Taking the old Corvette for a spin
SO the Olympic bedside light has been tuned off for another four years. And what a sports day it was.
There was everything: records, history, laughter and tears. Even that swivel-eyed God botherer in an orange skirt who tried to commit what would have been one of the most spectacular suicides ever at the Silvestone Grand Prix.
It’s interesting to examine which nation excels at what event. There are spindly-legged men from the dark continent who have no difficulty running around in circles forever. The British demonstrate the benefit of a public school education by rowing like speedboats and sailing with all the skill and grace of Nelson’s flagship.
The Chinese are able to bounce and somersault in a gymnastic style that seems to defy human evolution. But then years of flying over your handlebars in Beijing high street will always throw up cyclists who can land with face-saving grace and poise.
American athletes are excllent in events that happen in a straight line. They swim like fish. In a straight line. They sprint as well as the beasts of the jungle. In a straight line. Show them a corner and, whoops … there goes the baton again.
About the only straight line event the Americans shoud be kept away from is shooting. Friendly fire in the pistol finals is not quite what the Oympic ideal is all about.
American cars similarly are excellent at burning up the black top so long as the race only lasts for two blocks and involves no deviation of more than five degrees. In America cars do not slide out of control on bends and fly into bus queues. There are no bends. Look closely next time cops and robbers are on the TV. Have you ever spotted a roundabout in CSI Miami? Thought not.
This is just as well. Turn on the ignition on a wet day in an American ‘sports’ car and it faces the other way quicker than a randy dog. You thought Tony Blair was the master of spin? Well try a Corvette.
Driving the old ‘Vett, the one Vauxhall stopped importing after selling about two in as many years, is a fond memory.
To meet the requirements of Bruce Springsteen lyrics it had massive power and gold medal straight line performance. Hit the excitement pedal and, in a short time, after the dust, smoke and dead cats clear, you realise that without really trying you have invaded a sandy, middle-eastern dictatorship.
Ah, but the corners. In the UK we have to have lots of bends because being such a small country we would run out of Tarmac and drive into the sea if all our highways were like Telegraph Road.
The first one I showed to the ‘Vette brought on a mild dizzy spell. At the second it was sick all over someone’s shoes and going into the third it stopped dead and started crying for its momma.
But still I loved it. Still I hunted high and low for a Starsky and Hutch cardigan to wear driving it. Still, like a Florida election count, I couldn’t work out if the Corvette was a happy accident or downright cheating.
Well look over here. The ‘Vette is on its way back and coming to a car lot near you for around £45,000.
So what’s different? Well if it had Kelly Brook looks before it’s now got Kelly Brook naked looks.
It is shorter and heavily dependent on aluminium – sorry that would be aloominum – under a plastic body. I know you can’t believe it but here is something American that has actually lost weight. It weighs 128kg less than a BMW M3, which seems to bode ill for the famed Munich sausage diet.
Oh, and it still has that wonderful, Boys Own, F16 style head-up instrument display.
The C6 Corvette is promoted as quicker than the last model. Four English seconds to reach 60mph and a top speed of 180mph. I seem to recall that is an utterly pointless but immensely satisfying 10mph faster than the old one.
I’d have to drive it, and believe me I can’t wait, to tell you if the C6 is as good at the Fosberry Flop as the previous version. What we do know is that it has the muscle of a shot putter from the former Soviet Union. A female one at that. The V8 engine has 6,000ccs and chucks out 400bhp. Torque? Well do it quietly among yourselves while I tell you there’s 400lb/ft at 4,000rpm.
Massive tyres should produce grip like a Bulgarian arm wrestler but that will be offset by the Italian suspension.That’s Italian in the sense that its leaf springs are based on a design by Leonardo da Vinci.
So suspension from the midde ages with positively steroidal, pumped up performance. A 100 metres champion if ever David Coleman saw one.
That’s another nice thing about the last Olympics. Apart from suspicions surrounding the Greek syncronised bazookie team falling off its motorbike, there were no really big drugs scandals. Certainly there would never be any question of American involvement. They’ve given all theirs to the Corvette.
Categorised as: CORVETTE