GM didn't hesitate. They didn't fuck it up. They did everything right. And I'm completely sold.
I honestly expected to feel differently about the C8 after the initial adrenaline rush wore off. Part of my personal excitement about this car was for the meme, and while it will always be funny to me that Nick and some others (but not many!) swore off this car because of its engine placement, that's not a sustainable source of interest in a car that's so beleaguered by everything I hate most about car culture. So at first, taking up the fandom was just part of the joke. But - as in every RomCom - that was before I got to know her!
The initial hype is gone, and here's the thing: I still want a C8. I want a C8 in the same way I wanted an R-Spec. I want to own this car. I don't care what trim level it is. I don't care about a Z51 package, or the wheels (all of which are mediocre), or the spoiler (bad), or the arrangement of the dash buttons (hilariously dumb), or the interior colors (snoozefest), and I don't even care about the exterior color. I just want one, and if I get my way, it will have body-color accents instead of black. I have to say it to the world, now: I am a fan of this Corvette. And that's how you know that GM did every single thing right. Because they got me.
Even now you could basically take my Bullitt Mustang blog from last year, change all the references from the Mustang to the Corvette, and you'd roughly arrive at how I feel about the entire cult of Corvette ownership. Openly hostile, is another way to put it. I am staunchly anti-car cult of any kind, of course, but Corvette owners always hold that extra edgelord status over even Mustang and Camaro owners, specifically because of the Corvette's supposed upmarket rivals. No matter how many numbers you shout out, Corvettes have only ever rivaled 911s when driven in professional race series, and nobody in world history has ever cross-shopped a Ferrari and a C7. But reality has never stopped a Corvette fan from claiming that stuff like it's fact! In fact, go do a quick Google Image search for "Corvette Shirt", and you'll immediately contract a social disease like Hep B or illiteracy. It's that bad. And yet..have you SEEN that car in the header pic? Have you really LOOKED at it? God damn! I have to own one! I'll happy ignore all 58 years of intolerable fandom just to have a C8 in my driveway.
To me, the C8's best achievement is its design. Here are some pictures of a meticulous render of the 2016 Corvette DP car, put next to similar angles of the 2020 C8.
In designing the C8, GM did the hardest thing possible: They made a high quality, road-going version of a pre-existing race car. And it looks absolutely fantastic. There are evolutionary elements from the C7, there's a very Corvette style, there's a sense of class, there's a clear shape that can only come from having the engine - finally - in the correct place, and it's all perfect.
The C8 will perform, as well. As more facts and figures come out, it even looks like it very well might be the NSX killer that I predicted it would be - a prediction made with absolutely no merit, and for no reason. The two cars are exactly equal to 60, and in the quarter mile as well, and I expect that trend to continue once the C8 finally shows up on tracks. Its gonna be fast, there can be no doubt. And yet I find that I don't even care that much. If the C8 is faster or as fast as an NSX around racetracks, you can bet I'll brag about being right on that call that nobody else made, but that invisible rivalry has no real application to the car as I enjoy it. I like the look of the thing. I like that it symbolizes GM's first big step forward in my lifetime, I like the targa top, I like the C8's place in car history, I really really like that it pisses people off, and if you must know I like the Zeus Bronze and Elkhart Lake paint colors too.
The C8 even passed my first real-life test. At Road America I stood next to one. As close as possible in fact, closer than the rest of you plebs, because I had a media vest on. I saw the car from every angle. I saw the terrible wheels. I saw the laughable interior buttons. I saw the GM interior, as chintzy-looking as ever. I saw the foolish steering wheel. I saw the beige seats with their Avengers-suit-ass panel pattern. I saw every single bowtie. And all I could see was that car in my driveway. That brown Chevy.
And that's it. GM did it right, and they should be celebrated. I hope the C8 is a rousing success, and I hope that it empowers GM to commit and try some other cool things with their cars for once. There's no doubt in my mind that not only will the C8 be celebrated as an award-winner by automotive journalists, but next year, I believe that it will also be a huge success on the track. Already the Z51 C8 is breathing down the neck of C7 ZR1 in terms of performance, so we can already rest easy knowing the C8R will be awesome too. And when that moment comes, when the C8 Corvette wins its greatest victory, when Nick finally comes back into the fold of Corvette fans, I'll let him have his flag back. I won't even hesitate.