Corvette at the London motor show 2008 | CAR Magazine

Corvette at the London motor show 2008

Published: 24 July 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

Surrounded by a sea of silver Cadillacs, the trio of colourful Corvettes offered a beacon of sports car relief on GM’s rambling stand that stretched from brash Hummers in one corner to a procession of Insignias in every colour imaginable on the other side.

What’s new on Corvette’s London motor show stand?

The bright red ZR1 – the fastest ever Corvette – made its UK debut in a brilliant red paint job flanked by the Z06 and C6 on either side, both in yellow. The ZR1’s whopping 638bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8 offers 0-62mph in a gut-wrenching 3.4 seconds, a 205mph top speed and goes on sale in October 2008. Allocation for these shores will be ‘very limited’ – in the tens rather than hundreds – and each two-seater should cost about £100,000 with a new very high spec ‘one trim only’ policy, including head-up display, sat-nav, leather and a top-end Bose stereo.

CAR’s Corvette highlight

The ZR1’s massive blue Brembo brakes on the 20-inch wheels. At 380mm in diameter, the vented and cross-drilled carbon-ceramic rotors are among the largest of any production vehicle. The glimpse of the supercharged engine peaking out from the clear polycarbonate bonnet cover piece is a nicely lairy touch too.

What were they thinking?

Don’t mention the emissions or economy; Corvette hasn’t yet. But we get the feeling it won’t qualify for any tax breaks.

In a nutshell

An excellent-value supercar – if politically out of step with its times.

Click here to go to CAR’s London motor show A-Z homepage

CAR reader reports

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What surprised me most on the Corvette stand?

That it’s here. They probably only sold a handful or so official cars here last year, the independents have the market sown up for LHD only, premium-priced versions of affordable U.S. sports cars. An official distribution network will always struggle with its inevitable overheads.

Forget the PR spin. I reckon the real story here is…

They needed to add some lure to a struggling Cadillac stand so decided to add the halo brand in GM’s portfolio. The main draw was the ZR-1; a model they claim isn’t confirmed as coming to Europe. It seems as if GM’s approach to Excel was to exhibit all their remaining premium brands, irrespective of its relevance to the UK market.

Reader verdict

GM aren’t going to change the situation with Corvette in the UK market in the near future. They see it as a novelty niche market, satisfied with a sufficient amount of LHD specialists. It’s a shame since the ZR-1 is a defining product for the Corvette brand, one that could finally give them serious credibility in the European market.

The ZR-1 is seriously desirable. See past the bling wheel and bonnet, and it’s a genuine 911 GT3 competitor.

Click here to go to CAR’s London motor show A-Z homepage