2008 Corvette: All-American Sports Car

Classic Sports Cars: Classic Sports Cars: The Corvette is America's greatest sports car. Over the years it has held its own in both performance and looks when compared to the European heavyweight denizens of exotic high-performance sports car makers. Since its introduction in 1953, no conversation regarding the best sports cars ever made is complete without including the Vette. When the Ford Thunderbird, more commonly referred to as the T-Bird, switched to a four-door sedan from a two-seater coupe in 1958, the Harley Earl-designed Corvette had an exclusive niche as an icon of Americana. Mr. Earl's design of the 1927 Cadillac La Salle so impressed the then president of GM that he started the Art and Color Division and then named Earl the division's first director.

The Society of Automotive Engineers named the 1999 Corvette and the Mercedes-Benz S500 co-winners of the Best Engineered Car of the 20th Century. Automobile Magazine called the Sting Ray, which is the C2 era of 1963-'67, the "coolest car in history." The Sting Rays from 1968 to 1982 were the C3 era of the vaulted vehicle's chronicles. The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray coupe with the rear split-window is a design that has withstood the test of time.

The crème de la crème of the 2008 Corvettes is the Z06. The mighty Z06 is equipped with a 7.0-liter LS7 aluminum-block engine that produces 505 horsepower. Its V8 engine is hand built and contains many parts, such as titanium valves, connecting rods, and a dry-sump lubrication system, that were developed originally for usage in racing cars. The Z06's six-speed manual is very responsive. The lightweight aluminum frame, the rear-positioned engine, and the vehicle's nearly 50-50 weight distribution greatly enhance its overall performance. The carbon fiber front fenders also help lighten the load. The Z06's V8 engine has slightly more horsepower than the coupe and the convertible 2008 Corvette models. Additionally, the exhaust outlets have highly polished extended tips that are not on the other models.

The custom-leather-wrapped interior package adds the finishing touches to this masterpiece, surrounding the dashboard, the instrument panel, the upper door panels, the armrests, the console and the seats. Both the driver and passenger seats have six-way power in the convertible. However, it is an optional feature only for the coupe and the significantly more expensive Z06.

The base price according the Corvette's Web site is $72,125. But it is not hard to go a lot higher!

More on Vettes

The seventh generation Corvette, C7, begins in 2011. A Corvette has been the pace car at the Indy 500 nine times, and as recently as 2007. The oldest Corvette known is a handmade pre-production model, the EX-122. It is on display at the Atlantic City Showroom and Museum of Kerbeck Corvette. It was first displayed January 17, 1953, at the GM Motorama show at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. The oldest running production model is the third car off the production line in 1953. The vehicle sold for $1 million at an auction in January 2006. Only 300 Corvettes were manufactured in 1953, the fewest ever produced, making it the most coveted car of collectors. All 300 Corvettes manufactured in 1953 were hand built. It also is the fewest number of Vettes ever produced in a year, making it the most sought after year for vintage car collectors.

For LxM James Rothaar


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