Shortly after the Corvette Grand Sport arrived at our office, an unnamed staffer performed the quick and necessary modification that every 'Vette with a dual-mode exhaust requires. By pulling the fuse that controls the exhaust's bypass function that normally opens at 3500 rpm, we now had the unfiltered roar all the time. That exhaust note is wonderfully raw on throttle and sweetly lumpy at idle. Opening the exhaust so it's always blasting is the first thing any Corvette owner should do.
The second thing an owner should do is purchase one of the cheap modifications on the Internet that disables GM's pesky skip-shift that improves the fuel economy of the small-block engines by forcing drivers to shift from first to fourth gear under certain conditions. Compared to the Camaro SS I recently drove, I found the skip-shift to be much more active and invasive in this car. Despite the frequency with which it locked me out of second gear, I never could quite predict when it was going to happen and several times it pushed me into fourth at a seriously low speed.
On the flip side, if you're doing things right, you shouldn't be driving the Corvette at a level that allows skip-shift to kick in. The performance-value story of the Corvette is really 90 percent performance. It's awesome that the wider rubber does little to keep the tires from lighting up in second gear. Handling is stellar. The stiffer suspension parts and wider wheels of the Grand Sport do make for a rougher ride that does a fine job of transmitting road imperfections, but this car is much more livable than a Nissan GT-R. And while it costs $6000 more than a base Corvette, the Grand Sport is every bit the value that the lesser 'Vette is.
I also have to agree with Phil's assertion that the Corvette's exceptional value easily makes up for a mediocre interior. I have never given the Corvette's interior a second thought. There's no need to. The steering wheel, shifter, and clutch pedals are all right where they need to be, and those are the tools you need for controlling the 'Vette's awesome performance.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor