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The Escort (Passport) SR7 Incident

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This thread is not so much a debate about radar/laser detector devices, as it is a discussion about one of the facets of owning a Corvette I've come to notice- the assumptions of others about your Corvette, and how you drive it.

Let me start by revealing my bias: I don't own a radar detector. I know people who swear by them, but I've always harbored this feeling that radar detectors give you a false sense of security. But, again, I say this not to start a debate about radar detectors, but so that you'll know why I don't own one as I relate this little experience.

Friday afternoon, I took a coworker of mine to pick up his car. He has a Subaru WRX STI sedan (the kind with the big rear spoiler on the back) that he's awfully proud of, even though he's afraid to race my Z06. It seems his car was recently broken into at his apartment complex. He filed the police report, reported it to his insurance, and got his window fixed, but this caused him to realize he needs more security for his car. Although he's put himself on a waiting list to get a garage space at his apartment complex, it may be some time before a garage opens up. So he did the next best thing and got a car alarm installed.

So, Friday afternoon, we left work a little early to run over to Car Toys to pick up his car. The plan was afterward, we'd head over to the Sports Pub and grab a bite to eat. While we're waiting for them to finish the install and bring the car around, we look around the store at all the stereo systems, the GPS systems, the in-car theater systems, etc. The salesman comes up to my coworker and tells him his car will be ready in just a few minutes. He then notices I'm wearing a Corvette logo shirt.

"Do you own a Corvette?" the salesman asks me. Since it's viewable outside the glass doors, I point to it. "Niiiiiiiiice ride," he says.

I thank him politely. It's always nice to have to have the Corvette noticed. But the look on this kid's face (and he was a kid- couldn't have been more than 22 or 23 at the most) was like the look of a wolf coming across a meadow filled with sheep. Maybe I should have just gone onto to the Sports Pub.

"You should let us put an SR7 in that for you," he says.

"What's an SR7?" I ask

"It's an in-dash installed radar and laser detector. It also comes with an active radar jamming feature that's installed behind the front grill. I've got one, and it's saved my butt a few times."

Setting aside my reluctance to invest in a radar detector (I wasn't going to get caught in that argument), I simply said, "I thought active radar jamming systems were illegal in Colorado."

He grins, "It's illegal to use one, not to own one." Yeah, quite the distinction there. He hands me his card, as the tech who's brought my coworker's car around hands him the keys.

On the way out, to satisfy my curiosity, I pause at the wall display showing all the radar detectors, and my suspicions get confirmed:
the Escort SR7 is $1,500 dollars, plus installation. ;LOL

No, I didn't buy one.

$1,500 for a radar detector with a feature that's illegal to use in several states. Apparently, the assumption this salesman had came down to two things: First, if you own a Corvette, speeding around roads above the posted limit is as natural a thing as breathing. Second, if you own a Corvette, you'll sink money into it for any reason, especially reasons that allow you to more freely do something that comes as naturally to a Corvette owner as breathing.

Is this how all non-Corvette owners view us? Or is it just twenty-something kids, who might be motivated by a commission sale? Are we viewed as a targets for spending ridiculous amounts of money because of the car we own? Are we really viewed as viewed as people who speed constantly because we have a car with a top rated speed in excess of 170 MPH?

I thought this would be an interesting discussion- share your experiences and observations of how non-Corvette folks you come across view you.

-Patrick
 

Pinky

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Are we viewed as a targets for spending ridiculous amounts of money because of the car we own?

I notice you have the taillight grilles...heh.

After getting the Eckler's catalogue in the mail within a week after buying my Vette, I'd have to say "yes." Then Saturday I had to buy a new set of front tires ($800 cough gag) and as the tire tech is explaining I should rotate them every 3,000 miles, I pointed out that it's not possible since the front & back are two different sizes. His only comment was, "WOW - pretty expensive toy, huh?" My only reply was - "it's not a toy, it's a lifestyle."
 

davec0_17

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1994 black 6 speed, cat back flowmasters
I can only speak for myself.
#1, yes I drive fast.
#2 Its my 3rd car, with a total of two drivers in the house. So I supose it is something 'extra' I have given myself. I don't throw money at it, but it's better cared for than the other 2.:lou
 
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Radar detectors can give notification from time to time, they are not a license to speed. :lou

You do not need 1, you drive Stealth Black! ;)

Later - D
 
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6 Shooter said:
Radar detectors can give notification from time to time, they are not a license to speed. :lou

You do not need 1, you drive Stealth Black! ;)

Later - D

Yes, I do drive the Stealth Black Z. This makes it far easier for me to fade into the background than your "Shell Gas" sign convertible. :L

Seriously, though, Dwayne- do you ever feel like you have become a target for aftermaket retailers because of the car you drive? Have you ever felt like the assumptions people make about you and driving habits because of the car you own are a bit insulting?

I'm just curious if I'm the only one who's noticed this type of behavior.

-Patrick
 
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I think a lot of Corvette drivers add their share of Vette Bling which does put the market in a bit of a fish feeding frenzy.

With that said, we/Corvette folk are a niche market and do purchase our share of stuff!

BTW - Have ya picked up any rice recently? ;shrug

Later - D
 

Ghost

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Patrick said:
do you ever feel like you have become a target for aftermaket retailers because of the car you drive?

I don't think Corvette owners/drivers are singled out in particular, but I know people who own Avalanches, Mini Coopers, etc who have been seriously bitten by the mod bug (I include myself here, too) who have shelled out considerable sums modding their rides...

Now I don't think aftermarket retailers will target old Mr. Jenkins and his 85 Buick LeSabre, but there's definitely a market with Corvettes and other "specialty vehicles" within a marque. So I guess the answer is a qualified "yes"

Personally tho, I am trying to resist the bug when I take delivery of the '07.
 
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6 Shooter said:
BTW - Have ya picked up any rice recently? ;shrug

Only when I get Chinese take-out. :L

Ghost said:
I don't think Corvette owners/drivers are singled out in particular, but I know people who own Avalanches, Mini Coopers, etc who have been seriously bitten by the mod bug (I include myself here, too) who have shelled out considerable sums modding their rides...

Now I don't think aftermarket retailers will target old Mr. Jenkins and his 85 Buick LeSabre, but there's definitely a market with Corvettes and other "specialty vehicles" within a marque. So I guess the answer is a qualified "yes"


I certainly agree with the "qualified yes." I guess I find it interesting that when people see someone driving a $50,000 sports car, the immediately engage a series of assumptions about the person who owns that car:
  • Is he "compensating?" Is she some controlling, type-A personality Queen Bi*ch?
  • Does he/she speed on a regular basis? Do they drive aggressively simply to intimidate others on the road? Do we need to passive-aggressively force them to obey the speed limit?
  • Does he/she have oodles of money they will spend without any restraint on their car? What useless item can we get them to buy?

I guess Ferrari owners are probably on the receiving end of this sort of assumption/discrimination from non-Ferrari owners, too.

-Patrick
 
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Patrick, i hope you dont mind a C3'er chime in:

Yes.. Especially when you are fairly young, you are targeted with such lovely monikers as:
Oh, did daddy buy that one for you ? (back in the day when i first got my car, doesnt happen anymore, wonder why? :L)
Do you try and compensate (I usually get the more graphic version though :eyerole).
etc etc etc

My guess is, people like to label others. Ferrari, MB, DC, VW Bug and the list goes on and on..

Good for you for taking the high road.. ;)

:w
-Stefan
 

sgtrjs

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2001 Quicksilver coupe
Being a 31 year old C5 owner, I hear all sorts of things from my friends, especially considering I'm single and have two other cars. The other two are both Saturns, and one of them, the 8 year old one, is sitting in a garage at my parent's house under cover. I take a lot of heat for that, "it's only a Saturn, why don't you just sell it?" To everyone else, my cars are "just a car," but to me, they are much more than that.

While I have had my C5 up to 122mph, so far, I am normally very conservative, mainly because I don't feel like lining the pocket of "the man" or the insurance company. A lot of people assume that I race everywhere I go, but I haven't had too many people trying to sell me something just because I drive a Corvette. Mostly, I get the "nice car" and "was that expensive?" comments from the peanut gallery, mostly young people. The other day, had I been a few years younger... ;) I would love to be 16 again, with my car and money, of course. I think the most common question I get is "did you go to X car show?" and the most common comment is "must be nice," which I greatly enjoy :D

As for detectors, I do have a Valentine One, so I guess I do speed. It has helped slow me down a few times, but really hasn't proven it's worth yet. There have been a couple occasions where it would have just been a $400 paperweight. I got tagged with laser a couple weeks ago out of nowhere in the Covette, but luckily I was cruising at the speed limit. On my way to NY for the 4th, I got hit with instant on in my VUE. I saw the cop before he turned on the gun and slowed enough, but the idiot beside me blew right by doing at least 85 in a 65 and a nice NY state trooper gave him an early holiday present. Radar detectors definitely help, but common sense and paying attention work almost as well. Detectors work best when you drive the same roads all the time, know the false positives and where cops can and do hide.
 

Ghost

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One more thought (or two) and I'm done... :)

People will always profile others regarding what they drive, where they live, etc. How often are the profiles correct? You tell me. I'm sure the profilers are wrong most of the time.

Personally, I've always looked at Corvette owners with an envious eye. I've wanted one ever since I saw my first "Mako Shark" when I was 12 years old and living in Massachusetts. I knew I hadda have one, one day... :cool

Now that circumstances have allowed me to finally order a new 'vette, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. Life is way too short, and I've had too many friends older/younger than me leave this world way too soon.

So, there's one answer. Personally, I was a non-Corvette owner who looked at Corvette owners enviously. Otherwise, knowing that people come in all shapes/sizes/attitudes, that's as far as my suppositions went.

Good discussion...:upthumbs
 

Pinky

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Ghost said:
Now that circumstances have allowed me to finally order a new 'vette, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. Life is way too short, and I've had too many friends older/younger than me leave this world way too soon.
Exactly. When I told friends/family that I bought a Corvette, I almost universally got the "having a mid-life crisis?" comment. AARGH! Just because I'm at an age and station in life where I can finally get a car I want (not a kid-hauler!), I'm having a crisis? Where were these comments when I was 30 and bought a new RX7?!?!
 
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Post-script to the story I related at the start of this thread...

My co-worker with the new aftermarket alarm went back to Car Toys this past Friday to have some sort of new feature installed. While waiting, the salesman came up to him and asked him, "hey, that guy with the Corvette who was in with you when you came in last week- has he given any thought to having us add that SR-7 for him?"

The co-worker said he didn't think I was interested, but he told me about today, nonetheless. I said to him that if I had $1,500 burning a hole in my pocket, begging me to spend on my Z06, that the last thing I'd do is buy a system it would be illegal for me to use in my car.

But the more I thought about it, if I did have $1500 burning a hole in my pocket, I might just consider it part of a downpayment on a Lingenfelter Upgrade like Remo got. Then it occured to me: in a way, I've just proven the question I was asking. :eyerole :L

-Patrick
 

Ghost

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:L Hmmmm, seems to be some irony there....
 

davec0_17

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Like the age survey on another tread shows, most Vette owners are older, and I think that means have a little more disposable income. We waited for our toys, now we are enjoying them. Nothing wrong with that, and salespeople know it. They are just trying to make enough money to buy there Vette to!:D
 

blacksedan87

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I fit the profile of the typical Corvette owner, I guess. I'm 50+, my hair is greying, and I have the disposable income I need to satisfy my urges. I went through the same BS about mid-life crisis. I always answer "I HOPE SO!!" If I'm at midlife at 50+, then that means I've got an almost equal amount of time left....right?

Anyway, I wanted a Corvette since I saw the first one I remember in 1957. It's all I ever talked about and wanted. When I was finally able to own one almost three years ago, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. How many people can actually say that a dream has been realized? I can!

How others view me, is of absolutely no consequence to me. I do what I want and I don't care what other people think.

I think your young salesman was nothing more than an opportunist (which probably makes him a good salesman). He saw a Corvette owner (which in his mind equates to affluent - and actually the opposite is usually true!:L ). He was trying his best salesman spiel and trying to find a "need".

I read no more into it than that! And yes, I have a Valentine1.

Randy
 
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Hi Pat!

Its ironic to me, here in New York Corvettes are around every corner. I rarely see one being driven fast, (UNlike all the Jap rice rockets) maybe thats because the average owner is a little older and wiser and has nothing to prove. Maybe not, who knows but the same assumptions are always made by non-Corvette owners.

I may have driven a car slightly faster than the speed limit one or twice in my time. :) As for radar detectors, I always have one in my new 4 cyl. 07 Camry. It has saved me to many times to count in my 15 mile trip to work.

As for $1500 for a jammer, thats crazy simply because it just doesnt work. Even if you broadcast a radar signal from your car that would cause the police radar to read 55, everyone infront of you would be slamming on their brakes because it would set off their detectors.
 

Old Dog

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Then it occured to me: in a way, I've just proven the question I was asking. :eyerole :L

-Patrick[/quote]

YEP!!! :D

I think the biggest part of the scenario you described was driven by the
young lads need to sell. Yes, he thought that due to the cost of the Vette
you must have some cash somewhere, but I bet he is like a car salesman
and would try to sell anyone who came through the door something.

Probably his salary depends on his output. :m
 

kingman

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Talking about radar devices !!!!!!!!!!

While l was stopped at a service center on the Jersey Turnpike l stopped next to new Porsche Turbo wide body and for some reason we started talking about the amount of State Troopers on the road but he said that he was covered.

He had concealed radar in the front and a remote in the back and a jamming device and a radar absorbing device. All of this was custom installed. Did l mention it was a twin turbo!!!!!!!!!


Now this was a stealth porsche for sure, did l mention that his stereo must of cost as much as my vette.

But again he travels at 90 mph plus as he claims and l believe him.

Alan
 
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Warren S. said:
As for $1500 for a jammer, thats crazy simply because it just doesnt work. Even if you broadcast a radar signal from your car that would cause the police radar to read 55, everyone infront of you would be slamming on their brakes because it would set off their detectors.

Warren, I don't think that's how a radar jamming device works. I think what they do is scramble an incoming signal from a police radar so that's there no bounce back of the signal. As a result, the radar can't accurately ascertain the speed someone is doing.

As I said, these are illegal in my state, and I think 9 others have also outlawed them.

YEP!!! :D

I think the biggest part of the scenario you described was driven by the
young lads need to sell. Yes, he thought that due to the cost of the Vette
you must have some cash somewhere, but I bet he is like a car salesman
and would try to sell anyone who came through the door something.

Probably his salary depends on his output. :m


I believe you are correct. I suspect the young salesman is paid on a commission sales, or partially commission sales basis. They had other radar detector systems in the store, ranging in price from $150 to $450. The SR-7 was a quantum leap upwards in price, and the reason for that was the custom installation required for it. Why else would he immediately try to steer someone towards an SR-7 unless he gets a cut somewhere along the deal?

-Patrick
 

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