Earlier this week an email arrived announcing a raffle for America’s Sports Car, the Corvette, at a Catholic school in Effingham, Ill.
The grand prize is a new Corvette coupe with a pricetag of up to $60,000 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, or $55,000 cash. Tickets are $100 each, with 1,500 tickets to be sold.
The grand prize (for which the winner need not be present) will be presented at Mid-America Motorworks in Effingham, one of the nation’s biggest Corvette accessories sellers and the creator of National Drive Your Corvette to Work Day, which is today. (It’s the last Friday in June because the first Corvette went on sale June 30, 1953.) I drove past Effingham, Ill., coming back from a wedding in 2011. I still kick myself that I didn’t stop at Mid-America Motorworks; no one else in the van wanted to stop after a night in a hotel that featured a fire alarm at 1:30 a.m.
The pricetag of the ticket means I’m probably not going to enter. Remember, I work in journalism. (The St. Anna Fire Department Corvette raffle, which the fire department’s website doesn’t mention yet, is much more affordable.)
It did make me wonder, on National Drive Your Corvette to Work Day, how much Corvette I can get for $60,000 MSRP. Nearly every new car sells for less than sticker price, but the raffle website does say $60,000 MSRP. The website specifies a coupe and not a convertible, and the $60,000 limit eliminates the ZO6 ($75,600) and the ZR1 ($111,600).
That leaves either the base model, at $49,600, or the Grand Sport coupe, at $56,000. Both have a 43o-horsepower V-8 that can propel my Corvette from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds and to a top speed of 190 mph, while getting 26 highway mpg. (Your mileage may vary if you keep stomping the loud pedal.)
I’m OK with the coupe over the convertible. The convertible theoretically has unlimited headroom, which is good for the tall driver, but taking off the roof panel accomplishes that too. The hatchback adds a handy amount of storage space that the convertible does not have.
The choice between the base model and the Grand Sport depends on what you get for that extra $6,400. Most of the difference appears to be in the Grand Sport’s Z52 Performance Package, which includes a dry-sump oil cooler and “differential color” for those who select the correct transmission, the six-speed manual The Grand Sport has aluminum wheels instead of chrome, Goodyear F1 Eagle supercar tires, upgraded brakes, and front-fender paint stripes.
Chevrolet adds another level of complexity with three option packages to add on. Package LT2 adds Bluetooth, a Bose audio system and navigation system, Heads Up Display so you can see in your windshield how fast you’re going (in case you can’t figure that out from how fast the terrain is going by), and a luggage shade and cargo net. (With 0–60 under four seconds, you can rearrange what’s in back pretty fast.) Package LT3 adds a Memory Package, heated sport seats with perforated leather surfaces, and power telescoping steering wheel. Package LT4 adds a Custom Leather Wrapped Interior Package, microfiber suede seat inserts, and a Carbon Gunmetal console trim plate.
Unfortunately, the last two packages take the Grand Sport’s MSRP over our $60,000 limit. Nothing in LT4 is particularly necessary, but LT3 would be useful. That limits our choice to the base coupe with the LT3 package, much as I’d like the upgraded brakes.
There’s little option wiggle room since we’re already at $56,570. We will not waste $1,250 by ordering the paddle-shift (damnable automatic) transmission. One important option to select is Corvette Museum Delivery, where you can pick up your Vette at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., where your Corvette is built, for $450. I also want the transparent roof panel ($750), because I like the sun coming in regardless of whether the top’s 0n or not.
That leaves enough money for one, but not both, of two high-cost options. I chose the The Magnetic Selective Ride Control (little magnets, believe it or not, in the shock absorbers improve handling and ride) for $1,995, instead of the dual-mode performance exhaust (six more horsepower, four more lb-ft of torque, and “a more aggressive exhaust sound”) for $1,195.
That takes us to $59,805. That also influences the color choice in taking out four alternatives, Crystal Red Tintcoat and Velocity Yellow Tintcoat ($850), and Inferno Orange Metallic and Supersonic Blue Metallic ($300). If this were a perfect world, the Donnybrooke Green of the first Corvette I remember seeing, a 1970 coupe down the street, would be available, but it isn’t. If I had more than $60,000 to spend, I’d pick Crystal Red, but for purposes of this I don’t.
A book about the creation of the C5 Corvette was called All Corvettes Are Red. They’re not all red, but even though I prefer the extra-cost red, we’ll go with the standard red, with a red interior too. And the result is …
… a car that would get me to stories and other appointments really, really quickly, you must admit.