Warren, Michigan—NASCAR team owner and auto dealer kingpin Rick Hendrick took the keys to the very first 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray—VIN number 0001—Friday afternoon at the General Motors Design headquarters north of Detroit.
Hendrick paid $1.1 million for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which was auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson sale in January in Arizona. He paid a hefty premium to be the first official buyer, as the base 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is listed for $51,995, including destination charges, on the Chevrolet website. Proceeds are going to the College for Creative Studies, a design school in Detroit.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray runs a 6.2-liter V-8 engine pumping out 455-hp (460 hp with the performance exhaust) and 460 lb-ft of torque. It can be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters or a seven-speed manual gearbox.
The seventh generation of the iconic Chevrolet Corvette—the C7—was revealed in January at the 2013 Detroit auto show. It has considerable upgrades compared with the C6, including a vastly improved interior with leather, aluminum, and carbon-fiber pieces. The exterior has been completely redesigned with more creases, a sharper profile, and piercing taillights. The appearance has drawn comparisons to European sports cars, though the angular taillights have stirred controversy among some Corvette traditionalists.
Hendrick owns Charlotte, North Carolina–based Hendrick Motorsports, which has won ten Sprint Cup owner titles since 1984. It fields four Chevrolet teams in Cup competition. Hendrick also presides over Hendrick Automotive Group, one of the largest dealership groups in the nation with 87 franchises and retail sales of 150,000 vehicles in 2012.
Hendrick also bought the second C7 Corvette, a red coupe with red seats. Both of his Vettes have the seven-speed manual.
Hendrick's love of Corvettes runs deep. His first was a 1963, which he bought in 1971, and he now owns about 150 of them.
Hendrick was visibly emotional as he took possession of his new cars. Recalling his boyhood on a Virginia farm, he ironically said, "I never thought I'd own a Corvette."