Joe Biden today he occupies the most coveted seat on the planet. It took the former senator several decades to attain the presidency of the United States, including two frustrated candidacies. In January 2021, after the election that pitted him against Donald Trump, he finally returned to the White House, which he knew from his years with Barack Obama. However, his electoral success also brought a disqualification that keeps him away from another seat: the home of his historic Chevrolet Corvette.
With the inauguration as top US president, a protocol restriction has once again fallen on Biden which deprives him of one of his favorite pastimes. Is that, for reasons of internal security, Presidents cannot drive cars on public roads. So he hasn’t been out for a long time with the Corvette that his father, a man linked to the motor vehicle trade, gave him more than half a century ago.
He spends his days in La Bestia, a customized Cadillac limousine which has been the official vehicle of the Presidency since 2018 and which traveled the streets of Buenos Aires when Donald Trump arrived in Argentina for the G-20 meeting. Although Biden occasionally revs the engine of his beloved Chevrolet, guarded by intelligence agents and under strict control, he is prevented from giving free rein to his fanaticism.
What is the Chevrolet Corvette that Joe Biden loves?
The taste for cars runs in the family blood. Joe Biden Sr., the father of the current president of the United States, was able to combine speed in his youth on the Pennsylvania routes, where his son was born, with sea regattas and air command. Financial problems forced him to move to Delaware, where he became sales manager at the dealership. Chevrolet largest in the entire state.
for the young people Joe Biden That was a shorthand for the jewels of the time: it was enough for him to choose a shot from the locals and impress at the annual university dinners with, for example, a luxurious 1961 Chrysler 300D. But the encounter with the Corvette comes later.
A few days before marrying Neilia Hunter, in August 1967, the couple received an invitation to the dealership for a free full service of their vehicles. He had a 1965 Pontiac Tempest; him, a 1963 Chevy. There was actually no service or repair, but the father handed over the keys, added a sum of money and traded them for a luxury sports car.
Four days later, they returned to the shop to pick up their old vehicles. They found dozens of people around around the all-new $5,600 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. “This is my wedding present,” Biden Sr. surprised them.
5.4-liter V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, four-speed manual transmission and an output of 350 horsepower these are just a few features of the two-door convertible. Fifty-five years later, it remains intact: bright green bodywork, shiny chrome, brown leather seats and only some signs of wear in the gear lever area. There was a tweak under the hood, though: Hunter and Beau (d. 2015) restored the engine as a Christmas present for their father.
Democrat to Republican challenge at 120 mph
The Corvette is a relic and rests in the garage. His outings are sporadic, due to a protocol that prevents the presidents and vice presidents of the United States from driving on public roads until six months after leaving office. However, the current president – who instead promotes the transition to electric cars – reserves a few trips to test his 1967 Stingray.
“I have always enjoyed driving. Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but I like speed.”, he confessed in an interview with Jay Leno. Just in two appearances on the show with the comedian and TV host he showed the relaxed gait of his Chevrolet. The first of these occurred in 2006 and included a challenge with Colin Powell, a former secretary of state during the Republican administration of George Bush Jr. The second at the end of October, with a contest against Powell’s son, who wanted revenge.
The first date took place in a “Secret Service facility, somewhere in Washington DC,” according to the description given by the show. Jay Leno’s garage, in keeping with the mystery that already surrounded then-Vice President Obama. The former Secretary of State also attended, with an updated version of the classic Chevrolet, a 455-horsepower 2015 Z51 Corvette Stingray with an eight-speed automatic. There was a speed test. Judging by the pictures, the most experienced shooting defeated the young man, but sparks of controversy flew and there was revenge.
“He’s been very bitter for years. He said he had indeed won, but that he was beaten in the video edition,” said Michael Powell, almost a year after his father’s death. The second part was recorded in August at a Secret Service training camp in Beltsville, Maryland, always under the watchful eye of intelligence agents.
The protagonists on the asphalt were the same: the two generations of Stingray. In the duel, which aired at the end of October, Biden’s speedometer has reached 190 kilometers per hour. While no one was called out to declare a winner, footage showed Michael Powell crossing the line first, redeeming Colin’s honour.
The scene did not go unnoticed by US news analysts. As we approach the midterm elections, they saw the latest play as a way to reach Republican voters, many of them speed lovers. It wouldn’t be the first time that the Corvette has served as a political promotion: In August 2020, before the presidential election, the Democratic candidate launched a campaign aboard his green convertible. Months later, he narrowly beat Trump.
“I miss it,” said Joe Biden of his Chevrolet. “Every now and then I take it out of the garage and drive it through the driveway to my house,” he added about the 1967 Corvette Stingray, which looks like day one and – whether because of proselytism or simple automotive longing – is already a symbol presidential.