The moment of the 2013 Detroit auto show to remember is the introduction on Sunday night of the Corvette C7 at a warehouse in the industrial wilderness north of town.
Once the lights and flashes were done, Chevrolet’s Mark Reuss took the stage and gave us in one human moment an insight into what this car is really all about.
Flushed with emotion, Reuss told us a story about driving to the GM technical center as a kid in the back of a Corvette driven by his father, the semi-legendary engineer Lloyd Reuss, and begging to visit the area where a future Corvette was being engineered. Clearly Reuss was ferociously proud of the way the new C7 delivers on the promise that the Corvette ideal makes, not only to him but also to everyone who likes cars.
But we felt more than this. We felt Reuss’s defiance, as this car responds to the doubters who believed that General Motors would never come back from bankruptcy. We felt his pride in a project where GM could do its best unencumbered by politically correct compromise. And we felt his relief at the passing of a crisis, as GM puts people every week and then day by day adds another person to the payroll and then another and then another.
Reuss’s story was one of those things that starts out being about the car business but turns into a story about Detroit and actually becomes a story about all of us. Times were tough but we made it through, and now we’re trying to make things better every day and they are getting better.
If Mark Reuss had the keys to the Corvette C7 in his hand, he would have spiked them into the ground as if he’d scored a touchdown.