Everyone loves a good underdog story, but why, what drives us to root for the lesser opponent, who on paper has no chance in hell of being victorious? This infatuation stems from the idea that certainty is boring. For instance, when the same team wins time and time again, soon enough interests in the team will decrease dramatically and people will stop caring all together. However, there is another reason why the underdog is so beloved, and it has to do with the resilience of his character, doing the best with what you got, playing the hand you’re dealt and walking away with all the chips. This is where the story of today’s dream car takes form.
It’s a bit difficult to look at a car designed and built by one of the worlds largest automotive companies (GM) as the underdog, but allow me to explain. The year was 1953, WW2 was in the rearview and the future was bright. Chevy needed a vehicle that would wow the public at the Motorama auto show in New York. It had to show it was a serious contender with the forward thinking crowd and introduced the Harley Earl designed concept car the Corvette. The response from the general public was overwhelmingly positive in fact, the demand was so great Chevy began production only a few months later. Almost simultaneously another car company, across the pond was also having its own success. The son of Porsche developed, and after the demand rose began building his own version of a sports car, also creating one of the longest automotive rivalries in history. Ever since the late 50’s and early 60’s the Porsche 911 and the Chevy Corvette have been weighed against one another, and because of the tremendous engineering and sophistication Porsche always took the honors away from the Vette. The Chevy might be as fast, but it always lacked refinement, it was a bit messy, and it was always the underdog. Well, time has come for the underdog to rise up and shine, and with the latest ’15 model the Corvette does exactly that, surpassing the Porsche and everything else in the process.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The Stingray name has been resurrected for the new model, and I couldn’t be happier. The nomenclature originated back in the 60’s with second gen or C2 Vette in rather an unusual fashion. The designers of that car were looking for inspiration and during a fishing trip, after reeling in a stingray out of the sea they found it. The new car pays homage in design to the original stingray the two share the iconic tear drop shape. The taillights on the new car have been the center point of some controversy from the Corvette faithful because they aren’t round but rather square, just like those naysayers. I dig the lights and just the overall shape of the car, especially the quad exhaust which, by the way make a glorious noise when you poke the throttle. The car looks matured and grown up, yet undoubtedly Corvette like.
The biggest news is on the inside. A sore subject for the Corvettes of yesteryear it’s now a major talking point. Everything is upgraded and more upscale than before. The leather feels softer and plusher, and there is extensive use of actual carbon fiber throughout the cabin. However, what sets this interior far apart from the old car and the competition is what Chevy calls Driver Mode Selector, not a highly creative label but I digress. What this system allows you to do is exactly what the name suggests; it allows drivers to optimize the car for their driving preference and road conditions via five settings: Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport and Track. Each option changes all sorts of setting within the car to prep it for your specified driving experience. Select Eco mode and the big V8 will ask 4 of its cylinders to take a knee unless the throttle is fully mashed to the floor. Select Track mode and the magnetic shocks; stiffen up, the display changes to show only what’s important such as shift points and g forces, which can be viewed either in the cluster or on the heads up display. Also, the butterfly valves open fully in the exhaust and allow the Vette to sing the song of its people at full-bore. As far as tech features go, this Corvette is loaded to the teeth. For instance an available valet mode restricts speed, rpm’s and radio volume and activates a front faced camera, so you can enjoy your appetizers with a peace of mind. The same camera is also used in Track mode to record “laps” this allows the driver to assess and make corrections on their next pass, incredible cleverness.
In previous generations when a Corvette would be mentioned the first subject point would be the engine and the power. It’s clear that the Stingray is so much more than just brute force, because we’ve haven’t mentioned the 460hp 6.2L LT1 V8 at all really. That’s not to say they engine isn’t worth the praise. Sixty from a standstill happens in only 3.8 seconds and the ¼ mile at 12 and its also clever, with careful driving it will do 29 miles per gallon on the highway. The seven 7 speed manual is also a treat and is the first of its kind, it’s great that Chevy still offers a third peddle when most others have forgotten it.
The underdog is no longer. This C7 Stingray offers abundant levels performance, technology and luxury. What makes it superior than the Porsche and other rivals is that it does so in a package that cost thousand less. The Corvette is a dream car that can easily become a reality. It’s a legend, and an icon and it is my dream car of the day.