One’s imagination often runs away with itself, usually late at night and after a lengthy immersion in suds or, if it’s your thing, Pinot Grigio. Well, I’m sad to report there’s no Coors Banquet left in this house, and high-falutin’ vino isn’t my style. What got my mind working overtime last night wasn’t proudly American hooch, but a chance visit to a local GM dealer — one where I’d hoped to stumble upon a unicorn. As rare as a backbone in politics, this mythical creature regularly fills my thoughts, leading me on a (so far) fruitless voyage of discovery. I’m talking about a base model Chevrolet small car. Obviously, it’s not a situation unique to General Motors. Nissan emblazons the ($9,988) base price of its Canadian-market Micra across the front of many dealers around here, and I think I’ve seen a single example in the wild. Nearly all buyers throw an extra few grand at Nissan for the SV trim — power … [Read more...] about QOTD: A Car Company to Call Your Own?
Chevy call me out
As I do more and more of these Meh Car Monday articles, I’m realizing there’s a spectrum of meh that these cars fall into. Some are capable, well-made, and functionally decent vehicles, but just lacking any sort of character or soul; that’s about the best a meh car can hope for. At the other end are cars who derive their meh-ness from the incredible, all-consuming lack of giving a shit about the car’s design and construction itself—these are cars that were meh because they were phoned-in, half-assed attempts at best. The first-gen Chevrolet Cavalier is a member of the latter group. Now, most of the 16 brands and models (!) that GM and its partner companies sold the J-body-platform cars under had some pretty meh cars in the mix—the Oldsmobile Firenza, Buick Skyhawk, Isuzu Aska, Opel Ascona, and so on, for example, but even among these the Cavalier stands out as among the meh-est. Some of the J-bodies ended up not being meh at all, not because of how … [Read more...] about Meh Car Monday: The Chevy Cavalier Was Pretty Cavalier About Giving A Shit
I was shook. I've driven a lot of racetracks in a lot of exotic cars. But lately I haven't been on track as often as I would like. And my most recent foray on a very wet circuit left me feeling unacceptably slow. Cobwebby. So a first drive of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 at Road Atlanta was bringing on a set of nerves. Start with Road Atlanta. It's one of those old school, hoary circuits with a few dangerous tricks still up its sleeves, with little run-off and the infamous turn under the bridge. A dicey track which I've never driven before. Then there's the ZR1 itself. This is the newest generation of the most extreme Corvette, this time with 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque pushing a relatively modest 3,560 pounds. That oomph derives from a 6.2-liter, LT5 small-block V8, supercharged within an inch of its life. The ZR1 shears to 60 mph in a blip: 2.8 seconds. It managed a 215-mph top-speed run at a European oval. (The average of two runs, one with and one against the wind, left Chevy … [Read more...] about 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 First Drive Review: It’s lit
CLOSE The 755 horse power 'Vette has a 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 Atlanta — In 2009, the insane, 638-horsepower Chevy Corvette ZR1 debuted as the fastest ’Vette ever. Then-General Motors Corp. CEO Rick Wagoner (a Duke alumnus) dubbed it the “Blue Devil.” In 2014, the earth-shaking, 650-horse Corvette Z06 surpassed the Blue Devil as the greatest ever. GM product boss Mark Reuss declared it “Big Nasty.” Four years later, an all-new, winged ZR1 boasting (wait for it) 755 ponies has returned as the ’Vette without equal. All that’s missing is a nickname. Blue Devil II? Yuge Nasty? Just call it king. I traveled here to pay homage to the mostest Corvette ever at one of America’s greatest racetracks, Road Atlanta. I was not disappointed. Even before we media put the beast to the test outside Atlanta, the $120,000 ZR1 had laid down legendary numbers. Lap record at Virginia International Raceway in 2 minutes, 36 seconds … [Read more...] about Payne: Chevy’s ‘King Nasty’ ZR1 ‘vette roars
Picture this: you’re sitting at Ruby’s Shake Shack in Newport Beach, California on a typical sunny Sunday afternoon enjoying some fries and a delicious shake. Behind you waves are crashing on the beach and kids are playing in the sand, but that’s not where you’re looking because you’re staring dreamily at Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) watching all the cars ritzy Newport Beach has to offer. There goes a Porsche, a few Teslas, and another Porsche. Ooh a Ferrari. Was that a Rolls Royce? Yep. Bentley, Maserati, Lambo—check, check, check. You’re not even noticing the countless BMWs and Mercedes at this point. Remember, this is a typical sunny Sunday afternoon.So if you live in coastal Southern California and you’ve got a few bucks to spend on a weekend cruiser, what ever could you do to stand out? The only logical answer is to be completely illogical.Enter Andrew Gabriel. He wasn’t interested in driving down to the local Bentley dealership … [Read more...] about This 1955 Chevy Convertible is the Ultimate PCH Cruiser