As an automotive photographer based in America, I reckon I’m obligated to expound a bit on my opinions of the new Chevy Corvette. After all, it’s an icon. An American icon. And probably America’s most well known sports car.
But I spent 22 years hating them. It all started when I first became consciously aware of cars, how much I loved them and thought they “looked cool”, and my lifelong obsession began: 1983. The year there was no Corvette model, for the record. I loved, absolutely loved, the C3 Vette. A family friend owned one, and I loved the rare times I could go see it, sit in it, and ogle at it. It was, and still is, a killer looking car. Is the C3 my favorite Vette? I’d have to say yes.
But in 1984, before my love affair with the Vette could be solidified, the hideous C4 was thrown into the market as the latest and greatest “modernization” of the iconic car, courtesy of further hideous 1980′s fads and styles. I was horrified, and baffled. I was 9 years old, a car-obsessed little boy, and I thought the new 1984 Vette was awful. I didn’t know, or care, about all of it’s technical specifications – I just knew it was terrible to look at. Subsequently, my interest in the Countach, awful-driving car as it was, became my primary boyhood “bedroom poster” car like millions of other kids in the 80′s. Right then and there in 1984 I dropped the Chevy Corvette from my Catalogue Of Awesome, and moved on
And it didn’t matter how many little massages and tweaks they did to the C4, it was still the awful looking thing it started as in 1984 when it finally ended production in 1996. I know every vehicle ever made has it’s interest group, and I’m certain there is a C4 Corvette Owners Club in, I dunno, Kansas or something that would be hugely offended by such a statement. But again, I’m not talking details or specs, I mean appearance – and the C4 era Vette appeared ugly, as did far too many 80′s automobiles – sadly.
So did 1997′s C5 provide me the lust salvation I was hoping for? Not at all. It was better, don’t get me wrong, but it still fell prey to the cheesy “roundness and bubbling” of the prevailing 1990′s car design fads – which, to be clear, were not the good fads of the era. So, here again, I saw C5′s roll out, and idly watched them roll up and down the streets with no concern for them. In fact, I didn’t even realize at first that the C5 was a new version – I assumed it was another massaging of the C4 when I first saw it. Left me utterly underwhelmed, and remained so until the end of the C5′s run.
Fast forward to 2005. The C6 had just been released, which I didn’t pay attention to. And why would I have? No reason to believe it would be Catalogue Of Awesome caliber. Well, then I found myself at an auto show in Houston that summer. This is where I came face to face with the C6 Z06, and I couldn’t help but pause, let my heart rate increase a bit, and stare. Now we were talking. Nearly a lifetime of being entirely bored and annoyed by every new Vette model had ended there on that floor. And I was happy to be delightfully shocked at what I saw. Not since 1982 had a new Vette emerged that I made me say “Yes, please!” in a panicked voice. And yet here it was: the C6.
Since then, I find myself doing an Exocist head spin at passing C6′s, especially the Z06′s and the extreme drool-worthy ZR1, every time one appeared. I was becoming a fan of the Corvette, the modern Corvette I mean, for the first time since I was in 2nd grade. Yes!
So when buzzing began about the C7 on the horizon, I paid attention. I paid attention closely. It took 22 years for Chevy to redeem themselves to me after disgracing the C3 with it’s follow up, and I wasn’t gonna sit back and just accept a C7 that sucked.
They didn’t ruin a good thing, not this time, and it looks like good things are still coming from Chevrolet. Can’t wait to see the upcoming derivatives, esp. the possibility of a Z06 and ZR1 version.
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