According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship used by the French Navy since 1670.
When General Motors needed a name for its all-new, small, maneuverable two-seat sports car, a photographer reportedly suggested the Corvette name, thus transforming the term into an American icon nearly overnight.
When the first Corvette arrived back in 1953, though, there wasn’t much about it that could justify the “sports car” label. While current iterations of the ‘Vette might be described as “firebreathing,” the original inline 6-cylinder was hardly more powerful than the pilot light on my aging furnace.
Obviously that all changed when Chevrolet introduced a small-block V8 engine in 1955 and embarked on nearly six decades of continuous improvement to America’s sports car.
Today the Corvette Grand Sport just might be the best performance value on the planet, with a starting MSRP of just over $55K.
For that, buyers get a 430-hp V8 and the same six-piston front brake calipers and four-piston rears (with cross-drilled rotors all around) that the wicked $74K Corvette Z06 sports. Launch control even comes standard on models with the 6-speed manual gearbox.
On either side of the Grand Sport trim, though, offerings from the competition might make more sense. On the low side sit the Porsche Boxster, Nissan 370Z and Audi S5, all formidable competitors to be sure. Spending upwards of $80-$110K for the Z06 or ZR1 is also questionable when the Porsche 911, BMW M5 and even the Audi R8 are within reach.
The Grand Sport hits the sweet spot in the middle and becomes even more desirable on the used market. DealFinder suggests late-model used Corvettes hold their value quite nicely, which makes an investment in some value-priced American speed all the more attractive.
Let’s say you were given up to $60K to spend on a sports car. Would a Corvette be on your shopping list?