2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (autoblog.com)
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette received the Automobile of the Year Award from Automobile Magazine, one of a handful of top accolades that any car can receive in a given year. That comes on the heels of winning Road and Track's Performance Car of the Year. I suspect there will be more for the Corvette. And despite the fact that most people will never drive or own this car, the sleek sports car matters a great deal to GM.

To many, the Corvette is kind of obnoxious. It's eye-candy for school boys and grown men who never lost their inner "boy racer." But Corvette matters. Like the simple full-sized pick-up truck, Corvette represents a vehicle that the American car industry, and specifically Detroit, does better than anyone else in the world.

It's a "muscle" car, and Corvette is one in a handful of such cars that even the Japanese and German car companies marvel at because it is a design that their companies and brands simply can't get away with. They produce two-door performance cars to be sure. But the Vette is something that could only come out of Detroit and have cred.

In noting the magazine's award, Automobile said that the Corvette C7 (denoting the 7th Corvette to come out of Chevrolet's design studio), and the editors rightly pointed out that the car is a bit of a comeback. The previous Corvette had been a "conservative offer, a safe play that didn't reach." The C7 has come out of a renewed and revitalized GM since its 2009 bankruptcy.

The specs of the car matter of course: the carbon fiber lift-off top, the 6.2 liter V8 producing 455-460 horsepower, seven-speed manual transmission and a thankfully slick well-tailored interior. But the victory is in the overall stance. If you love cars, the C7 makes you want it. That's something.

For people who look upon automobiles as conveyances, this, of course, is a never-no-mind. The hemp suit crowd will scoff. Honda Civic lovers will say that it is a car for people, especially...um...men, who are insecure about something. But take the Stingray out on the road or a track for an hour, and tell me you didn't have fun.

Most of us will never own the C7, or even drive it. But we can take a look at it at the auto shows or the local dealership. Giddy kids and adults, and even those pesky millennials who say they don't want to own a car, will sit in it, and imagine themselves driving it. School-kids with a jones for cool cars will get posters of the car for Christmas and tack them up in their rooms. A few grown-ups will buy the car and put in the third or fourth bay of their garage. Others will just get the calendar and hang it in their work-shop.

Rationalists will point to the fact that while GM knocked the Corvette, a car that will probably sell 35,000 in its best year, out of the park, the real challenge still unmet is knocking the Chevy Malibu, a car that should sell 200,000 a year retail, over the fence too.

And those people would be right. But let's not overlook that Chevy proved again that it knows how to do something better than the Asians and Germans, and that Detroit can still make us just really want something, if only for an hour.


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