What’s yellow and black, flies, and is guaranteed to make you yelp in surprise?

The answer is Kerry Horrell’s 2017 Corvette Grand Sport.

Under cover in the garage, it’s not until Kerry rumbles the Corvette out into the open that I get the full impact of this car. It takes my breath away. Low-slung, its all meaty muscle in the front and blunt rear-end. It’s insane how cool this car is – like a cross between a golden frog poised to leap, and a spaceship.

Let’s talk about that colour: I’m pretty sure my photos don’t do it justice – it’s that stunningly bright, sunflower yellow Corvette call Racing Yellow – the reason Kerry chose it. “There’s no point having a Corvette and not having Racing Yellow,” he smiles.

Kerry and Nicky flew to Hamilton to complete negotiations and collect the car just a couple of months ago, so it’s still very new. 

I don’t ned to be asked twice if I’d like a ride. I slide into the passenger seat as Kerry slips into the ‘cockpit’ which is equipped with every possible piece of technology: Bluetooth for streaming music and phones, backup camera, linked navigation system, performance data and video recorder, eight-inch diagonal colour touch-screen, AM/FM stereo with seek-and-scan, digital clock, voice-activation for radio and phone and both Android and Apple CarPlay. “I’m still getting used to that backing camera, but I have to use it. The driver’s seat is so well shaped and supportive I can’t turn my head to look behind me.” It’s worth mentioning that those seats are also heated and air-conditioned!

Once on the open road, the sound of muffled thunder becomes a giant roar as Kerry unwinds the ‘Vette’ and gives me a taste of its power.  My laughter (mixed with expletives), is a mixture of pure exhilaration and heart-in-the-mouth terror at just the hint of a rear end slide. Traction control is a wonderful thing! 

What makes this car fly, is a 6.2 litre, 16-valve V8 engine that makes 460 horsepower and 465 pound feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed auto transmission with paddle shifters. That makes for some serious firepower.  And one hell of a noise.

“It goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds,” Kerry says. Has he put it to the test?  “Of course!” he grins. “Top speed, the Grand Sport will supposedly reach 181mph,” he adds.  A quick mental calculation tells me that’s almost 300k’s per hour!!!  I’m not even asking THAT question.

As we turn and accelerate away again, I’m rather pleased that braking from 60 to 0 mph is also phenomenal, happening in 90 feet, or 27-and-a-half metres. The Grand Sport has its own specific wheel design: painted aluminium, 19×10 inches at the front, and 20×12 inches at the rear. The four driving modes: Economy, Touring, Sport and Track, combine with magnetic ride control, meaning you get the race car experience with the feel of luxury.

Let’s talk fuel economy. Then again, let’s not. If fuel economy is what spins your wheels this is not the car for you. That’s not to say that its excessive, but it’s not a budget driver. This is Kerry and Nicky’s toy, and who’s ever worried about fuel economy in a toy? 

 “The car has a ‘drop top’ feature, which means that the roof unhooks and stows neatly in the boot space. Add a couple of suitcases, and we’re good to go,” says Nicky.  

This is not the first Corvette I’ve seen. Nor is it the first I’ve ridden in. But it is definitely the most exciting. It’s an aggressive, meaty, road munching, fuel sucking, rubber burning beast of a machine, and I’ll never forget this ride.  

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.