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Evaluation Paper On The Chevrolet Corvette

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This paper is an evaluative look at why the Chevrolet Corvette is one of the greatest sports cars in the world. Sports cars can be judged in three areas; cost, performance, and comfort, each area will be evaluated as to why these criteria are important, with examples shown to for definition. The Corvette will be shown how it compares in regards to the measurements, and in some cases exceeds them. Showing why it should be considered a great sports car

The Chevrolet Corvette: A great sports car

The Chevrolet Corvette has been regarded as the best all around sports car by many, while it is not as fast as some cars, nor has the handling of a purpose built race car, looking at it in the areas of cost, compared to other world class sports cars, performance that rivals cars twice its price, and the comfort it provides the driver, allowing it to be driven as an everyday car. All of these attributes enable the Corvette to truly stand out among its peers.

Cost, a truly great sports car should cost more than a normal sedan or coupe, as speed does cost money; however it should not be so exorbitant in price, that it is unobtainable by the average person. Average family cars range in price from the Toyota Sienna minivan at a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $25,000 to a Dodge Avenger that can be purchased at a MSRP of $20,000. You can expect a high performance sports car to be well above that, and most are, with some approaching the price of a single family home (Federal Trade Commission, 2006). Why such a difference in price? Where a typical family car is designed and built with technology focusing more on utilitarian purposes such as safety, and carrying a whole family with their belongings, a sports car on the other hand will make sacrifices in these areas for performance, and power, although with the right technology, nearly the same level of comfort and safety can be maintained.

The Corvette sits at a price point of nearly double the average car, this sounds grossly overpriced, but when you compare it with its peers and look at the technology that is used to provide its performance, it really shows to be a bargain. Considering the Corvette’s peers such as Porsche, Ferrari, and even the Dodge Viper are all close to or over the $100,000 mark, the MSRP of around $50,000 for a base model Corvette looks to be quite reasonable in comparison (Gillies, 2006). These cars have high costs for different reasons, the Ferrari is expensive for the famous name it carries, others such as the Viper have used new design and engineering to raise performance, it in fact makes use of resin transfer molding for body panels to reduce weight and build time (Valenti, 1992). Factor in the cost per horsepower; $106 for the Corvette, $142 for the Viper, $262 for a Porsche, $437 for a Ferrari, and that just shows that you can still get a world class level of performance for one-third the cost of other sports cars, this makes the Corvette a great sports car. Performance, a truly great sports car should have that throw your neck back performance that one thinks of when you mention sports car. Performance should be good all around; quick acceleration, good handling, and the ability to stop quickly are all part of the equation that equals great performance. Acceleration from either a dead stop or while already rolling, such as merging onto an highway, are important factors to performance, these can be quantified by certain measurements, like the 0 to 60 mile per hour (MPH) calculation and the quarter mile time. Cars such as a Dodge Viper can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in only 4.0 seconds, and run the quarter mile in 12.12 seconds at 112 MPH (Oldham, 1998). Handling is important to performance and information such as a timed slalom course as well as a skid pad measurement can tell how well a car is balanced, and how it will handle. The Dodge Viper is able to obtain an average of 0.96g on a lateral skid pad test, that is almost the same amount of force pulling down by earth’s gravity which is 1.0 g. The Viper is also able to reach a speed of 66 MPH in a 700 foot slalom course. Stopping, just as important as acceleration the ability to slow or stop quickly and safely are important traits of performance, this can be indicated by braking distance from a certain speed, where a shorter stopping distance is more desirable measure of performance. The Corvettes performance shows that it fits the great sports car mold. Speed, power and the ability to hug the road, are all part of the experience of driving a truly great sports car. The Corvette delivers in all these areas, it has a 0-60 MPH time of less than 5 seconds, and a time of slightly less than 14 seconds in the quarter mile. In the 525 foot slalom test an average speed of 47.9 mph was obtained. On the skid pad the Corvette is able to obtain 0.96 lateral g’s (Stewart, 2007). The Corvette’s stopping power is noted in its ability to come to a complete stop from 60 miles per hour in only 125 feet (Mueller, 1998). These performance measures may not be used in everyday driving, but the ability to stop quickly in an emergency situation is apparent, as is having enough acceleration to merge onto a busy highway, with the performance the Corvette has, these everyday tasks can be accomplished effortlessly and safely.

Comfort, when most people think of older sports cars, comfort is not one of the things that come to mind. Small, no top, hard to steer, loud, these are the things that older cars such as the first generation Corvettes, the Porsche 550 Spyder, known as the car James Dean perished in, and the Shelby Cobra, were all loud, rough, yet high performance machines, they are not remembered for their comfort. Today however with technology able to bring more



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