Driving over unsalted, ice-slicked roads in a 400-horsepower, rear-wheel drive beast of a car isn't the least stressful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Not that I don't love the Corvette -- it's one of my favorite cars -- but, man, it is not fun to get caught in a snowstorm. Of course, if I'd paid even a modicum of attention to the news this morning, I might have caught a weather report and taken the Jeep out to the tennis center, instead. As it turned out, it took me almost and hour to get home -- a drive that should have taken about 20 minutes.
But you don't buy a 'Vette in preparation for snowy weather -- you buy a 'Vette because you have a thing for powerful, front-engine, rear-drive American cars. I've written about the Corvette before, and how I think it's an excellent car. Most of the Corvettes since the '80s had left me fairly cold -- either stripped of the audacious curves that made the '70s models distinctive, or overdone in some pale imitation of Italian sheet metal. The latest version strikes an almost perfect balance between the wilder stylings of the past with the more refined look of power in the present.
I don't, however, much care for the convertible version I'm driving at the moment. Although it's quiet enough on the inside, and it maintains a healthy trunk in the back, the overall style of the body doesn't really work with the little black soft top. The hardtop version seems far more cohesive. The soft top, while it looks okay enough topless, just doesn't hold together stylistically the way the hardtop does.
One other important point: If you should be entertaining ideas of a Corvette, or any other powerful sports car, I really think you should be going with the manual. Not only does the manual just feel right, the automatic doesn't provide the visceral thrill of the manual. Call me old-fashioned.