A lot of us are just "Average Joe’s" with a passion for high-end automotive experiences but not the bank account to make our day dreams become the reality we wish we could live in. The SFCN team recently tried an experiment and rented a sports car for a few days in our local area to see if this approach could lick our need for mid-summer fun and excitement. Here's a summary of our experience and hope it helps you get a little closer to quenching your thirst!
The main challenge, finding a credible place to rent a sports car that has a selection of vehicles that caters to the needs of the adrenaline-deficient enthusiast. Enter Turo, the "The world's largest car sharing marketplace" as they proclaim themselves to be. Turo is an awesome concept and if you haven't heard of them we will be doing a story on them soon. With the excitement of Turo unleashed wait..."you live in New York State?". Sorry, you don’t get Turo for "insurance reasons", you can read more at this LINK for why the "Empire State" can feel more like the "First Order State" (Star Wars reference) some times.
Corvette Trivia Question: What was the color of the Chevy Corvette that was given to the first American to make it to space? (Message your answer to our Instagram for a chance to win SFCN merch!)
Without Turo as an option, where do you go from here? We struggled to find another rental options through all of WNY. Although Enterprise and Hertz are plentiful, they offer very few thrilling cars. So where did we go? Redline Rentals of Buffalo. They are only local to Western New York, and we were very lucky to find them as finding any other place was a real challenge. Big thank you to them for helping make this article happen and we'll provide their contact info further in the article.
Now into the meat of this article, After examining Redline's available inventory we settled on an American classic, a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. The Stingray to be exact. It was quite an early morning for the SFCN team, with a drive into the City of Buffalo to pick up the car starting off our day. The pick-up process was pretty straight forward. Matt from Redline took care of all the details over the phone and worked with us via text too to get the paper work in order. When we arrived, it was a quick check in, sign some paper work, do a walk around, then fire up the V8 and put the top down! Oh yeah, we had to receive mandatory training about driving the car off parking lot aprons at an angle to make sure we didn't destroy the front end undercarriage...standard stuff for these types of cars.
We took the Vette into town for a quick drive to get a feel for our weekend joy ride, and boy was it fun. Although the C7 Corvette is getting up in years from a design and technology standpoint, it is far from a slow car. Making right around 455 horsepower it’s no slouch. As the sun set on our first day with the Stingray, we pondered what to do with it the next day. Drive with some friends? Too much planning. Cruise out to Letchworth State Park? Perfect. For our readers not in the WNY (Western New York) area, Letchworth is what you could call the Grand Canyon of The East. Beautiful country roads, gorgeous views, small towns, and for the most part high speed limits! Perfect for us to let the V8 Chevy roar.
For more on Letchworth State Park here's a link to some information that you may find helpful. We are big supporters of our park and recreation system! Letchworth State Park, "Grand Canyon of the East"
For this 3 hour round trip a near-new Buick Regal TourX acted as our support car, which, believe it or not, kept up with the Vette quite well on the twisty route we took. So, you ask, what is it like to drive a C7 for two days? You find out that it has a lot of quirky things right off the bat. Having never owned a Chevy like this, exploring all the features of the Corvette was very interesting. For example, the moving touchscreen revealing a hidden compartment, which, my Dad (official SFCN Test Driver) lost multiple items in and I'm not sure we got everything back, and how it keeps itself from destroying your phones, chargers, papers, and masks by using sensors to stop the rising of the screen before it breaks anything. Pretty cool to a person who’s never had a Vette before. In the red leather palace that was this Corvette, you find it very comfortable, seats keep you in place but still allow the motion to reach something. What any passenger will notice in the C7 is that the interior is very driver-focused, more cockpit than a cabin, which makes climate adjustment quite challenging for those along for the ride. Don’t panic, Chevrolet has thought of that. On the air vent to the right of the passenger, there is a small screen displaying temperature and two buttons to change it, no need to worry!
Let’s talk about the engine, power, and acceleration. GM’s long-lasting V8 serves the C7 very well, with plentiful power and ample acceleration. Let’s just remember that this is the base Stingray, not the full-blown Z06, it shouldn’t be the fastest. The Vette almost makes you work for power, not giving you much on the low end, but the higher you go the power builds to its peak. Another thing we came across on our adventure with the Stingray, was it’s idle. We couldn’t find which cylinder, but at idle, one of them has a tendency to shake the entire car every second or so. A little confusing at first but easy to get used to. We're thinking it's that American muscle-car characteristic that Chevy is trying to preserve.
Handling was nimble. We drove in Sport Mode the entire time, only switching for short periods to see if we could detect differences in ride and performance. Compared to our high-center of gravity SFCN crew transport vehicle, the 2019 Honda Pilot, the Corvette took corners like it was on rails.
So, are rental sports cars, worth it? Here's how I'll respond: As the sun set on the last day of the rental, clouds were building on the horizon and we could see the threat of rain looming. The sky was a brilliant red and we still had the top down with the wind rushing by. My Dad punched the accelerator and the feel of the weight of my body pressing into the seat answered any questions I had with a screaming "YES" as loud at the roar of unbaffeled exhaust pipes.
So, no Turo? No problem. I am sure you have a local rental sports car place as accommodating and as nice as Redline Rentals of Buffalo near you that is a few Google searches away. If you have the opportunity to spend a few days with a performance machine, take it! It won't stop you from daydreaming about design, style, and performance, but you’ll truly enjoy it because we did for sure!
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