There are businesses that let you glaze your own pottery, cook your own steak or pick your own strawberries, but when it comes to the hands-on experience, a new offer from General Motors has them all beat. If you order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1, you have the option of traveling to GM's Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan, and hand-assembling your car’s LS7 or LS9 engine. It’s called the Corvette Engine Build Experience, and is believed to be the first program of its kind (if any readers would like to dispute that claim, please do so). If you don’t like the idea of providing GM with your mechanical expertise for no cost, don’t worry – you’ll have to pay an extra $US5,800 for the privilege.
But wait... isn’t letting customers build their own engine kind of like United Airlines letting passengers fly the plane? What happens to quality control and liability? The whole one-day process will actually be supervised by the Build Center’s “skilled craftsmen,” and all the engines will be tested and certified before leaving the facility. They will also receive a full warranty.
The only reason such a program is even possible is because Corvette engines are typically hand-built by one person, not an assortment of people and robots working on an assembly line.
When the build is complete, you will receive a flash drive documenting your experience. For a few bucks more, you can also watch your car being assembled at the Corvette plant in Kentucky, take delivery of it at the National Corvette Museum, or take it to performance driving schools in Arizona or Nevada.