Jan 18, 2013

She's fast enough for you old man.

You can dispense with the pleasantries, I'm here to get you back to reality.  

This is clearly beyond our price range, it's not the car your looking for.

So we are all very excited about the new C7 Stingray Corvette, aren't we?   But,  let's keep in mind that cars are poor investments.  Let's also keep in mind that for some of us money must go to Amazon.com for diapers for a long, long time - then for soccer shoes and lastly college.  So, let's all let the emotions settle down and think this new obsession through, shall we?  

You can go about your business. Move along

If you still want a Corvette after taking your heart medicine, then you've got to make some important decisions.  Your decision must pay some dividends, or you'll never sell it to yourself or others who might hold the checkbook.  I'm here to help, because I don't blog about super cars, and "rationalization" is my middle name.   I blog about cars I can personally afford, and about cars that don't hurt so bad when you sell them, either.  Which is why I have three followers: my wife, my mother and some girl from India. 

Consider something a little older, but still extremely cool.
But really, less cool and much older than this one

First,  what are you thinking?  A new car?  There's no bigger waste of money than a brand new car.  Sure, it would be cool.  Never finding all the flaws that someone else has fixed or hidden.  Never discovering the secret half-ass repairs that were missed by your pre-purchase inspection.  Never worrying about actual mileage or missed oil changes.  Having that pure perfect relationship from birth with a pristine one owner car.  No! Get a hold of yourself, man. That kind of crazy talk is for retirees and Lotto winners.

1998 Turbos beat the hell out of '99 standard Carreras.
Heck, they give even new Carreras some serious competition!
A good example of resisting the new model in 1999.
Buying used, tired, beaten down cars is the answer to us limited budget shoppers   So don't you forget it. Settle down and remember, it's a small price to pay for protection against the huge value drop you'll see as you drive off the lot.  Use your logic and maybe even some restraint.  Though I don't personally subscribe to such things.  

1995 Gave us the last windsor V8 Mustang Cobra R.
Cooler and worth over twice what a '96 Cobra fetches.
Trading for a new 1996  Cobra would have been dumb.
Second,  this is the first of a new generation. Buying the first is often a mistake. This is the starting point, not the ending point of the coolness that will be the Stingray.   All the defects that are yet to appear will be sorted out as the next 5-7 years elapse.  True, it's possible it will be flawless and unimprovable, but be real. In 5 years even those little improvements will make you regret your emotional state right now. You'll then suffer from a greater depreciation than your yearning can currently understand.

The last BMW M3 E46's had a competition package available.
They have held value over the past 3 years very, very well.
 IF you can find one and aren't stupid and sell it 2 years ago 

Third,   A more special, collectible ZR1 vette is a way cooler investment.  By cooler I mean less bad.  We all know cars are not an investment.  Please see previous, wise blogs I've written.  Example: Cars as Investments?  Then again, with the state of the real estate market, maybe a ZR1 is indeed a good investment.  My 14 year old Porsche has certainly held its value better than my home.  Unless, you count $250 oil changes.

Under 1,500 were built with the 405hp LT5.Do your homework and find one with a high-torque tranny. 
Don't underestimate the C4 ZR1's powers.
So think hard about a limited production, collectible and esoteric super car like the C4 ZR1. yes a C4.  I know you dig the C6 ZR1, but that's a no brainer.  Anyone can dream of that car.  Think outside the box.  This 1990's ZR1 goes unnoticed often, because it doesn't depart from the appearance of the common and often even tired C4.  

Googled and found: 1993 Low 8,892 Miles under $40K
click here to buy it, if it's still around.
 This ZR1 is not the same as other C4s. It's special and the people who know it will have all their teeth and not smell when they approach you at the gas station.   It has a certain secret insider elegance since it's not easy to spot from afar. You don't like it as much right now as the C6 ZR1 or the C7 Stingray.  I understand. Remember, the C4 ZR1 is a notable car and will hold your money in trust like no new Stingray can. Take your Zoloft and you'll warm to it in time.  

C4 ZR1 was definitely the coolest C4 ever conceived
The big question, is it cooler than a base model C5 now??
Search your feelings.

See http://www.zr1netregistry.com/ for compelling stats.  Just like the Millenium Falcon,  She's fast enough for you, old man.  They are giving these away at the auctions too!!  See:  http://www.barrett-jackson.com/application/onlinesubmission/lotdetails.aspx?ln=59&aid=466

With stats like: 186 mph, 0-60 mph 4.4-4.7 sec,  qtr in under 13sec.
The force is strong with them.

Plan B,  There is another
Buy a raffle ticket for the fastest convertible Vette ever produced 
I've spent my limit on these strategies, but good luck to you.

High miles, well maintained. CarFax shows some battle damage.
 Owner made a lot of special modifications himself.
 Tidbits from wikipedia:

During 1986, General Motors acquired Group Lotus, the UK based engineering consulting and performance car manufacturing firm. The Corvette division approached Lotus with the idea of developing the world's fastest production car, to be based on the C4 generation Corvette. With input from GM, Lotus designed a new engine to fit in place of the L98 V8[citation needed] that was powering the standard C4. The result was what GM dubbed the LT5, an aluminum-block V-8 with the same bore centers as the L98, but with four overhead camshafts, 32 valves. Lotus also designed a unique air management system for the engine to provide a wider power band by shutting off 8 of the 16 intake runners and fuel injectors when the engine was at part-throttle, while still giving the ZR-1 375 hp (280 kW) when at wide open throttle. In addition to the engine, Lotus helped GM design the ZR-1's (which in prototype version was called "King of the Hill"[4]) upgraded braking and steering systems[citation needed], and helped them pick the settings for the standard "FX3" adjustable active ride control that Chevrolet was fitting to the car[citation needed], helping to ensure that the vehicle was more than just a modern-day muscle car with a big engine and no real capability on the track.
GM found that the engine required special assembly, and that neither the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky nor any of their normal production facilities could handle the workload, so Mercury Marine corporation of Stillwater, Oklahoma was contracted to assemble the engines and ship them to the Corvette factory in Bowling Green where the ZR-1s were being assembled.
The vehicle went on sale in 1990 and was available only as a coupe. It was distinguishable from other Corvette coupes by its wider tail section, 11" wide rear wheels and its new convex rear fascia with four square shaped taillights and a CHMSL (center high mounted stop lamp) attached to the top of the hatch glass instead of between the taillights.
The ZR-1 displayed stunning ability both in terms of acceleration and handling capabilities, but carried with it an astonishingly high price. MSRP for the ZR-1 in 1990 was $58,995, almost twice the cost of a non-ZR-1, and had ballooned to $66,278 by 1995; some dealers successfully marked units as high as $100,000. Even at base MSRP, this meant that the ZR-1 was competing in the same price bracket as cars like the Porsche 964, making it a hard sell for GM dealers.

1992 Corvette ZR1
In 1991, the ZR-1 and base model received updates to body work, interior, and wheels. The rear convex fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the base model found its way to all models, making the high-priced ZR-1 even less distinguishable. Further changes were made in992, including extra ZR-1 badges on the fenders and the introduction of Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) or traction control. For model year 1993, Lotus design modifications were made to the cylinder heads, exhaust system and valvetrain of the LT5, bringing horsepower up to 405. In addition, a new exhaust gas recirculation system improved emissions control. The model remained nearly unchanged into the 1995 model year, after which the ZR-1 was discontinued as the result of waning interest, development of the LS series engines, cost and the coming of the C5 generation. A total of 6,939 ZR-1s were manufactured over the six-year period. Not until the debut of the C5 platform Z06 would Chevrolet have another production Corvette capable of matching the ZR-1's performance.
Although the ZR-1 was extremely quick (0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and onto 180+ mph), the huge performance of the LT5 engine was matched by its robustness. As evidence of this, a stock ZR-1 set a number of international and world records at a test track in Fort Stockton, Texas on March 1, 1990, verified by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), including seven new international records: Walken

Jan 14, 2013


Okay,  I wrote this blog after my very first impression.  Since then I've come around and warmed to every goddam inch of this car.  Mostly because the things I though were retarded, turn out to be functional components.  Example: the side vents and tail lights actually are ugly for a reason.  Well, more accurately, the form follows function anyway, so I've given Chevy a pass. It's hard to imagine "needing" more than a C7 ever! 

 Perhaps I'll commemorate my son's birth with a new payment book. Looks like it could be public school for you Cameron.

I thought I knew everything knowable about Corvettes in high school.  In College my speech class got the pleasure of hearing all about Corvettes for every single speech I gave.  I didn't need any research on the subject, which freed up more time for chasing girls in my Camaro.  Strangely,  although there have been several in the family, Ive never personally owned one.  I thought the C7 might be the one.

As a very famous blogger on automobilia I know you all want my first impression on the new C7.  So  here it is: 

 The taillights on the new C7 Stingray stink.   

I know these new tail lights are cooler in design and technology but that isn't my point.  The taillights on a Corvette are sacred and need to, at least in basic concept, pay tribute to Corvettes of the past.  There are plenty of other incredible improvements in the new Vette, and you can read about them somewhere else.  If you had read better blogs, you'd know just how impressive this C7 is.  Chevy has improved upon an already very impressive C6.   I also dig the StingRay name, though I feel the emblem is lost on the side.  I would have preferred a Stingray package of upgrades along with a more subtle logo.  But I digress, we are here to hate the tail lights.

Instead of harkening back to any number of preceding Stingrays, Chevrolet has harkened back to the the latest Chevy Camaro.  What they heck?

Overall the car is clearly a winner, and the extreme style will keep the loyalists, because they are loyal, after all.  But what about being loyal to the image that has sustained this flagship for so long?   I'm not suggesting retro styling,  I'm saying a respectfully nodding toward whence you've come.

In case you think I'm missing the point of forward development, I'm not.  I get that things like the headlamps must change.  After all those old flip-up lamps have aerodynamic consequences, but this tail light design offends me aesthetically.   After all, tail light design is  not a huge performance area.  Yes, I know all about the cam affect on the tail end of a car, and can assure you that any shaped tail light will do just fine.  There is no excuse.

I recall a similar failure from Porsche in 1999 with the 996 Carrera headlight design.   This smart design used a larger housing stretched to encorporated blinkers for easier mainaninance and assembly (must have been Toyota's influence).  Porsche missed the big picture,  those headlamps were sacred.  Every 911 had two round headlights positioned at the leading edge of the front fender, heck even the 356 had them placed and shapped similarly.  Instead they chose affordable inspiration from the a lesser model, the Boxster.  It was obvious and people hated it.

Can you guess which headlight design I am talking about?
Then you are now an automotive design engineer. Congrats.

Inspiration can only flow down the product line, not up,  customers who pay for the flagship can feel short changed. Exceptions exist, of course, but lets save those for the minnows and not the Stingray.  Never take your inspiration for your flagship from a cheaper car in your stable. 

 a quick note to any Chevy execs out there.   Send either C6 below and I'll take down this blog.  I'll take the optional Corvette museum delivery please.

ZR1 is my favorite color.
Track star, investment and sex god.

New generations are exciting but from an investment perspective they are not  always resale winners.  Typically as any generation matures, improvements come and discovered shortcomings are resolved. If you've got limited funds and want long lasting satisfaction, I'd suggest buying the end of any generation and have the buz over the newer model help your bottom line. Typically the coolest of any particular run, these swan song models  have many incentive designs to boost end of the generation sales.  Currently they include the ZR1 and 427 Convertible.  The ZR1 is technically my favorite since it's the only supercharged Corvette, but the 427 Convertible is essentially a ZO6 convertible, and being a drop top it would serve best as the weekend trip machine i'm inclined to enjoy with my wife.   I'm actually thankful I don't have to decide.  

60th anniv, 427 Convertible.
Probably the most fun you can have on the road.
All the sexy curves of the ZO6 in a rag top.


it'll probably look better in black