Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 6, 2014


Those with a need for speed can now purchase a Chevrolet Corvette in Covington County.

JM Jackson Chevrolet-Buick became a ‘vette dealer last year, owner Johnny Jackson said.

“There was a need for a local dealer,” he said. “We would like to be the Corvette dealer for South Alabama and Northwest Florida.”

The dealership recently received a shipment of two coupes and a convertible – which has since sold – and expects another convertible within the next two months.

The new owners had to wait to pick-up the convertible after the Christmas parades.

With a 6.2-liter V8 boasting 460 horsepower and 465 pounds-foot of torque, the JM Jackson team had to undergo special training to become a dealer.

Brock Ballard, the team’s Corvette specialist, flew to Las Vegas to take tests and drive a special course before the dealership could get this car.

“We had to go to a special driving school,” he said. “They teach you about the vehicle. There was a huge road course. They let you drive the car as hard as you can.”

Additionally, Ballard said he got to compare the Corvette to a BMW and a Porsche 911.

“I got up to about 100 mph,” he said. “There were short straight-aways on the course. There was an instructor ahead of us, and we had CB radios in the helmet.”

Ballard said comparatively, the new C7 Corvette has the same amount of power as its C6 predecessor.

“The new technology is amazing,” he said. “The steering is different. There are several settings. You can set it for street and it drives soft, but you can also change it to track mode, where it opens up the exhaust.”

Another feature is the performance data recorder, which is a small, forward-facing 720p HD digital video camera that records what it sees, and stores images on an SD card.

The PDR has four modes – touring, track, sport and performance – each offering its own unique features.

Ballard said the Corvette has world-class handling.

“I’m really proud of the Corvette,” he said. “ It’s America’s sports car.”

For those who want to purchase a used Corvette, Jackson said the goal is to keep two or three pre-owned Corvettes on the lot in order to become the dealership for Corvettes in this area.

Currently, they have a 2008 Z06 with 27,000 miles on it.

Ballard said once they sell an allotted amount of the stingrays, they will be able to sell the Z06, which costs upward of $100,000.

Additionally, Jackson said his dealership can provide all the certified service for the Corvettes.

“You can buy it here and service it here.”