Ask Bark In the Real World: Will Somebody Sell Me a Vette?

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth

Some of you have been reading this site for a long time, and for that, I’m thankful. You might remember that I used to fly around the country to drive and review readers’ cars. It seems impossible that I wrote this post almost six years ago, but it’s true. On that day, I had taken a flight to Baltimore to do a pilot workshop for Autotrader, and was picked up at the airport by a loyal reader and soon-to-become new friend, Gene.

We had a marvelous time hooning around in his brand new Chevrolet SS. I think it was one of the first, if not the first “ Reader Ride Reviews” that we did on this site, a feature that I sorely miss. Seeing the pride that readers had in their own cars and watching their eyes light up as they saw what their cars were capable of doing in the hands of a (slightly) trained driver was always a delight.

Well, imagine my delight and surprise when our formerly SS-owning friend Gene emailed me out of the blue last year. He had read my commentary on the C8 Corvette and invited me to try out his new C8 when it arrived sometime in February. I gleefully accepted.

Well, we all know what happened next. First, there was a strike. Then, there was a virus. Gene began to suspect that his C8 would not be built in time for his delivery date — and then, perhaps not at all.

That’s when I had an idea.

Gene was thinking of doing one of the following:

Placing a new order for a 2021 C8

Buying a Mustang GT convertible

Buying a Camaro SS convertible

But I had a better plan. Why not take advantage of some of the ridiculously low pricing and aggressive financing to buy a still-new, still-on-the-lot C7 Grand Sport? Gene’s original order was for a base 1LT C8, and I had every confidence that the C7 Grand Sport could be had for far less money, and would be a superior car to the base C8 in every way possible.

I wrote to Gene and suggested that he investigate how to retrieve his C8 deposit and get himself behind the wheel of a C7. Perhaps not surprisingly, he hadn’t considered this option. Once he did, however, he became quite enamored with the idea. Although he had been planning to pay cash for his new toy, he agreed that it was hard to turn down the idea of free money.

“Besides,” he wrote, “I’ll be 75 when I’m done paying it off, so maybe they can bury me in it, too.”

We began to look through C7 GS inventory across the country together, since, frankly, neither one of us probably had a whole lot else to do during this lockdown. Gene found a 2019 Grand Sport Convertible 2LT about 80 miles from me at a dealership in Louisville. I offered to go look at it for him, since he still lives in the DC metro area.

Alas, per a directive from the governor, Kentucky dealers aren’t allowing anybody into showrooms at the moment. Despite Gene’s willingness to drive all the way from Northern Virginia to check the Vette out, the sales staff refused to allow him a test drive. They would allow him to buy it, sight unseen, and then he’d have to arrange for shipment from Louisville to his home. Ugh.

I don’t have any contacts at this particular dealer group, but I do have some with another group in KY that had a white 2019 Z06 in stock at a crazy discounted price. Gene’s preference was for a naturally aspirated engine, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check. I emailed the owner and asked if he’d be willing to drive the Z06 to an undisclosed location, leave the keys in it, and then pick it up from that same location later (this is called a “test drive”). He emailed back quickly and agreed.

We also found two other 2019 GS around the country — one in Ohio, and another in Maryland, with both dealers offering as much as $15,000 off of MSRP plus promotional zero percent financing for 84 months.

However, as sensible men often do, Gene decided that it would be best to sit on this decision for a bit. He’s in a lovely position when it comes to buying a car — he has all the money required to do so, and none of the urgent need. For now, Gene is content to sit on his patio and smoke a cigar, which is something all of us could probably use right now.

If Gene, a man who is motivated and has the means to buy virtually any car he wants, is finding it difficult to buy a car nowadays, one has to wonder how this shutdown is affecting people who need to buy a car — not to mention dealers who need to sell them.

In the meantime, I look forward to helping Gene find the car of his dreams when this is all said and done. Whenever that is.

If you’d like Bark to help you hunt down a car deal right now, please email him at barkm302@gmail.com. He has nothing better to do. If you don’t, he swears he’ll keep posting cooking how-to videos on his Instagram stories. Nobody wants that.

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
Mark "Bark M." Baruth

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  • Downunder Downunder on Apr 24, 2020

    Nice looking Commodore! A pity that GM cannot afford to keep engineering RHD platforms....like Ford, Renault, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Great Wall, SIAC, LDV, KIA/Hyundai, Jeep, Fiat. It just goes to show (1) how insular GM is and (2) money must be so tight or non-existent inside of GM.

  • Russell G Russell G on Apr 26, 2020

    Hey Bark, and interesting situation there with Gene. If I was in the market for a Vette I would definitely pass over the C8 and go with a leftover C7. You could certainly shop for me and bring it to my driveway, but you'd have to stay 6 feet away. Just throw me the keys. That is after you sanitize them !!!

  • Bof65705611 CarPlay is awesome. Nav and music have been mentioned but it’s also amazing for texting, WhatsApp, my calendar, Zoom calls, FaceTime calls, and phone calls. I don’t like touchscreens in the car but both my cars (BMW, Mazda) use a rotary knob, which isn’t great, but doable with minimal time with eyes off the road.
  • Tassos Most people here who think it is a good idea have NO idea how much such a conversion costs. Hint: MORE than buying an entire new car.
  • Zipper69 Current radio ads blare "your local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer" and the facias read the same. Is the honeymoon with FIAT over now the 500 and big 500 have stopped selling?
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh hmmm get rid of the garbage engine in my chevy, and the garbage under class action lawsuit transmission? sounds good to me
  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
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