Saturday, June 21, 2014

"You Could Have A Ferrari, Or A Corvette Stingray"

The car I knew looked like this, but with the standard wheel covers that Leno's car has.  And a 327 with a single
four-barrel carburetor.

Jay Leno says that in the video linked to below.  I knew of a guy who took it literally.  A few years before, he'd sourced and bought a used Ferrari 250 GT through the dealer I worked for.  He was a personal friend and sometime race crew member for my former employer.  My own ride in that car was one of the thrills of my automotive life.  The audio we hear on the internet doesn't do justice to the sound of a Ferrari V-12.

When the Stingray came out, John sold his 250 GT and bought a new, red, Stingray coupe.  I was an 18-year-old kid working a summer job, and John was a 30-something engineer, so I didn't feel comfortable asking him why he made the switch and what he thought of each car.

But, as Leno says, it's hard to overestimate the impact the Stingray had when it came out.  It looked terrific--and like nothing else on the road.  And it had power to match the most exotic European GT's  And it had independent rear suspension.  It was the beginning of the reputation Corvette has to this day: world-class performance for less than half the price of its exotic competition.

There's an error in the video: the C 2's independent rear suspension was fully-articulated, with universal joints at both ends of the half shafts.  It was not a swing axle.  Even so, as the video shows (on-ramp seconds), the Stingray  could be a handful, when you gave it the boot, on those narrow cross-ply tires.

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