Saturday, November 11, 2006
It was really cool and we all admired it. It was the '71 Corvette Stingray that Rick Ball drove in high school. Bright metallic blue, it belonged to his father but every once in awhile, Rick would be seen driving it around town. Rick was a year older than me so, while I was waiting to get my license, he was tooling around in his dad's Vette. Until he slid it under a semi truck trailer. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt.

Guys in my generation grew up dreaming of owning a Corvette. It seemed like, despite the car's expense, young guys were GM's target market for the always fast and always sleek chick magnet. We all wanted to drive fast and impress people ... well, impress girls, actually.

At my age today, though, I figured I had sort of outgrown GM's marketing of its venerable sportscar. Until we recently visited the Corvette assembly plant and neighboring museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky that is. They start the plant tour with a video. It's all about speed, power, and handling. I confess -- it got my adrenaline going.

The Cadillac XLR is also assembled at this plant. Seeing the assembly line was pretty neat. I was, frankly, surprised by how much hand assembly and fitting is done, especially on the XLR. Whereas this plant makes about 175 Vettes each day, it only makes about eight XLRs. The XLR goes for about $100,000 a pop. Vettes are from the mid 40's up to about $70,000.

Before we had left home to go on our trip to Bowling Green, I had two friends point out to me that the Corvette is no longer coveted by young men. I found that hard to believe. Who else would it be targeted to and sought after by? Incredible in every way, the Vette just seems like something that every young guy getting his driver's license would want to have. How could it be any other way?

But, eventually my image of the Vette all came crashing down for good when a young boy on our tour -- probably about Evan's age -- only wanted to know one thing -- "Is this the plant where you make the Escalade?" I sensed he couldn't have cared less about the Corvette. Just as I grew up seeing rock stars and athletes in their Vettes, he has grown up seeing rappers in their Escalades and Humvees. Times have changed.

And, as we toured the Corvette museum and saw people there to take possession of their 2007 Vettes, it became quite clear -- painfully so one might say -- that the Corvette is still targeted to my generation. It's just that now I am part of the midlife crisis-prone generation of chubby bald guys.

Oh well.

  posted at 7:58 PM  

At 9:49 AM, Blogger HeyJules said...

Times, they are a changing, eh? The only two people I've known recently who bought vettes were both - how did you say it? - midlife crisis-prone chubby bald guys.

Life - it just keeps on turning.


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Todd M


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