Q: What do you give Corvette enthusiasts who have everything?
A: How about a television series all their own?
While answering questions with questions can often be annoying, when it comes to the topic of the Chevrolet Corvette, or simply “Vette,” as many call it, there is nothing off-limits to those who go gaga over this American road icon – especially when presented with something positive.
Enter “Corvette Nation”.
The brainchild of television producer Howard Lipkint, a Brooklyn-born boy who has called Las Vegas his home on and off since 1997, “Corvette Nation”, hosted by Bill Stephens and Maria Prekeges, debuted in 2013 on Velocity, the U.S.-based high-definition cable and satellite television channel owned by Discovery Communications. It is currently in production for its third season, and the first two seasons (26 episodes in all) can be seen in more than 50 countries worldwide on Netflix, which boasts more than 60 million subscribers.
When the show initially premiered, the very first episode was dedicated to the introduction of the 2014 C7 Stingray, the seventh generation Chevy Corvette and the first to bear the Stingray name since the 1976 third generation model. The first C7 Corvette was delivered to consumers in the third quarter of 2013.
“Corvette owners and enthusiasts loved that first episode,” said Lipkint, pointing out how it was ideal for a new concept show to feature the Corvette model at the time. “As soon as we started getting feedback, we knew by the second episode we had a winner.”
Since hitting the U.S. cable airwaves, “Corvette Nation” has popped the hood on what can arguably be seen as the greatest American sports car ever created. Its episodes have been both diverse and informative, featuring classic models, “Vette” technology, fan festivals and auto rallies from coast-to-coast. It even paid a couple of visits to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which last year saw eight treasured “Vettes”, with an estimated value exceeding $1-million, fall victim to a 40-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep sinkhole in the facility’s yellow Sky Dome wing.
The eight casualties were:
A 1962 “Black Corvette”
A 1984 PPG pace car
A 2009 ZR-1 “Blue Devil”
The 1992 white “1 Millionth Corvette”
A 1993 ruby red “40th Anniversary Corvette”
A 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
The 2009 white “1.5 Millionth Corvette”
A 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
Although none of the cars included the rarest or even the most valuable to bear the Corvette moniker, it did include what some consider one of the best ever built, and the loss was a blow to both the museum and “Vette” aficionados, nevertheless.
“Corvette enthusiasts are a very devoted group,” said Lipkint. “They are passionate like no other auto buffs out there. When one of these classic rides is totaled or destroyed, some of them take it so personally. There’s an attachment to this sports car that is unbreakable.”
“Vette” devotees like to brag that the automotive icon is the best of the best and with good reason. Year after year, the Corvette consistently ranks above its international counterparts, and this year was no different.
According to Car and Driver, the 2015 Top 10 sports cars in the world are:
Chevrolet Corvette ($55,995 - $64,995)
Porsche Cayman ($53,595 - $76,195)
Porsche Cayman GT4 ($85,595)
Porsche Boxster ($52,395 - $74,495)
Jaguar F-type ($65,925 - $92,925)
Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG ($71,825)
Alfa Romeo 4C ($55,195 - $69,695)
Audi TT / TTS ($41,245 - $52,595)
Lotus Evora ($69,965 - $81,465)
Nissan Z ($30,815 - $50,225)
But, what about the Corvettes, themselves? How do they rank amongst themselves? Which are truly the best of the best, capturing the true spirit of Americana and setting themselves apart from all the others? In January, 2015, writer Brian Leon of the New York Daily News named the top seven “Vettes” of all time and it would be hard to argue with this list.
7. 2015 Z06 – This year’s model ranks amongst the world’s fastest production cars (0 to 60 in 2.95 seconds) and could be the ultimate performance bargain of the century!
6. 2009 ZR-1 – Called the “Blue Devil” by those at GM, the 2009 ZR-1 was the first supercharged Corvette in history, and the fastest at the time.
5. 2002 Z06 – With a more powerful engine, lightweight compo-nents, better suspension, and custom Goodyear tires, the Z06 was the most track-capable “Vette” ever built when it was introduced in 2001.
4. 1990 ZR-1 – With 125 more horsepower than the base model, the C4 ZR1 was one of the fastest performance cars of the day, boasting a 0-to-60 time of 4.9 seconds.
3. 1970 Stingray LT-1 – Chevy offered the small block LT-1 engine, offering the best combination of power and light weight of any Corvette to date.
2. 1963 Stingray Split Window Coupe – Offered for only one year, the split rear window coupe is one of the most collectible American cars of all time, and considered by many as one of the best looking, too.
1. 1955 V-8 – Although the Corvette was introduced two years earlier and the 1953 model remains an American icon, the “Vette” really came into its own with a V-8 under the hood when it was offered for the first time in ‘55.
With all of these classics having been featured at one time or another on “Corvette Nation” – one has to wonder what Season 3 will deliver. According to Lipkint, his Goin’ Mobile Video production team will continue attending unique events that demonstrate the spirit of “Vette” enthusiasm, such as the recent Black Hills Corvette Classic. More than 400 Corvettes recently converged on South Dakota and traveled across the state from Sioux Falls to Rapid City, with stops in Spearfish, historic Deadwood, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and the ever-popular city of Sturgis.
“Corvette Nation” returns to Velocity this fall. Facebook.com/CorvetteNation