Sweet jumpin’ Zora Arkus-Duntov! Is the Vette really 65 years old? Really? Man, either I’m showing my age, or I’m just too enamored with the current gen of Chevy’s plastic fantastic to realize or care that the first Corvette hit the scene when Eisenhower was president. Yes, the first Vette had rather uninspiring performance.
And yes, at various other times over that 65 years, “uninspiring performance” was a term used more often than Chevy would have liked (cough-disco era Corvettes-cough!). However, that is never something you’ll hear uttered about the current generation.
The C7 Vette is a flat out world beater of a car. I had two friends, and I mean dyed-in-the-wool Euro car guys who traded in BMW M3’s within minutes of test driving C7s. I mean they’re that good. If you’re a gearhead, I would not counsel you away from a current Corvette.
If, and while I’m on the subject, if you’re a gearhead aged less than, oh, 40, I would counsel you away from a current Corvette. It’s not that I don’t think you could handle it, it’s that insurance companies don’t, and you would literally be paying through the nose. And yeah, I mean that as literally.
When my brother was in grad school many, many moons ago, he bought a 1965 Corvette to go AutoX-ing with, and as I recall, Allstate would literally come over to his place on Comm. Ave., stuff the 20s up one nostril, and extract them out the other just to make the point. He said it was worth it though.
What’s In A Name?
It’s actually pretty straightforward. The Carbon 65 Edition is a trim and semi-performance add-on available on all 2018 Grand Sport 3LT and Z06 3LZ models.
The package is limited to only 650 numbered vehicles globally, which goes well with the “65” in the name. Lots of visible carbon-fiber exterior elements cover the “Carbon” part of the moniker. There is also a new Ceramic Matrix Gray exterior along with special interior appointments, including a new carbon-fiber-rimmed steering wheel.
“Corvette is one of the most storied names in Chevrolet and sports car history, with a heritage few can match,” said Paul Edwards, U.S. Vice President, Chevrolet Marketing. “The new Carbon 65 Edition honors that legacy, while offering customers another unique, special-edition model that personalizes the ownership experience.”
Hold up, hold up, fine, but, let me just break this down:
“Corvette is one of the most storied names in Chevrolet . . . history.” Yes, okay, I can agree with that. “Corvette is one of the most storied names in sports car history.” Yes, I can agree with that too. ” . . . with a heritage few can match.” Riiiiiiight. Except for Ferrari and Porsche and Maserati and Aston Martin and Jaguar. You sure did put the Ford T-Bird in its place though.
If you opt for the Carbon 65 Edition package (order code Z30) you get the Ceramic Matrix Gray exterior. If you go for the Carbon 65 package on a drop top, said top will be blue. The Carbon 65 package has exclusive fender stripes and door graphics for a little bit of added flash, while the wheels are black with machined grooves paired with summer-only tires* (pay attention to that asterisk, I’ll get back to it in a sec).
Grand Sport buyers get Cup-style wheels and Z06 buyers get Blade-style wheels. The brake calipers are painted blue and the carbon-fiber ground effects, hood section, and roof (on the Coupe models) or tonneau inserts (for the Convertible models) are more visible.
Speaking of visible, there’s also a new carbon-fiber spoiler to gawk at on all models, and carbon-fiber quarter intake ducts on the Coupe. Honestly, I’m not sure why you would limit them to only being on the coupe, but there it is. The wheel center caps feature a carbon logo and there’s carbon flash badges too.
There’s a jet black suede-wrapped interior with blue stitching (which sounds rather handsome), a carbon-fiber steering wheel, and gloss carbon-fiber trim throughout. The chairs are Competition Sport seats, a nice performance add on that will hold your butt more securely and, of course, Carbon 65 Edition sill plates.
Remember that asterisk I told you to pay attention to? Here’s what the GM presser says: “Do not use summer-only tires in winter conditions, as it would adversely affect vehicle safety, performance, and durability. Use only GM-approved tire and wheel combinations. Unapproved combinations may change the vehicle’s performance characteristics.”
Really? Ya think?
Are there really knuckleheads out there lacking in cranial horsepower to think you could take a Corvette Grand Sport, let alone a Z06, out for a little jaunt in January in the Upper Peninsula, say on summer tires and live to tell about it? Guess so, or the GM lawyers wouldn’t have to warn us.
Personally, I’d skip the Carbon 65 Edition and go with just the normal Grand Sport in Nassau Blue with an Arctic White stripe, but I’m sort of traditional that way. In case you have your heart set on one, the Corvette Carbon 65 Edition package will run you an extra $15,000. It will be available this summer along with the rest of the 2018 Chevy Corvette lineup.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.