What’s in a name?
Why Wayne Carini couldn’t resist buying a C8 Corvette
My obsession with Corvettes began when my dad brought home a wrecked 1953, which he restored. In 1964, he bought a year-old split-window coupe; to 13-year-old me, it was love at first sight. In 1969, I traded my restored 1966 MGB for a Marlboro Maroon 1966 Corvette coupe. Over the years, I’ve probably owned 20 Corvettes, although I’ve rarely kept them long. My last was a 1966 427/435 roadster.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I rarely buy new cars. I’ve made a few exceptions in the past, and I’m making an exception for the 2020 C8 Corvette.
I was thrilled to learn that Chevy was coming out with a mid-engine Corvette. I told myself that if it cost less than $100,000, I’d go for one. Even better, they start at about $60,000.
If you want a high-performance, mid-engine thrill a minute, which would you rather have, a used exotic with possible service needs or a brand-new Corvette with a factory warranty covering the entire car for three years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for five years or 60,000 miles?
The C8 has so much going for it. It looks fantastic. It has unbelievable performance—thanks to the base 490-hp, 6.2-liter V-8. And best of all, it is reasonably priced. The thought of a relatively affordable car that will do 190 mph and cover the quarter-mile in 11.3 seconds at 121 mph will always get me going. I don’t really need one, but for years I’ve thought the Corvette should be mid-engine. Now that it is, I really want one.
The last new car to tempt me was the 2018 Dodge Demon. That’s another car I didn’t really need. When I was growing up, though, I had this Firebird with a GTO engine, and I used to drag-race it. Once in a while, there was a guy with a four-door Dart that had a Hemi under the hood, and the guy could pull those front wheels off the ground. That sight always stuck with me, and it’s the entire reason I bought the Demon. It has only 128 miles on it, but I can pull a wheel stand at will.
Once I decided to purchase a C8, I found them hard to order because my local dealers had small allotments that were already spoken for. Luckily, a friend put me in touch with a Michigan dealer with a large allotment of 2020 Corvettes, and I placed my order.
My ’Vette will be Sebring Orange over a tan leather interior, with body-color trim. It’s going to have nearly all the bells and whistles, including the Z51 Performance package, which includes improved aerodynamics, bigger brakes, better cooling, a firmer suspension (aided by the trick FE4 magnetorheological dampers), an electronic limited-slip differential, stickier tires, and a few more ponies (495), thanks to a dual-mode exhaust. All of which turns the C8 into a true track machine.
My friend Ralph ordered one from the same dealer, and we both requested “museum delivery.” The plan was to take a trip down to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, for a full-day experience that includes a private tour. Then we’d drive back to Connecticut and crash a cars-and-coffee or two along the way. Following the UAW strike, however, a production delay until February put a wrench in that plan.
Unlike the Demon, I’d like to drive the C8 on a regular basis. I’d also like to trade up every time a new Corvette model is released. Next will be the convertible, probably followed by a wide-body, and then maybe a Z06 or Grand Sport or ZR1. I’m just going to follow the C8’s exciting evolution. I might even send one to my friend Ken Lingenfelter at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering for his special treatment.
The C8 is a watershed car for Chevrolet, and I think it will open new eyes to the Corvette and attract buyers who never would have considered one before. It might even prompt folks to start collecting older Corvettes. I know several people who never gave a new Corvette much thought, and now they’re waiting anxiously for theirs. I know I am.