Congratulations, your 2013 Corvette ZR1 officially sucks

2015-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-027-medium Yesterday, General Motors released engine specs on its new LT9 engine: 650 horsepower and 650 torques for the 2015 Z06. At the same time, the C6 Corvette ZR1 became irrelevant. Like so many other cars, the C7 Vette is making haste to lay waste to its predecessors. If the mid-level Z06 is going to be that much better than the model it replaces, expect next year’s ZR1 to come with 100 more horsepower. Turbochargers. Superchargers and turbochargers. Rockets. Drag slicks. Methamphetamine. Suddenly, the C6 ZR1 and all of its once-epic performance will fall into obscurity. Auto journalists will forget it ever happened after September or so. It happened when the E90 BMW M3 replaced the E46. It happened when the 991 Porsche 911 replaced the 997. Planned obsolescence is a bitch. Damn you, Bill Durant. Damn you. BMW_E36_M3_1_LargeI’ve had the opportunity to drive everything from ancient Porsches to ancient GM products…and maybe some newer cars here and there. Many of them were once called the best cars out there, like the E36 M3 that “only” had 240 horsepower in U.S. spec. It was named the best-handling car in the world alongside Ferraris, Corvettes, and Porsches. It was perhaps one of the least luxurious cars in its class, which subsequent M3s have rectified, but the E36 was one hell of a balanced chassis. While a car like the E36 is considered obsolete, it’s not really any worse than the modern cars that are caked in electronics. In many ways, it’s better. You don’t have to have an engineering degree to check the oil level; it has a dip stick. You can change parts without throwing codes. You can even do it yourself. And if the car doesn’t already have rust bubbles forming at its rear fenders or scratches, that’s just icing on the cake. Plus, the driving experience is miles better in many ways – just you and the car, not you and 100 sensors. The C7 Corvette is a great car, and it can make any driver feel like a rock star by way of it’s e-LSD that makes it nearly impossible to wrap around a tree. It’s sublime in how well that diff compensates for a driver’s (lack of) skills. But it’s expensive and hot today, and it’ll be cold tomorrow if you believe in that whole trendsetting thing. If you don’t, a car that was great when it came out 15 or 20 years ago is going to be great now, pending a rebuilt title or a previous ownership by a pimp or drug lord. Our perception of fun doesn’t change, and life isn’t bound only by cars with sub-4 0-60 times being any good, where 4s, 5s, and 6s were plenty fast a few years ago, no matter what a car mag may say. They’re flat-out wrong. corvette-zr1The biggest differences between it and the new one will be the threshold at which it can be driven – if you have the place to drive it in the first place – the car’s ability to save your butt if you overcook a corner, and some refinement. A great car yesterday is a great car today, and a $20,000 C5 Z06 from Craigslist is still nearly as good as a new Vette at a third of the price with none of the fun lost in translation. The same can be said of the now 25-percent off 2013 ZR1. The new cars are all well and fine, but the old ones have more charm. They’re not for the attention-deprived; they’re for people who just want to enjoy a car. While the automatic 2015 Vette Z06 was designed for people who long ago had hip replacements and will never be driven at the limit until the owner enters an assisted-living community, it’s the people who bought used 2005 models carving up canyons on weekends who really bought them for their intended purpose. Their cars are the ones we should be drooling over.

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