‘If you don’t like Corvettes, you either suffer emotionally, or are an aged, arrogant, pompous British car show host’ RPK
Just prior to the January 13th unveiling of this new ‘Stingray’, my colleagues and I were talking at Pasteiner’s Autozone Hobbies about this monumental moment. Based on privy information, they were already planning aftermarket round taillights. What were they thinking? I don’t know how to say this, but this is not only a new car, but another giant step for America’s iconic sports car.
A proper sports car, like the Corvette has 2 doors, 2 seats, 4 disc brakes with performance, style and technology to work in unison. The former are quite obvious, but what actually makes up performance – Corvette style?
The chassis has been completely re-engineered. The all new aluminum frame itself is now 57% stiffer in torsion, and 99 pounds lighter than the outgoing aluminum and steel unit. The older frame utilized fully hydro-formed rails measuring a constant 2 mm wall thickness, while the new frame has 5 separate segments with extrusions at each end. Each segment is engineered individually and the wall thickness ranges from 2 – 11 mm. Gone are the honeycombed balsa wood floor panels, replaced by carbon nano-composite panels. This new frame will be assembled at an all new welding shop at the Bowling Green KY assembly plant. Tolerances are expected to be within an impressive 0.025 mm. Coupled to this new frame are hollow cast engine and rear suspension cradles that are some 25% lighter and 20% stiffer than the outgoing solid cast units. Also gone are the sliding caliper brakes in favor of four-piston Brembo calipers as standard. The Z51 package will offer slotted rotors along with larger wheels.
The new LT1 engine boasts 450 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 450 ft-lbs of torque at 4000 rpm. This slight increase over last year’s LS3 engine, combined with a new 7-speed manual transmission, fuel mileage should increase somewhat. A typical torque convertor, 6-speed automatic is still available. With the torque that the LT1 offers, 8-speeds are unnecessary.
The body style is unmistaken Corvette all the way. The new shapes allow for better aerodynamics, engine and transmission heat ventilation and weight saving carbon fiber hood and removable roof section. Overall, the Corvette design retains its heritage. Most noticeable changes from front to back include a vented hood, trapezoid shaped headlights that incorporate low/high beams, daytime running lights, and six LED turn signals mounted outboard. The roof is a pure curve following the side windows profile. Gone is the wrap around rear window for a more traditional framed piece that tapers itself at the rear. The rear fender line sweeps rearward and shoulders a deck for the transmission cooler vent. The rear view make a statement, and rightfully so, as that is what the competition will be seeing. The geometrically shaped taillights are deeply dramatically inset into the rear fascia, while the centrally mounted CHMSL panel takes your eyes to the four chromed trumpet exhaust outlets that really make a bold statement. The Corvette team listened to the market and put extensive effort into the interior.
I wish that I could comment more, but at the 2013 NAIAS press days, I could not get near this new Corvette. Maybe I will take a trip to Bowling Green for myself.
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