1966 Chevrolet Corvette: Fantastic First Date
by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on September 10, 2015
I try not to be one of those guys who (a) falls in love with a girl on the first date and (b) tells everyone within earshot how amazing the girl was. Those guys are saps.
I'm now officially a sap. Because I had the most magical first date the other night. Sure, she was a bit older, but at my age I can't be too picky anymore. Plus, she was friendly, easy to get to know, and made the most incredible sounds.
Whoa, slow down there. Get your mind out of the gutter. You thought I was talking about a girl of the human variety, didn't you? Nope, I'm talking about our 1966 Chevrolet Corvette. I just drove her for the first time. And it was good. Real good.
There was a girl of human form along, too, but that's a relatively unimportant point compared to driving the old Vette.
Mike Schmidt, Edmunds's car czar, told me the '66 Vette was a pussycat to drive. I didn't believe him. I should have. Schmidt never lies. Sure, the skinny bias-ply tires have next-to-no grip and you can move the steering wheel side-to-side a good half-foot with zero effect as you drive down the road, old-time movie-style.
But the car is an absolute hoot. And it's a piece of rolling automotive history. They simply don't make cars like this anymore, and never will again.
The sounds coming from the sidepipes are spectacular. And unlike most cars, the Vette sounds good all the time. Not just at full-throttle, but also at startup. And idle. Even just driving all normal-like down the highway.
The gas pedal and clutch have intuitive actions, working in concert with each other. The shifter is awesome. The throws are long by today's standards, but it goes from gear-to-gear with a completely mechanical precision. Rough estimate: It's about 400,000 times better than the gearbox of the long-term 1985 Porsche 911 we had in here a few years ago.
The brakes require a strong leg. I like that. In fact, I like pretty much everything about this car. Doesn't hurt that it's gorgeous.
Sure, it doesn't go anywhere near as fast as it sounds. But it sounds so damn good! Whenever you get out of the Vette, all you're thinking about is getting back in and firing it up again.
I've never considered myself much of an old-car guy, but it appears, finally, I'm coming around. Looking forward to many, many more drives in this fantastic machine.
Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor