As long as we’ve been using the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover”, we’ve been doing just that. We can’t help it, we’re visual creatures with a
Is there a sports car that is judged more harshly and unfairly than the Corvette? I’d be happy to debate that for hours on end, but you’d be hard pressed to sway me from my opinion that no, there is not. In my years in the automotive community, I’ve heard time and time again that Corvettes are for guys having a mid-life crisis, sun-seeking retirees, those uncultured new money types, fanboys who can’t stray from the gold bowtie and so on and so forth. Bullshit. Like any long-standing model, there have been iterations that haven’t been great, but the C7 Stingray is arguably the best American sports car ever built. A regular ‘
The sheer ridiculousness of this being a street legal car that anyone with the means to do so can just walk into a showroom and buy is part of the attraction. I spent one glorious week rolling around Los Angeles in a silver example of the 755hp and 715 lb-ft of torque top dog Vette and so long as the pavement is dry, it’s a perfectly fine daily driver. Yeah, I got some quizzical looks and eye rolls when loading groceries into the surprisingly spacious rear cargo area in the Whole Foods parking lot, but what else could I do other than smile. I’m a firm believer that you should never, ever, choose to drive a certain kind of car because you think it makes you look cool. Always drive what you like to drive, because no matter how great you think you look in whatever you’re driving, there’s somebody out there who thinks you look like an asshole. When you’re driving a Corvette with a giant carbon fiber wing and carbon fiber splitters, there are a-lot of somebody’s.
Of course, you really shouldn’t care what other people think, so long as you’re enjoying yourself without hurting anyone, but when you’re using the ZR1 as the crack team of engineers at GM intended it to be used, you certainly won’t care. Between the exhaust and supercharger noise pouring into the cockpit when you have the roof popped off, your brain will be flooded with so much dopamine that nothing else matters. Then there’s the perfectly weighted feel reaching your hands through the Alcantara-wrapped flat bottom wheel, the stupefying amount grip that your butt tells you just won’t ever run out, and of course, the shove in the gut when you drop your right foot down to the floor.
Until recently, these sensations have been reserved for supercars that even those with the scratch have to work to get their hands on. The great democratization of horsepower and all-around performance in the last 5 to 10 years has seemingly reached a high water mark with cars like the ZR1. Because this is a Corvette I’m obligated to mention the 0-60 time, which is 2.85 seconds and the top speed, which is 211 mph. This is a rear wheel drive, front engine, American-made vehicle that has a base price of $118,900. What a time to be alive. The car I drove was optioned with the 3ZR package which included