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It would be hard for a valet to pull a Ferris Bueller-style driving stunt at the Main Street Bistro & Martini Lounge in downtown Fort Wayne – parking is less than a half a block away.
Besides, the staff at 200 E. Main St. knows better.
“We train them to take it slow and easy,” manager Samantha Carter said. “We tell them to treat the (cars) like they’re yours and always show respect. The car comes back the way it was dropped off.”
The term “valet-proof” causes Carter to chuckle.
“That’s something that they would do that to a car,” she said. “I guess I can see it in bigger cities, but Ferris Bueller isn’t happening here.”
John Justice owns Dream Makers, a luxury vehicle business at 6393 Cross Creek Blvd. in Fort Wayne. He said big-brother technology isn’t new to high-end vehicles.
Justice sells Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati and other top brands.
“Everything is all digital now,” he said. “You can even scan how many hours your engine ran. Technology has cut out joyrides.”
Bruce Kraus is director of operations for Eddie Merlot’s restaurant. The eatery has seasonal valet service at its Fort Wayne location. He said mischief on the part of drivers isn’t likely, seeing as they have to park the cars near the front of the restaurant.
That almost ensures no joyrides, he said.
“(Valet drivers) can enjoy sitting in the seat, but that’s about it,” Kraus said.
Valet Mode on the touch screen panel of the 2015 Corvette allows data and video to be viewed on the screen when the car is parked, or can be downloaded to a computer.

Corvette takes vroom from valets

Cam monitors speed, gear and RPMs

Associated Press photos
The 2015 Corvette, due out in September, has a feature that records where the car goes with a camera on the windshield trim. It also captures audio in the cabin as well as speed, engine revolutions per minute, gear position and G-force.

– Face it. If you own a luxury or sports car, whenever you hand the keys to a valet, you imagine the car going on a high-speed joyride like the Ferrari in the 1980s cult movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Now, General Motors has an option on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette that takes those worries away.

The latest version of the sports car, due out in September, has a feature that records where the car goes with a camera mounted in the windshield trim. It also captures audio in the cabin as well as speed, engine revolutions per minute, gear position and G-force.

That all helps the car tattle on any valet who doesn’t take a slow, direct route to a parking space.

GM says it’s the most extensive attempt by an automaker to thwart valet joyriders, although it’s not the first. The automotive website says Hyundai and Mercedes offer “geofencing,” a feature that sets a perimeter and then notifies the owner’s smartphone if a car goes beyond it.

Chrysler has a valet mode that caps engine speed and horsepower, while Audi lets owners limit engine speed for valets.

With the Corvette, once the owner activates the feature with a four-digit code, the touch screen tells the driver it’s in Valet Mode. But it doesn’t warn the valet that he’s being recorded. The feature also locks the glove box and a storage compartment in the dashboard and shuts down the infotainment system.

Valet Mode started off as a performance data recorder for those who take their Corvettes on the racetrack. GM engineers quickly figured out that it had more uses.

“Think of it as a baby monitor for your car,” Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles said in a statement. “Anyone who has felt apprehension about handing over their keys will appreciate the peace of mind of knowing exactly what happened while their baby was out of sight.”

Data and video from the valet mode can be viewed instantly by the owner on the car’s 8-inch color screen when the car is parked, or it can be downloaded to a computer.

The system could go into more mainstream models if feedback is good on the Corvette, GM spokesman Monte Doran said.

The feature is paired with a navigation system and costs $1,795. A 2015 Corvette starts at just under $54,000.

– Paul Wyche, The Journal Gazette