Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First Impressions: Chevrolet Corvette 427


In all my years as an Automotive Journalist, I've yet to put my hands on a Chevrolet Corvette. Stubbornly, I've always shunned the Vette as an "all engine, no poise" poorly built muscle car without really driving one. Well, know I have and I’m beginning to change my tune.

Where I got it right, the interior is painfully ugly and went out of style in the late 80’s. Really, it still uses buttons from that era. The seats feel as though they are planks of plywood with a bit of low-density foam tossed on top. The steering knocks about, the clutch pedal is longer that a tractors and it drives like an old pickup when not pushing it to the limits. Finally it’s the poster car for the man’s midlife crisis, as not one 20 or 30 year old gave me the thumbs up, but every guy over the age of 50 were drooling at the sight of it.
Where I got it wrong, it is a beautifully balanced car, the magnetic ride and super sticky, super wide Michelin Pilot Sports will have it bending physics theories in corners, the brakes are some of the best I’ve ever experienced, the seating position is that of a proper sports car. When you do start to push it, the truck feel of the controls goes away and everything starts to make sense, and finally, it’s just really good fun to drive, while having no refinement, no real technology, it harkens back to when sports cars where no nonsense, no frills, single minded speed demons. Other than a USB port to play you favourite music, a GPS unit to save the real man from the embarrassment of asking for directions and traction control to keep everything on the straight and narrow when in civil environments, there is nothing else added to the 427 Vette that doesn’t make it go faster.

So do the old guys know something we don’t? I’m beginning to think they do, or I may be in denial of how much my hairline is degrading. Either way, the Vette is a proper sports car, a car that nostalgically brings back the true joy of driving.