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Followers of one of America’s greatest sporting icons, the near-70-year-old Chevrolet Corvette, may feel ambivalent about the eighth-generation car.
On the other side of the Atlantic, we hear, ’Vette traditionalists have pretty deeply held reservations – although they aren’t preventing it from selling in the usual generous numbers.
The ‘C8’ arrived in its native market in 2020 and, after a delayed start for export, European and UK sales are now in full swing, the latter exclusively through Ian Allan Motors of Virginia Water.
With this generation, and for the first time, if you want a right-hooker homologated to local emissions standards, you can have one: no running around the car to grab that car park ticket or to pay that bridge toll.
But be warned, if you do want one you should expect to wait about 18 months, with UK demand outstripping the rest of Europe combined – part of the reason this Stingray is such a strong Future classic bet.
So, do you want one? The first question to answer may well be: ‘Does this look like a proper Corvette?’
That’s a tough one, largely because of the wide-ranging technical overhaul that’s been wrought on the car: this is the first ’Vette to have its V8 bolted in behind the cabin rather than up front.
It has adopted a mid-engined layout like so many exotics in part because that allows the car some key ride and handling advantages – from better weight distribution and rigidity to improved steering response – but mostly, you suspect, because General Motors wants it to be perceived as a cut-price alternative to a modern hypercar.
To be fair, it has the desired effect. But that also means the classic long-bonnet, cabin-rear profile that has always defined the Corvette has fallen by the wayside.
As a result of packaging the engine like that, another one of the Corvette’s long-standing mechanical features has been cast aside: transverse leaf-spring suspension.
The C8 moves to adjustable coil-overs, which means it doesn’t have quite such a low profile as its predecessors, or hug the ground quite so snugly.
The car plays the right kind of familiar tunes, though, thanks to its atmospheric pushrod V8, which has enough power to play the leading light in the driving experience, and more than enough big-hearted character: it’s fast, soulful and very likeable.
It’s a bit odd to find a slick eight-speed twin-clutch ’box rather than a chunky old-school manual, but it works well.
The other dynamic gains are clear, too: the C8 steers twice as well as any ’Vette before; has new-found body control and cornering balance; and is a fine tourer.
The good ol’ boys were never likely to agree, but change is undoubtedly good for this grand old dame of the sports-car world – and Chevrolet isn’t struggling to find buyers who can see that.
Images: Max Edleston
- Engine ohv 6162cc V8; 475bhp @ 6450rpm; 452lb ft @ 4500rpm
- Transmission eight-speed auto, RWD
- 0-60mph 3.5 secs
- Top speed 184mph
- Mpg 22.8
- Price £82,290
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