General Motors has unveiled the new 2014 Corvette Stingray at the Russell Bazaar Industrial Complex in Detroit for the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
Local 4's Guy Gordon was given a behind-the-scenes look at the new 2014 Corvette Stingray before it was unveiled on Sunday.
Here are some cold hard realities about the current Corvette. Last year, it barely sold 14,000 units—60% below its most recent peak in 2006. It’s tired. The last re-design was nearly 10 years ago, making it ancient in the world of high-technology.
GM invested next to nothing in marketing the image of this iconic brand to the past two generations of Americans, now reaching the age when they might consider a Corvette. The result: The average buyer is as old as the brand itself: 60.
That’s why the new 2014 Corvette Stingray is such a dramatic departure to the Corvette’s of the past. GM doesn’t need an evolution---it needs a revolution.
Purists will howl. This is not the curvy , full-bodied, legacy laden car they’ve come to know and love. This is a lean, mean, racing machine.
When I was given a private unveiling last Friday at GM’s Heritage Center in Sterling Heights I was blown away. GM resisted the temptation to play it safe, to coddle its captive market, and chose instead—with every new line, vent, and lamp, to embrace radical over retro.
Congratulations. You may have just saved the great American sports car.
Tom Peters was on the team that re-designed the C-6 model and said the intent with C-7 was clear. It had to be clean-sheeted.
"When we set out to do this new Corvette Stingray, in my mind, I've had some experience with previous generations, and we felt it was really important to break the mold if you will. To do something completely new and really push it hard," says Peters, a veteran GM designer.
That included messing with the automotive equivalent of Mona Lisa’s smile.
They changed Corvette’s iconic tail-lamps. The twin, round lamps dating back to the days when the Beach Boys were still learning to harmonize, are GONE! They are replaced by dual, rectangular LED lamps with integrated vents. Coming from behind, the less attentive may think they have a new Camaro in their sights.
Peters and his colleagues admit there were passionate discussions. In the end, they were still split 50-50. Why wipe away one of the car’s most beloved design cues? Because new generations of potential buyers demanded it.
Peters explains, "I wanted to keep the dual element but really push it as far as we could to create a totally new signature but again recognizable as Corvette. But if you're going to make a decision like that, it better be profound. I think when you have a close look at it, you're going to be impressed and I think it has to be compelling enough to where it will become where Corvette's heading in the future. Don't go halfway, but make sure you do it in a way that is beautiful, that is exciting, that is intriguing."
Give this car a DNA test and you’ll find a closer like to the brand’s racing program than past generations. Every surface is aerodynamically driven. The surface vents are anything but subtle. The grill is a gaping mouth for ram air cooling of the new 6.2L small block V-8 that will power this car. Rear and side vents are purpose driven as well to assist cooling of the differential and rear-mounted transmission.
Purists may long for the 7L of the past. But engineers insist this is the most powerful standard Corvette ever, with preliminary output of 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque. For the laymen---it’s torque that pushes your butt back into the seat and gives you the adrenaline rush a sports car is supposed to give. Call it zip, pick-up, or pop, it is why we buy sports cars. GM promises 0-60 performance under 4 seconds. They have tuned the car to deliver torque below 4000 rpm comparable to the current 7.0L Corvette Z06.
Nevertheless, the new LT1 engine is expected to exceed 26 MPG Highway driving.
The hood, roof, dash, and other critical pieces are all designed of lightweight carbon fiber.
Chief engineer Tadge Jeuchter says GM’s early embrace of composites will pay huge dividends in the new Stingray.