For years, General Motors and Chevrolet have collectively wrung their hands over the average age of a new Corvette buyer. The most critical concern is the fear that the faithful base is literally dying off.
According to Edmunds.com, “To sustain sales, it’s crucial for GM to grow its customer base beyond baby boomers. The auto research firm reports 33% of Corvette buyers were age 65 or older in 2019, up from about 28% in 2013. About 61% of buyers were 55 or older through 2019.” Although Corvette’s arch nemesis the Porsche 911 has similar stats, the German brand seems to be immune from this strain of automotive ageism. For reference, the typical buyer of the Porsche 911 in the U.S. is aged between 46 and 65, with an average age of 52.
A critical element of the C8 makeover was to completely rethink the car with the byproduct of correcting the “image problem” as an added bonus. Ironically, the “image problem” they speak of is the faithful older Corvette owner, repeat buyers who have hung tough through thick and thin with the marque.
Which brings us to a video from AutoEvolution featured for you here. The clip from internet darling Austin Everett, aka Speed Phenom, is a snapshot in time and perfectly mirrors the brave new world in which we live. He and his young followers are the golden goose that Chevrolet seeks to redeem and ensure Corvette’s relevancy. The old saying “Be careful what you wish for,” comes to mind here and after surrendering a little over 18 minutes of my life, here are some thoughts.
First off, Everett is a peach-fuzz covered Southern California “socialite” that somehow is able to afford almost $200k worth of C8 Corvette and Shelby Mustang GT500. With a hardy (but hardly amazing) 141,000 YouTube subscribers, how he summoned up the shekels to buy these cars is cause for speculation. He spouts bubbly banter peppered with a cookie-cutter lexicon of pop culture biz-blab, like “Awesome, amazing, insane, and um…yeah!”
The old song by the Dire Straits comes to mind with the refrain, “Money for nothing and chicks for free.” I really don’t want to be that grumpy guy with dusty old cultural references, but it’s hard not to snicker at these goofy YouTube and Instagram “stars.” Seriously though, what you’re seeing here is no less than the future owner base for Corvette. Get a good look, and then get the hell out of the way.
Secondly, we are in the great twilight of the internal combustion engine. If you have petrol in your veins, get down to a Chevrolet dealer and lay your hands on a new Corvette or Camaro pronto. These are highly refined and ferocious machines that can easily flirt with 200mph. If you would have told me 10 years ago that you could go into any Chevy dealer and buy this kind of performance right off the showroom floor, I would’ve never believed it. This modern era of Chevrolet performance makes the Sixties muscle car craze seem like your niece’s birthday party.
Next, whether you like the C8 Corvette with the mid-engined chassis or not, this video shows why Tadge and the Corvette development team bet the farm on the C8. Austin lets his Mustang and the C8 run wild at the two-mile long, Shift-S3ctors California Airstrip Attack and the results are telling. Even with the Mustang’s 760hp, the 495hp Corvette smokes the Blue Oval pony with superior traction and the grip of the C8’s supercar blueprint.
Finally, look in the background of the video and you can see a Tesla Model 3 lurking in the staging area. This egg-shaped EV can keep up with these heavyweights and is a bellwether of upcoming tech that will take automotive performance to the next level. If this reality makes you red-faced and angry, remember the next five years will bring us the best gas-powered muscle cars ever produced. Get ’em while they’re hot.
In the meantime, I yearn for a simpler time, when Solid Axle cars, Sting Rays and Sharks preened upon silky green turf on a Saturday afternoon with the scent of gasoline wafting through the air. Where Corvette people were not judged by their age, shoes, or how many new Corvettes they’re able to buy before they die.
For us diehard Corvette guys, evidently the whipping post of the hobby, the only thing that matters is voluptuous fiberglass, camaraderie from others who “understand,” and our hallowed wave.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and declare I’d take my scruffy Bowtie brothers in “Old Guys Rule” shirts, Reeboks and jorts anyday. May we share many more moons, reveling in our old school Corvette bond.
To those not paying attention meet Austin Everett and his generation, the future of Corvette.
Speed Phenom / YouTube
[VIDEO] Speed Phenom Nukes the Brakes on his C8 Corvette Z51 at the Track
[VIDEO] Watch a 2020 Corvette Z51 Set a New C8 Lap Record at Laguna Seca
[VIDEO] Speed Phenom Runs the Quarter Mile in 10.95 Seconds in His Stock 2020 Corvette