Automotive journalists, executives and enthusiasts alike want, more than anything, to be the herald that announces the first hint of a new model. More importantly, they would love to be the one to make the clarion call to all loyalists that the new, greater, better or faster iteration of their perennial favorite is quickly approaching If you prophesied the good news of the Baby Boomer’s chariot of choice and were on the money, your name is golden.
Dan Ackerman and Takanobu Ito are two of the keepers of the Automotive Holy Grail. The new Chevrolet Corvette and Acura NSX are in their hands. These Chairmen hold so much, but are from two opposing perspectives; one in the critical stages of establishing legacy, the other, in the fragile stages of preserving it. I know, I know.
Mr. Ackerman must remember the ghosts of Corvettes past (the ‘54 ‘79, the ’84….depending on who you ask) and make sure that this iteration does not partake in the sins of power, design or weight that marred an otherwise stellar history. The Corvette is big business and has a strong following; it is a sure sell. Adversely, there are so many things that could go wrong: they could fail at improving the interior, they could wait too late to offer a new halo model, they could make it too mild or too drastic. It’s a tightrope! Mr. Ito had better read a couple of chapters of Corvette history before he puts the next NSX into showrooms. After all, it is the most adored exotic. The Audi R8 came close for comfort in day-to-day driving, but, hey…it’s no NSX, right? This one has to be right if it’s coming behind such a respected car. The exterior has gotten the pass. The chassis had better ride like it is on rails to be called a true NSX.
I am honestly concerned about the future of these two cars. I want the faithful buyers to be satisfied and the newcomers to be initiated by more than just reputation. After all, reputation is great to have, but a major task to live up to. Paper won’t tell the whole story. Performance stats are good but when editors and experts get their hands on these cars, they will pick them apart – probably with more scrutiny than any other car. They must be stellar and, from all indications, they will be. We haven’t overlooked you, Mr. Mullaly. Hope you’re listening too. You have less than two years to heed the warnings, lest we re-live this…..