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.
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.”