What Makes a Corvette an Affordable Sports Car Option?

Vetta/Getty Images
Vetta/Getty Images

Why are Chevrolet Corvettes so cheap? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Sukrit Ganesh, car expert, on Quora:

Why are Chevrolet Corvettes so cheap? I have a simple answer: there is no difference between the Chevy Silverado and Corvette. They both use the same engine, they are both mass produced, and they both are made using similar materials.

A good car to compare the Corvette C7 Grand Sport to is the Ferrari California T. Performance is roughly the same, both use V8 engines, and yet the Corvette costs less than 1/3 the price of the Ferrari. Why?

1.Engine

The Ferrari engine is hand built in a clean room, whereas the Corvette engine is mass produced on an assembly line. Chevrolet makes hundreds of thousands of Corvette engines each year, since several Chevrolet cars use the Corvette engine: Camaro, Silverado, Escalade, etc.

The Corvette engine is simply fine tuned a bit to increase horsepower, noise, and efficiency, but the tuning process isn’t too difficult.

On the downside, the Ferrari can redline at 8000 rpm, while the Corvette redlines at 6500 rpm. Other than that, the Corvette engine can definitely match the Ferrari engine. The Corvette engine as powerful, effective, and smooth as the Ferrari engine, but remember that the Corvette engine will last way longer than the Ferrari engine.

2.Interior Materials

The interior materials found in the Corvette can also be found in a Camaro, Impala, Silverado and Escalade. Sure, they may have cool colors and interesting stitching, but the bottom line is that the materials in the Corvette are functional and simple. They work.

The Ferrari? Well, only premium leather is found in the Ferrari. All stitching is done by hand. Carbon fiber lines the dashboard. There are absolutely no cracks or gaps. Everything lines up. The attention to detail is extreme, as every crease, fold, and line must be done to perfection.

Any downside? No. The Corvette leather is as comfortable as the Ferrari leather, the interior is equally well made, and the Corvette is far more functional and technologically advanced than the Ferrari. Who cares if there’s a small gap here and the stitching is a millimeter off there? It works. That’s all that matters.

3.Assembly

The Corvette is manufactured on an assembly line. Each year, tens of thousands of Corvettes are produced. Ferrari, on the other hand, produced only 7,500 vehicles per year (they have four models). Mass production drives the price of the Corvette down. In fact, the Corvette and Chevy Silverado are produced using similar assembly lines.

In short, while the Corvette definitely uses mechanical parts more expensive then other Chevrolet cars, it is simply a more expensive Camaro. Supercar performance only costs $70,000 - you need to tune the engine, improve the brakes, upgrade the material parts, lower the drag coefficient, and viola! You have your sports car. No need for using a microscope to check whether every piece of leather is within ten microns of the specifications.

A Ferrari is a prestige symbol, while a Corvette is a practical sports car. You can definitely drive a Corvette every day (they don’t break down too often), but good luck driving your Ferrari a few months without the check engine light turning on.

If you want a car which you can enjoy every day, get the Corvette. And if your company just sold for millions of dollars, get the Ferrari as a weekend car (trust me, the engine noise and prestige driving the Ferrari is inimitable).

Or if you really can’t decide, get both. You’ll be in love with your Corvette much more.

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