In my youth, when one-way buff books were the end-all auto media, the Chevrolet Corvette was a ubiquitous staple in any magazine’s “supercar shootout”. Today, in an era where spoiled enthusiasts yawn at engines under 300 horsepower, the Corvette has been demoted to a  “sports car” by those who won’t grant status to anything less than a Veyron. When did car guys become jaded to the Corvette’s timeless targa top, fighter-pilot-style Head-Up Display gauges, and a 186 MPH top speed? Does a pricetag under $50K reduce the Corvette’s credibility?

Nope. It sure as hell makes an auto writer smile, though.

Any “enthusiast” who writes off the Corvette’s 6.2-liter LS3 V8 because of its pushrod design simply hasn’t driven the car. In one application, General Motors proves every negative pushrod stereotype wrong. The LS3 revs freely. Its soundtrack is thick, melodic and technical. And, thanks to the ‘Vette’s light curb weight and an extra-tall sixth gear ratio, the LS3 is stunningly fuel efficient. If the heart of a supercar is its engine, the Corvette’s world-class LS3 is the only credential it needs.

Port the powertrain to an unexpected form factor, and its versatility shines. GM’s Australian subsidiary Holden has been perfecting the formula for years: mate a solid Euro-tinged chassis to a brash American powertrain, track the beast every weekend, and call the car home-grown. For a limited time, North America was able to sample Holden’s signature brew via the Pontiac G8 GXP. It’s a shame this relaxing rocketlounge was unceremoniously buried with the Pontiac arrowhead.

Both cars’ interior idiosyncracies will be easy fodder for critics who fancy themselves experts on shutlines and trim interfaces. Those that prefer stoic status-cars will likely be left dusted and bankrupt by badges that can’t deliver the LS3’s classic bang-for-the-buck.

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Adam Barrera

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