Skip to main content

Whatever your views on politics are, the world lost a dedicated car enthusiast on Monday morning this week. Among various military accolades and accomplishments, Powell stamped his footprint firmly into the world of cars and, more specifically, Chevrolet Corvettes. He would delve deep into restorations and even drag-raced current U.S. President Joe Biden once in 2016, but more on that later. If there’s one thing you should take away from this, make sure it’s the understanding of a man’s love for cars. 

Powell got the surprise of a lifetime

Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell drives a silver Corvette
Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell drives a silver Corvette | Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images

Former retired general and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell got the surprise of a lifetime when he arrived at his son’s home on Christmas morning and saw a 2015 Chevrolet C7 Corvette wrapped up in a bow. Floored by the gesture, Powell was highly grateful. However, the surprises didn’t stop there. Tuesday the following week, Powell received a bill, and the top item purchased was the very same 2015 Chevrolet Corvette. 

Powell and Biden drag-raced their Chevrolet Corvettes on Jay Leno’s Garage

Not long after, Powell and Biden realized their mutual affection for Chevrolet Corvettes and appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage for a drag race. Biden piloted his 1967 C2 Corvette with a 327 V8 under the hood, which he received as a wedding gift from his father, making Biden the sole owner. Powell lined up alongside Biden in his C7, a monster with a 6.2-liter V8 delivering 455 horsepower to the rear wheels. CNBC showed the drag race from Jay Leno’s Garage. 

Sure of his Corvette’s superior firepower, and rightly so, Powell insists on Biden taking a head start, which he gladly does. The ‘67 squeals off the line, the limited-slip differential working overtime. It’s loud and uncouth, in other words, perfect. Powell doesn’t waste any time, and his C7, by comparison, exhibits composure and certainty. The result is unclear, but there’s no doubt Powell’s Corvette didn’t take long to overtake the C2. 

Powell was a massive Chevrolet Corvette fan

Biden spoke fondly of Powell on Tuesday, stating the former Secretary of State “could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business”. Powell brought some extra dignity to the Indianapolis 500 nearly 10 years earlier from receiving his own Stingray when he drove the official Chevrolet Corvette pace car in 2005. It got the attention of the Pace Car Registry, which invited Powell to be an honorary member. He accepted.

Powell will always have a place amongst car enthusiasts

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell at a wedding reception
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell at a wedding reception | Erin Schaff for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Powell’s love of cars extended beyond the Chevrolet Corvette. If his bravery wasn’t evident, it became known when the world found out about his 2001 P.T. Cruiser. Powell also brought old Volvos back to life and drove a Mercedes-Benz Pagoda. An interview with the New York Times revealed Powell had at one time up to six Volvo 122S Amazons and would stash them around his post. Powell’s M.O. would be to get them mechanically sound and then Bondo the car enough for a cheap paint job. His “pride and joy” was a 1966 Volvo 122S Amazon. His love of cars knew no bounds.