The Top Corvette: Even More Expensive, But Still a Bargain
The very best Corvette will be out of the price range of many buyers, but the high price is a necessity as the performance bar keeps getting raised
By Patrick Hoey
Okay, so I just want to say right up front that of course I’m happy about the best Corvette getting even better. The Corvette is still very much the best bang for the buck, in base trim or loaded with Z06 goodness, and you’re leaving the dealership with more power then you’re probably need and a larger ego then you had before turning the ignition for the first time.
While I get a tingly, excited sensation in my belly when I hear the name “Blue Devil” being thrown around for the future higher-performance Corvette just as much as the next car nut, I feel like a part of me is preparing to say good bye to part of what made the Corvette special. I don’t mean that the Corvette is leaving us, but rather it is going away to school, growing up, and coming back with a doctorate in performance. And therefore the hourly rate for fun in a Corvette moves up as well. What has made the Corvette so phenomenal is the fact you could afford one, not everyone of course, but it was a practical dream car…which is a rarity. Show me another car that can keep up with exotics, have maintenance work done alongside your work truck, and be had for $38-40,000 dollars (USD). Add in the fact you can say “It’s the red Vette over there” with a big, stupid grin on your face at your high school reunion, and you’ve pretty much got a large portion of the “American Dream” under your belt.
In 2001, we were blessed with the Z06, the Vette of Vettes. When a Corvette just isn’t enough, enter the Corvette Z06. With 375hp under the hood (wow, that seems a lot less now than it did back then,) you were still driving off the lot with a car that was under $50,000 USD, and as always, the Corvette was a hell of a buy.
Fast forward to the last quarter of 2005 as the 2006 C6 Z06 with 505 hp hits showroom floors. The sound you hear right after that is the sound of jaws hitting the floor as well as throttle junkies and horsepower whores across America get a look at the Z06. The Corvette C6 Z06 is beautiful, and the aggressive touches made to the Z06’s appearance only add to your desire, BUT, along with a hefty performance increase came a higher sticker price. The top-end Corvette now gives your wallet a bit of a shock, and at the starting price of $71,000, it is needless to say, puts the car a little further out of reach to the average enthusiast. I am not saying that the 2008 Z06 is over-priced for what you get; I want to make that clear, because even at that price it is still a fraction of what you would have to dish out for an exotic that likely wouldn’t even be able to keep up with the Z06. So all together, the C6 Z06 still holds the crown for being the best bang for the buck.
There will always be those fortunate enough to have a Ferrari sitting in their garage, and it probably doesn’t even bother them that a car sporting a $100,000 lighter sticker price can out-perform them; they own a Ferrari, right? Life is good. However, it may get under the skin of the American car fan who just can’t settle for having anything but the best, and up until the C6 Z06, they may have been able to afford the best America had to offer in terms of sports car performance. There really isn’t anything that can be done, we can’t complain because the Z06 is still pound for pound the best performance car for the money. The problem is that despite that fact it’s still a huge bargain, we can no longer afford it.
The gap between the base Corvette and the top-dog Corvette is larger than anytime recently in Corvette history, and it’s no longer a matter of putting a little extra aside to be able to afford the few extra grand for the fastest Vette that Chevrolet has to offer. This brings me to my concerns for the “Blue Devil,” which, BTW, is also being called the “Corvette SS,” but let’s hope that name doesn’t stick. This is going be even more expensive than the Z06, possibly even in $100,000 territory, which is rarefied air for a Corvette. Without a doubt this new Super Vette, whatever it’s called, will still hold the title as the “Best Bang for the Buck” sports car; it will be a car that Superman would purchase during his midlife crisis, no doubt. But it will also mark the absolute end of the Corvette being a realistic dream car for the average guy who has to have the best.
With the Z06 and the new Super Vette around, exiting the dealership in your base Corvette may leave you feeling like a V6 Mustang owner. While you can say you own a Corvette, and you will still turn heads, you will always know that there was a Corvette sitting next to yours that had a sticker price double what you paid, with a lot more performance, leaving you feeling like you have half a Corvette, leaving you feeling like half the bad man you want to be. This is very much a true emotion, not an exaggeration to make a point, and I know because I’ve felt it. But like I said, because this new Corvette will be fighting and conquering exotics and specialty performance cars that cost hundreds of thousands more, we will sound ungrateful for complaining.
No matter how we look at it, we are facing the give that comes along with the take; Corvette owners are getting what we asked for (supremacy of the Corvette) but sacrificing some street cred regarding the regular Corvette in return. The man who was able to leave his local Chevy dealership with the best America had to offer in 1999, will more than likely not be able to say the same once this new Super Vette hits the showroom. So when I said that this is a good bye to the Corvette as we know it, I meant it, but I can’t hold that against the best Corvette because I see it off to battle with great pride. However, I hope one day I will know what it feels like to be able to drive off my local Chevy lot knowing I have the best America has to offer. I better start saving now.
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