So, I recently had a stroke of brilliance (or just a stroke) and traded my beloved 2008 Civic Si sedan in on a 15 year old Corvette… and I've never been happier!
I loved my Si, but the lack of power was getting to be annoying. Sure, I could have gone and done something drastic like build a turbo car, but I've done that before and am totally over it. Chasing oil leaks and bizarre noises and the occasional "stumble" as you build boost to try and pass a gravel hauler was fun when I was a kid, but now I want to (and can afford to) go fast without dealing with all the BS that comes along with a Franken-car. Also, it looks bad when you pick up a girl for a date and your car pisses oil all over her driveway. In addition to that, I grew up in the car culture that IS Detroit and I have always loved that wave of torque combined with the SOUND that only an American V8 truly delivers. Maybe an Australian one does, but we own their companies so they're disqualified.
Back on track: I had an opportunity to spend a week with my dad's automatic, old-man-red 1998 Corvette. I figured it would be a nice change of pace from the Civic, and it was! It got reasonable fuel economy, rode as well as my Si, sounded great, and bombed highway on-ramps at speeds my Si could never muster. The hydraulic steering was a nice departure from the Honda electro-rack too. I could feel the road again! I forgot what that was like! I wondered how much better these are with three pedals… I had to get one. Good thing they're cheap.
So I spent a few days looking for the nicest C5 I could find. And I found a nice one!
First Day Home
New Brakes and a solid inspection
The ride is stiff, but no worse than my Si. It also settles down on the highway better than the Civic ever did. It's not any louder at speed than the Honda, either. Basically, it drives just like a real car. The interior is classic 1990s GM, but I've spent so much time in Corsicas and Grand Ams over the years that it actually feels like I moved back to my home town.
Acceleration is adequate. It's not the fastest thing on the road by a long shot, but it's fast enough to get your attention! I think these cars ran mid 13s when they were new and I have no reason to doubt that number. The best part is that for any given situation, there are several gears that will work. Want to accelerate from 60 to 75 while going up-hill? Choose 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th, depending on how much noise you want to make and how quickly you want to do it. Seriously, that's a major departure from how I spent the last 6 years driving.
The sound is superb. This car has aftermarket axle-back pipes of unknown origins and I love them. No idea what brand they are, but they're perfect. Under light throttle, it sounds like dad's stock Corvette. There's a slight burble and rumble, but nothing grandma would get mad at. Roll into the throttle, however, and you hear this primal roar that is just pissed. It's deep and rich and full of middle-aged-angst, which is different than the teen-aged-angst you get from something like a Mustang. The Corvette sounds more road-racey and less piss-off-mom-and-dad. On the run it sounds a little like the old Panoz LMP-1, now that I think of it. And that angry burble on the overrun sounds pretty good to me, too.
It has a Bose stereo, which sucks in ways that only a Bose can. If you ever heard one, you know what I mean. If you haven't heard one, you're a more fortunate man than I am.
The transmission is the venerable T-56. It shifts heavily and makes noises that my Honda never did, but it's perfectly suited to this car. That, and 6th gear is a friggin' .50:1! That means it's only turning like 1,500 rpms at 70! The shifter sucks, but I know that I was spoiled by the creamy smoothness that was the Honda gear shift. This will be replaced by an aftermarket unit very soon…
In the real-world, this is THE car to have if you never have to drive it in the snow and you don't have any kids. I used the back seat in my Si less than 5 times in the entire time I owned it. I wished for more power 5 times a week. That tells you I picked the wrong car in the first place. Oh, insurance is cheaper on the Corvette too. And in my mixed commuting/hooning I am averaging 24.5 mpg too, which is exactly what I averaged in the Si.
So what's next? Wheels. I hate the wheels on this thing. They're the stock "Wagon Wheels" that so many of these came with and they're just fugly. Also, I bought a new set of non-run-flat tires for it. I haven't mounted them yet (they're just collecting dust in the corner of the shop), but I hear that ditching the run-flats really improves the ride and poise of these cars. I also ordered a really nice aftermarket shifter, which I should be able to install in a couple weeks. I just replaced the brake pads and rotors and the fogged-up front corner light housings. I would like to put long-tube headers on it at some point too. Who knows!
So that's what I went and did. I had a mid-life-crisis at 33 and couldn't be happier!