I once owned a silver-and- black 1969 Corvette Stingray convertible, and I just hated the thing. I still blame my girlfriend at the time. She loved the vintage sexy lines and insisted I buy it, but the car couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a pedal-to-the-metal race car or a prissy love buggy. It cornered like a cement truck, while the 427-cubic-inch engine, which was overloaded with an air-conditioning unit and an eight-track tape player, couldn’t reach its full 430 horsepower.
The new Corvette Stingray convertible doesn’t have the same identity crisis as my previous ’Vette. I recently test-drove a silver-and-black stunner on the back roads of Southampton, NY, and discovered that this ride knows exactly what it is: a grown man’s 21st-century streetwise sporting machine. The 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 engine is smaller than the one in my ’69, but it puts out 460 horsepower and leaps from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds. Dollar for get-up-and-go dollar, the Stingray, at $73,655, is a much better value than roughly equivalent Lamborghinis or Ferraris, which retail for three times the price.
Best of all, the Stingray is a top-down dream to drive, with or without a hot girl riding shotgun. Unlike my ’69 ’Vette, whose four-on-the-floor transmission often forced me to steer with my knees, it has an eight-speed automatic transmission you can paddle-shift whenever you please. There’s also a head-up color instrument display projected on the windshield that lets you keep your eyes aimed at the road ahead.
I whipped it through S-curves without a hint of shudder or rear-end slippage while blasting Beyoncé on the ninespeaker Bose audio system. I thought about calling my old girlfriend, if only because I knew she’d eat her heart out.