Today Chevy revealed the latest entry in the Corvette Grand Sport line. It’s a beautiful car, but when you start with the C7 generation ‘Vette, that’s not hard to to achieve. No, what misses the mark is the same thing that Chevy is attempting to use to market the car, its name.
Now, let’s get something straight: I have nothing against the Grand Sport name. In fact, as a Corvette fan, the Grand Sport moniker is one I hold very near and dear to my heart. What I do have something against is a line that was once basically road-going racers becoming only a slightly more historic wrapper on the otherwise standard Z51 handling package. In the C7 generation, Chevrolet has gone a bit further, but otherwise brought a half-baked car to market. Let me explain.
While yes, the C7 Grand Sport is as much kin now to the Z06, with it’s advanced engine lubrication system and trick differential, as it is to the Z51 version of the Standard Corvette, it’s still missing one essential ingredient. The car lacks power. First off, let me qualify that statement. I know it’s a crazy world we live in, when a car “only” has 460 horsepower. But when the next step up car, the one with a name traditionally representing mid-line performance, has 650, 460 just seems… pedestrian. Chevy has released various comparisons and notes about the car, boasting that it’s faster than more powerful competitors, but they fall flat when you’re little brother has everything you have and then some. So without going full Z06, what could have been done?
Well that part is always the point of discussion, and usually some contention. You can’t please everyone. My personal opinion is that Chevrolet should have made the Grand Sport the ultimate naturally aspirated Corvette. The LT1 has already been shown to be tunable to much higher power levels than it comes from the factory at, even without forced induction. With slightly more agressive cams and a few more millimeters of piston bore, we could have easily had a worthy successor to the track weapon that was the LS7. That engine was so lethal, that combined with a low-content version of the Zeta-Platform porker that was the last-generation Camaro, it destroyed the GT-R and 911 Turbo at the track. More importantly, it would have been the type of engine befitting a car with the Grand Sport name.
Do I hate the new Grand Sport? Not at all. I don’t even dislike, in fact I rather enjoy its existence. I think it’s a beautiful car, and would make a great canvas for someone looking to make their own track day special, while starting with something special to begin with. But a collector’s car it isn’t.
And that, that’s the thing.