- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2002

MIILFORD, Mich. Every time there is an opportunity to drive a Corvette, I feel like having a ball.
Ever since 1977, when I started racing in a Camaro of which I have fond memories, there was that other ultimate Chevy. Over the years I have always loved the Corvette. Concededly, there was a time during which I was not loyal: There were better species of sports cars, the Acura NSX, the Porsche. But with the introduction of the C5 my commitment was back.
So now, with the 50th anniversary of the Corvette in 2003 in sight, I grabbed the chance to drive the special edition at the Milan Drag Course, close to Ann Arbor, Mich., and on the public roads surrounding the facilities.
General Motors has not changed the C5 that much. The highlight is a new damping system that provides wheel and body control. It is called magnetic selective ride control, and it stands for a new damper design that controls wheel and body motion with magneto-rheological (MR) fluid in the shock absorbers. A computer receives input from sensors monitoring lateral acceleration, vehicle speed, wheel position, steering-wheel angle and brake-pedal force. Then it sends energy to the MR fluid inside the mono tube shocks.
Adding power means thickening the fluid that runs through electromagnetic coil inside the piston of the damper, changing the fluid's consistency and resulting in continuously variable real-time damping.
GM research developed MSRC along with supplier Delphi. The system debuted last year in the Cadillac Seville STS. It is standard on the 50th anniversary edition and optional on the other Corvettes (but not available for the Z06). Of course, other GM models eventually will get it too.
On the road with the Corvette, I could really feel the difference. With a switch on the console, I could select tour and sport modes. In "sport" the Corvette felt really hard, too hard for the winding roads east of Milan. There I preferred "tour" for a smooth ride. But on the recently built Road Course, adjacent to the drag strip, it made all the (positive) difference. The Corvette sticks to the smooth surface of the track and makes cornering all the more fun.
It speaks for itself that I also took the Coupe that paced the Indy 500 for a couple of laps, and, according to the photographer, could not get the grin off my face.
Too bad I live in Netherlands, in downtown The Hague. There, without a garage or a driveway, we park along the road. The Corvette is not only a rather long car for tiny parking spaces, but it also sticks out like a sore thumb.
It will attract people with bad intentions, as my Camaro did in the 1980s.
It was stolen; I cried bitter tears, and that is something I would not want to happen with my new Corvette. I'll have to look for a house in the country first or come live in the United States.
Then I would be glad to be the owner of the C5, either a Z06 or this special edition that sells for less than $50,000.


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