My desire to own a Corvette really started in 1960, the year of the C1, first generation Corvette. I first saw this dream car at the Chevrolet dealer in Rossburg, Ohio, just 15 miles from my home. They were the one of the largest, if not the largest Corvette dealer anywhere in the state of Ohio at the time. They had many, many Corvettes — everything from a 1953 to a 1962 — and you could take them for test drives. That is where I really became hooked. I had to have one someday. I would go there often to look and dream about these awesome cars. My dream then was to own a 1962 as a sophomore in high school. Clearly, that was not going to happen, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A 1962 with 327 cubic-inch engine, fuel injected, four speed — it didn’t get any better than that. To get as close as I could to these cars without owning one, I kept up on the designs of each new generation of Corvette at Smith Chevrolet and subscribed to numerous Corvette magazines. I followed each new Corvette release obsessively.
The C2 Stingray Split Window Coupe was introduced in 1963 — it was, and still is today, one of the most desirable Corvettes to have ever been produced. It was only made one year: 1963. What made it special to some (and difficult for others) is the 2-piece rear window design with a center frame integrated into the body. General Motors received complaints from Corvette owners as it was hard to see out of the back due to the center frame. So, the next year, and through the 1967 model year, it was a 1-piece glass. That design “flaw” made the 1963 unique, special, and very collectible.
Deemed by Corvette enthusiasts to be the pinnacle of designs, the C2 1967 model year was an absolute wonder. Chevrolet introduced the 427 cubic-inch engine in 1966 — inserted into the C2. This car was a beast! If you go anywhere and see one of these on display or being driven it will capture the attention of people of all ages — including small children.
In 1968 I needed a job, I was single, I had no money to speak of, and I was luckily able to get in at General Electric. At the time this was a life saver — a full-time job with great pay and I was able to work and attend college. So, it was the time to look for my first Corvette! I happened to run across this person who had a Burgandy 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe advertised for sale. It had a white interior, 327 cubic-inch engine with a 4-speed transmission, with less than 5,000 miles on it. I fell in love with it, paid $3,500 for it and sold my beautiful 1956 Red Metal flake Chevrolet Convertible — the only one in Mercer County, Ohio — to get it. I had a dream and I fulfilled it. Now that I was finally a Corvette owner, there was no turning back.
Two years later in 1970, I acquired a black 1967 air-conditioned coupe. Adding a third child and a new house into my life, practicality set in; in a weak moment, I sold it. I told the buyer (his name was Larry as well) that if he ever decided to sell it, to give me the first opportunity to buy it back. Thirteen years later, in 1993, I bought it back from Larry and it’s in my garage today. Also, in 1970, I became one of the original founders of the Fort Wayne Corvette Club, which now has over 250 members. We are part of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, with hundreds of clubs all over the nation and the world.
Fast forward from 1960s Rossburg, Ohio to 2020, Fort Wayne, Indiana — I’m still a die-hard fan. Now let’s get to the real star of the show, the all new 2020 C8 Corvette. The reveal of the C8 took the world by storm, quickly overshadowing any of the previous generational changes people were accustomed to with the Corvette. Why? Two words — Mid. Engine.
The release of the C8 has given many manufactures a new reality. To get some cars in a similar class (Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and Porsche), you’re going to spend $200–$400,000. The base, new C8 Corvette can be put into your garage for $60–80,000. And it not only looks the part, but it can do 0 to 60 in under three seconds. The new design is awesome by all accounts. The Corvette engineers left no stone unturned — the design is impeccable and looks every bit as good as any other sports car being produced. The exterior is not the only thing that captures one’s attention, either — engine performance and state-of-the-art technology are integrated throughout the vehicle. An innovative front suspension life system will store up to 1,000 locations for automatic activation, so once you store the location the first time it will remember it and raise the vehicle at that exact setting every time you pull into your drive. Unlike other sports cars, you don’t need to manually set it. It’s equipped with high-definition backup cameras, and a Z51 performance package that gives you enhanced handling. Storing two full sized golf bags is possible in the C8. It has an incredible range of 12 color options. After finally seeing one for myself, it is everything people have been saying about it!
Would I purchase one right now? Some Corvette collectors would not be surprised by my answer — probably not. The first production year, General Motors will be working out a lot of small changes and improvements as is the case with any new generation Corvette. Despite that, the value of the C8 is unbeatable, and it is made in the USA. In fact, the body panels are produced just miles away in Huntington, Indiana. It is a steal for the base model to be under $60,000. The technology that is built into this vehicle is absolutely incredible. No other manufacturer offers this kind of technology at any price. Not surprisingly, the C8 offers no manual transmission. This may be the new normal, but I don’t think it’s something I could get used to. The C8 lends no opportunity to have a manual transmission. Other Corvette aficionados are waiting for the next vehicle in the series because the Z06 engine will be offered, predicted to boost the current C8’s 450 horsepower to an amazing 850.
While I have personally not driven the new C8, comments from Corvette owners are saying there is no comparison to the earlier generation Corvettes. It drives like a Porsche 911, technology is out of this world, and the price is extremely affordable for a vehicle with this performance, styling, and quality. The C8 is the undeniable American sports car prodigy. With the C8, Corvette and I have moved into the 21st century — it is a Corvette ready/built for the modern age.