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Stirring up some old emotions in the new Corvette Stingray.

By Steve Habel

14-vette

When I was a young man in my early 20s, I spent some extended time in a Corvette, a bright red 1982 C3 Stingray convertible. It belonged to my friend Dave, who I knew from playing soccer, and I rode shotgun with him down I-35 from Austin to San Antonio and back to enjoy a Loverboy concert at the old Hemisphere Arena. We ruled the road, kings in our own minds. Dave punched the sports car up to triple-digit speeds in a flash from the posted 55 mph, seemingly on a whim, and heads turned everywhere we went that afternoon and evening.

It was great being admired for even riding in that Corvette, like my cool factor and appeal had risen to new heights because of the car. Little did I realize that I was just the latest in a long line of men before and since to get this notion. Maybe that’s why the Corvette has been able to keep its appeal during the past 61 years. It has been continuously produced for a longer time than any other passenger car in the world.

Corvette made its debut as a concept vehicle at the General Motors Autorama in New York City on Jan. 17, 1953. It was such a success that a limited run of 300 production Corvettes began on June 30 of that year. All 1953 models were polo white with a red interior, and they were priced at $3,498. In 2006, the third 1953 Corvette produced sold for a record $1.06 million at auction. Jump ahead six decades. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was the most awarded car of the year, including being named the 2014 North American Car of the Year.

24-stingrayContinuing on that trend, the 2015 Corvette is even better, offered with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, a performance data recorder, OnStar with 4G LTE and two new design packages. New models include the return of the Z06, available in coupe and convertible, as well as new Corvette Stingray Atlantic and Pacific design packages.

The new Z06 is the most track-capable Corvette ever. The Stingray carries an unmatched combination of performance and efficiency. Its power comes from the 6.2-liter V-8 engine that delivers 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The Z51-equipped models are able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and run the quarter mile in 12 seconds at 119 mph, while the Corvette’s chassis and suspension features contribute to 1.03g in cornering grip and stop from 60 mph in 107 feet.

Built at GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant, the Corvette Stingray backs its performance capability with the greatest efficiency of any sports car on the market, with more than 450 horsepower, delivering an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city driving and 29 mpg on the highway with the sevenspeed manual transmission. The distinctive Atlantic and Pacific design packages show the personalization range of the Corvette Stingray and showcase how it could be configured as a luxury sport GT car (Atlantic) or as a high-performance motorsport car (Pacific).

The all-new industry-leading performance data recorder enables users to record high-definition video, with telemetry overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track. Engadget named it Best Automotive Electronics Product at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. All models feature a fully wrapped interior, in which every surface is covered with premium, soft-touch materials. There’s even a micro-LED screen for the passenger’s climate control placed below the vent on the dash, away from the performance features on the instrument panel.

24-stingray68There is undoubtedly a rush at just climbing into the Corvette, and the rush increases exponentially when sailing in the sports car throughout town or on the toll road—even at the legal speed limit. But what’s the fun in that, right? The bottom line is that the new Corvette (just like the older models) is fun to drive, fun to ride in and even fun to be seen in. Getting in can evoke some long-repressed emotions, even for the uninhibited. Prepare to have your hair blown back a little, even with the windows up.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coup and Convertible

  • Body styles Two-door hatchback coupe with removable roof panel or two-door convertible
  • Driveline Rear-wheel drive
  • Construction Composite and carbon-fiber body panels, hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components
  • Engine LT1 6.2L V-8
  • Horsepower 455/339@6,000 (SAE-certified), 460/343 (with available performance exhaust)
  • Torque 460/624@4,600 (SAE-certified), 465/630 (with available performance exhaust)
  • Maximum engine speed (rpm): 6,600
  • Transmissions Three available: seven-speed manual with Active Rev Match, seven-speed manual with Active Rev Match with Z51, eight-speed paddle-shift automatic
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy 17 city/29 highway (manual), TBD (automatic)
  • Availability Dealers began taking orders for the Stingray in July. Cars should arrive at dealerships in September.
  • Price (estimated) $55,000 for base model
  • Coolness factor Off the charts

Photos courtesy of Chevrolet.

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