Performance Tested -- The Old Girl Gets to the Driver's Heart - 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test


1966 Chevrolet Corvette: Performance Tested — The Old Girl Gets to the Driver's Heart

August 18, 2015

1966 Chevrolet Corvette

This is a moment months is the making. We finally get to see how our 1966 Chevrolet Corvette performs at the test track, in all its bias-ply glory. Josh Jacquot raced it down the drag strip, drifted around the skid pad and hurried it through the slalom.

On the same day we tested the Corvette, we also tested a 2015 Toyota Camry V6 XLE for a fun comparison test and video. We also pitted a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette against the '66 to show how far the car has come in 50 (well, 49) years. This particular new Corvette came with the 8-speed automatic transmission and marks the first time we have tested a C7 Corvette without the Z51 Performance Package.

Vehicle: 1966 Chevrolet Corvette

Date: 7/7/2015

Driver: Josh Jacquot

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 4-speed manual
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 327 / 5,359
Redline (rpm): 5,300
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 300 @ 5,000 (SAE gross)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 360 @ 3,200
Brake Type (front): One-piece ventilated disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): One-piece ventilated disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone, coil spring, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, transverse leaf spring

Tire Size (front): 7.75-15
Tire Size (rear): 7.75-15
Tire Brand: Firestone
Tire Model: Deluxe Champion
Tire Type: Bias-ply 
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,159

Test Results: 

Acceleration:
0-30 (sec): 3.0
0-45 (sec): 5.0
0-60 (sec): 7.9
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout 7.5 
0-75 (sec): 12.1
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.0 @ 83.5

Braking: 
30-0 (ft): 37
60-0 (ft): 165

Handling:
Slalom (mph): 55.4
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.70

Comments:

Acceleration comments: Very little grip leaving the line means that, despite the meager power, nursing the Vette out of the hole is a must. It's easy to spin the tires through first gear if you're too aggressive with the throttle. The tach needle swims around in a sea of numbers the whole time so it's hard to know what the engine speed is at any point in the run.

I'd estimate the launch rpm to be between 2K and 2.5K. Shifts are slow despite fairly short throws and the gates aren't well defined so going for third always feels like a risky move if you're doing so in a hurry. The engine doesn't rev quickly and the gears are long.

Braking comments: There's enough power to lock the tires at 60 mph and feel is actually pretty good. Even so, grip is so pathetic that braking distances are long. Large effort is required at the pedal to stop the car quickly. The engine dies every time as the car approaches 0 mph. Obviously, careful modulation is a must and that increases braking distance, too. It makes me very thankful for radial tires and modern ABS.

Handling comments: Fast transitions are scary in this car, with all the body roll and massive steering input required to get it to turn. There's some potential hidden under all this oldness, but you've got to be willing to throw it around and take some risks because there's no precision when it starts to slide.

Big, exaggerated inputs are required and it's very easy to get behind and/or get lost in the steering. The skid pad numbers are best with a little bit of tail-out action for the last third of the circle. Still, there's something kind of fun about the character of an old sports car. Unlike its modern counterparts which are low and grippy this old girl gets right to heart of driver involvement without any oversight. It might be slow, but at least it's honest. And that counts for something.

And here are the numbers compared against a new Corvette without the Z51 Performance Package and Camry V6:

2015 Toyota Camry XLE V6

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe

Curbweight as Tested (lbs.)

3,448

3,159

3,352

0-30 (sec.):

2.8

3.0

2.0

0-45 (sec.):

4.5

5.0

2.9

0-60 (sec.):

6.6

7.9

4.2

0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.):

6.3

7.5

3.9

0-75 (sec.):

9.2

12.1

5.9

¼-mile (sec @ mph):

14.7 @ 99.0

16.0 @ 83.5

12.1 @ 118.4

Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g):

0.75

0.70

0.96

Slalom:

62.5

55.4

71.0

Braking 60-0 mph

127

165

104

Braking 30-0 mph

32

37

26

Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor

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