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Z-06

Please GM, Fix the Corvette

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[source: Inside Line]

Please GM, Fix the Corvette

By The Mechanic | October 12, 2009

corvette_mechanic_717.jpg

This semi-regular column is written (in his own blood) by an automotive sage and noted malcontent, known as The Mechanic. Mercilessly beaten as a child with rolled-up back issues of old car magazines, our free-spoken hero developed a unique "for your own good" take on cars and the auto industry, along with an unfortunate habit of setting himself ablaze. Later, after a distinguished career as an automotive journalist and magazine editor, he cast off the reins of his musty oppressors, carved out his superego with a plastic spork and became The Mechanic.

Before I begin, let me say that the following is not an attack on the people who buy Corvettes. They are good, clean, patriotic car lovers, and I think they should all be applauded for buying American.

I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Every barrel-chested baldy (sorry, retirees) and stripper (sorry, Bambi) who bought a Corvette recently deserves our respect and admiration for spending their hard-earned cash on America's sports car. God bless them all. I hope they enjoy their cars.

This column is not about them. It's about the Corvette itself, which sucks.

Truth is, I'm not really sure when it began to suck. I must have been watching my new Girls Gone Wild DVD and missed it, but it does suck and I think we should all be mortified by its suckiness.

Sure it performs incredibly well, but the Corvette as a relevant performance car has lost its way. Instead of being the everyman, all-American supercar it once was, the Vette has become too expensive, too extreme and too cheesy.

Chevy has blown it by allowing the Corvette's price and performance to get out of hand. And it continues to wrap the Vette in a dated package that is driving America's young car enthusiasts elsewhere. Do you realize that the base price of a new 2010 Corvette is $48,940? That's 50 grand for the cheapest Vette Chevy will sell you. The days of a kid graduating from college, getting a good job, saving up and buying a new Vette are long gone.

This is a problem.

But price is only part of the Corvette's demise. The sports car's image is another issue. Maybe it was all those butt-ugly Indy pace car editions over the years, or maybe it's the chrome wheels on the ZR1, but the Corvette's image is now more hillbilly than Beverly Hills, more Vegas than Victory Lane.

And it might be too late to save it. From where I sit, the Corvette has already been displaced as the attainable dream car for America's youth: displaced by the Infiniti G35 Coupe and the BMW M3 (E46). These two cars (and now their succeeding models, the G37 Coupe and the BMW M3 (E92)) are what the kids desire and aspire to. They've become "the Corvette" for the next generation of enthusiasts that have not yet hit the big four-o.

Sure they're slower than a C6, but they represent a far more modern and upscale interpretation of the everyday performance car. They represent what today's car lover wants: speed, style, quality and a nameplate that says he's successful and he knows what's cool. The Corvette just goes fast.

But these days everything goes fast. Guys realize they don't really need a car any faster than an E46 M3, which runs low 13s in the quarter-mile. Sure the C6 runs 12s but nobody really cares. These days, guys want a more balanced package.

And so the Corvette is being squeezed from the bottom by cars like the Infiniti, and it can't really compete with the upscale stuff (Porsche 911) because of its shoddy interior, questionable fit and finish and 1985 profile.

Unfortunate. The Corvette is one fine driving machine. Especially in Z06 and ZR1 trim. But I wouldn't buy one. Not unless I was the richest guy in Bowling Green. Or I owned a few Chevy dealerships. Or I was a stripper in Bowling Green and my sugar daddy owned a few Chevy dealerships. Otherwise I would ward off the Corvette like a sober night of karaoke, and I would do what every other well-educated cultured gentleman with taste and money does. I'd buy myself a Porsche 911. Make it a GT3.

And now to make matters worse, there's the Corvette Grand Sport, a new model recently reviewed by the great Dan Pund on this very Web site. It's basically a standard Vette that looks like a Z06. Market research must have showed GM's product planners that there's an untapped poser market. A big block of gold chainers clamoring for a slower, cheaper, inauthentic version of the Z06.

Come on, Chevy. Stop going in the wrong direction. Nobody ever asked you to make the Corvette the fastest car you could buy or the fastest car for the money. Nobody needs the Corvette to win Le Mans or pack 600-plus horsepower and cost over $100,000. Of course we want it to perform well, but we also need it to be affordable, insurable and durable. And we want it to be cool.

And today the C6 Corvette just isn't cool.

Come on GM, give us a Corvette we the people want today, not the Corvette you thought we wanted in 1989. -- The Mechanic, Inside Line Contributor

E-mail me at themechanic@edmunds.com.

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idiot.

gm needs to give the vette a new interior with top tech and good seats.

then, i would give the exterior a reskin.

then, i think they need to market and promote more basic versions of the car. for example, sort of the harley sportster approach. a well equipped corvette with style and flair for a great value. is that about the low 40's right now? Too many corvettes have LaNeve (i.e. inflated) sticker prices.

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The author is confusing the Corvette pricing w/ the Camaro pricing, I think. The Corvette is at a fine price point, undercutting other sports cars like the Boxster and Cayman.

The G37 and M3 are a different category, sports coupes/sports sedans.

I do understand the generational aspirational difference, though...the M3 was the car I lusted after in grad school and I bought one 2 years out (in '98). Today, as I approach 40, I like the current M3 but a G37, 328, loaded Camaro SS or Mustang GT is more in my price range. I respect the Corvette's performance, but I couldn't see myself in one..seems like it's more the aging Baby Boomer's toy.

R

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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The Corvette might be out of touch with the import humping circle of friends that the author hangs out with after a long day of writing articles about humping imports, but in the real world the Corvette is still very relevant and well respected even among longtime import buyers. That said, I agree with the idea of offering a de-contented Corvette that eschews the gadgets and nannies somewhere in the mid to upper thirties.

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The Corvette does have a lot of middle aged man to baby boomer appeal. If they get to the point where only guys in their 50s are buying Vettes, it isn't going to be a cool car for long. Price is a bit of an issue also, I know price has gone up on everything, but $48,000 base is a lot for a Chevy with an interior comparable to a $24,000 car. Either quality and refinement have to go up, or price has to come down.

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The author is confusing the Corvette pricing w/ the Camaro pricing, I think.

My thoughts exactly.

The author does present some good arguments, although I think the Corvette is an excellent halo car that many people young and old still aspire to own. Plus, the next generation of Corvette sounds like it'll be smaller, and lighter, so it's adapting to the times, as well.

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The Corvette does have a lot of middle aged man to baby boomer appeal. If they get to the point where only guys in their 50s are buying Vettes, it isn't going to be a cool car for long. Price is a bit of an issue also, I know price has gone up on everything, but $48,000 base is a lot for a Chevy with an interior comparable to a $24,000 car. Either quality and refinement have to go up, or price has to come down.

yes.

as to the infiniti being classified in the same breath as the BMW, um, no. maybe if you were honda type rice fan and one who normally bought that kind of car would you see a G37 coupe as a real replacement for a corvette.

now the Z car is a different deal. that car is legit.

i know, same car. but the Z car is not a poser car.

and even then, the 350z try as hard as it can, is not up to capability of the corvette.

the current engineering of the corvette has at least 5 years in it I feel. the next corvette needs to accomodate more innovative construction and all wheel drive. i would not rush it to market to placate some demographic. the current cars engineering is fine enough for now and just needs a cosmetic reskin (although a quite noticable one) and it needs an absolutely fantastic interior deserving of an aspirational car. let the camaro serve the up to 38, 39k price market. but i would sell most corvettes in the 42-48k OTD price range. this keeps the value up on the Z06 and other special editions. that price compares favorably to the BMWs and the stupid infinitis.

GM would be surprised how well the vette would be regarded if it had even a 2010 GTI level interior at a minimum. what it needs are driver interface (seat wheel gauges shifter) on par with German cars, and enough tech options to make you blind. then, just simply have an attractive design with good materials and construction.

GM ignores all this stuff typically. GO look at a new lacrosse. the design is ok. the interior still has cheap plastic and cheap leather and seats that are not sculpted very well.

i think GM could breathe new life into the corvette by offering a twin turbo dohc v6. i would offer that now to set it up for the next gen car as well.

Edited by regfootball
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Ha! This guy is so backwards. WHY would decontenting/price lowering make it more desirable? It wouldn't. If anything, the Corvette's lack of interior refinement is its biggest turn-off.

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Fix interior and it will be fine till the C7.

The new Grand Sport give you a lot of look and toys for the money. If you make the Vette any cheaper it will be in more trailer parks than it already is and Chevy does not need that.

Besides I was at the ALMS race at Mid Ohio to see the Pratt and Miller cars in their first GT2 race. I t was great at lunch time the driver all were around to sign autographs. the line for the Vettes was across the paddock while the Porsche and Ferrari teams had very short lines.

The Vette team line was not fat men from Kentucky or Trailer Park Strippers. They were true Sports car fans thrilled to see an American car running with the worlds best. The parking has all sorts of cars from Aston Matin to Carrera GT. The most common sports car was the Vette. None I am glad to say with side pipes.

The Vette owner today of the C6 and C7 is not like it used to be. The grade of owner has stepped up and many people of means see no shame to be in one.

Also factor in the 911 while a good car is just way over priced for what you get anymore. You may as well pony up and get a used Ferrari.

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Please. How many special edition Porsche 911s have been popped out? Plenty. And the Grand Sport would be the Corvette I'd buy if I had the money.
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This clown has been smoking paraquat it would seem.

The Corvette is excellent, and has been so in each of the recent generations.

No one else does what it does as well - period.

Best performance for the money on the planet.

What more does a sportscar need to be?

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What a way to compare a Corvette to a car which has an engine that sounds like a howling eunuch and a car that does not exist anymore. How tactfully or untactfully he kept away the current generation M3 as it starts at a price way above a Corvette and ends at a price way above the Corvette.

Corvette needs one thing - a better appointed interior. That is it. Look at the number of Asians and European grad school students that drool over a Corvette when parked in a parking lot and then you will realize the car's presence Mr. Mentalic.

I wish I have time to pick each of his sentence as FOG does. Is it worth it? Probably not, because he is probably a kindergarten student holding a plastic wrench, working on his Tonka truck and calling himself a mechanic.

As for his math, Corvette started at just under $43,000 when it was introduced in 2004 as a 2005 now it starts just under $49,000. Infiniti G35 started just under $30,000 in 2004 now it is $35,900. So actually Infiniti is charging more for the inflation world went through over the 5 years.

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i think maybe if he were to look at the big picture here. he would see that there is a corvette ahead of every porsche on the list... further more he would begin to understand how pissed off the Enzo driver would become seeing a "sucky" corvette thats a tenth of its price in the rear view mirror. and his precious gt3? why its just a scant second faster than a Z06. tire pressure adjustment here, spring rate there and wow... you may be beside the gt3...

at the end of the day this guy seems nothing more than a shock jock who got canned and instead now does freelance for whomever will write a check for some groceries and rent.

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Where the hell did this guy stagger in from ??

IMO, the Corvette achieved it's Cheese Height in the late '70s : overdue for a redesign, completely pathetic performance-wise, and associated with the typecasting he alludes to.

The C6 got tighter & lighter than the C5, with better performance than ever. That's 'moving forward' (if I may borrow an unearned tagline :P ), not towards any "demise".

Corvette has never been an 'out-of-college' car :: '70 Camaro~ $2750, '70 Corvette~ $5450.

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Corvette has never been an 'out-of-college' car :: '70 Camaro~ $2750, '70 Corvette~ $5450.

No doubt...maybe an 'out-of-grad school' car instead. A buddy of mine from the U. of M bought a new '97 C5 after he got his Masters and started at Intel...I got my M3 after I started at MCI.

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There's a reason (besides the obvious: 2 seater) the Corvette used to (from my observation) have a rep as the 'mid-age crisis' car- that age demo/ empty nester had the discretionary income to pull off a purchase. '70s, '80s... the Corvette was too pricey for 'kids' to buy and too much the cruiser to interest them. Moreso now WRT to price, but again- it never was about that.

It's ludicrious that this guy suggests there's a problem; either he had no subject matter ideas that night.... or it's simple true jealousy WRT the C5 & C6 Corvette's success.

Edited by balthazar
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Wish I had a good place to start with this one but creativity and originality are usually a good one. I wish this had either. What the hell why not just add a vampire in for the test drive.

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It's ludicrious that this guy suggests there's a problem; either he had no subject matter ideas that night.... or it's simple true jealousy WRT the C5 & C6 Corvette's success.

What irks me is that this guy DOES NOT care about Corvette's racing pedigree. Are you serious? How can you have handling, performance and cornering without knowledge of how a car behaves on a racetrack? BMW and Nissan (the ones he is quoting) boast that their cars are born from racing. Apparently this notion also slipped from the douche.

Corvette has been a class of its own and it should be. There is no need to follow big dollar cars in terms of "showiness" and certainly no need to follow cheap $$$ Japanese eunuch machines. If it is unattainable to him and his fan boys then let it be that way, I am glad I will not be rolling in a company of douches when I pull my Z-06 for a club gathering.

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Wish I had a good place to start with this one but creativity and originality are usually a good one. I wish this had either. What the hell why not just add a vampire in for the test drive.

blah, the handling sucks. blah, the acceleration sucks, blah the price sucks... (vampire review)

or they could get the count to do it

"one upshift, two upshift, three upshift, four upshifts ah ah ah!

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Ha! This guy is so backwards. WHY would decontenting/price lowering make it more desirable? It wouldn't. If anything, the Corvette's lack of interior refinement is its biggest turn-off.

I would agree with you. The Corvette is a halo car, not an everyman type of car. It has never been an everyman type of car.

People like to hump on the corvette, people like to hump on the MINI. Both will earn your respect real quick on track. The Corvette is a hell of a car.

That being said...I'd rather have a GTI, MINI S, or Cobalt SS. I just prefer smaller cars. But I still love the vette.

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Steal the interior from the XLR and use it in the Vette. People arent going to accuse the Corvette of being a badge engineered anything. It is the one truly original American car left.

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IL would bitch if there ice cream was cold. The Corvette is a great sports car, is not some pussy posh grand tourer with a European pricetag attached to it. The leather wrapped dash actually make the interior pretty damn nice to be honest. Is it perfect? No, but it does the job its intended to do very well. Consider this the design is 5 years old and to me still looks fresh, thanks in part to all the different flavors of 'Vette you can order. I will take a Jet Stream Blue six speed Grand Sport Coupe, with chrome rims please.

Edited by gm4life
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That being said...I'd rather have a GTI, MINI S, or Cobalt SS. I just prefer smaller cars. But I still love the vette.

That and you need to have a mullet to drive a Corvette and truly appreciate all the Corvettiness of it.

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Isn't the price thing what the Camaro is for? Isn't that why its called the "Poor Man's Vette"

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