If you’re wondering whether the latest two generations of Corvettes have saved America’s Sports Car for another generation of owners, just ask a long-time expert who should know firsthand – Mike Yager, chief cheerleader of Mid-America Motorworks.
“The C7 Corvette has turned young people into Corvette people again,” he recently told oldcarsweekly.com. “They may get turned on by the C7, but then they look at their budget and maybe they buy a C6 or a C5 or even a C4.”
“All I know,” he says, “is that I’m seeing more young people in Corvettes than I’ve ever seen in the past 20 years, and our sales reflect that.”
Yager credits the 2014-19 run of the seventh generation Corvette with saving the car.
“Before the crash of 2008, General Motors was selling 30,000 Corvettes a year, but then sales dropped down to 8,000-9,000 units per year,” he says. “I think the car had really fallen a bit off target, and when they’re not selling over 25,000 a year, that’s a lot of lost market share.”
He says GM considered performance, price and styling and designed an all-new C7 Corvette that brought the enthusiasts back again.
“For $70,000, a young person can get a car that spanks everything else – and it’s a good car, too,” he says, and that figure is even tens of thousands of dollars lower right now as dealerships clear out the ’19 models to make way for the exciting new mid-engine 2020 model.
Yager sees two trends overall in the Corvette world now – first, the previously mentioned rebirth of interest in the car by younger people, and then a move towards resto-mods.
“Among owners of C2 and C3 Corvettes, we’re seeing strong interest in restorations where they restore the car body-wise and trim-wise and then completely upgrade the engine and drive line,” Yager says. “And I think that’s kind of cool in that the cars are timeless, so they need correct colors and emblems, but then the owners punch the cars up in horsepower and brakes. I kind of include that in the restoration niche, because it’s a big segment these days for shops and garages and, obviously, we sell to both those markets.”
Yager points to enthusiasts who may have done the frame-off, original restoration type of thing, and now they’re ready to try something different. “They pulled the engine, radiator, transmission, tires and wheels, but they didn’t cut the car up like people did years ago,” he says. “They brought it up to today’s specs and had fun.
So, it went from a new car to a less-than-new car, to perfectly restored to a car they can take to a cruise-in, spin the wheels, and not feel bad.”
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