Readers of CorvetteBlogger know that I havenâ€™t been the biggest fan of Jeremy Clarkson. I’ve harped on the Top Gear host about his over-the-top attitude when it comes to America and America’s sports car, the Corvette. Yet I find my opinion of Clarkson evolving as he surprises me once again by selecting the 2009 Corvette ZR1 as his Car of the Year.
I was downright down on Clarkson following is infamous review in 2006 of the Corvette Z06. But starting late last fall with Season 12 of Top Gear, it appears Jeremy has finally warmed to the Corvette and according to Clarkson, the Corvette ZR1 = Love.
Clarkson’s conversion (or epiphany) began in 2006 while making the Top Gear DVD “Everything Explodes”. While he had a million amazing cars on the set to drive, Jeremy says he most enjoyed driving a Corvette C6 Convertible so much that he used it to drive back and forth to the hotel every night.
Then he drove the 7.0-liter Corvette Zed 06, the Corvette he called typically American: “Rough-riding, uncouth, garish, brash and as tasteless as an onyx lavatory.” Despite the fact the Corvette Z06 is supported by leaf-springs, Clarkson was impressed with some of the technicalâ€™s like the magnesium engine tray that supports the 7.0 liter LS7 was moved back into the car which improved the weight distribution.
And then came the Corvette ZR1 which Clarkson said was the best performance car he’s driven all year…by some margin.
Clarkson takes a swipe at the USA by asking how come it took so long for Americans to make a car so good. But then he sums up the Corvette ZR1 with the following paragraphs:
The 638 hp from that supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is impressive. But it’s the sheer surprise of the 638 hp that impresses most of all. In an Enzo, you know the grunt is there all the time because it shimmies and shakes. The Corvette does not. It’s softer than a C6. It’s as quiet as a Mondeo. It’s as well air-conditioned as a Rolls-Royce. Stabbing the throttle, then, is like lying in a hammock on a warm tropical evening and then suddenly falling out. You’re just not ready for the rush.
The bald figures tell some of the story. But 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds and the top speed of 205 mph do not explain what it feels like when that onslaught comes out of nowhere, and you are watching the world go into hyperspace through a head-up display.
So as Clarkson’s opinion of the Corvette has evolved, so has my opinion of Clarkson. Still, despite acknowledging that Top Gear is a global brand and that cultural issues must be left aside to focus on the car, we get the following Clarksonism when he sums up his Corvette ZR1 = Love article:
“It’s a bloody good car. If I had a collection of automatic weapons, some attack dogs and a wife with tattoos, I’d have one like a shot.
Yep, Clarkson is evolving all right.
Thanks for the tip George!