Vice-President Joe Biden opened his mouth the past weekend to express his love of Corvettes and disdain for Porsches.
It was during a commencement speech at that noted center of American automotive culture, Yale University.
Vice President Joe Biden is never without an opinion or controversial one-liner, and this is also true when it comes to his love of Corvettes. While delivering a commencement speech to Yale graduates this past weekend, he managed to slip in his view that Corvettes are better than Porsches.
“So here it goes — let’s get a couple things straight right off the bat: Corvettes are better than Porsches,” Biden asserts. “They’re quicker and they corner as well.” Here, we know he is speaking from personal experience, as he gushed about his 1967 Corvette Stingray last year at the Detroit auto show.
Here at Business Insider, we’re big fans of the Corvette: we named the Stingray our 2014 Car of the Year. But we like Porsches, too. So while Biden is totally wrong that Corvettes are better than Porsches, he’s not totally without a point.
Objectively, the core Porsche — the 911 — is pretty much the best performance car there is. Porsche has been producing it for decades and has steadily refined it. The basic idea has always been that if you want a car you can drive around town and on the highway, but take an offramp to the racetrack if the urge strikes, your default option is the Porsche.
So the Corvette isn’t better. It is, however, far more exciting.
It hasn’t always been this way. The Vette has developed a bit of a backwoods reputation. It’s an animal (although the latest versions have decisively changed that impression). Porsches, by contrast, are surgical instruments: precise. The Vette needs to be tamed. The Porsche is already perfect.
That said, the Porsche is so good, so easy to just jump in a drive like it was meant to be driven, that it can bore you (in the same pleasing way that a well-made German chef’s knife bores you as it makes short work of a carrot). The Vette, meanwhile, keeps you wide awake. It did for me, anyway, with its harrowing access to velocity with that first tap of the accelerator.
I had seat time recently in both a 911 and a Stingray (obviously with the latter, given its BI Car of the Year accolade). The 911 was flat-out a piece of cake to operate (OK, it had all-wheel-drive). The Vette was not (But who would want an all-wheel-drive Vette?).
Really, it makes sense that Biden would enthuse over the Vette, a car that with its roaring V8 simply doesn’t want to shut up, while dissing Porsches, with their whispered mastery of speed and handling.
So he’s totally wrong. But also sort of right.