Apparently possessing the institutional memory of sperm, the auto media is once again trotting out the 50-year-old rumor that will never die: OMG, the new Corvette is going to be mid-engined! Or, as we are so fond of saying around here, not. The madness started earlier this week, when GM North America boss Mark Reuss blew his dog whistle by hinting that the C7 Corvette would be “completely different.” The media needed no further encouragement to trot out the mid-engine rumor once again. As Paul Niedermeyer has pointed out, the mid-engined ‘vette speculation has been an industry institution since Zora Arkus Duntov posed proudly with his CERV I concept in 1959. Besides, Corvette engineers have been emphasizing the C7′s evolutionary nature for some time. Reuss’s hints could be about something as mundane and pre-signaled as a split rear window, or as out-there as Two-Mode hybrid option. Hoping for more is, I fear, would amount to a failure to learn the lessons of history.
As a Detroiter I hate ruin porn. I particularly hate it when lazy journalists, bloggers, editors and video crews shoot photos or video, or worse, use stock footage and pics, of the Michigan Central Station and the old Packard plant. So I’m a little reluctant to share these photos that I shot just south of State Fair, east of Woodward. Ultimately, the photos were just too good, so emblematic of Detroit’s decay, that I had to share them. Also, it’s an opportunity to share some hope about the city.
We don’t know for sure, but Dr. Sanjay Mehta (TTAC commentator doctorv8, awesome brother) did the deal on a 2010 Corvette ZR1 for 0% while the autoblogosphere still had it in editing. Not that the Internet is slow, he’s just that damn fast.The dude’s been keeping tabs on the inventory nightmare, calling out for GMAC’s corrective action on the Corvette Forum…almost a month ago. It’s so nice to see the two brothers speak The Truth About Cars, via different media. (Read More…)
To be perfectly honest, I wrote about half a post on GM’s decision to give Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a new Corvette after he was robbed of a perfect game by a bad call, before deciding not to run it. Why? Well, the story is classic Detroit: Galarraga’s victimhood is exactly the image GM would like to associate itself with (remember, everything was going fine before the credit markets collapsed), and The General owed the Tigers anyway because of owner Mike Ilitch’s decision to not charge GM for ad space on the stadium’s fountain when it was in bankruptcy (Ilitch added free Ford and Chrysler ads in the interest of fairness). In short, there was plenty of room for some trademark TTAC cynicism… and yet I couldn’t quite bring myself to twist the knife.
Chief Engineer for GM’s Corvette program Tadge Juechter probably didn’t blow any minds by pointing out that car magazines have reached the point where lying (or at least printing disingenuous information) in order to goose interest in their upcoming issues has become standard procedure. He sure did get a chuckle out of the assembled Corvette nuts though. Meanwhile, don’t hold your breath for a V6 (or mid-engine, or hybrid) Corvette… no matter what Automobile Magazine might tell you.
UPDATE: Automobile Magazine fires back after the jump. (Read More…)
I walked well past this Corvette before I stopped and gave it a backwards glance, suddenly remembering that it is yellow convertible week. I wavered momentarily, gauging my feelings. Yes, it was fast and pulled impressive numbers on a skid pad. But numbers alone do not make the car. And my feelings meter just wasn’t moving one way or another, so I almost moved on. Call it the Madonna of sports cars? Then it hit me: this is the most soulless sports car ever, the ultimate antithesis to the TR-6. The C4 Corvette sold its soul to the devil of numbers. And in my cartechism, that’s a Deadly Sin.
The AP [via canadianbusiness.com] reports that two separate bills to make the Corvette Kentucky’s official state car appear to be dead in the state’s legislature. State Rep. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, suggests that the failure of these bills would be perceived as a snub by GM, who builds Corvettes in Bowling Green. Not so, say GM reps.
With or without a bill, the Corvette is an iconic American sports car, and we’re proud to build it in Kentucky. It shouldn’t be perceived as a snub, and we don’t take it as that.
But GM’s downplaying of the news hides the possible cause for what otherwise would be a win-win political proposition.
Over the weekend I penned a screed calling baby boomers to task for embracing retro style over the the values that made the revolutionary cars of their era so revolutionary [editor's note: there's nothing like having a carburetor on your 35 year-old motorcycle magically fix itself to inspire faith in old, simple machinery]. The new New Beetle was square in my crosshairs over the weekend, but it’s hardly the only example of boomer retro-madness. Another favorite for nostalgic boomers are the legendary muscle cars that marked the high-water point for Detroit thunder, and this feverish demand combined with limited original runs have run the prices of famous muscle cars into the Barrett-Jackson stratosphere. It’s also inspired a legion of knock-off and replica manufacturers, who see huge money to be made by aligning supply with demand. They, in turn, have inspired a number of huge lawsuits from the original creators of the limited-edition legends. Carroll Shelby’s prolific legal battles against creators of Cobra replicas have given him the reputation of being a guy who never met a buck he didn’t like, and now GM has joined the Shelby legacy, suing Mongoose Motorsports for daring to produced replicas of the 1963 Corvette Grand Sport roadster.
The history of mid-engined Corvette concepts is almost as old as the car itself, but even more colorful. Once the performance and racing potential of the ‘Vette was unleashed by its father, Zora Arkus Duntov, ambitious developments intended for the race track, Futurama, or the front pages of buff books speculating about the coming mid-engined production Corvette have never ended.
Duntov is shown here, proudly posing with his 1959 CERV (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle) I, clearly a racing-oriented concept intended to test advanced designs and components for future use. The CERV’s independent rear suspension was adapted to the 1963 Corvette. It’s 350 hp 283 CI V8 featured aluminum block and heads, and fuel injection. A grand start to a long series of exciting Corvettes, even if they never made it into production. (Read More…)
Along with flying cars and hydrogen fuel cells, the mid-engined Corvette occupies the most spurious level of automotive rumor-mongery. GM has a deep, rich history of flirtation with the idea of a mid-engine ‘vette (too deep and rich for us not to commission a forthcoming brief history from Paul Niedermeyer), but even in the last three years the engine configuration of the C8 Corvette has attracted intense speculation. In October of 2007, Motor Trend kicked off the modern era of mid-engine ‘vette rumors with a lengthy piece which “revealed” that
GM vice chairman Bob Lutz reportedly has been pushing for a mid-engine C7… We hear Lutz is backing down from his support of a mid-engine C7, though other powerful GM execs reportedly still favor it. Those at GM who prefer an evolutionary, front-engine C7 are facing a tough battle.
Almost exactly a year later, MT took it all back. With GM facing bankruptcy and bailouts, plans for a new Corvette were put on hold and the RenCen pendulum was swinging back towards an evolution of the front-engined C7. And yet now, with bankruptcy still less than a year in GM’s past, the mid-engine Corvette rumors are bubbling back up again. (Read More…)
GM is cautiously putting its toes back in the shark-infested waters of Europe and plans to sell Cadillacs and Corvettes to EU buyers, says Das Autohaus. When their previous importer, Kroymans in the Netherlands, went belly-up in summer of 2009, sales had ceased. At the time, GM had more pressing matters on their plate. (Read More…)