It’s All Fun and Games Until You Can’t Test Drive the Corvette

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Both car enthusiasts and casual drivers alike spend years saving up for their very first dream ride. Nothing compares to the first time you take it for a spin. You feel weightless and unstoppable. You might even feel yourself merging with the car.

Unless, of course, the dealer doesn’t even let you go for a test drive. What the heck? Your reckless teenage years have been over for a while now. You’re not there to take a gorgeous car for a joy ride — you think of yourself as a serious customer.

But that’s what happened to Corvette Forum member WhiteKnight, a Porsche 911 S owner looking to switch back to a Z06 Corvette. He swung by his local dealerships to try out the newest Z06, and each one turned him down. Poor dude — with all this money to spend wherever he pleases, wouldn’t it make sense to just let him test drive it for a few minutes? Sure, by just sitting in the car he could decide if he actually fits in the car, likes the look, or maybe wants to customize it with some wild colored flooring or LEDs. But why spend a huge chunk of money if you don’t know how it drives?

Our poor hero is totally in the right. Most people who have a sense of decency would want to test drive a car before they buy it, even if they previously owned the model. Changes are made on newer models. Customers also want to make sure every detail is ship-shape. With the things that car dealers pull these days, you never know what they could be hiding.

Unfortunately, some customers (hardcore Corvette enthusiasts especially) go a little too far on the ship-shape part.

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If OP had to place blame on someone, he should blame the hardcore customers who don’t want any miles on a brand new Corvette. Yeah, it’s a real thing — some people will not buy new Corvettes with even one mile on the odometer.

As forum user “Foosh” helpfully pointed out, “The mega (Kerbeck, McMulkin, Criswell), and other larger dealers can afford to have a demo around for a test drive, but the little guys, with only a handful of allocations a year, can’t afford to do that.”

So blame can also be placed on smaller dealerships who absolutely can’t let any miles register on the odometer, especially if they don’t have many Corvettes on the lot.

Of course, it’s helpful to look at this from the other point of view. Forum user Bui offered a detailed post on how dealers cater to their clients. He said that the main Corvette demographic is comprised of older, upper-middle-class males who treat their car as their prized possession. They know it inside and out and even customize it to give it personal flair. They almost never buy used. If a smaller dealership let you test a ‘Vette that catered to this demographic, they could possibly lose a sale.

Bui also pointed out that, with a company like Porsche, their demographic isn’t as specific. Their customers just want a car that screams “better than you.” A lot of people walk onto a lot, point at a Porsche and drive it home, never customizing it or babying it.

It seems like our heroic OP might have been a caught in a case of “wrong demographic.” Either that, or he just didn’t look the part (as some users on this Reddit thread suggested).

Do you think OP’s frustration about this is justifiable?

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Scott Huntington is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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