Hot Wheels, L.A. Traffic and a V-8 Convertible: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 Performance
When asked if I’d be interested in covering a story related to my childhood dreams, I jumped at the opportunity, boarded a plane and headed to the town that never sleeps, Los Angeles. This story however doesn’t circle around the Hot Wheels Legend Tour that we recently posted, this story covers the set of wheels that sounded like it could start a 6.0 earthquake.
After a quick hour and ten-minute bus ride around one of the world’s busiest international airport, I stepped off with anticipation and keenness. The clock had neared midnight, the camera gear on my back was weighing down and after a extensive, demanding day in the field, I was ready get to my destination. After checking in, signing some papers, I waited at valet for the clerk to bring me the car that Chevrolet’s PR team had left me. It was then, off in the distance, there it was, the cold start sound of eight cylinders firing up. It was a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible. Clearly they didn’t want me going to a car show in some soccer mom crossover.
Barely fitting my backpack and carry-on suitcase in the trunk, I dropped the top, plugged in the address to Pico Rivera, California through the Apple CarPlay system and began to set coarse. This Corvette was made for the California lifestyle, I had the “look at me” attitude without the selfie stick. Forgoing the 7-speed manual, this 8-speed automatic had me California dreamin’ when cruising on the 405 at 10 miles per hour.
My arrival into Pico Rivera was not a quiet one with the exhaust mode left in Track, on purpose. After having accidentally passed the motel, twice, I finally found the entrance, parked for the night only to get up just a few hours later and prep for the event to come that day. Having arrived to the event, I for sure didn’t stand out from the crowd given the unique nature of the rides there. However, once parked it didn’t take long before spectators had started asking questions about the Corvette’s performance. It was here that I couldn’t talk anymore highly about the 6.2-liter harmonious V-8 and its 460-horsepower.
After the event was all said and done, a little more thorough field experience was required in the Corvette. Having connected with a friend up in Hollywood, somewhere the Corvette would strike attention. Getting there however was not easy – two hours of L.A. traffic had me grid locked. Never mind that, the Corvette was surprisingly comfortable, even for a larger person. The seats provided admirable provisions and detained my body from any abrupt motions. I was able to also get more familiar with the premium cabin space and all the comfort features it had available like dual-zone climate control, ventilated and heated seats, a heated steering wheel and the latest software upgrade for the infotainment system that makes it super user friendly.
With all the gilts, the glamour and the fame, Hollywood was where it was happening. Taking less than 15 seconds to drop the top, we cruised down Sunset Boulevard taking in all the sights. It was like being on a personal tour of Hollywood with all the hot spots being identified. Before we knew it, after an accidental two right turns and a left, we found ourselves on a very special road deep in the canyons north of Los Angeles.
This is where the Corvette Stingray and its 460-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine can to life. Dropping the automatic into manual mode, we switch the drive mode from Sport to Track and let the engine rip the road open wider than the San Andreas Fault Line. As the engine soared pasted 7,000 rpms, the eight-speed transmission would explode through the quad exhaust like a torpedo as we scream to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. At each corner the steering felt precise with flat body control from the chassis, feeling every bit of control as the roads changed direction. It was like a game of cat and mouse except we were chasing thrills. At every lift off the throttle, the Corvette’s exhaust would snort and belch like a hippopotamus coming up for air.
It was intense how quick the transmission received the changes through the steering wheel paddle shifters. And then when it came time to braking, how faces changed course more drastically than the Beverley Hills house wives nose job.
As we start to look at some of the numbers, the Corvette resemble the bargain basement sports car. Granted ours wasn’t exactly cheap starting at $64,495 with the Z51 performance package and then we add a few added extravagances that made our Corvette life more comfortable that brought our total to $74,855. However, in the grand scheme of things, a competitively equipped Porsche 911 can easily cross $120,000.
Completing nearly 300 miles in the City of Angels, I merely averaged 15.4 miles to gallon – considering my travels consisted of city life that met the EPA city rating. When we didn’t find ourselves stuck in traffic, the Corvettes fuel management system has the ability to shut off four of the eight cylinders for a relatively fuel-efficient sports car, and an approximate 24 mpg on the highway. Sadly though, the event was over, and the weekend was done. I had a boarding pass back in hand ready to get back to my home turf.
Just like the Hot Wheels of my youth, playing with the Corvette is like playing with those little die cast toys – traffic jam down the hallways, fast driving around the track and making unruly sounds till my mother tells me to be quiet. Minus the crashes, the jumps, and back flips with a flawless four-wheel landing at the end.