August 1966 was the summer before the Summer of Love, Beatlemania was in full swing, and Clint Eastwood’s Good the Bad and the Ugly hit the silver screen. During that August, Consumer Reports took the 1966 Corvette Stingray for a little spin and wrote a review. Today, the Corvette C2 is regarded as an American classic but as many of you older guys know, cars get better with age, and people become nostalgically blind to their flaws. What was the opinion of America’s Sports Car in 1966?
“Since its introduction in 1953, the Corvette has been steadily refined and improved until it could be seen throughout the world as a true ‘Grand Turismo’ car.” The first thing the writers at Consumer Reports discovered was just how low to the ground the Corvette was. While its height improved its handling and performance, the journalists found it a pain to access the spare tire, they claimed the task was “an assignment for a contortionist.” They also claimed that the low lying exhaust pipes of the car would scrape and bang against bumps in road.
Another complaint from CR was the C2’s cramped cockpit. They complained of little head room, little leg room, and an uncomfortable bench seat that didn’t support a human body very well. Apparently, without a passenger, the seat would flop around during breaking.
Before you start posting comments claiming the people at CR are idiots, you should know that despite these negatives, the journalists at CR loved the 1966 Vette. They were awed by the cars handling, “suspension retained control of the car’s movements . . . and even over the worst bumps on the circuit the car never lost its poise.” They were also blown away by the Vettes supercar performance, with its screaming 327 and throttle that begs to be slammed into the firewall. They enjoyed the 7.5 second 0-60 thrill ride as well as flying in the left lane.
“On the sports car track, during the high-speed handling tests, the Corvette’s handling was excellent, even when pushed through the corners much faster than any of our other test cars. The power-steering behavior proved how good power steering can be, and should be, on all cars—the ratio was very quick, the effort moderate, and the feel precise.”
The C2’s state of the art braking earned much praise from CR with the brakes being able to stop the Vette in an instant. Despite the review starting out with bad news, Consumer Review loved the car. CR ended their review with this “Bottom line: Expensive, impractical, and worth it!” Those words couldn’t be any more true.