Marty Schorr - Back In The Saddle

After An Eight-Year Hiatus, VETTE's Founder Returns To The Corvette Hobby With A Vengeance

Paul Zazarine Feb 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Schorr says the paddle-shifted six-speed automatic delivers the convenience of a slushbox with the enhanced driver involvement of a conventional manual.

It's not difficult to understand why an experienced automotive writer like Marty Schorr would be so impressed with the C6. As we've noted before, the latest Corvette delivers an unprecedented combination of driveability, styling, handling, and performance in a single, reasonably priced package. Granted, the convertible's $65,000 sticker price is a lot of money, but there is nothing in the world marketplace that even comes close to the tremendous value the Vette delivers. "When you consider what Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, or any world-class car maker charges," Schorr says, "the Corvette is an absolute bargain."

Other factors are less tangible, though no less compelling. Perhaps most important is the idea that when you buy a Corvette, you get more than just a car-you earn membership into a community. "It brings a smile to my face when I pass another Corvette going in the opposite direction, and the arms come up out of the car as we wave to each other," Schorr says. "If you look around, you don't see Porsche people waving to one another. And when's the last time you saw a Mercedes SL500 owner wave to another SL owner? Very few carmakers foster that relationship between car and owner.

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The new Vette's 400hp LS2 delivers a combination of power and economy that would have been unthinkable 40 years ago. Schorr finds the car's 180-mph top speed and mid-12-second quarter-mile potential to be more than sufficient, so no power mods are planned.

"Consider how many hundreds of Corvette clubs and Corvette activities and shows there are. When you buy a Corvette, you're joining a heritage that goes back more than a half-century. It's a heritage born of racing at LeMans and Daytona and Sebring, representing America against the world. I'll never forget the crowds of Americans waving our flag at LeMans and feeling great pride as the Corvettes roared past."

In his career, Schorr has driven every generation Corvette, and he has spent considerable wheel time in C4s and C5s. In his opinion, the C6 is a quantum leap over its predecessors. "What really impresses me is that the C6 has close-to-neutral handling," he says, "and just goes where you point it. With active handling and traction control, the car makes you a much better driver than you really are. Until you've pushed it beyond the limit, the car is very forgiving. The Magnetic Ride Suspension is just unbelievable in how good it is. You can drive the C6 to the office every weekday, take it to the track on Saturday, change the suspension from Touring to Sport, and embarrass some pretty pricey cars.

"Quarter-mile passes between 12.4 and 12.8 seconds at 112 to 114 mph are typical. That's astonishing. We knew of Super Stocks that set records with those times 45 years ago. Lap times in the C6 are similar to Corvette race cars from 17 years ago. We're getting these kinds of numbers with automatic transmissions, air conditioning, and street tires! Just drive to the track, run it, and then cruise on home."

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Schorr finds the Vette's six-speed automatic transmission crisp and responsive, and he feels the paddle-shift setup enhances driving enjoyment. "It gives you the feeling of more-controlled driving, as if you had a stick but without the clutch. I'm not sure that if you manually shifted it in the quarter-mile it would be faster than just leaving it in the Sport setting and letting it shift itself. I understand why people like to drive manual-shift cars, and I respect that, but when you get this much torque and horsepower, the automatic is so good that the differences are negligible. I think [the paddles are] more for fun than for any real performance gains."

Along with the improved performance, we've noted that the level of construction quality coming out of the Bowling Green assembly plant continues to get better each year. Schorr agrees. "The fit and finish have gotten so much better since the C4," he says. "And thinking back to my '67, the seams didn't match, it leaked everything, it rattled, and it squeaked. Quality began to significantly improve with the C4, and by the time they started building the C5, the folks at Bowling Green really knew how to screw the car together right."

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