It’s 9:30 in the morning and low clouds are hanging over southwestern Kentucky. It’s the kind of weather that makes you optimistic about the future — “they say it’s supposed to brighten up by 2” sort of stuff. You’d never know inside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, though. The million-square-foot factory boasts little in the way of natural light, the handful of skylights the only hints of life outside the floor. Well, the skylights and WDNS 93 FM, which isn’t too informative but at least “Jessie’s Girl” strums through the door assembly area.
MORE CORVETTE: Breaking Down the New Stingray | Driving the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | The Evolution of the Corvette
GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant (or just Bowling Green) has been the birthplace of the Chevrolet Corvette since 1981, churning out something around 900,000 renditions of the quintessential American sports car since. That’s not a hard number to believe as you look around the factory floor. Bowling Green is a picture of American manufacturing — efficient, advanced and meticulous. Nine hundred and twenty-five men and women are putting in the kind of honest work that this country’s always idealized. This is the kind of extraordinary feat done by ordinary citizens that makes you want to sing a national anthem duet with Miss America atop a monster truck doing donuts around the Washington monument. As we stood at the end of the assembly line watching a Crystal Red coupe test its indicator lights, a ray of sunlight came through a nearby skylight and fell neatly on the end of the line. The clouds had moved, rain was out of the picture and our afternoon plans were all but confirmed.
Five Corvettes sat idling in the pit lane of the the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park, a fifteen-turn undulating road course across the highway from the assembly plant. The combination of a a new major sponsorship deal between the track and Mobil 1, a challenging set of blind apexes and easy access to America’s sportscar should make sure it’s around for quite a while. It’s hard not to feel optimistic about 2,700 horsepower and a sunny afternoon.