By on August 14, 2009

The price of any exclusive story is a straight face. Having scored some seat-time (and flack-time) with GM’s Corvette Stingray Concept, Jalopnik was obliged to report the experience sans critical filter. Which means we learn that the Stingray “represents a merger of GM design and technology from the past, present and future,” as well as “the merger of high technology with high design in the powertrain, exterior and interior.” Of course, in order to keep that all-important straight face, nearly everything about the concept has to be described using either the term “represents” or “theoretical.”

Despite costing several million dollars to build, the Stingray is a 15 mph dummy. Its hybrid V8 with infinitely tweakable eco- and sport-modes is “theoretical.” As is its ability to tweet, “keep an eye on friends,” and calculate the fastest way around any given race track. And despite the future-tense veneer, the Stingray doesn’t even preview the look or drivetrain of the C7 Corvette.

Pointless concepts are fundamental to the DNA of old GM, and luckily this one was first sketched six years ago. Technically, this is not your tax dollars at work. But still, why is GM hyping a vehicle which will never get any closer to the street than Transformers 2? “Conceptual technology” may turn refrigerator boxes into spaceships for three-year olds, but it doesn’t have any bearing on consumers of automobiles. And if you’ve got a few million dollars extra, why not put it into the actual development of an actual next-generation Corvette? Unless of course the point was to remind everyone that nothing at General Motors ever changes.

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22 Comments on “Corvette Stingray Concept: Why Bother?...”

  • avatar

    You forget that Jalopnik loves Transformers. Wert got to spend some time with a movie star.

    Yes, the Stingray Concept is Old GM. But there may never be another dream car like this.

  • avatar

    Minor quibble: I think you meant “avec filter”, no?

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    texlovera: it should be “sans critical filter.” Text amended.

  • avatar

    Me like. I did notice a good bit of RX-8 in it though. What’s with the fascination with the power openers?

  • avatar

    Quite a concept– a frightening one. Looks like it was styled by Ted Kennedy about 1AM New Year’s eve…

  • avatar

    It’s is not posessive, but a contraction of “it is”. The possesive form of “it” is simply “its”.

    That said, what makes the Stingray concept any different than any number of other concepts out there? It’s not like most concepts really ever make it to the showroom. Millions of dollars are spent just to find out if people like a particular body line or a headlamp assembly.

  • avatar

    Not to sound like a teenage girl, but…OMG if GM doesn’t like totally use the Stingray to style the C7 I am going to like totally write an angry blog about it.

  • avatar

    Very little on the exterior of that car is suitable for production. The low greenhouse and huge fenders with split window would make visibility terrible. To the front, you’d be hard pressed to see anything closer than 40′ to you looking over those fenders. See Porsche for how to have good visibility in an exotic. The step-over distance to get in is ginormous, and the door design not only doesn’t take any roof with it to compensate for this, but opens sideways far enough to totally eliminate the advantages of scissors doors (can open a long door in a small parking space). You have all the worst aspects of conventional and scissor doors in one package! See the F1 or a Lamborghini for the right way to do build doors like this. You can only see the tail lights if you’re DIRECTLY behind (can’t see unless you’re less than, say, 20 degrees off center since they’re mounted way back in a hole). See every car ever made to do taillights right. The headlights are WAY tiny and a bit ugly, and the brake vents are ridiculous looking- gaudy as hell. It looks like a 13 year olds fantasy car.

    I’m not really sure what the point of this car is. What concepts about this car are supposed to improve cars of the future? It seems to be just a ridiculous, gaudy styling exercise that you’ll never see on the street. I appreciate a good form, but to me it isn’t truly beautiful unless it also works well. And if an autobot picked THAT as a disguise…well…he’s not very good at picking disguises.

  • avatar

    I read the original and was surprised to be informed that it came first and not after the C6 and Camaro designs. Something I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I find it interesting to learn how these things come about.

    Reading a post about a post about a car? Seems to me there’s more interesting things for you to write about.

  • avatar

    It looks like the camaro clown car.

  • avatar

    Because despite costing several million dollars to build, the Stingray is a 15 mph dummy.

    …until is transforms into a giant robot. Then Audi R8s need to watch out.

    Yes, I’m aware this means there’s evidence that I watched the movie.

    Pointless concepts are fundamental to the DNA of old GM…But still, why is GM hyping a vehicle which will never get any closer to the street than Transformers 2?

    Because building concepts is easier than actually improving production cars. My god, man, do you know how many committees and approval stages and tens of millions of dollars it would take to make the Cobalt better than the Focus, let alone the Civic? Madness I tell you.

    It’s much easier to drop a million or two on a concept and hope no one notices.

    Remember Robert’s editorial about killing the Corvette? It’s true, the Corvette needs to die because it’s the ultimate expression of this kind of thought within GM. The Corvette, even the production one, has been a Hail Mary for decades, distracting criticism from the millions of Cavaliers and Berettas and Luminas and Citiations and Vegas and so forth.

    How many times has someone criticized, say, the Cobalt only have some wiseass say something like “Well, talk to me when Toyota/Honda/Hyundai makes something like the Corvette”. Which ignores the fact that the lack of a Corvette isn’t exactly hurting GM’s competitors one bit.

    Take away the Corvette, and suddenly GM doesn’t look so good.**

    ** of course, the halo effect stopped working on most people a long time ago. GM, of course, doesn’t listen to most people. It listens to itself and it’s most rabid fans.

  • avatar

    Sometimes letting your engineers have free realm to take something and make it as absurd as it can be turns out to be a good morale boost as well as a marketing boost.

    Sure, 95% of it will never make it to production, but if someone does not do what if scenarios then nothing would improve or change.

    I’m not seeing the problems with the fenders that you are – from the different pictures and the two videos posted I don’t for see the fenders or quarter panels encroaching much on visibility. The split window? Definitely so. From what I could make out of the seating it does not appear much different as far as getting in or out as the last couple of generations of Corvette have had, sans the doors.

    But as you and others have stated – much would have to change before a car like that could go into production – head lights, tail lights, doors…I’d bet the hood changed and you know all the gee-whiz displays and electronics inside would go (seriously – that much in a car would cause all sorts of accidents from people messing with them and watching them constantly).

    But then again production reality is not what a concept like this is about – it’s about playing, creating, and marketing.

  • avatar

    Orian- Look again. The dude is sitting at least two feet inboard from the edge of the car with no roof cutout to help him in.

    Try to imagine in this picture, the driver trying to view the apex of a sharp righ-hander over the top of that fender while sitting so low and looking through that gunslit. Remember- ye’s trying to look at something at road level and not 10′ in the air where this photo was taken.

    They just seem to be setting themselves up for failure and disappointed customers by doing this. A concept should be no compromised ideas on how to make cars BETTER with coming technology. This is just a styling exercise on how to make it LOOK better even though it’d actually BE worse. And looking better is subjective. It’s a bit overdone, but I’m sure the 17 and under crowd will love it. I know I would’ve.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Purchased an ’05 C6 (first American car in over 30 years). Everything fit, no rattles, outstanding performance, and darned near 30 mpg on the highway – with never under 20 mpg city. No problems – at all.

    My remarks to friends, “Guess GM finally hired its second engineer.” – and – “Had they made cars like this for the past 30 years, they’d be going great guns.”

    However, I won’t even consider another GM car until they get the Obamaloons out of the picture.

  • avatar

    superbadd75 – thank you for pointing out one of my pet language peeves. It’s right up there with “There’s four of them” or “You’ve got”, which is a double possessive btw.

    Anyway – onto the car. That thing is HIDEOUS. If that’s the best the design department can do, it’s embarrassing. I’m pretty sure Ferrari would NEVER come out with something so hideous in their wildest “concepting” dreams. What a waste of money. The ONLY O.K. part of the car is the profile, middle third. That’s it. We can argue ’til the cows come home that it’s just a “concept”, but without grounding it in reality/executability, it’s money wasted. They might as well have designed an octopus car, or a car that looks like a teapot – or a hot dog on wheels – wait Oscar Mayer did that ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      …or “You’ve got”, which is a double possessive btw.
      Oh yeah? And here I thought “to get” meant approximately the same as “to receive”; doesn’t it?
      Which would mean “you’ve got”means more or less “you’ve received”, wouldn’t it?
      Please explain what, exactly, is so “double possessive” about that.

  • avatar

    However, I won’t even consider another GM car until they get the Obamaloons out of the picture.

    What Obamaloons? No, seriously, if anything, GM needs more government involvement, not less because right now it looks like the people who were in the saddle when Clinton (at least!) was in office are still there.

    Other than the token axing of Wagoner, what’s different?

    I’m not seeing any significant “green” push besides the greenwashing they’ve been doing for more than a half-decade. I’m not seeing anything aside from business-as-usual, build-it-cheap-or-don’t-build-it-at-all mediocrity.

    At best, I’m seeing cheapness masquerading as “green”; cost-cutting exercises in reducing options that have everything to do with saving a dime and nothing to do with improving their fuel economy.

  • avatar

    kinda cool in a star trel nacelle sort of way

  • avatar

    GM should be focusing all its Corvette resources on a direct-injection LSx, with cylinder-cutoff tech, and a facelift for 2011 model year. 455 hp w/ 29-31 EPA highway mpg would be very helpful towards GM’s fleet mpg average, not to mention owners. I bet the Z06 could get 530 to 540 hp or so.

  • avatar

    GM needs to spend its Corvette money on a direct-injection LSx engine w/ cylinder-cutoff technology, as well as a 2011 facelift. Imagine a 450-460 hp Vette w/ 30 EPA highway mpg.

  • avatar

    Given that I’ve seen 2010 Camaro SS/RS’s for sale around here (Alberta, Canada) in the $70k price range (I kid you not) I would imagine that the C7 ‘vette will be price in and around A KAJILLION DOLLARS. Or $40k in the states. Or whatever.

  • avatar

    Dear God General Motors designs are terrible. Perhaps they’ve’ hired their second engineer, but they are still using the folks in the mailroom to come up with new car designs.


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