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Corvette improved over 30 years even in price

2017 C7 Corvette more powerful and fuel efficient than C4 version

Published: May 2, 2017, 10:15 PM
Updated: May 6, 2017, 4:34 AM

Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport - Of course the Corvette was on almost every young boomer’s automotive lust list – specifically the second-generation Sting Ray models, which set new standards in both styling and engineering for American cars. The most desirable and unobtainable of that lot were five special Grand Sport models built for Le Mans level endurance racing, just before GM pulled the plug on such covert competition activities. While the new C7 Stingray is closer in appearance to the less-desirable C3 models than those iconic C2s, it does offer a Grand Sport model, trimmed and outfitted to evoke those originals. Without the optional Z07 track package it will be a distinctive and reasonably comfortable driver with serious appreciation potential.

We’re all aware of the “new and improved” marketing philosophy, that justifies price-increases due to the improvements of a new model over the one it replaces, but a recent comparison is showing that improvements shouldn’t automatically mean decreases in affordability.

C4 Chevrolet Corvette

Curb-ramp manufacturer Bridjit Curb Ramps is proving the point with a comparison of the new Corvette with its ancestor from 30 years ago. Naturally, the high-performance coupe has been improved considerably over that time and three generations.

For example, today’s LT1 6.2-litre V-8 has increased just 8.25% in displacement, but horsepower and torque have improved by over 89% and 33%, respectively, to 455 hp and 460 lb-ft. And with those improvements, 0-100 km/h times have dropped 1.5 seconds and quarter mile times by nearly 3 seconds. And despite the larger engine, fuel economy has marginally improved to 14.7 L/100 km in the city and 9.4 on the highway — improvements of 6.7% and 8.7%, respectively.

Part of the credit for the performance improvements goes to the Corvette’s weight-reduction technologies, which has seen weight rise just 33 kg over three decades.

“In many ways, the ’87 Corvette was an impressive car,” says John Curry, president of Bridjit Curb Ramps. “The L98 engine was improved with the addition of hydraulic roller lifters that pushed the horsepower to 240 in that model. Thirty years ago, that was exceptional power, but it came at a hefty price.”

With all the improvements, Corvette has practically doubled in base price over three decades (from $27,999 US, to $55,450). However, when adjusted for inflation, the 1987 price would be the equivalent of $61,175.15 today (according to dollartimes.com), which means the 2017 price represents a decrease of nearly 10%.

But the one thing that is off importance to Bridjit is that Corvette ground clearance has actually dropped 13 mm, with the body now standing 102 mm off the ground.

“Four inches of ground clearance creates all sorts of problems for Corvette owners, and to be honest a lot of the people that buy our curb ramp are Corvette owners,” concludes Curry. “The ’Vette actually lost a ½ inch of clearance since 1987. I appreciate that the Corvette is a high performance vehicle, but I can’t understand why GM hasn’t increased the car’s ground clearance.”