2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Show and Tell
September 22, 2014
I was recently asked to represent Edmunds at a local school and bring a vehicle to a sort of show-and-tell presentation. The car of choice: our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Leading up to the event, I was curious how it would be received. Reports of the younger generation's disinterest in automobiles and the influence of hybrid/earth-friendly vehicles had me wondering if the Corvette could still impress a group of eighth graders. I was pleasantly surprised.
I started by asking the group of students, "Who here are into cars?"
About half of the hands went shooting skyward as if I asked "Who wants a hundred bucks, no strings attached?" Awesome.
When I was their age, cars were one of my central preoccupations. Rather than storing useful information in my head (history, math, English, etc.), it was filled with car specs. A handful of students actually knew quite a bit about the Corvette and that gave me hope for the next generation of car fanatics. I can't tell you how many times the words Veyron and Ferrari came up in questions.
I put myself in their shoes and imagined if an auto journalist came to visit me as a kid. I would have been tugging at that poor guy's sleeve until it was frayed. One student in particular asked a lot of questions, not just about the car, but about what an editor's job entails. His enthusiasm was infectious and I sincerely hope that he never loses that spirit for cars. Maybe someday we'll be colleagues. Goodness, I'm getting old.
The students couldn't wait to get hands-on with the Vette. They did wait fairly patiently for me to give them the lowdown on the car and were quite impressed when I popped the top and stowed it in the trunk. Once set free, they were all over it. Sitting behind the wheel, imagining driving it, pushing buttons and honking the horn.
Then I started it up. I gave it a good throttle blip to give them the full theatre experience and I giggled as they recoiled in startled excitement. The moment overtook me and I exclaimed, "POWER!!!" in my best Clarkson impersonation.
At the end of a very quick 30 minutes, the show was over and they had to report back to class. One student spent a moment in the driver seat as his classmates were walking back, but I gave him a little extra time to take it all in. I figured he could run and catch up. I gave them all a few more revs as I left and they responded with cheers and waves. Kids today? Yup, they get it.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 26,100 miles