New Corvette Feature Helps Thwart Valets’ Joyride Attempts

2015 Chevrolet Corvettes owners will have the option to add a valet mode, designed to thwart joyride attempts and keep your valuables safe. (AP Photo/General Motors)

“Bueller… Bueller… Beuller…”

Americans of a certain age most certainly recall the iconic 1986 comedic film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And those who grew up to be owners of high-end classic cars likely suffer cringe-worthy flashbacks of a few scenes involving a certain 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, snuck out of its gorgeous glass garage and taken out for a spin around town by not only the film’s two main characters, but a couple of knucklehead valets as well. We here at E3 Spark Plugs certainly do.

Unfortunately for a few, that very scenario has left the realm of John Hughes films and become the stuff of real life. Just ask the owner of the $120,000 Maserati GranTurismo S that ended up crashed into a Jeep and a $200,000 vintage Porsche Cabriolet in Miami in 2012; or the owner of the Chevrolet Z06 that hit a fire hydrant, light pole and several parked cars in 2008; or the owner of the $175,000 Ferrari 355 GTS that kissed a palm tree at about 60 mph just 30 feet from the posh Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in 2000.

You guessed it – each of these automotive catastrophes was courtesy of a joy-riding valet. And more times than not, valet-caused crashes are not covered by your insurance policies. Now, General Motors has developed a way to help ensure that valets won’t pull a Ferris Bueller on new rides. An optional feature on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, slated to hit showrooms next month, records cars’ whereabouts while in the care of a valet service. A tiny camera mounted in the windshield trim captures not only video, but cabin audio as well. And, it records a slew of information including speed, engine revolutions per minute, gear positions and G-force, plus locks the glove box, dashboard storage compartment and infotainment system. Owners simply activate the feature with a four-digit code and confirmation via a touch screen before handing over the keys, and unsuspecting valets are none the wiser.

Though it’s hailed as the most extensive attempt yet by an automaker to curb valets-gone-wild, it’s not the first. Hyundai and Mercedes offer a geofencing feature that sets a perimeter and pings the owner’s smartphone if the car breaches the perimeter line. Several Chrysler models offer a valet mode that caps engine speed and horsepower. And Audi owners can let engine speed limits on vehicles left with valets or mischievous teenagers.

The optional feature is a bit pricey. It’s paired with a navigation system and will set you back about $1,795. But you can’t put a price on peace of mind. If feedback warrants, GM says it will offer the feature on other models in the future.

Has your beloved ride ever suffered a valet-induced dash-and-smash? Post your stories and pics on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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