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Car Enthusiast Series: The C8 Corvette

In 2018, once I saw the official news that General Motors would be releasing an eighth-generation, mid-engine Corvette, I was ecstatic. Over the course of the next year or so, camouflaged C8 Corvettes were spotted all over the U.S., concealing most of the car's intricate details and a lot to be desired. Then, GM held a livestream of their private reveal in July of 2019. I was simply blown away after the video introduction and car's unveiling. The new Corvette's aesthetic, stance, and curb appeal were all amazing. Moreover, the vehicle contained a whopping 490 horsepower, 0-60 time under 3 seconds, a dual-clutch 8-speed transmission, countless options, and would only be priced at $59,995. This was certainly a bargain for the performance, and priced less than most expected.

Immediately upon witnessing the reveal, I vowed to get one someday, I would simply need to increase my income (easier said than done). Soon after the event, GM initiated a country-wide C8 tour where'd they'd be showcasing the car at different dealerships and even allowing people to sit in them. Dealerships also began accepting orders after the visualizer went live on Chevrolet's website. I wasn't in a position to purchase one at the time, but I did take the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the C8 at a local Atlanta dealership.

The online reveal failed to do the Corvette justice, thus, seeing it in person was truly eyeopening. Sitting in the car felt surreal, and confirmed my aspiration to procure one in the future. I left the tour highly motivated by the visit.

Two years later, in the spring of 2021, my desire for the car catapulted as I saw 2020 C8's hit the streets, plus my finances were now in a position to acquire one. But before I got ahead of myself, I checked with the Queen of the household to discover if attaining the car was even reasonable. To my surprise, she was actually supportive. Shaianne claimed that I did a lot for the family and actually deserved it. With approval from my wife, I set out on my endeavor.

I'd already taken the liberty of joining various C8 Corvette forums, chiefly the primary relevant Facebook groups to immerse myself into the happenings of the C8. Because of the demand, the C8 had become the most desired Corvette in history. Consequently, one wasn't able to simply walk into a dealership and buy one. Some dealerships had a first come, first serve policy, but most created a wait list. The nuance was that not every Chevrolet dealership received the same amount of Corvettes. It was based on the dealer's ranking of Corvette sales, which determined the allocation of Corvettes they'd receive from General Motors.

All of the wait lists required a deposit from customers, typically between $1,000 and $2,000. With the Corvette wait list, dealerships would fulfill orders to the next customer on the list until their entire allocation was consumed. Once that happened, they would refund the customers who didn't make the cut, or inquire if the customer would like to remain on the list for the following year's model. Thus, one had to be strategic with their dealership choice because smaller dealerships could only receive an allocation of 5 C8's, while larger ones could expect over 500.

Thanks to the Facebook groups, I learned about the best and largest Corvette dealerships in the nation. I chose to go with MacMulkin Chevrolet in New Hampshire, now the #1 Corvette dealer in the country. They only required $1,000 deposit and received one of the largest allocations in the country. Thus, I wired them my deposit and was parked at #462 on the wait list.

Once one makes it onto a wait list, the process stalls into a waiting game until their order is accepted by GM. Until then, the best use of time is to use Chevrolet's online visualizer tool to price and build one's Corvette with desired options and colors. I spent plenty of time on this visualizer before finally completing my design. Based on feedback from the forums, the average wait time from deposit to vehicle delivery was about 12-15 months. So I had plenty of time for familiarize myself with Chevy's visualizer.

Over the next few months, my contact at MacMulkin kept me apprised of my spot on the wait list and provided me with a projection of when I my order might be fulfilled. To my surprise, I moved up the ranks fairly quickly as orders ahead of me were either fulfilled or customers backed out for one reason or another. Then, one day in the spring of 2020, I received a call from MacMulkin to verify my order sheet because my order had been accepted by GM. I was thrilled to say the least.

Once my order was confirmed, that put me at about 3 months out from receiving my new car! At least thats what I thought. I was able to track my Corvette's build through MacMulkin's production sheet, so I was up to date as the car finished production. I figured this would only leave me a week away from delivery. Because I live in LA and ordered from New Hampshire, I'd agreed to a courtesy delivery from MacMulkin to a dealership in Orange County, for only $800. Unfortunately, not only had Covid slowed production, but also shipping. So instead of receiving my car a week after production, I didn't receive it for another 2 months!

There were several factors that played into the shipment. The first was whether my car would be shipped via train or truck. West coast deliveries typically took place via train due to the distance, but luckily for me, my car was shipped via truck because there was an opening on one that wasn't completely full. This was significant because truck deliveries are considerably quicker. Unfortunately, the truck did not have a driver, which fueled the delay. Inclement weather delayed my delivery even further.

Nonetheless, I received my car on April 29th, 2021, the day after my 29th birthday. I was blown away once I set my eyes on my new car. Although I'd already owned a Corvette, the C8 was on a different level. I'd seen a number of C8s in the wild, but witnessing my own was special. I quickly signed my paperwork and then took some time to behold my car in Chevrolet's parking lot with my wife and stepson before departing to a more scenic location for photos.

My first drive was purely euphoric. I wasn't able to step on it like I wanted to because General Motors limits the car's performance for the first 500 miles, but I could immediately recognize the car's capability. I was also able to familiarize myself with many of the features and options that the C8 contained. With a starting price of $59,995, I optioned mine out to about $72,000. My price sheet included:

- 2LT model

- Red seatbelts

- Battery protection package

- Z51 performance package:

- Magnetic selective ride control

- Brake package

- Performance exhaust

- Composite rocker panels

- Side blind zone alert

- Bose performance series audio

- Heads-up display

- Front lift memory

- Red interior

- Rear spoiler

- Front cameras

Familiarizing myself with all these options took a while, and I still find myself discovering new things all the time. I loved the way my Torch Red C8 looked, but it was missing something and I knew just the thing: black wheels. I opted out of spending $2,000 for GM's black wheels because I found them to be over-expensive. Instead, I knew I would just powder coat them after I received my car, for only $500. Powder coating gives the same appearance as painted wheels, for much less. After this modification, I wanted to protect my new investment.

To protect my new investment, I used some of the proceeds from the sell of my former Corvette to purchase paint protection film (PPF) for the front of my car and other high risk areas, as well as ceramic coating. PPF is a essentially a clear, plastic shield that protects vehicles from scratches, rocks, and other damage. Ceramic coating adds a clear coat of protection to the vehicle that makes it easier to clean, gives it a deeper shine, and forces water to bead off of it. This investment ran me $4,500; $2,500 for the PPF, $500 for the ceramic window tint, and $1,500 for the ceramic coating, which also includes a lifetime warranty. The ceramic coating even covered my wheels. I decided to go with 15% for my window tint this time around because the 5% on my previous Corvette had been a bit too dark. Ceramic window tint is better than standard tint because it provides more protection against sun and light, and it lasts longer.

After I reached 500 miles a couple of weeks later, I was able to open my Corvette up, and relish the power of its full performance. But as with most car enthusiasts, you eventually get used to the power and desire more. With performance parts companies getting their hands on Corvettes and testing new parts, a bundle of different options were available to increase my power. I went with a simple one to start: upgrading my air filter. The manufacturer air filter is serviceable, but there are numerous aftermarket ones that allow for better air flow, providing more power. Hence, I purchased the Blue Attack air filter and installed it myself. Surprisingly, the job was quick and painless, only taking about an hour. But the next time I drove my car, I noticed the small power gain.

I also began attending more car shows so I made some cosmetic mods as well. I added a tow hook, not only for show but when I start taking my car to the track because some tracks require it in order to drive. The next was a custom etched and illuminated glass overlay. I worked with an illustrator from WindRestrictor to customize my design. The glass overlay goes between the seats and the engine bay.

The next cosmetic mod was underglow from RGB Halo Kits, who also became my first sponsor. Underglow is essentially strips of LED lighting that is attached underneath a vehicle to provide a cool look, especially at night.After that, I added a tow hook. Although somewhat cosmetic, the tow hooks is more functional. It provides a solid point to get towed, if necessary, without damaging the vehicle.

The last thing I did was add tire stickers and window decals, showcasing my sponsor and Corvette's instagram page: CorvetteMalC8.

Stay tuned as I plan to continue modifying my Corvette and ultimately take it to the track.

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