C7 Corvette to do.

This is the best Corvette so far in my opinion. It is a beautiful design and an amazing car.

2005 C6 Convertible

Corvette number four. I felt as someone living in Arizona that I needed to take advantage of the climate and get a convertible. I also wanted to get a low mileage Corvette that would retain its value since I knew the 2014 model year was coming out in a couple of years. I solved all of these problems with this car. It had 6000 miles on the odometer and was a convertible. Traditionally the first year convertible of a new body style holds its value best of all. This was a really nice reliable car. It was good to me.

Apparently its engine had been modified and supposedly it had 450 horsepower. It was definitely more powerful than the C6 Coupe I had prior to it, not sure it was 50 horsepower more powerful. It did get about 2 mpg less than the stock standard coupe though. So the engine liked gas more.

Was the convertible worth it? The honest answer is no. In Arizona there are really only two months when you can drive with the top down. October and maybe March. It is too small a time period to put up with the small luggage space and the other handicaps of a convertible.

When it is October and the top is down, it is wonderful. I did a trip to Yarnell, AZ from Phoenix in October of 2013 and it was a wonderful trip. I had the top down the entire time. Yarnell has some twisties as you climb the mountain before entering the town too. However, you can do that with the Targa Coupe as well.

2005 C6 Coupe

Corvette number three. The feel of the C6 over the C5 is that the C6 is more of a muscle car. With the C6 you sit higher in the cockpit and it is more brutish with it's horse power. The C6 is definitely a better car than the C5, just in horse power alone, but also in looks - but not in interior. I thought the seats and interior in the C5 were better than in the C6.

The Coupe has a remarkable amount of space in the trunk. My Corvettes are working Corvettes. They are daily drivers and I have had bean bags, tables, chairs, book cases, trees, etc in the back of the Corvette. The coupe has a surprising amount of space in the hatch back.

At about 80,000 miles this car started to give me issues. The rear axle got messed up, part of engine was askew, and a few other things. It was starting to cost me more money than it was worth, so I replaced it with another C6 that was low mileage.

1999 C5 Coupe

Corvette number two. The C5 is probably best described as a Sports Car. It was lower to the ground - anecdotally - than a C6 or a C4. When you drove the C5 you felt you were in a Le Mans racing car. The downside was that it hit every bump on the road and speed bump in the parking lot. The C5 also had an interior that was really good prior to GM going into its 'cheap spiral' so the interior was good was on the C5.

I used to drive this car between Virginia and New Jersey once a month. I can recall one time being stuck in traffic in Delaware for three hours. The percent oil life remaining went from 80% to 20%. I also drove this car with its big wide tires through a snow storm in Maryland and slushy roads in Morgantown, West Virginia.

This was a lovely, poised, reliable car which I only gave up as it was hitting 100,000 miles. This was also the first Corvette that I replaced the exhaust with Billy Boats Route 66's. They have a great muscle car rumble and roar when you put your foot down. The two C6's I bought after this car also had Billy Boats put on them.

1988 C4 Coupe

Corvette number one. I always considered the C4 the best looking of the historic Corvettes. To drive a C4 meant you were tied into the drivers seat in the same constricted manner that you were in a 1950s Jet Fighter. The cockpit was a tight, claustrophobic nacelle with 1980s style logarithmic graphs which gave the orange glow of power or failure.

The C4 ended up being a weekend car. I replaced the fuel system, the electrical system, numerous other mechanical components and we got it re-painted. Ultimately I was driving the C5 more often and I ended up selling the C4.