By on August 21, 2019

Between 1953 and a few weeks ago, the Chevrolet Corvette stuck to a very specific formula: Engine at the front, driven wheels at the back. With the debut of the 2020 C8 Corvette, all of that changed. Today we want to find out what you think about the metamorphosis of an iconic sports car nameplate.


Upon its announcement, every automotive outlet trumpeted how the front-engine Corvette was dead. While opinions from the public have been mixed, Corvette loyalists have had a more negative view of the changes coming to their favorite car. Said loyalists have a point given the history of the model. But should that really matter here in The Current Year?

Image: 1991 CorvetteIt’s easy enough to argue that General Motors did as much as it could with the Corvette’s traditional layout. The turn toward a mid-engine layout will undoubtedly reap benefits from a performance perspective (and at a value price). Perhaps that’s the core of Corvette loyalist complaints: Their beloved accessible performance car will now be something much more serious.

Image: 1954 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleThere are more than a couple of facets to address here. Are you okay with the fact that General Motors left the traditional Corvette layout in the dust? Secondly, given the entirely new format of the C8 Corvette (and its accompanying new looks), do you think it should still wear the same name? Or, would it be more appropriate to call it something else — C8 Grand Sport, perhaps? Maybe this new model is such a change in direction that the ties of old can be completely broken. Layout, looks, heritage be damned!

Bright future or bitter feels? Off to you.

[Images: Chevrolet, seller]

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60 Comments on “QOTD: Level-set for the C8 Vette?...”


  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Chevrolet deflected naysayers by stating that 2020 production is spoken for. How can it not be a big success if they’re all sold for a year? Every journalist who covered the announcement needs to find work in another field, because they didn’t ask the only question that would have given such a statement any significance at all: How many C8s are they planning on making for 2020? If it is 30K+, then it looks like Chevrolet was right to write-off the Corvette-as-primary-car customers. If not, then we won’t know if this was a good idea until the C9 is announced.

    • 0 avatar

      Well in general over the last 30 years or so sports cars from non European manufacturers, have good starts followed by rapidly falling sales. So it really depends on long term demand. The old corvette had built in long term demand from a certain group of customers, however that was a rapidly aging group.

      I suppose we will find out with sales number releases how it fares. If they can convince some of the euro sports car buyers (or would be buyers without the cash) they may have something.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Good question, I don’t know if there’s enough of a business case for GM to carry more then one Corvette. It works for Porsche, but I’m not sure Chevy has the cache of Porsche to pull it off. Chevy already has two sports cars if you include the Camaro, but three?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “Between 1953 and a few weeks ago, the Chevrolet Corvette stuck to a very specific formula: Big engine at the front, driven wheels at the back.”

    Well, actually, that wasn’t the case until 1966, when the Mark IV V8 was first made an option. I wouldn’t consider the Blue Flame Six or even the small block Chevy a big engine.

  • avatar
    wooootles

    The public got over the C6 losing its pop up headlights
    The public got over the C7 losing its round tail lights
    If the manual transmission only had some 15% take rate on the C7 I’m sure the public will get over the C8 losing the 3rd pedal, and the mid-engine layout is gathering praise from media and most of the public. (Yes, a handful of white-new-balance-and-jorts people are mad, but only a handful, from what I see)

    I don’t know why the author is insinuating this car is getting mixed/negative reviews? Opposite of what I’m seeing online.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Corey is referring to the reaction on Corvette enthusiast sites and social media. The average corvette buyer is over 60 (64 last I remember) and at least a few years ago it was going up almost yearly. Lots of those actual buyers are upset. (On a personal level I know about about a dozen corvette owners all but one is over 70 and the one is 65). They like the corvette to be American and traditional, lots of them are upset that Chevy wants to make a bargain basement Ferrari.

      But GM is looking for a different set of buyers. Of course to avoid alienating to many repeat customers they did still make sure a golf bag fits.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Hey, at least there’s still a place to hang fuzzy dice, at least until the rearview mirror is replaced by a camera and display.

      /get off my lawn

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        This C7 owner is 48.

        My only gripes with the C8 is its bigger, it has no manual and the MR configuration means less storage space.

        While I love to shift myself I’ve driven my brother’s PDK equipped Porsche and fully understand why the DCT was chosen. At the power and speed levels this car has shifting yourself is just slowing you down. I’m not happy about it but its hard to fight facts.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          44 YO C6 owner….

        • 0 avatar

          Pains me to admit it, but after playing with a few top shelf/too much HP cars, things have changed. You wanted a 4 or 5 speed manual when the autobox was a stupid 3 speed or 4 speed, shifting according to some balls in a liquid racetrack and springs. Now that the transmission is faster than you, and there are many closer gear ratios, it’s no longer bad to check ‘auto’ behind 400 + hp. The manual function in my AMG works well when you want to bomb your Reference Back Roads, but can sit in “C” when you traffic slog. I’ve driven a few of the high end cars which bang off shifts like my 125 cc MX bike back in the day. The only question is, based on reading C7 forums, did GM fix the autobox ??

  • avatar
    ajla

    C8 is better than I expected. I’m sure there will be lots of 1st year issues with such a big change, but they’ll hopefully be ironed out in 1-2 model years. Hopefully the price doesn’t skyrocket during that time.

    Keeping the NA pushrod V8 helps a lot. Once they start messing with that my eye will start twitching.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      Actually, the engine is the one thing I’m not liking.

      If you could drop the engine from the Mustang Shelby GT350 in there it’d be amazing. Best sounding American V8 on the market.

  • avatar
    karonetwentyc

    Perfectly fine with the C8 moving to a mid-engined layout. The last couple of generations of Corvette have seen some legitimately impressive capabilities from their chassis; this is just an evolution of that, and allows the C8 to compete against vehicles (on technical specs, at least; reserving opinions re: performance until we see some head-to-head tests) traditionally considered to be in a different performance bracket.

    Having said that, I should point out that I’ve never been a Corvette owner and have no real emotional attachment to them, so possibly have an outlier attitude towards the change.

    What I would like to see, though, is a $30K-ish small mid-engined 2-seater – something along the lines of a Honda S660 but scaled-up a tad. If it was a GM product, they could even resurrect the Fiero name for it, and with Corvette being spun off into a semi-sub-brand there’s even a niche in the model range to drop it into.

    • 0 avatar
      cgeorgan

      Help me understand what you mean by “compete”. How many Le Mans GTE-Pro class wins does the C7.R have against Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Ford and McLaren?

      There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Some do it with a FR layout, others with MR. Yet others swing the whole lump over the rear axle and seem to do just fine.

      Other marques tried this sort of thing and it didn’t quite work out for them. One that comes to mind was Porsche trying to replace the “dead” 911 design with the FR 928. Nice looking car, but as you probably know Porsche is still relying on, and competing with the whole rear-engine thing.

  • avatar
    levi

    Way over 60 years with the conventional set up?

    H3ll, why not something new?

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Revising the C7 to be the C8, while giving the mid-engine supercar to Cadillac would have solved two problems at once. Now you have Corvette loyalists upset, and Cadillac without a halo car. I’m sure the car itself will be great, but I think that was the missed opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      wooootles

      ?? Cadillac does not need a mid-engine sports car/supercar. I dislike this take because it’s not like the Caddy has a rich history of hi-po, low-slung 2 door sporty cars.

      It needs the Elmiraj (or something similar) for its halo, IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I’m on record saying I’d buy an Elmiraj if the concept was put on sale as is. I love that car and its connection to Cadillacs of old.

        But that said, Cadillac seems intent on ignoring its history, for better or (mostly) worse. If that’s the strategy they are going to take, then why not a mid engine supercar? Getting something actually aspirational in the showroom can’t be any worse than the lukewarm strategy they are trying now.

      • 0 avatar
        MeJ

        @wooootles
        I agree. Caddy is not a sports car brand (honestly, I don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish. Cheap German knock-offs?). They should do that Elmiraj, then they would have something interesting…

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    Not a GM or corvette guy in general, but why worry about some angry old men shaking their fists about change.

    I’m betting this turn some younger folks into future corvette buyers which is what they should be striving for.

    Having said that, I’ll take a C6 Z06 with 3 pedals.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The C8 is just so generic looking. Like the styling department went out on a bender and all the posters of the “competitors” on the wall were blurry and that is the image they replicated. Oh, and the interior here is one of the worst I have seen as far as the area between the seats. Like someone inverted an Aztec and stuck it in there ugly. If I paid my own money for that I would cry every time I drove it.

    I wonder how the car will be at the limit compared to the previous gen.

    I understand why the went that way as everyone is going for that last tenth of a second on the track with a professional driver. Here is a novel idea, make a car with great performance and good styling for us plebes? I don’t care if I can run Laguna Seca in 121 or 131. What I do care about is driver involvement. Connected with the road, not conquering it with brute force and technology.

    That said, I find the styling on the latest Ford GT to not be to my tastes either. The one that came out in 2005 was a looker in person.

    I liked all the other ‘vettes, save for the Camaro taillights on the last one. The Viper was a good looking car too.

    Now, all y’all can get off my lawn.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This, everyone focusing on it being different and not making the distinction that different does not mean better. This car looks out of date and downright boring compared to the C7, the interior is awful and it’s a not an insubstantial price jump.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        My main complaint about the interior is the barrier put up between driver and passenger, and the long single row of pushbutton switches atop the barrier. GM has made some questionable ergonomic choices before, and this is right up there with those. I think the barrier and the switches will be gone after two model years.

        • 0 avatar
          bts

          Haha it’s like you guys have no idea about cars and the work put into designing and building them, and only seem to rate them on their superficial looks.

          Almost all mid engined cars are generic looking, but the Corvette is a bit different in this regard with the side air intakes and back section and lights. It’s different enough to be recognizable.

          And you realize a mid engined car will “handle” better than the previous model.

          “Brute Force and technology” haha. Go drive an Arial Atom then.

          The large center tunnel is needed in this car, it’s basically a convertible with all models having a removable roof panel. Or do you want to hear more reports about The car bending.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            So because all mid engine cars are generic looking it gives the C8 a reprieve? No not how that works. I’m sure it will handle better but realistically I can use the 500HP engine 10x as much as I can use a better handling platform. The only thing 95% of new owners will notice is the increased maintenance costs as they pull their C8 out of the garage to drive to Biscuitville on Sunday morning.

            If your suggesting the reason for the hideous row of buttons that walls off the Passenger is hiding a secret support beam then that tells me how much you know about engineering.

          • 0 avatar
            bts

            Hummer, I suggest you take a look and reread those comments. Seems you missed a lot.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Line per line, my comment stands on its original points. C8 styling is rather bland, which I suppose in the age of crossovers that’s par for course; and the Great Wall of Buttons is unnecessary and cheapens the interior.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I can understand some grumbling. They took a Portofino and made it into a 488.

    Good news for people wanting a bargain 488, bad news for people wanting a bargain Portofino. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a big enough sports car market these days for GM to offer both.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    GM made a bold move with the car to offer it at the given price points. It’ll attract a lot of buyers at first because of the performance value which is undeniable. It’s looking like the naysayer loyalists will be able to be replaced with renewed interest outside the core.

    That being said, it’ll follow the same sales trajectory of past best-ever Vettes. Spike, then drop once it’s old hat. We’ll see over the next 5-6 years what the total looks like.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’m only going to be mad about it after the Camaro is put out to pasture.

    With the 2020 LT1 V8 model Camaro for your cheap V8 fix there was finally a Camaro I had desire for.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t say “Corvette”,

    it says “I was designed by a 15 year old who tried to draw an Audi R8 but only had a straight ruler”.

  • avatar
    jtk

    I’m (very) slightly interested in Corvettes. This new model hasn’t changed that.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    As the owner of a C5 Z06, I’m totally down with the C8 design… very nicely done. It’s definitely a departure… and that’s fine. I think the lines are clean, purposeful, and should age well. I’m on the fence over the loss of the manual trans, but I get it. The take rate is low… and the slushbox is capable of quicker shifts. As for retaining the Corvette name… I’m fine with it. Sure, they could’ve called it the Duntov or something… or they could save that for a special edition. Whatever.

    At 55, I now understand the pull of nostalgia… and how easy it is to get into a rut, lamenting the simpler life of days gone by- and dreading change. But change is inevitable. I choose to accept it… focus on the bright spots, and minimize the dark ones.

    When I bought my C5 Z06, I considered a C6… but was drawn in by the raw, visceral driving experience of the C5. But I have to admit… I have just as much (if not more) fun driving my Focus ST. It feels very refined… fun, torquey engine… good shifter… well planted… and the Recaros are awesome.

    I had my AC Cobra (replica) for 8 years. I enjoyed it… it was a piece of nostalgia. BUT… it was fun only for about an hour at a time. After that, sun exposure, wind buffeting, and an extremely loud exhaust began to wear you out quickly. Scary-fast, but ergonomics were terrible & aerodynamics came into play above 100 mph (in Mexico). And 10-12 mpg made for frequent fuel stops. With the C5, I was able to get nearly 30 mpg on the highway… in air-conditioned comfort. Change is good.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I get about 22mpg in the Cobra replica, but I am only putting out around 435hp. It has Corbeau seats instead of the low buckets. I could drive it a couple hours at a time or commute to work, as long as it doesn’t rain since I never use or carry the top for it.

      That said, it isn’t a practical car in any sense. (I did put built in cup holders in the tunnel since I am not a purist.)

    • 0 avatar
      bts

      Interesting post, good to hear about your experiences instead of just complaining about the looks of the C8.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s just always seemed too weird driving from the trunk/hatch area of a car. Then the front axle completely forward the engine. It looks clown-car basically.

    Yeah I know that’s the classic sports car layout, and maybe it works for others, but once I drove an MR2, there was no turning back. It’s clear what the Corvette has needed, but for me the Corvette was off my radar. It didn’t matter the HP, or price.

    Except GM never figured out how to fix the twitchy snap oversteer of Corvettes (until now). It wasn’t a big problem when they just had 400 HP or under. Stability control was just a patch.

  • avatar

    The 2020 ‘Vette represents the fulfillment of a fifty-year dream.

    Sixty, if you count the decade before when Chevrolet experimented with different layouts.

    To explain the reasons for the delay require patience, understanding and context. Like how the environmental movement, rising insurance rates, two gas crises and two economic recessions nearly killed Corvette outright in the 1970s.

    Like how, when the dust of the 70s finally settled, you had Roger Smith and then the Proctor & Gamble outcasts running GM, and mediocre became good enough.

    Today GM is finally rising from four decades that would’ve done most of their competitors in. And as DW and some might argue, SHOULD have done the General in.

    But as long as the True Believers got their way over the bean-counters, the 2020 Corvette should be a smash hit.

    And you’ll be able to tell the knowledgeable fans from everybody else…

    Because they’ll KNOW and APPRECIATE the deep heritage behind this mid-engine revolution.

    Welcome to this brand-new, fifty-year-old dream come true.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I get why people might be upset, but in the final analysis, this is a good-looking car that will kick tail on the road and won’t cost all that much.

    Change is hard, even if it means something better.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I understand about how hard change is. As I get older I find it more and more difficult to like newer music! But at the same time I’m conscious of trying to be adaptable. The last thing I want is to become the grumpy old guy who complains about everything and wishes for the good old days. I plan on enjoying and look forward to the crazy changes in the future.
      That includes this new C8. I still think the C7 is quite a bit better looking, I have to admit though that the C8 is growing on me quite fast.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I think the C8 is great for GM and sports car buyers, but I also think the brand has room below for something that’s not a Ferrari-killer. The C1 provides a bit of inspiration here. Let’s have a second car in the lineup that is front-engine, rear-drive, lighter, less expensive, and less powerful than the C8. The Camaro isn’t it; it’s too big and heavy. Think something that weighs around 3000 pounds and gets excellent performance from the corporate 3.6 V6 and outlandish performance from the 3.0TT.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I find a lot of the comments quite interesting.

    Bland styling: I suppose, but my eyes tell me the design is not more or less bland than what I see in Ferrari, McLaren, or the NSX.

    Name: Corvette needs to evolve, I am fairly certain their is not a market for a Corvette and the C8 (apply name of your choice)

    Purists: Again, my eyes tell me: the purists who are up in arms bought their last Corvette already, the C7. Perhaps a few of them have one more model run left in them. So, if the C8 was the C8 or the C9 whats the difference? The change was coming and needed to happen and the C8 will undoubtably bring a younger buyer into the showroom and this will undoubtedly lead to some of those buyers buying another GM product due to having a quality experience buying the C8. Not every Chevy store is a dump with guys in plaid sport coats and pinky rings wondering around.

    My final take: A slow golf clap for GM, if the C8 is what they claim it is. They have or will bring to market a super car that the average Joe/Jane can afford to buy, drive AND maintain. The average fella can save and scrape together the down stroke for a 70k car, which at this point from what we know gets you a nicely optioned C8. I am fairly certain you are not picking up a new 911 Turbo, NSX, Ferrari, or take your pick super car for 70k nicely optioned. So, back to the golf clap. Is the interior perfect? nope. Is it bland on the outside? Maybe. Please feel free to show me a car that can bought new for 60k – 70k that will provide comparable performance to a C8. While one may exist, I can not think of it. This car is a win for the ordinary reasonable income household and that is something we should celebrate.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I agree with most of what you said except the interior comment. I think this is the nicest Corvette interior ever designed.
      The best thing you said was what’s always been true of the Corvette:
      “…The average fella can save and scrape together the down stroke for a 70k car, which at this point from what we know gets you a nicely optioned C8…”

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I don’t know if I’d call $70k “average fella” money. It isn’t 1%er money either though.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          As someone that can pull a $70k purchase, the entire internet is getting ahead of itself calling $70k affordable. The C7 has been sold all around $46-48k during multiple sales over the past several years, I briefly entertained the thought when looking at my SS sedan being the Corvette at the time was cheaper. If $46k Corvettes aren’t flying off the lots then why does anyone expect C8 sales to be all that at $60k after the initial market is satisfied?

          Joe Blow came off a farm at 19 is now 72 and making $80k a year at his manufacturing position that he worked from the bottom to a mid level manager, he is about to retire, he wants something to say “life well lived” a $70k car that has the maintenance requirements of a Audi is probably not appealing. A C7 is.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I don’t see the point. The excuse of better handling is a moot point in NORMAL driving. There will be NO DIFFERENCE at posted speeds in how a front or mid engine handles. Now there may be some benefit at triple digit and above posted limits, but that means you are unlawful and you endangering others which is reprehensible.

    What you have here is a legacy grab – GM has long wanted a mid-engined Corvette and they figured that since they had run out of tricks that they’d make a gimmick out of the new Corvette and this is what they’ve done.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I find it hard to believe you call switching to mid-engine a “gimmick”.
      Don’t forget a lot of people actually track their cars and a M/E layout will most certainly be noticed by the driver.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I’ve driven my brother’s Porsche (718) Boxster GTS on track as well as my C7. You don’t need triple digit speeds to feel the MR difference. Of course on the street 50% of the current C7 is un-usable as you are over 70 MPH in 2nd gear alone.

      However you are correct the average driver, driving like a normal person would have no clue where the engine is or (as has been proven in various cars) no clue how many cylinders it has either. But that is not the point. The reason for the C8 was a) Zora wanted a MR ‘Vette b) all the exotics are MR and c) GM claims the FR configuration couldn’t get any better.

  • avatar

    I haven’t read everyone’s comments on this so this may have been mentioned. The article from yesterday was interesting and I took a longer than normal look at the picture of the car. One thing occurred to me that I haven’t heard mentioned much at all – it doesn’t “look” like a Corvette. If you take the very general appearance of the car from, say 64 up to today, the Vette had a look that reminded the viewer of all that had come before back to 63/64. Maybe it’s more a subliminal thing with the layout being the obvious and thus more noted in any objections. Maybe, just maybe, those who object – whether they would acknowledge it or not – don’t like the car because they don’t see a Vette in the sense I mentioned above. I think it’s a wonderful looking car and would love to drive one, but I’m not a “Vette geek” (and I don’t mean that in a negative way). Just a (uninformed) thought.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I’ll go with bright future. I’m quite a bit younger than the average Vette owner, but as a C7 driver I think on the surface (all we know at the moment) I’m happy with most of it. Two bad points – lack of a stick and the rear end. I could live with the rear end, but I really like shifting for myself. However, with the desire to row-your-own nearly dead it ultimately won’t matter. I reserve judgement on the interior until I can see it myself. I suspect this car will appeal to traditionalists (mostly) but will certainly appeal to a new generation. Let’s hope it’s put together properly and its at least decent in reliability.


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