As I write this, I am sitting at a Starbucks in Burbank, California. Sitting outside, directly in my eyesight, is the Torch Red 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 I’ve been loaned for the next five days.
The itch to shut my laptop, run out with a coffee in hand, and get back behind the wheel of the ‘Vette is insatiable. However, duty calls. Welcome to the Carscoops live blog of our Californian adventures with what is for many, the most American of all sports cars.
In the coming days, this blog will be updated as I tour around the Los Angeles area in search of fantastic driving roads where the Corvette can be put to the test. Each day, you’ll see new photos and text added whenever I visit particularly great places. A complete review of the car will follow afterwards.
Update: Day 4 – Change of plans.
Today I intended on driving east out of Los Angeles to Joshua Tree National Park roughly 2.5 hours away. The morning didn’t start out as expected as heavy rain doused LA for hours on end. Roughly one hour into the drive and with no sign of respite, I decided to head back to Los Angeles but by making a detour through San Bernardino over to the north side of the Angeles National Forest.
Once again, the weather crippled my plans. While driving along Angeles Crest Highway through the small towns of Wrightwood and Big Pines, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It started to snow. I was driving a Corvette. Before long, the road was covered in snow and ice and I was surrounded by nothing but all-wheel drive SUVs. As quickly as I could, I found a safe place to turn around and got out of there. You do not what to be driving a Corvette on summer tires in the snow. It did make for a unique photo opportunity, however.
The weather forced me into yet another detour as I made my way around to Santa Clarita. However, this did allow me to test out the Corvette’s road-tripping abilities. As I expected, it performed brilliantly. The seats are very comfortable for long distances and the cruise control systems works perfectly. The ride is also supple when the vehicle is in ‘Eco’ or ‘Tour’ modes.
Update: Day 3 – A surprising all-rounder.
Our 2019 Chevrolet Corvette equipped with the 2LT and Z51 packages retails for a touch over $72,000. That is one hell of a proposition when you consider its performance. Making that price all the more superb is the fact that the Corvette Z51 can easily be used as a daily driver, as I began to discover today.
Los Angeles is notorious for its traffic and I’ve experienced my fair share of it in the past few days. However, not once while stuck in an endless line of cars have I wished I was in something else. The Corvette Z51 is very compliant when you want it to be and neither the clutch of shifter is particularly heavy and arduous to use in traffic. The seats are also exceptionally comfortable.
Angeles Crest Highway (again)
Bored of putting through traffic and exploring famed parts of Los Angeles like Rodeo Drive and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I headed back to the Angeles Crest Highway. The Corvette proved to be an excellent companion once again. This afternoon’s drive was made all the more memorable thanks to the thick fog across some of the higher points of the forest. For parts of the drive, I was joined by a Porsche 911 Turbo S and Chevrolet Camaro SS but they had no hope of keeping up and were made light work of with the Z51.
Tomorrow I’m planning to put the Corvette’s road-tripping abilities to the test with a day trip to the Joshua Tree National Park. Stay tuned.
Update: Day 2 – Rain and sunshine.
Rain and sunshine. These are the two words that best describe today in Los Angeles. For the first half of the day, there were fairly ferocious thunderstorms before the sun broke through, making for an enjoyable afternoon with the Corvette.
With the rain pelting down in the morning, we decided to make a visit to the Petersen Automotive Museum. The facility houses a dizzying array of vehicles from film classics through to championship-winning race cars. The museum frequently cycles through different exhibitions and currently, much of the displays are located to classic and modern Porsches.
Once the sun revealed itself from the clouds, I swiftly drove to Mulholland Drive. Due to my blissful ignorance, however, I didn’t realize that Mulholland Drive is simply a curvy road that winds its way through some residential areas in Los Angeles. After a while, the road becomes Mulholland Highway. That’s where I wanted to be.
‘The Snake’ on Mulholland Highway
Unbeknownst to me, much of the area around Mulholland Highway was destroyed by the recent Californian fires. Charred trees, blackened soil, and the smell of smoke still dominate the landscape. The road itself is still in excellent condition and the Corvette Z51 proved to be at home along the damp roads. On damp roads, you can’t let your focus drift while driving the car as the tail continuously kicks out even with traction control on. It takes a while to get used to but only adds to the experience.
Two days down and roughly 300 miles (482 km) added to the odometer. What will the next few days hold?
Day 1: Angeles Crest Highway
Before I flew to the United States of ‘Murica, I was determined to make a trip out to Angeles Crest Highway. This morning, I did just that. Ladies and gentlemen, it lives up to the hype.
I entered the famous mountain road from La Cañada Flintridge at roughly 9 a.m. I had expected to encounter some traffic but the roads were empty, save for a few other car enthusiasts making the most of the deserted roads.
PS. We didn’t leave any of the tire marks you see.
First impressions of the Corvette? Fantastic. The thumping naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V8 is the obvious highlight and sounds absolutely phenomenal when the engine and exhaust are placed in Track mode. Front-end grip is also exceptional and try as I might, I was unable to induce even the slightest hint of understeer. The controls of the Corvette with the Z51 Performance Package are also a particular highlight. From the weight of the clutch pedal to the feeling of the brakes, the progressiveness of the throttle and the short-throw shifter, the ‘Vette proved to be fantastic to drive on these roads.
I can’t wait to continue exploring the car in the coming days. Stay tuned.