Watch this video and you’re going to want to build your own electric Lego Corvette
Legos are cool, awesome, and all the superlatives you can throw in between. The things that you can create with these bricks are limited only by your imagination. What makes the toy even better are the things that you can do with it, like, say, add a fully functional electric powertrain on a Lego Technic Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. One guy did exactly that, and he even created a video demonstration of his masterpiece. In the video, we see the Lego Technic Corvette ZR1 strapped on a dyno that’s made from — you guessed it — Lego bricks. What comes next is a four-minute video that’s going to make you want to buy a Technic Corvette ZR1, build your own dyno, and outfit your Lego ‘Vette with its own functional electric powertrain.
Why Is This Lego Technic Chevrolet Corvette Zr1 Different From Its Kind?
It’s different because it has an electric motor and a fully functional one at that.
YouTuber HyperBlue is responsible for this creation, and in his video, he goes into detail on how he turned a Lego Technic Chevrolet Corvette ZR1into a fully functional ride with an electric powertrain and — would you even believe it if we told you — a four-speed manual gearbox.
This, folks, is one of the coolest Legos you’ll get to see.
First, the creator of the project explains that after building the Technic Corvette ZR1, he added a small DC electric motor that’s controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer. The latter, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is a low-cost, credit-card side computer that helps people of all ages explore computing. It can be used in a variety of ways, including, apparently, powering a Lego Technic Corvette ZR1.
From there, the creator of this insane electric Lego ZR1 built a dyno machine — also from Lego bricks — and worked on all the electrical requirements needed to bring his creation to life, literally. It took around ten months for the project to come to life, and it’s not even complete yet. For now, though, it looks about as awesome as you’d expect it to be. The whole setup even comes with an ignition that starts the electric motor, which is then followed by a recorded sound of a real Corvette V-8 engine. As incredible as all of this sounds, the real treats are the wheel-mounted sensors and the accompanying software that allows you to monitor the powertrain’s behavior. An instrument cluster provides information about the car, but since it’s not a real dyno, we don’t get to see the actual output that the electric motor generates.
None of that matters, though, in the grand scheme of things. This whole setup is impressive enough on its own. The attention-to-detail is incredible, and the resourcefulness and ingenuity that comes with it are top-quality. Here’s to hoping that the individual responsible for this creation gets to finish his project.
We’re all rooting for you, just as we’re excited to see what the finished product looks like.
Kirby Garlitos for TopSpeed
The first mid-engine production Corvette was six decades in the making
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a rock star car. I don’t mean that figuratively. An actual rock star owns one.
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley picked up a white Stingray with a red interior and tweeted his love for it, saying he bought American because it’s beyond “world class.”
OK, perhaps the fact that he’s buds with General Motors President Mark Reuss influenced his purchase, but he’s driving it, so the endorsement is legit.
Of course, the 68-year-old singer does fit the classic stereotype of a Corvette buyer: mature with money to burn. Just the type of customer many expected to be alienated by the Corvette’s switch from a front- to mid-engine design. So much for that.
The eighth-generation Corvette is the realization of a dream that dates back six decades, when legendary GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov started building mid-engine prototypes because the layout offered potentially better performance than a front-engine design. It’s an idea that race and exotic car builders took and ran with while Chevy stuck to tradition.
Arkus-Duntov’s team and its predecessors developed over the years, but the executives at HQ just couldn’t be convinced. Current Corvette Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter told Fox News Autos that a mid-engine Corvette was rejected as recently as 2006 simply because of inertia.
“There were people when we first started talking about this that were almost entirely naysayers. Virtually nobody in leadership thought it was a good idea because we were building and selling Corvettes to an enthusiastic fan base, or selling them in volumes to make a profit,” he said.
Cooler heads prevailed as the seventh-generation Corvette was completed for 2014, and Juchter and his team were off to the races, even though none of them had ever worked on a mid-engine car before. You’d never know it.
The new Stingray is a radical departure from previous editions, but it keeps many classic Corvette traits intact, including a relatively low starting price of $59,995. Some of the bodywork is technically fiberglass, but in various modern composite forms. Jucther calls it a “mosaic” of materials, which also applies to a chassis made from aluminum, steel, magnesium and a touch of carbon fiber.
Then there’s the rear trunk, which you don’t often find in a mid-engine car. It’s big enough to fit the lightweight, removable roof panel or two golf bags, because the latter capability may be even more entwined with the Corvette’s image than the location of its motor. Since that’s in the middle of the car, there’s also room for a sizeable front “frunk.”
The Stingray’s interior is equally practical, as far as low-slung sports cars are concerned, with enough legroom for the 6-foot-tall Stanley to fit comfortably, perhaps even while he’s wearing his sky-high stage boots. It’s well-trimmed and designed with a lot of interesting details, like panels hovering over the top of the dash, and is more appealing than the cabins in some far more expensive cars, including the $450,000 Ford GT’s stark accommodations.
Its one controversial element is a long row of climate control buttons on a buttress separating driver and passenger that can be awkward to use. However, the tablet-style infotainment screen, which is a close reach, has redundant on-screen controls that you can operate with your thumb while you steady your hand on the bezel.
A second display serves as the instrument cluster, which is configurable and framed by a squared-off steering wheel that stays below your line of sight as you look over the low dashboard and through the absolutely panoramic windshield. The over-the-shoulder views aren’t anywhere near as good, but the rearview mirror is equipped with a video feed, and if you turn your head all the way around you can see the engine behind the window. It’s a glorious sight.
The Stingray is powered by GM’s latest 6.2-liter pushrod V8. Yes, pushrods. Just like the Chevy Silverado. Except this one is presented in all of its mechanical glory with parts designed to be displayed under the humongous hood’s glass panel.
The V8 gains 35 horsepower over the outgoing version for 490 hp and has 465 lb-ft of torque to go with it. A toggle and pushbutton-controlled 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard and the only type available, but it does come with paddles behind the wheel that let you shift gears manually. If you pull them both at the same time it instantly switches to neutral so you can rev the engine for your audience. There will always be one, because the Stingray’s chiseled body has all the presence and drawing power of a million-dollar exotic.
The $5,000 Z51 performance package on my test car tweaks the engine to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft and adds extra cooling for the engine and transmission, a track-oriented suspension tune, downforce-producing rear wing and body extensions, larger Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential and a set of sticky summer tires.
The car was also equipped with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control adjustable shocks, which are worth it on any model they are available on, from trucks to sedans, even for the $1,895 they cost here. Just as valuable, but for a very different reason, is the optional $1,495 hydraulic system that raises the Stingray’s pointy nose 2 inches to avoid scrapes and can be programmed to do that automatically as you approach up to 1,000 marked locations where you often drive.
Although billiard table-smooth roads are preferred, a Stingray configured like this and set to Tour mode can be used as a daily driver on the most wretched pavement, even with its ridiculously low-profile tires and staggered 19- and 20-inch wheels. The car just glides over them with no shakes, rattles, rolls or flexes. But the Stingray can flex when you want it to.
Drop the hammer and 60 mph arrives in about 2.9 seconds without any wheel spin, according to Chevrolet. That’s thanks in part to the 40/60 weight distribution provided by the mid-engine design and the Stingray’s excellent traction management system. It’s nearly as quick as the old front-engine 755 hp Corvette ZR1, which was a big part of the reason Chevy made the switch.
The other becomes apparent when the road gets curvy. Moving the weight between the wheels improves steering response and helps neutralize the handling, which is like a slot car’s up to the limit. I didn’t get the opportunity to find out what happens when you go past it, but I can tell you that there is a long way to go to get there.
The Stingray plays good music while you do all this. Jucther said refining the engine sound with it located right behind your ear was one of the tougher challenges posed by the layout.
“The nice thing about a front-engine car is that you’ve got induction noise in the front and the exhaust pipe in the back, so you’ve got a kind of stereo,” he said. All I can say is: expert-level challenge complete.
The transmission can be a little lazy to shift in Tour but rips through the gears and always picks the right one in the Sport and Track modes, which also adjust the throttle response and firm up the suspension and steering feel. You can customize everything to your liking and engage your settings with a Z-mode button on the steering wheel if you prefer.
The reimagined Stingray now nearly exists in a class by itself. The cars closest to it on price and execution are the mid-engine Porsche 718 and the rear-engine Porsche 911, but neither are quite the same thing. As far as six-figure, mid-engine cars like the Audi R8, Acura NSX and Lamborghini Huracan are concerned, despite their power advantage and all-wheel-drive, I’d be hard-pressed to give you a truly good reason to spend triple your money on one.
Those arguments won’t even hold much longer against the Corvette, because you know there are much more powerful models on the way. Juechter won’t even hint at how much, but word on the street is that 800-1,000 hp isn’t out of the question, possibly with an electric boost. Based on the Stingray’s performance, the platform has plenty of room to grow.
But regardless of what’s to come, the car on sale today makes one thing perfectly clear:
This Detroit city automaker still knows how to rock.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Type: 2-passenger, 2-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe
Base price: $59,995
As tested: $80,315
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Power: 495 hp, 465 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
MPG: 15 city/27 hwy
Gary Gastelu for Fox News
Building enough to meet demand is key.
The era of the C8 Chevrolet Corvette got off to a rocky start. First, there was the five-week-long UAW strike against GM. And then came the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, not every 2020 Corvette order can be fulfilled. To help settle down anxious buyers who missed out this year, Chevrolet decided not to increase the 2021 Vette’s base price and those customers are now first in line. But there’s still one very specific way Chevy can boost C8 production that it has yet to do: add a second production shift.
According to Corvette Blogger, the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette plant has just initiated that second shift. These second shift workers had been in training alongside their first shift colleagues for some time before the pandemic struck.
The factory shut down delayed their training. But now they’re up and running, although not quite at full capacity because plant managers are still in final coordination with supply chain vendors to guarantee a steady flow of parts. Fortunately, these managers anticipated such a scenario months ago and decided to stock up on extra parts beforehand.
However, not all vendors are back to normal operating conditions and management isn’t too wild about dipping into their extra parts supply just yet. It’s best to give suppliers a bit more time because once those extra parts are used up, that’s it.Best Cars For City Driving In 20206 Performance Models Ford Needs To Bring Back
vette Assembly Plant can reportedly build 95 Corvettes per shift, but employees have been working especially hard lately by dedicating more hours to increase that figure to about 116 cars per day. Once the second shift fully comes online along with zero supply chain issues, at least 190 vehicles per day can be expected. Last May, Chevy confirmed a total of 20,181 Corvette orders had been received and the initial plan was to build 20,000 units before the 2021 model year.
Obviously that isn’t happening now but the fact the second shift is now underway is a promising sign.
JAY TRAUGOTT car buzz
As close to perfection as it gets for the price
The $59,995 2020 Chevrolet Corvette exists. Chevy sent Zac Palmer from AutoBlog the Accelerate Yellow 3LT model which came to $86,860. Yet, after a week in the tight bucket seat, he’s still convinced it’s a bargain.
Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Pick three, because combining all four of these elements in a sports car or supercar is like trying to find Waldo when he’s been torn out of the page. Chevy is turning this conundrum upside down with the new Corvette. Equipped properly, the C8 checks all four of the boxes emphatically.
Performance is a no-doubter. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in this Z51 pack car, rocketing it to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds via an excellent launch control system. The magnetic dampers make for a sophisticated ride and handling balance. It can go from forgiving and plush to racetrack stiff at the twist of a dial. The interior is more luxurious and tech heavy than anything else GM makes, save for a loaded-up Cadillac. And then there’s the price. How Chevy priced this car below $100,000 still baffles me. Almost nothing is missing, but let’s dive in a bit deeper, starting from the best place to be: the driver’s seat.
Reaching beyond the highly-bolstered suede, leather and mesh Competition GT3 seats in this C8, everything I touch feels of quality. Yellow accents are splashed about the interior in thoughtful locations. Even the removable roof has yellow stitching woven in. Before I even get on the road, this attention to detail and level of customization reminds me of Porsche — the Chevy options are just cheaper. The spectacular view forward over a low nose keeps the Porsche theme on track, but it trails off when I begin to take in the interior design language around me.
No car takes the jet fighter cockpit theme as seriously as the Corvette does. I’m cocooned in my own bubble, completely walled-off from the passenger, and the passenger from me. Wide, swooping armrests are swathed in suede and placed at perfect elbow-resting height. The square-shaped suede-covered ($595) steering wheel isn’t weird to use, but spokes at 9 and 3 would be preferable over their current 8:30 and 3:30 positions. My passengers kept accidentally adjusting my seat and temperature controls on the vertical climate control stack (driver on top, passenger on bottom), but I became accustomed to the design quickly. It beats putting the climate controls in a touchscreen.
The push-to-start button presses in with a satisfying click, but even more satisfying than that is tapping the remote start on the keyfob when standing near the loud pipes. Since the Corvette saves its drive mode from the last engine cycle, you can remote start your engine with the exhaust in Track mode (thank you to the engineers who did this). It is thunderous and guttural and all the things you want the startup to be.
The push-to-start button presses in with a satisfying click, but even more satisfying than that is tapping the remote start on the keyfob when standing near the loud pipes. Since the Corvette saves its drive mode from the last engine cycle, you can remote start your engine with the exhaust in Track mode (thank you to the engineers who did this). It is thunderous and guttural and all the things you want the startup to be.
The drive mode dial has proper heft, and the digital instrument cluster quickly animates through layouts with each new mode. Ergonomically, the interior is brilliant. My seating position is spot on with the seat set to its lowest point. Being able to see out the back with a standard mirror would be nice, but the digital rearview camera mirror on this car is a revelation for a mid-engine layout. You can see everything, and glare from taller cars’ headlights in the dark is a non-issue — even the driver-side mirror is auto-dimming. All this, and my butt and back are cool via the ventilated seats.
Setting out in Tour (comfort) mode, GM’s Small Block LT2 clacks away quietly behind my ear, sounding every bit like a Camaro or the previous Corvette. A thick piece of glass separates the cabin from the engine bay, allowing driver and passenger to look back at the pretty V8. It’s far more sedate and normal to cruise around in than you might imagine. The steering wheel flies left or right with ease at low speeds, the brakes are comfortable but not touchy, and those magnetic dampers are damping out the bumps. The big engine and eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox never fully fade into the background when casually driving around, but there’s no drama at low speeds. Ferraris or Lamborghinis never stop telling you what they are when cruising through town. If it weren’t for the incessant staring and pointing, I could’ve forgotten I was driving the hottest, most-anticipated car of the last several years. Credit to Chevy for making this beast so livable on a day-to-day basis.
Not to say the Corvette is quiet inside (it’s not), but that level of refinement in the cabin in casual driving isn’t always conducive to noise and personality when the right pedal is flat. Even with the supplemental exhaust noise being pumped into the cabin via the speakers, the Corvette isn’t as loud inside as I imagined it would’ve been with the performance exhaust. It’s opposite what’s going on out back, too. This Corvette sounds like NASCAR thunder from the roadside as it pounds through the forest, barking and snapping at each quick gear change. Problem is, the driver is only getting a fraction of this in their eardrums. I have a certain expectation for theater and aural wonder from a mid-engine car. The Corvette could use a tinge more of both.
Now, enough with the nit-picking. Power (so much of it) is simply here. It’s like a light switch. The speed at which this updated V8 revs — get the full download in our First Drive — is one pivotal aspect that stands out. Whether you’re banging through first and second or free revving for a demanding onlooker, it goes from idle to 6,500 rpm (redline) in a flash. The steady increase in shove keeps coming all the way to the top despite peak torque hitting at 5,150 rpm.
There isn’t much fuss in the power band. Everything is business as usual if you’re accustomed to GM’s Small Block V8. It’s glorious in its simplicity, and brings a sense of normalcy to the gob smacking acceleration. I’m not wanting for any more forward thrust — there is zero letup at legal speeds — but I’m already looking forward to the shriek of the flat-plane crank Corvette headed our way soon. This engine is an ode to the traditionalists, but the flat-plane crank ‘Vette will be an ode to people like me who love high-revving, exotic engines.
Once I make it out to some proper driving roads, the brilliance of this chassis comes into plain view. It doesn’t feel like a company’s first go at a mid-engine supercar. No, it’s well-tuned and strikes a wonderful ride and handling balance the likes of which Porsche has been perfecting for years with the 911. The magnetic dampers on this car deserve many thank you notes. Turn-in is crisp and quick. The nose is happy to be pointed in a different direction at a moment’s notice, and there’s zero uneasiness coming from the rear end. As the Gs build, the Corvette remains a wonderfully balanced rock. I’m waiting for the rear end to step out on me as I apply more and more throttle coming out of turns, but it wriggles, then sticks with the weight of the engine keeping it planted. This car will happily go sideways if you intentionally goose it, but it’s incredibly well-behaved when speed is the priority.
The steering weight is just about perfect in Sport mode, but turns a smidge too heavy in Track mode. Bumps and bigger undulations in corners are shrugged off. I can feel what’s going on at the wheels through the seat and steering wheel, but the Corvette reassuringly trucks on without skipping a beat. Lesser chassis will bound around and send the car skipping on my testing roads, but the Corvette handles them like a champ. The $1,895 you spend on these dampers will be the best $1,895 you ever spend.
A manual transmission is the only item missing. My tester car may be supercar-quick, but it’s not too much of a handful that a manual would ruin the experience. Take the three-pedal version of the 911 Carrera S as an example. It may be slower to 60 mph than the PDK, but the car is still plenty drivable and doesn’t turn into some hot mess with too much horsepower. I think there’s room for a manual to work the same way in the Corvette. This is no condemnation of the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the Vette today, though. It’s as quick to respond as the best of them. If Porsche held any advantage here it would be in smoothness, as the Corvette is less refined in manual mode when you’re not pushing. I’d move the paddles up by about an inch, too, since they’re just out of reach at my preferable 9 and 3 hand position.
It’s staggering what Chevy put together here — nothing less than a generational milestone. The last no compromise supercar that truly shook the segment up was the 1991 Acura NSX, but even the NSX was pricey. Chevy’s new Corvette is just as important, but in a different way. McLaren and Ferrari buyers will keep buying McLarens and Ferraris. Lamborghini isn’t going to make a budget model. This car won’t force the old guard to change what they did the way Honda did in the 1990s. No, what the new Corvette does is bring that exotic level of performance to a price bracket that’s never had this opportunity before. It’s a supercar for the people, assuming the people have over $60,000 for a toy. But don’t worry; in three years depreciation will have them down in the $40,000 range.
Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Somehow, all four deliverables are present and accounted for. At $59,995, nothing can beat it. At $86,860, nothing can beat it. The Small Block isn’t holding this car back from greatness — it’s already great with it. But this chassis, and the car as a whole, begs for more. More character, more revs and an exotic yowl that matches the chassis’ greatness. When Chevy adds such an engine, the Corvette can transcend beyond the performance bargain moniker to being one of the greatest of all time. It’s nearly there already.
Related Source: AutoBlog
Auto experts and journalists spend hours and hours evaluating every aspect of a vehicle so you have a road map to the models that will work best for you. The Chevrolet Corvette repeatedly rises to the top of lists and brings home the awards. According to the editors at Kelley Blue Book, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the pub’s 10 most awarded cars of 2020.
Prestigious Win: Corvette Stingray named MotorTrend Car of the Year
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette earned the seventh spot on the KBB list.
“When it was unveiled, the all-new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette nearly broke the internet,” writes KBB writer Allyson Harwood. “Its supercar styling and power numbers were impressive, but its incredible resale value data and bargain starting price make the Corvette far more than just an excellent sports car.”
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette relishes a top speed of 194 miles per hour and thunders across the pavement with the strength of 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. In a blink of an eye, approximately 2.9 seconds, the 2020 Corvette hits 60 mph.
Available Now: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
In addition to KBB’s honors and praise, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette earned the 2020 North American Car of the Year title and a Wards Auto 10 Best Award for the interior. The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray took home the 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year award. The Detroit Free Press gave the Chevrolet Corvette C8 its inaugural title of Car of the Year. It is a 2020 Car and Driver 10Best and a 2020 Edmunds Top Rated Award winner in the sports car category. KBB recognized the Corvette’s value, giving it a 2020 KKB.com Best Resale Value award.
Source: DeAnn Ownes; TheNewsWheel
The Z06 is coming and it’ll be motivated by a powerful, twin-turb o V-8 engine.
If the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray‘s nearly 500-hp V-8 engine fails to entice you, then the forthcoming Corvette Z06‘s 650-hp V-8 ought to do the trick. And it’s not just the horsepower output that’s changed. The Z06’s engine will be an entirely different animal from its lesser sibling, increasing performance and bringing an entirely different character to the car. Read on to find out why.
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Twin-Cam, Twin-Turbo, Flat-Plane
Unlike the LT2 engine of the Stingray, the Z06’s V-8 will forgo pushrod valves and a cross-plane crank for dual-overhead cams and a flat-plane crank. The resulting engine should possess the rev-happy nature and aural thrills of the Corvette C8.R’s V-8, which also happens to use twin cams and a flat-plane crank.
While Chevy will not drop the C8.R’s 5.5-liter engine into the Z06, the two Corvettes’ V-8s are expected to share a number of common pieces. The Z06’s V-8 should be smaller than its race car kin, reportedly sharing parts (and perhaps its entire block) with Cadillac’s Blackwing V-8 engine. We’d wager it’ll ultimately displace in the neighborhood of 4.2 liters. V-8s using flat-plane crankshafts lack the natural balance of a cross-plane crank, and larger displacements exacerbate the vibration and harshness of this arrangement. By limiting the displacement, employing lightweight pistons, and using a short-stroke crank, we expect the Z06 to be tolerable for owners who regularly drive their cars in traffic.SPONSORED CONTENTValvoline. The Original Motor Oil.By Valvoline
To compensate for its lesser displacement, the Z06’s engine is due to adopt a pair of turbochargers. Unlike Cadillac’s Blackwing engine, which houses two turbos in the valley between its heads, the Z06’s V-8 is expected to rely on outboard-mounted turbos. All in, the high-performance Corvette model purportedly produces 650 hp. Like the Stingray, look for the Z06 to rely on an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to send all those horses to its rear wheels. Revisions to the car’s suspension and a set of sticky summer tires—that are properly wide at the rear—are sure to keep the Z06’s power from overwhelming its drive wheels and chassis.
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Carbon Fiber Fever
In addition to the added power, the 2022 Corvette Z06 will welcome a number of weight-saving measures. Don’t worry, creature comforts will still abound, and there’s no indication the Z06 will ditch the likes of the Stingray’s large digital gauge cluster or touchscreen infotainment system.
Nevertheless, look for the model to feature a number of lightweight materials for items such as the exhaust, rear wing, front splitter, and even its wheels. Specifically, the 2022 Corvette Z06 will offer buyers the option to equip it with a set of carbon-fiber wheels. While such a setup is not new (vehicles from Porsche and Ford offer carbon fiber wheels), it’s still a relatively rare—and surely expensive—way for road-going cars to go about shedding mass.
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Shut Up And Take Our Money!
Although we hear the current pandemic is forcing Chevy to push back the Corvette Z06’s debut, we’re still hopeful the brand manages to take the wraps off the car in early 2021 and ship it to dealers before the end of the year as a 2022 model. That said, it’s possible the Z06 won’t arrive until sometime in 2022 as a 2023 model.
Regardless, prepare to spend a good chunk more change to get into the car. Frankly, we’ll be surprised if the Z06 stickers for anything south of $80,000. That’s pricey for a Corvette (consider the Stingray starts at $59,995). Still, compared to the 572-hp Porsche 911 Turbo, which starts at more than $170,000, the Z06 is sure to be a relative steal given its performance capabilities.
We’ve been expecting to hear this news and finally today it has been confirmed by Chevrolet that the new 2020 Corvette Stingray will be the official Pace Car of the 104th Indianapolis 500. This marks the 17th race that Corvette has served as the official Pace Car, and the 31st Chevrolet to lead the field.
This year’s running of the Indy 500 will take place on Sunday, August 23 with the race being shown live on NBC.
With no fans allowed in attendance this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the official pace car driver will be GM President Mark Reuss.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be behind the wheel of the mid-engine Corvette Pace Car at such a historic race as the Indy 500,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The 2020 Corvette Stingray is the result of a close collaboration between the Corvette Racing and production engineering teams, setting a new benchmark for supercars around the world.”
The 2020 Corvette Stingray Pace Car is Torch Red and features the high Wing Spoiler and ground effects package. The Z51 Coupe will also wear the 104th Indy 500 livery on the doors. The new 2020 Stingray is capable of accelerating from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 194 mph, so it should have no trouble in setting the pace for the IndyCar racers.
“This is a continuation of our outstanding partnership with Chevrolet,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We’re so grateful for all that Chevrolet has contributed to the success of our events. The Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray is a world-class machine rich with speed, performance and excitement, perfectly suited to pace the ‘500′ field.”
Chevrolet has been linked to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with both entities founded in 1911. Company founder and namesake Louis Chevrolet and his brothers Arthur and Gaston raced in the early 500-mile races with Gaston winning the race in 1920. Today, Louis Chevrolet rests in peace in a local Indianapolis cemetery just 15 minutes away from the track.
This afternoon we came across this Facebook post from Corvette Exterior Design Manager Kirk Bennion sharing these words from fellow GM designer Adam Barry who led the project. The 2020 Corvette Pace Car features a number of items from Genuine Corvette Accessories as discussed:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
A small donation to Ronald McDonald House could permanently put you in the driver’s seat of the fastest production Corvette yet!
Commonly referred to as “America’s Sports Car”, the Chevrolet Corvette has been offering thrills since its big unveiling back in 1953. With 60 years of production over eight generation designs, the all-new C8 Corvette is a game-changer. For the first time, the model is powered by a mid-mounted V8 engine. Even the C8’s body was drastically redesigned for aerodynamics, but stunning enough to stop car enthusiasts dead in their tracks. Get get your hands on the fastest production Corvette yet – a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 with 3Lz trim. A small donation to the Ronald McDonald House will enter you into the drawing for this incredible C8. Enter the code WIN here to receive double entries!
Finished in a stunning Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic, the exterior is nothing short of magnificent. On all four corners sit staggered 5-spoke Carbon Flash-painted aluminum wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear) wrapped with sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. Further complementing the exterior is the addition of a high-wing Carbon Flash rear spoiler and an exposed carbon fiber ground effects kit. Open the doors to a stunning black interior that features carbon fiber trim and GT2 bucket seats.
Powered by a mid-mounted 6.2-liter LT2 V8 engine with an appearance package, the new C8 generates 495-horsepower and 470 lb/ft of torque that can propel this car from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a lightning quick 2.9 seconds. Sending that power down to the rear wheels is an 8-speed Dual Clutch automatic transmission. The Z51 Package gives this aggressive Corvette a unique Z51 adjustable performance suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, an altered axle ratio, large Z51 Brembo brakes, a sport exhaust, enhanced cooling, and improved traction.
If you’re looking for a car that is can drive to the track, smoke the competition, and then drive home, look no further than this performance-oriented 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51. Even if the track isn’t your thing, this would make one head-turning daily driver. A small donation to the Ronald McDonald House will enter you into the drawing for this incredible C8. Enter the code WIN here to receive double entries! The Ronald McDonald House helps support families to stay close to their child while they receive treatment at a local hospital.
*Actual Corvette may vary from images above based on availability.*
Amie Williams for Motorious
Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor are optimistic that a C8.R can score the new car’s third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win at Road America this weekend, but they expect a stronger challenge from BMW following the latest Balance of Performance changes.
For this fourth round of the championship, all GT Le Mans-class cars have had their fuel capacity increased – the BMW M8s by 12 liters, the Corvettes by five liters and the Porsche 911 RSRs by three liters – but the BMWs, run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan, have also had their minimum weight cut by 22lbs [10kg] and their power increased by 14hp.
This could throw a high hurdle in the way of Corvette Racing’s hopes to score three IMSA wins on the bounce for the first time since the spring of 2017. Garcia and Taylor won the second round of this season, the Daytona 240, while they finished just behind their victorious teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin two weeks ago in the Cadillac Grand Prix at Sebring.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s 2hr40min race around the undulating 4.014-mile course at Elkhart Lake, WI, Garcia said: “Tire degradation is always a key thing at Road America. This new Corvette should be a little bit better on that compared to the[2014-’19 predecessor] C7.R.
“Porsche was strong last year and they obviously are going to be strong again. At Sebring, they showed really good pace behind us. With BMW getting a break, it will be difficult to fight them.
“That will create different speeds at different parts of the track where each car will be strong. We will see where everything lines up, but for sure that should be interesting.”
Added Taylor: “Road America is definitely a power track, so I think [BMW’s BoP break] will be pretty major when we go there. We saw at the Rolex [24 Hours] that they had a pretty big power advantage where they were able to drive around most competitors.
“I’m not sure where their loss of performance was at the Daytona and Sebring sprint races compared to the Rolex but going to Road America that change should benefit them.”
The former IMSA Prototype champion concurred with his co-driver regarding tire life, pointing out, “Road America often has a big tire degradation part to it, so for us that could be a big part of the race strategy-wise.”
Explaining Corvette’s ‘hot streak’ with the new-for-2020 mid-engined C8.R since the restart of the IMSA season, Garcia stated: “At the Rolex 24 [in January] we were good but that was hidden by little mistakes and issues we had toward the finish. We had been competitive for the first 20 hours but had a few little things going on with the car because it was very new. The pace was there but we weren’t able to fight for the win at the end.
“Each month, there is a ton of development and we continue to show that. Even when we weren’t on the track, we continued to develop the C8.R.”
Taylor added: “It’s amazing that we’ve come out so strong after the quarantine period… It shows a lot for what Corvette Racing is about and the preparation it does behind the scenes. Even though no one could go to the race shop, the engineers were working from home and made huge strides on the C8.R. We went back to Daytona and obviously had a good race there with the win and then went back to Sebring where we were able to do a two-day test there before the quarantine and one simulator test when that period opened back up.
“For us it was an unknown for us because it was the first non-Daytona track where we were competing against all the other teams. Daytona is so unique in that you can stack up well at that track and have that not be relevant anywhere else. So it was promising that we were able to get the pole. The car was amazing all race weekend, and I think we’ve shown we can be competitive on all different kinds of tracks. I’m really looking for this one at Road America.”
Appears in Print as: ‘Part 2: Beauty, speed, luxury — 2020 Corvette ‘
Earlier this year, the first installment of eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette sports cars (C8s) from General Motors Co. (GM, Detroit, Mich., U.S.) came rolling off GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., U.S. assembly line. Described as the “fastest, most powerful entry Corvette” in the model’s 67-year history, it’s also the most composites-intensive Corvette, and the first to feature a mid-engine configuration. Not only is the 2020 Corvette Stingray beautiful and fast, but it’s tricked out with a host of luxury features. However, don’t let good looks and fast track times fool you: there’s plenty of composites innovation on this car. CW’s two-part coverage of composites use in this vehicle began in the July 2020 issue. This is part 2.
Body structure: part B
The new Corvette features not one but two trunks that, combined, hold 12.6 cubic-feet/0.36 cubic meters of cargo. Both trunks are produced in 42 wt-% chopped fiberglass/vinyl ester-unsaturated polyester (VE-UP) resin, but use different processes driven by geometry and mechanical requirements. The front trunk (frunk) is compression molded 0.95-specific gravity (SG) “float” sheet molding compound (SMC), while the rear trunk is formed via the proprietary PRiME (Prepositioned Reinforcement ensuring Manufacturing Excellence) process, a liquid compression molding (LCM) variant. The float SMC and the PRiME process were developed by processor Molded Fiber Glass Co. (MFG, Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.). MFG produced all structural SMC and LCM’d parts on the car.
“Although both spaces are characterized by shallow-draft, long-draw walls, the frunk is smaller than the rear trunk, and could be compression molded,” explains Chris Basela, Corvette body structure lead engineer. “The rear trunk needed higher mechanical performance and was a tough geometry to fill with an SMC charge. Because the PRiME process lets us change fiber length, we could use longer pre-positioned reinforcement in our preform. Flowing the resin [not the glass] proved the best approach.”
The 2020 Corvette is the first car to use body-structure cavities (integral to the body frame) for air-induction ductwork (above), which is fed by multiple primary cooling paths (below). The car’s naturally aspirated V8 engine needs a lot of air, so it was important to ensure good, unimpeded airflow to keep the engine cool. Source (both images) | General Motors Co.
Clever engineering and a new material were key to cooling the C8’s engine. Multiple primary cooling paths (rear inlets behind each door, front wheelhouse vents, and outboard cooling inlets) feed highly complex induction ducts that funnel air through the vehicle and across the engine, before ejection through aluminum-mesh vents and SMC appliqués on either side of the glass partition that showcases the Corvette engine. The appliqués are made with MFG’s float (0.95-SG) SMC (chopped glass/UP-VE resin). Low in volatile-organic compounds (VOCs), the material reduces emissions and eliminates the need for resonators on rear-induction ducts, while reducing cost and mass (2.4 kilograms) versus alternative technologies.
The massive, customer-visible rear surround frame — 64 by 69 by 24 inches (163 by 175 by 61 centimeters) — that surrounds the rear-half of the passenger compartment is compression molded in toughened 1.2-SG SMC. This hybrid-reinforced material features carbon fiber at 15% fiber-volume fraction (FVF) and glass fiber at 30% FVF, with a low-VOC UP resin, formulated to withstand engine-bay heat. The frame forms the dimensional foundation for all rear exterior and interior panels, yet flexible design enables it to be used for multiple model variants. Thanks to significant parts consolidation, secondary attachments were eliminated, increasing interior package space, reducing noise/vibration/harshness (NVH), providing better body structure and sealing performance, improving rear-hatch visibility and reducing mass (15%) and cost versus the outgoing frame. “Given the size of this part, which is almost 6 by 6 feet tall and 2 feet deep, we actually had to make the material flow uphill in the mold, so we were all a little worried on that first shot,” Basela recalls.
The very-large, customer-visible rear surround frame provides the dimensional foundation for all rear exterior and interior panels. Each half of the mold in which the part is formed weighs ~35,000 pounds/15,900 kilograms and was produced by Century Tool, a division of Tooling Tech Group (Fenton, Mich., U.S.). The compression press itself has 2,800 tonnes clamping pressure and a platen that measures 108 by 68 inches (274 by 173 centimeters). Despite its size, cycle time is
Equally interesting is the bulkhead (mid-window frame), which was custom-formulated by MFG to resolve high heat and noise challenges, since this portion of the cabin sits directly over the V8 engine. Fiberglass reinforcement combined with beryllium graphite filler in low-VOC VE-UP resin deadens sound transmission into the passenger compartment so effectively that it eliminated the need for secondary sound-deadening countermeasures. That, in turn, reduced costs, increased interior package space and passenger comfort, and improved body sealing and NVH. “With a specific gravity of 2.2, this is the first composite part I’ve ever been asked to add mass to rather than take it out,” laughs Basela.
Closures and trim
Exterior body panels are all bonded (inner/outer), painted, toughened 1.2-SG SMC (22-28% FVF fiberglass/UP resin, depending on component) from Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a Teijin Group company (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.). By bolting on composite closures, GM achieves the C8’s aggressive styling, aerodynamics and functional cooling integration, with cost-effective lightweighting on multiple model variants using common parts. All body panels are painted inline on a “skuk system” in vehicle position, using Bowling Green’s innovative robotic wet-sanding process.
Rear service doors are molded from toughened SMC and feature a high-temperature, foam-in-place silicone gasket that provides a durable seal with excellent compression-set resistance while handling long-term exposure to engine-bay heat. Another composite — heat- and abrasion-resistant aluminized aramid fabric — is used as a heat shield to provide extra thermal protection on door interiors. | SPE Automotive Div.
Another innovation involves use of a one-part, thixotropic silicone elastomeric foam gasket applied to the back side of SMC service doors, which are located in the rear trunk (one on coupés, two on convertibles), and permit customer access to the air-filter system. Owing to proximity to the engine bay, the high-performance foam-in-place
(FIP) elastomer (Silastic 3-8186 from Dow, Inc., Midland, Mich., U.S.) was specified to survive continuous-use temperatures up to 392°F/200°C while providing a durable seal with excellent compression-set resistance, even after repeated open/close cycles. GM reports that most other die-cut foams and gaskets would either have melted or broken down under continuous exposure to such temperatures. After dispensing, the applied gasket is heat-treated at 167°F/75°C for 10 minutes to expand the foam, eliminating die-cutting cost and waste. The doors themselves are toughened SMC (42% FVF glass in a VE-UP matrix). Heat shields, produced by Gentex Corp. (Carbondale, Pa., U.S.) using heat- and abrasion-resistant aluminized Kevlar aramid fabrics (fiber from DuPont de Nemours, Inc., Wilmington, Del., U.S.), provide door interiors with extra thermal protection.
The new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray from General Motors Co. is said to be the fastest, most powerful entry-level Corvette in the model’s 67-year history. It’s also the most composites-intensive, with a host of innovative technology. | General Motors Co.
GM also used its second-generation, fully automated precision wheel-balance system on the C8. Developed with The 3M Co. (St. Paul, Minn., U.S.) and ESYS Automation (Auburn Hills, Mich., U.S.), the high-density (5.8-SG) composite wheel weights with tailored magnetic properties replaced traditional stamped metallic weights in painted steel, zinc or lead that have specific mass and must be hand-applied to wheels.
The new system uses large spools of extruded tape with adhesive backing that contain 67% by volume post-industrial, corrosion-resistant, fully recyclable steel alloy in a fluoropolymer base. The automated system examines each wheel, then cuts and applies custom-weight tape segments in smaller, more precise increments to improve ride and reduce tire wear. It also reduces assembly time and cost, simplifies inventory, eliminates scrap and labor and is offered in more colors than metal weights.
Coupé roofs are available in three trim levels: painted, low-density toughened SMC (from CSP); clear, hard-coated polycarbonate (PC); and clear-coated/exposed-weave carbon fiber composite with painted edges (from deBotech Inc., Mooresville, N.C.). CSP also supplies several Class A, toughened 1.2-SG SMC panels for convertible-model retractable-roof systems.
Additional Corvette beauty shots. Source | General Motors Co.
Other exterior trim panels include painted thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) front fascia upper and lower, the latter with integrated ducts to direct air to brakes (Z51 package only) and outboard heat exchangers. Outer grille and brake cooling vents are painted acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
The upper rear fascia is molded-in-color (MIC) TPO, but the lower rear fascia assembly is Class A painted, 1.2-SG SMC (glass/UP resin), owing to the part’s close proximity to hot exhaust tips. SMC’s excellent mechanical performance enabled GM to design an unsupported short rear overhang and use larger spacings between attachments without sagging. SMC also spreads loads efficiently over a larger area during low-speed rear crashes than thermoplastics. Brackets and rear parking-assist sensors are bonded to the SMC. This is said to be the first time SMC bumper fascias have been used on high-volume vehicles.
Rear-hatch appliqués feature painted PC/ABS for the upper panel, SMC with aluminum mesh for side vents and an SMC lower appliqué to accommodate thermal loading directly over the engine. These SMC panels are produced by LyondellBasell’s Quantum Composites Inc. (Bay City, Mich., U.S.). Door-handle release switches are PC/ABS, while the rear air-intake vent is SMC. The base car sports a blowmolded, painted ABS spoiler and the rear air-exit grille is injection molded painted ABS. A-pillar and header appliqués are painted ABS, as are exterior side-view mirror caps and radiator inlet grilles. Depending on the option package, a toughened SMC front underwing and either a blowmolded TPO or carbon fiber composite front splitter/diffuser — clear-coated/visible-weave carbon/epoxy produced by deBotech using prepreg from Solvay Composite Materials (Alpharetta, Ga., U.S.) — contribute additional aerodynamic stability. A rear diffuser in toughened SMC mates to the SMC lower rear fascia in Class A painted SMC from MFG.
The premium carbon fiber trim package features various clear-coated/visible weave carbon fiber accents inside and out, including mirror caps, front grille insert, front splitter, accessory wing, engine-compartment covers, interior door switch plates, rocker moldings, instrument-panel cluster bezel, door-handle covers, quarter appliqués and ride-control plate. These components are produced by deBotech, SMI Composites LLC (Comer, Ga., U.S.) and Plasan Carbon Composites (Wixom, Mich., U.S.).
The Corvette is not only fast and beautiful but contains a host of creature comforts. For composites aficionados, the premium carbon-trim upgrade adds numerous clear-coated/visible-weave carbon fiber composite accents to exterior and interior surfaces, such as the ride-control plate shown here. | General Motors Co.
The 2020 Corvette has already won many prestigious industry awards, including 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year, 2020 Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive supplier Contributions to Excellence) Partnership Award, and several awards from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), including 2019 Vehicle Engineering Team Award. “Although the new Stingray’s mid-engine architecture has dominated headlines, no matter where the engine is — in front of or behind the driver — for eight generations, Corvettes have always advanced the state of the art in automotive materials technology,” adds Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer-Global Corvette. “Advancing technology is at the heart of what we do.”
Seeing, quite literally, is believing for a Canadian man named Mike Schickerowski.
At age 44, he got his driver’s license just two weeks ago.
Why the delay?
Schickerowski was born with a disorder called nystagmus, which causes the brain to see images as a blur.
“My brain would never interpret the image as a steady picture,” he explained. “It basically involves involuntary movement of your eyes. If you’ve ever taken a photo with your camera and moved it slightly or the object moved and it’s a blur, it’s the exact same symptoms.”
That means Schikerowski has been legally blind his entire life, that is, until undergoing successful experimental surgery to correct the condition in California in October 2018.
He says being able to see has changed his life in many ways, most notably allowing him to take part in the simple things of life.
“I took my son fishing last week,” he said. “I was never able to do that before on my own. I took my daughter for ice cream. It’s unbelievable.”
Of course, those trips are made even more special because Schickerowski decided to splurge on his first vehicle ever – a yellow C7 Corvette Grand Sport. So confident he would pass the driver’s license exam for the first time, he purchased the flashy sports care before he even passed the test! “it was overwhelming to think I was doing it at that age,” he said, “but I did pretty well and I just couldn’t believe it.”
While some people thought he should have bought a more practical vehicle, especially living in the province of Alberta, Schickerowski says he wanted to stand out.
“Some people said, ‘Oh, it’s Alberta, you need a truck,’ and sure I like trucks — they’re nice — but everybody’s got a truck,” he said.
Schickerowski is grateful that he is able to drive the Corvette on his own, but he was even more excited about being able to see the world clearly for the first time after the surgery was a success.
“It was beautiful to see,” he said, “but it was more the realization of what I missed my whole life. It was emotional breakdown. My mom was bawling, and my wife was ecstatic. It was never supposed to happen.”
While he says there was a “sad moment” realizing how much of his life had already gone by and “how much I had suffered,” he says he’s “still excited for the future.”
His wife, Angie, says watching Mike see things in 3D for the first time was “unbelievable – things like fireworks, there’s all these things.”
“I’ve lived a wonderful life and enjoyed every moment,” he says. “This is just the awakening to possibilities of the future and the opportunities that are there.”
Add his yellow Corvette to that list of expanding opportunities, and here’s hoping he enjoys his car for years to come.
Thanks to Bob S. for the link!
The Gulf livery’s iconic colors make an appearance.
We’re quickly approaching the first anniversary of Chevy’s introduction of the 2020 Corvette C8, which happened on July 18. Now, less than two weeks ahead of that date, the Chevy Corvette’s official Facebook page shared a short, 14-second teaser video that hints at something new for the Corvette for the 2021 model year.
The post says, “It’s time to earn some new racing stripes,” while the quick-hitting teaser hints at what Chevy is “Adding to the [Corvette’s] legacy.” However, we have no idea what that means exactly. The teaser shows off some stylized Corvette footage with colored stripes crisscrossing the video. There are also four overhead shots of striped Corvettes that flash on the screen. Two are black, one with a pair of red stripes while the other has yellow ones. There’s a blue-on-white one, and another that mimics the iconic blue-and-orange Gulf livery.
For as much fanfare as the 2020 Corvette created, the Stingray model the automaker introduced was just the beginning. We expect Chevy to add more high-performance models to the Corvette lineup, like the Z06. But we don’t think Chevy is ready to reveal that top-tier model just yet. Instead, we’d bet that Chevy is planning to introduce a new appearance package, or packages, that help enhance the car’s appearance. It could be similar to the Competition Sport package Chevy introduced for the 2009 Corvette C6.
We know for sure that Chevy still has a ton of Corvette excitement to reveal going forward. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next Z06, and the numerous spy photos and videos don’t help. We know it should pack a 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8 that’ll leapfrog the Stingray in power, performance, and price. We don’t expect that model to arrive until the 2022 model year, so until then, we can look forward to Chevy’s latest, which the automaker should reveal soon.
Source: Chevrolet Corvette / Facebook
The mid-engine C8 Corvette’s clean-sheet redesign resulted in just a couple of parts carried over from the C7 generation, but there is enough “baseball and apple pie” in the sports car to keep it in the Top 10 of the 2020 American Made Index as compiled by Cars.com.
Chevrolet landed two vehicles on the 2020 List with the Corvette coming in at a very appropriate 8th place and it was joined by the Colorado that landed in 10th place. They were the only two GM vehicles to make the list.
The American Made Index, or AMI, “is an independent annual list that ranks the new vehicles that contribute most to the U.S. economy based on criteria ranging from U.S. factory jobs and manufacturing plants to parts sourcing.” Manufacturers are required by law to annually report the percentage of US and Canadian parts and that information appears on the window sticker of all new vehicles sold in the USA.
The AMI studied 91 vehicles and the ranking looks at four key factors:
- Origins of the engine and transmission
- Origin of parts in the car (as reported by the American Automobile Labeling Act)
- Final assembly location
- U.S. manufacturing workforce relative to production footprint
The were some new additions to the list for 2020 with the Ford Ranger leap-frogging the Jeep Cherokee to #1 while Tesla landed three vehicles on the list.
Cars.com says that 70% of shoppers consider a car’s impact on the US economy a significant or deciding factor in their vehicle choice and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the desire of Americans to “buy local.” The survey found that nearly 40% of consumers report they are more likely to buy an American-made car due to the current health and economic crisis, while just 4% said they were less likely. A whopping 26% said it was “unpatriotic” to buy a non-American-made car, compared to just 18% in 2019.
“This marks the 15th year we have released the American-Made Index, and for the first time, we are ranking a full, comprehensive list of qualifying American-made cars available in the U.S. Of some 350 cars on the market for 2020, 91 models qualified for our index,” said Kelsey Mays, Cars.com’s senior consumer affairs and vehicle evaluations editor. “The auto industry is highly globalized, but these 91 models bring jobs to America and investments to our local communities — a growing concern for Americans in the current climate.”
here and in Part 2 next month.
here and in Part 2 next month.
New engine configuration changes everything
GM engineering went into preliminary design knowing they’d be working on a mid-engine vehicle — the first production Corvette in eight generations to sport that configuration. “We evolved the front-engine architecture as far as we could for performance, so shifting to a mid-engine design was the next logical step to improve an already great car and be the segment leader,” explains GM’s Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer-Global Corvette. Equipped with the Z51 performance package, the 2020 Corvette Stingray can accelerate 0-60 mph (0-97 kmh) in 2.9 seconds and reach top speeds of 194 mph (312 kmh). Pushing the engine toward the vehicle’s rear affected many things, including the car’s center of gravity, the relative position of occupants, transmission location and design of underbody panels and trunk storage. The mid-engine design also introduced higher operating temperatures and noise to new areas of the car.
The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette — all eight generations (C1-C8) shown above, left to right respectively — from General Motors Co. started production earlier this year. This mid-engine sports car is not only impressively fast, and the most composites-intensive Corvette yet, but it features an array of genuinely innovative composites applications. Source | General Motors Co.
“Because of the mid-engine, we had to do things differently,” explains Ed Moss, Corvette body structure engineering group manager. “From the start, we had so many discussions about how to lay out the body structure. At one point, everything was on the table as we discussed the best way to design and build each system. For example, we debated metallic versus composite for wheelhouses. If we’d kept the C7’s composite wheelhouses, we’d have to bond to the hinge pillar [A pillar], which is immediately adjacent to the front wheel in a mid-engine vehicle, leaving very little package space. We went with metal there. We even briefly discussed metal versus composite body panels. However, it would’ve been economically infeasible to create the C8’s styling lines in metallics.”
“A real challenge we faced was how to handle air induction,” recalls Chris Basela, Corvette body structure lead engineer, explaining the need for a different method to funnel cooling air into and across the naturally aspirated, 495-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine, which generates 470 foot-pounds (637 Newton-meters) of torque. “We tried all kinds of designs that forced air to take really torturous paths, creating eddies and flows we didn’t want. It took lots of iterative work with the powertrain team to develop the best path for airflow because the car needs to breathe freely with no restriction. We also needed access to the air box and had to work around rear trunk space. Another issue was heat and engine noise in the passenger compartment, because occupants no longer sit behind the engine but are positioned directly in front of it. And we were especially conscious of cabin air quality as laws had changed in Europe and elsewhere since the C7, so we worked really hard to reduce VOCs [volatile organic compounds].”
“Even working out how to assemble the car was a challenge,” adds Moss. “With a front-engine design, you have a long hood and large engine compartment, providing operators plenty of room to build the car from inside the compartment, even with the front bumper beam already welded on. On the mid-engine Corvette, with its very short front clip, we keep the front of the car open as the vehicle is built out, then bolt on the front bumper.”
“It was quite a balancing act to get the proper shapes, while ensuring our suppliers could produce the parts and our team in Bowling Green [GM’s Kentucky-based Corvette assembly plant] could assemble them,” continues Basela. “In the end, there was only one carryover composite from the C7’s body to the C8.” This was tough Class A, 1.2 specific gravity (SG) sheet molding compound (SMC) developed for the 2016 Corvette and used in a variety of exterior closures on the new vehicle.
For four generations (C5-C8), Corvettes have featured a three-layer, multi-material body structure: the frame, usually a mix of aluminum or steel — this time with a carbon fiber-reinforced composite (CFRP) part; the body structure, which is largely bonded composite to capitalize on design and manufacturing flexibility; plus bolt-on closeouts (body panels), which have been composite since Covette’s June 1953 debut. This layered hybrid structure not only provides affordable lightweighting in high production volumes — particularly for cars of this performance class — but also permits multiple vehicle variants to be produced at low tooling investment. In fact, for the current C8, GM managed to produce all Class A composite body panels (bonded inners and outers) on both the base model coupé and convertible using just 20 tools.
GM and its suppliers have already won many awards for innovative composites use on the 2020 Corvette Stingray. Among those standing above are key GM engineering team members at last November’s 49th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, where GM won SPE Automotive Div.’s Vehicle Engineering Team Award. A number of composite parts on the vehicle also were finalists or category winners at the event. Source | SPE Automotive Div.
In addition, Corvettes have always been engineered with an open-roof architecture, regardless of whether they are actually convertibles or coupés with fixed or removable roof panels. Because open-roof vehicles are generally less stiff than those with fixed roofs, an important focus for each Corvette’s engineering is always to create the stiffest foundation possible to improve suspension and steering. Historically, tunnels(housing transmissions and driveshafts on front-engine vehicles) have dominated Corvette body structures and have been key enablers for achieving high torsional rigidity. In the case of the new Corvette, GM achieved even higher rigidity. With the roof removed, the C8 body is 53.78% stiffer than a benchmark high-performance mid-engine competitor, 29.27% stiffer than a second high-performance mid-engine competitor, and 13.79% stiffer than the C7. Two composite parts made important contributions to vehicle stiffness—one directly attached to the frame structure (rear bumper beam) and another attached to the underbody (lower tunnel closeout).
The C8’s frame is largely aluminum alloy with one CFRP part developed to meet GM’s stringent dollar-per-kilogram targets. In contrast, the C7 frame was all-aluminum and the C6 was mostly steel.
The only composite part directly mounted to the frame that travels with the body-in-white (BIW) through the electrophoretic rust-coat process (which GM calls ELPO), is a unique CFRP rear bumper beam. This part helps stiffen the frame and contributes to rear-impact performance. Its curved shape — possible thanks to a novel process called radius pultrusion developed by Thomas GmbH + Co. Technik + Innovation KG (TTI, Bremervörde, Germany) — enables it to match rear styling cues and fit in limited package space while maintaining dimensional integrity close to engine-bay heat. As the auto industry’s first curved pultruded part (see our full feature on this part in the CW May 2020 issue), the hollow, two-chambered beam was produced by Shape Corp. (Grand Haven, Mich., U.S.) on equipment developed and built by TTI. The beam weighs just 1.3 kilograms and features a bonded/bolted tow-hook eye capable of 25 kilonewtons of pull-out force.
An auto industry first, the 2020 Corvette sports a curved rear bumper beam in pultruded carbon fiber composite produced with 87 individual carbon tows and eight carbon fiber non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) impregnated with polyurethane-acrylate resin. The hollow, two-chambered beam is 66% lighter than the outgoing aluminum beam and met GM’s demanding dollar-per-kilogram targets. Source | Shape Corp.
Body Structure: part A
Virtually all of the C8’s body structure components are composite and are bonded and/or bolted to the frame after the latter undergoes ELPO. Notable composite parts at this level include structural underbody closures and the floor — which we’ll cover in this issue — and front and rear trunks, induction ducts and the rear surround and bulkhead — which we’ll cover, along with body panels and trim, next month.
This hybrid-composite, lower-tunnel closeout is produced using a variant of liquid compression molding. It eliminated secondary attachments, lowered mass by 3 kilograms and reduced labor, tooling and capital costs vs. aluminum. Source | SPE Automotive Div.
The removable lower-tunnel structural closeout on the C8, which acts as an access door, contributes more than 10% of the vehicle’s torsional rigidity and acts as a primary load path during a crash. This hybrid-composite panel consists of three layers of glass fiber preform. These consist of continuous/woven and chopped/random fibers at 38% fiber volume fraction (FVF), with veils added to top and bottom face layers on each stack for improved surface finish. Glass preforms are interleaved with two layers of preforms made using Toray (Tokyo, Japan) T700 12K standard-modulus carbon fiber in the form of NCF biaxial fabric at 21% FVF and a vinyl ester (VE) matrix. The closeout is produced by Molded Fiber Glass Co. (MFG, Ashtabula, Ohio, U.S.) using its proprietary PRiME (Prepositioned Reinforcement ensuring Manufacturing Excellence) process, a type of liquid compression molding (LCM).
Aside from a single aluminum closeout near the rear wheels that is part of the engine cradle, the remaining underbody panels consist of either compression molded SMC or injection molded thermoplastics. Among other benefits, these panels reduce underbody turbulence and drag, improve fuel efficiency and keep moisture, dust and stones out of the vehicle’s engine and driveline. Further, they provide the dimensional foundation for multiple exterior and interior interfaces.
The low-density but structural SMC panels feature new formulations (in this case, 40% FVF chopped fiberglass/unsaturated polyester (UP) resin) developed by MFG. The material is called “float” SMC because each panel’s density is less than 1.0 (average SG=0.97) and thus can float in water. MFG produced all structural SMC and LCM’d parts on the car.
An important contributor to vehicle lightweighting on the C8 is the extensive use of “float” SMC. With specific gravity values less than 1.0, this low-density but structural SMC developed by MFG is used in a variety of non-Class A parts, including underbody panels, the dash panel, air-induction ductwork and the front trunk. Source | Molded Fiber Glass Co.
The vehicle also sports a hybrid floor optimized for torsional bending and side-pole impact protection (engaging the rocker panels and tunnel, to which it is joined). Floor panels feature cabin-facing stamped aluminum bonded to sheets of road-facing 1.5-SG composite (60 wt-% continuous and woven glass fiber/VE) produced via the PRiME process. Before heat-bonding both layers with Pliogrip 9100 polyurethane structural adhesive from Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (Wilmington, Del., U.S.), MFG cleans and preps the materials.
All composite parts directly bonded to the C8 frame are first subjected to laser ablation, a process developed by GM, MFG and Adapt Laser Systems LLC (Kansas City, Mo., U.S.) for the 2016 Corvette, and adapted from a composites industry method for mold cleaning. Laser ablation replaces hand sanding and reduces labor, time and cost, eliminates dust and improves repeatability. Laser path, angle of attack and energy level are customizable for each part’s material and geometry. To maximize manufacturing flexibility, the entire underbody, including the floor, is connected to the frame and itself via bonding and screws.
In the August issue of CW, we’ll continue covering composites innovation on the new Corvette, resuming with additional components at the body structures level and finishing with exterior closures (body panels), plus additional trim and upgrades.
Peggy Malnati for Composites World
Thanks to our friends at the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com, we’ve got two different confirmations that newly completed 2020 Corvettes are once again shipping from the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green
The shipping confirmation comes from the Jack Cooper Transport website. Owners can post their VIN into the search box and it returns the shipping manifest.
Yesterday, the National Corvette Museum received four new 2020 Corvettes while another shipping manifest shows 2020 Corvettes with VINs ranging from 2814 to 3354 heading to multiple Chevy dealers in the midwest.
Thanks to some of the sleuths on the MECF, we also see a few CTF Convertibles heading up to the Detroit area:
This is great news for customers who have been “patiently” waiting for shipping of the new 2020 C8 Corvettes for the first time since the Corvette Assembly Plant reopened on May 26th after being closed for two months due to the coronavirus.
How to Track Your 2020 Corvette
CorvetteBlogger contributor Jeremy Welborn previously wrote this post on how to Track the Shipping of your C8 Corvette via Jack Cooper. To find the shipping status of your 2020 Corvette, go to https://www.palsapp.com/, then click on the search icon on the top right of the page (looks like a magnifying glass). Enter your VIN and click the search icon to the right of the input field.
The future of the mid-engine Corvette should be long and very fast.
Future variations of the new-generation Chevrolet Corvette have been the cause of much debate over the past year. Hagerty recently claimed that it has the scoop, via an “industry leak” on the roadmap for the Corvette’s’ development in trim and model variations. Between that and a lot of industry chatter and some leaks, we’re sure that the Corvette is not only going to evolve over the coming years but mutate into something incredibly special. Here’s how the future lineup of the Corvette should shape up.
2021 C8 Corvette Stingray
The first iteration of the new Corvette is on the road, although in limited supply due to the pandemic. It comes with an LT2 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8, making 490-495 hp and 465-470 lb-ft depending on trim level. There’s no manual option, and power is controlled and delivered to the rear wheels by a Tremec supplied 8-speed automatic transmission.
Only 2,700 C8 Corvettes were built before the virus struck, then production had to be paused. The years given below are the planned model years. However, development programs throughout GM have been paused, and there could be significant delays.
2022 C8 Corvette Z06
The Z06 badge means added performance, and initial reports claimed the first heated up C8 Corvette would arrive with 650 hp and 600 lb-ft from a 5.5-liter LT6 V8. The race-inspired LT6 engine is set to have a flat-plane crank design that’s rumored to rev past 8,000 rpm. Since then, though, credible sources have reset expectations at 600 hp and 470-500 lb-ft of torque, but will, indeed, rev fast and long. The Z06 will also have a wider body to accommodate larger brakes inside the larger wheels and tires, as well as a more aggressive suspension setup. There’s also reports that an optional aero package will include a unique rear wing.
2023 C8 Corvette E-Ray
Some enthusiasts aren’t going to like this, but the Corvette is going to go hybrid in the 2023 model year. It will use the same 6.2-liter LT2 V8 as the Corvette Stingray, but it’ll be bolstered with an electric motor located between the front wheels. The 1.94-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will be located in the middle of the car, and the electrical system’s peak output will be 85 kW. Total output should sit at around 600 hp and 575 ft-lb of torque – around the same as the Z06 model. Unlike the Z06, the E-Ray isn’t expected to have the widebody setup and will be the first-ever all-wheel-drive Corvette.
2023 C8 Corvette Grand Sport
There are conflicting reports on this one with some claiming the Grand Sport will be the hybrid model, and others suggesting that the Grand Sport will be powered by the Stingray’s 6.2L LT2 V8, but with the chassis and aerodynamic enhancements from the Z06. Using the base model V8 and upgrading the chassis is the traditional recipe for the Grand Sport. We’re trying to verify either way, but we currently suspect the Grand Sport will be the name of the hybrid model.
2024 C8 Corvette ZR1
The ZR1 has traditionally been the flagship Corvette, cranked up then honed to hunt down supercars at the track. The ZR1 will come with a twin-turbo variant of the flat plane crank 5.5L V8 LT6 engine making a fearsome 850 hp and 825 lb-ft of torque. For reference, the C7 generation ZR1 made 755 hp and 715-lb-ft of torque and that was frightening enough for the uninitiated.
The C8 generation Corvette ZR1 promises to be the fastest Corvette yet, and that’s before adding the upgraded chassis with track-oriented suspension, brakes, and active aero. However, in 2025 something even faster should arrive.
2025 C8 Corvette Zora
The Corvette Zora is named after Zora Arkus-Duntov, the man who turned the Corvette into a serious performance car but didn’t live long enough to see his dream of a mid-engined version come true. Fittingly, the fastest Corvette in its history will have his name on it, and use the twin-turbo 5.5L LT7 V8 from the ZR1 paired with a hybrid-electric system. Total power output is set to be astounding at around 1,000 hp and 900-1000 lb-ft of torque. It’ll be all-wheel-drive, wide-bodied, track-ready, and feature active aerodynamics. It will also put to bed any argument of whether the Corvette is a supercar or not.
It seems comfortable at the limit.
The C8 Corvette is Chevrolet’s first stab at building a true mid-engine supercar. While much faster versions will follow, the C8 Stingray in base form can hold its own against more exotic and more powerful machinery. We recently wrote about a C8 Stingray demolishing the quarter-mile, but now we shift our focus to the Laguna Seca Raceway, where a C8 goes up against one of the meanest American performance cars out there: the Dodge Viper ACR.
The C8 is clearly at home on a track as we can see in the video. This Torch Red Corvette gets pushed to its limits and comes out as an unexpected hero.
The 2020 C8 Chevrolet Corvette is no wimp when it comes to numbers: powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8, this car produces 490 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to launch it to sixty in only 2.9 seconds when fitted with the Z51 package. This translates into a car that is deceptively fast, especially when compared to big dogs such as the Viper ACR.
In the video, we can see the Vette slowly warming up to the track conditions, with that naturally-aspirated engine filling the cabin with the best noise you could imagine. It is clear that the driver is trying to find his comfort zone.
After a short sprint, the driver and car seem to be clicking, and the pace increases. In the distance, you can see some cars getting closer and closer: it turns out that it’s a Porsche 911 GT3. The action starts at around the 3:15 mark, but you’ll have to wait until the 6:40 mark to see the battle between the Viper and C8.
We have no doubt that in the hands of an experienced driver the Viper would be the faster car, but getting the most out of the downforce capability of this car takes a serious driver and it’ss clear to see that the C8 Corvette is an easier car to drive at the limit. If this is what the Stingray is capable of, we can’t wait to see what faster versions will do.
Michael Butler for CarBuzz
Some states even have more than 20 units up for grabs.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette sold like hotcakes, with some pending orders still underway. In fact, Chevrolet is aiming to hit the 20,000-unit production mark this year, covering both coupe and convertible versions of the C8 Stingray. Now, production of the remaining 2020 Corvette orders has already commenced, but if you’re among those who have ordered, patience should be your virtue.
Alas, Chevrolet is moving on to the production of the 2021 model year Corvette C8 by November, but did you know that there are still a few units of the Corvette C7 left in the dealers?
Gallery: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 First Drive
According to a report by CorvetteBlogger, Matt Beaver of Whitmoyer Chevrolet in Pennsylvania discloses that there are still 289 units of the 2019 Corvette C7 showing as available in dealerships spread across the country. So, if you aren’t a fan of the new mid-engine layout, there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to buy a brand new unit in a dealership near you.
Among the states that have the most number of C7s still available are New Hampshire, Illinois, and Florida – all with more than 20 units waiting for their rightful owners. There’s no information about their prices, though.
Get Into The ‘Vette Mill:
Also, if you’re looking for a manual Corvette, which is something missing on the C8 generation of the sports car, you’ll be glad to know that there are still a few MT units left within these dealerships. There’s one manual Stingray Convertible, while nine Stingray Z51 coupes still come with a stick shift. Out of the 138 Grand Sport Coupe units left in the U.S., seven of them come with a third pedal.Save Thousands On A New Chevrolet Corvette
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And yes, if you’re in the hunt for a 2019 Corvette ZR1, there are still four units up for grabs – three manual, one automatic – but all of them are dealer demo units, according to Beaver’s list.
The catch? It wasn’t disclosed at which exact dealerships do these MT Corvettes are located at, so you better be asking for assistance from your local dealership if you’re interested.
Its’s not a fair race to begin with, but at least they’re both painted white.
It’s no secret that Hennessey Performance is working on the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 by giving it a twin-turbo conversion. We’ve heard it roar in its initial stage before, plus it has hit the dyno in a previous video as well, but we have yet to see it in action again. We’re guessing that Hennessey is still wrapping up its development.
What we see from the Texas-based tuner, however, is its slightly tuned mid-engine ‘Vette. Fitted with stainless steel exhaust, lightweight wheels, and Hoosier race tires, we’ve seen the white C8 drag race several cars before, including a Huracan and a Mustang Shelby GT500.
Gallery: C8 Corvette Dyno At Hennessey
Now, Hennessey pits the altered C8 versus a bone-stock Corvette C7. We’re not really sure what the purpose of this head-to-head comparison is because it has already been decided right before it even started. Plus, the C8 has performance upgrades, albeit not much, on its employ but still, we wouldn’t say that this is an apple-to-apple comparison.
But then again, a stock C8 and C7 comparison isn’t fair either. On paper alone, the C8 has the major advantage in terms of total output, with the latest model producing 490 horsepower (365 kilowatts) – a quite massive update from the former’s 455 hp (339 kW). The C8 also gets a better 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Jacob Oliva for Motor1
Will the C9 even have a gas engine?
The 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 debuted almost a year ago to tremendous fanfare. Production ramped up in early February after a delay, and many customers now have the new car in their driveways. Chevrolet moved the engine from the front to the back for the first time after decades of false starts, teases, and rumors. It’s too early to tell if customers warm to the new layout, and far too early to speculate about the C9, but what if Chevy flipped the design again, moving the engine back to the front – what would it look like? New renderings from Pedro Ruperto Mallosto on Behance.net provide a glimpse.
While the Corvette’s return to a front-engine layout for the next generation is unlikely, it doesn’t make imagining the possibilities any less exciting. The renderings show yet another evolution of the car’s angular design that the automaker introduced with the C7. Here, it’s much more refined than that, and looks much more like the classic Corvette millions have known for over half a century. The greenhouse is iconic, especially as it tapers in the bumper, reminiscent of the C6.
Imagining the next generation of a new model isn’t easy. We don’t know when the C9 will arrive. Chevy has a ton of C8 variants to deliver first, and by the time we reach the next-gen Corvette, the automotive landscape could be radically different. General Motors has said it’s all-in on fully electric vehicles, and that includes the Corvette. A next-gen, front-engine Corvette sounds exciting, but what would an all-electric Corvette look like if the design never had to accommodate a gasoline engine?
With the latest news from the UAW and the State of Kentucky regarding the coronavirus shutdown, it looks like we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And for Corvette fans, that means the resumption of the 2020 Corvette production could be here as early as May 18th.
The Big 3 domestic automakers have been negotiating with the United Auto Workers on when manufacturing can restart at the various facilities across North America. There’s a lot of moving parts to get manufacturing up and running as it’s not just the factory that needs to restart, but all the vendors and suppliers also need to be back to work as well. With the states having their own individual shelter in place orders, that could be dicey for the next month or so.
Michigan’s stay at home order for non-essential workers was extended through May 15th. Yesterday, Kentucky’s Governor Beshear issued guidance for when various businesses could reopen and set May 11th as the date for when manufacturing and automotive dealerships can resume operations. Reopening plans for the state of New York where the C8 Corvette’s LT2 V8 engines are assembled at the Tonawanda Powertrain facility are also still in the works. The good news there is that upstate New York wasn’t as hard hit as New York City and indications are that New York’s reopening plan could be rolled out regionally with manufacturing slated as one of the first sectors to be reopened.
A recent memo from GM to workers indicated that restarting the plants would take some time and that a team of salaried workers and managers would come in early as paid volunteers to prepare operations before the restart occurs. There may also be some discussions about plant workers going through retraining exercises to get back up to speed as the plant has been closed for over a month.
When workers return to manufacturing at the Corvette Assembly Plant, there will be new protocols set up to keep everyone as safe as possible. GM has said that the safety protocols for workers will include:
- Health and temperature screening
- Heavy workplace cleaning
- Social distancing strategies
- Following top medical and scientific data including guidance from the CDC
When it comes to recalling workers, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said, “UAW President Rory Gamble has said the single focus should be on the health and safety of members and the litmus test should be whether your own family member would be safe going into that plant.”
The Corvette Assembly Plant shut down at the end of March 20th with approximately 2700 new Corvettes assembled to date. The production of the 2020 model year is expected to run through the end of August.
Many gearheads have a strange affinity to Hot Wheels. Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the company, but never asked.
Toy cars can be divided into two categories: Hot Wheels and everybody else. For over 50 years, Mattel has dominated with what is now recognized as the best-selling toy in the world. It’s impossible to count how many car buffs, from mechanics to real race stars to TV personalities, grew up playing with these cars. Whether it was just a few models or massive collections, Hot Wheels has been part of car culture for decades and is never going to stop. Whether it’s a simple model or some fancy licensed vehicle, Hot Wheels simply enthralls.
Yet it’s incredible how some people are unaware of the facts of the company and its history. From its unique origins to how these cars are put together, the story behind Hot Wheels is fascinating. There are also touches from how some of these cars are more expensive than real ones to some unique touches on the culture. Here are 20 amazing facts about Hot Wheels to prove they’re more than just “kids toys.”‘
20/20 Real-Life Hot Wheels Jump Was A World Record
Growing up a massive Hot Wheels fan, racer Tanner Foust decided to honor them in a fun way. At the 2011 Indy 500, Foust talked the management into seeing up a massive orange ramp and raced down it in a rally car.
After 90 feet of track, Foust sailed 332 feet, the longest record for such a move. He topped it by driving through a 66-foot loop in 2012 to live out the dreams of every kid.
19 Technology In Car Building Is Amazing…
Making toys has become a very high-tech business today. Just like real car companies, Hot Wheels has adapted to the 21st century nicely. Computers and 3-D technology are utilized to make sure the designs are perfected before the building begins.
It also helps them keep on top of the latest car trends to ensure that today’s Hot Wheels are sleeker and more natural than the ones of the past.
18 But They’re Still Diecast
There are many toy car lines out there, but Hot Wheels is still the king of the bunch. The key reason is that, for all the advances in technology, every car is still diecast and built mostly by hand.
Even when cheaper materials are available, Mattel knows the diecast is what the fans want. It’s also helped in making customized cars at home for popular models. After 50 years, Mattel doesn’t want to mess with success and do away with diecast.
17 They’ve Worked With NASA
Hot Wheels have done a few astronaut-themed toys over the years. But that’s not the only connection they have with NASA. In 1998, they were able to work with the agency to create an exact replica of the Mars Rover, which landed on the Red Planet that very year.
They also worked with them in 2012 for scale models of the Curiosity rover. It’s amazing how the company got access to top-secret plans to make these toys.
16 Collectors Take It Seriously
Some may dismiss Hot Wheels as “just for kids.” But collectors take it more seriously than real automobiles. The 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb (only 16 prototypes were made) is known to go for at least $15,000.
Some rare models can go for a hundred grand, and collectors are always on the lookout for unique mint models. Entire museums are devoted to various cars as some Hot Wheels collections put legit car collectors to shame.
15 Scaling Down The Cars Was Tricky
A key to the company’s success is that they work with scores of real car companies to get looks at plans for their toy models. Yet it’s not so simple as just “make a smaller version.” The biggest challenge is to achieve the proper scale for the toys in a diecast model yet retain the details of the actual car.
That can be complex with some fancy vehicles. That every model has to be sized to fit the same tracks just adds to why it takes as long developing a toy car as a real one.
14 NASCAR Star Has The Record For The Longest Track
Ever since the Hot Wheels tracks were created, fans have been trying to top themselves making the most extended and most complex. A few have achieved great ones, but it’s fitting a NASCAR star holds the record for the longest.
In 2019, Joey Logano unveiled a 1,941-foot long track stretched across his garage. It weaves through his car collection with 1222 boosters before ending in Logano’s own 2018 HW Ford Mustang. Add yet another title to Logano’s list of accolades.
13 They Made A Car Coated In Diamonds
In 2008, Mattel made a big deal of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Hot Wheels line. As a special reward, Mattel had Jasons of Beverly Hills craft the most expensive Hot Wheels car on the planet.
Cast in 18-karat gold, it’s covered with 2700 diamonds and gems totaling nearly $150,000 today. It’s become a rotating exhibit at toy museums for the glitziest Hot Wheels you could see.
12 The Darth Car Is A Speed Machine
While they do stick to toys, the company has been busy creating some real-sized cars for collectors. One of the most notable is based on Darth Vader, with the hood looking like his fearsome helmet and in jet black.
This isn’t just for show as it’s based on a C5 Corvette with a GM LS3 V-8 engine capable of 526 hp and 150 mph. The Dark Lord of the Sith would be proud of this powerful craft.
11 Every Car Is Tested To Make Sure It Can Run A Track
Almost from the beginning, Hot Wheels car fans had to have a track with the cars. They’ve gone from straight lines to elaborate roller-coaster-like loop systems to leave kids entertained for hours.
What few realize is that the track determines if a car makes it as Mattel prides itself on “every car can fit every track.” More than once, a prototype has to be altered when it won’t fit as the track decides a car’s final form.
10 There Are More Hot Wheels Cars Than Real Cars
While it’s tricky to figure out for sure, most sources agree there are at least one billion cars on the planet (give or take a few hundred thousand in auto graveyards). In contrast, since 1968, six billion Hot Wheels cars have been created.
True, many have been trashed and/or recycled, and it’s impossible to count how many have been lost in backyards. But given how 16 cars are produced every second, it’s no shock the toys outnumber the real deals.
9 Several Creators Are Legit Car Designers
The one constant of Hot Wheels is that the cars look just as good as the real deal. There’s an excellent reason for that as scores of the manufacturers are legitimate car designers. Larry Wood was a veteran of Ford before becoming one of the first Hot Wheels designers.
He’s not alone as Jack Ryan was a rocket designer who crafted the bearings that made the cars so great. Scores of the car designers were in real automobiles first, so it’s no wonder the vehicles look so good.
8 The Original Camaro Is Worth A Fortune
Mint conditions of the Original 16 Hot Wheels releases are all pretty collectible items. But one dominates from the pack. While versions of a Camaro were produced, a few had white enamel paint.
They had been meant to discover flaws in a prototype but accidentally released. A mint version of one went for a hundred thousand dollars and made this one of the most expensive toys on the planet
7 They Released A Custom Corvette Before GM Did
An early standout for the company at a custom Corvette in 1968. What made it notable was that the toy was released before GM had their actual Corvette in car dealerships.
The fact designer Harry Bradley had worked at GM indicates he may have “borrowed” the designs before he left to allow Mattel to beat GM to releasing a Corvette to the masses.
6 The Red Stripes Are Expensive
If you find what looks like an old Hot Wheels car, take a good look at the wheels. If they have red stripes, then you’ve just found a fantastic collector’s item. From 1968 to 1977, designers hand-painted red lines onto the wheels to make the cars look distinctive.
As a cost-cutting measure, they switched to all-black wheels in 1978. Some mint condition red-striped vehicles have been known to go for thousands online.
5 One Of The Original Cars Was Based On A Car With No Doors
The first wave of Hot Wheels was just 16 cars, and any of them can be valuable today. One is notable, the 1965 Dodge Deora. This car boasted no doors but rather a hatch for folks to crawl into.
It was based on a fun design used by Mike and Larry Alexander but in an irony, no real Dodge Deoras were built, to make this a truly unique model
4 A Tie-In Cartoon Got Pulled By The FCC
Today, cartoons based on toy lines are commonplace. But in 1969, Hot Wheels got in trouble when they put out a cartoon series about some teenage car drivers. Despite good messages, the show was hit by complaints about being a “half-hour commercial.”
The FCC agreed, and it was yanked off the air. The company was just ahead of their time with a cartoon tie-in for a hit toy line.
3 There’s A Fight On Where The Name Came From
Much of Hot Wheels is shrouded in myth, and that includes just where the name comes from. The familiar story is that when Eliot Handler saw the first models from designer Fred Adickes, he remarked: “those are some hot wheels you’ve got there.”
Another version is that Handler just blurted the name out in a meeting with a designer. Regardless, it just stuck to become one of the most popular toys on the planet.
2 They’re Number One…Because They Remain So Cheap
In the ranks of the most popular toys on the planet, Hot Wheels dominates. They’re not just the biggest toy vehicle sellers but also the number one selling toy in the entire world. The reason is that in many markets, the cars can still go for only a dollar each.
True, they can be put out in packs, and some nations charging a few bucks more. But many stores do sell the cars for less than a bottle of water, which is the reason they are so dominant.
1 Its Creator Was Married To Barbie’s Creator
Elliott and Ruth Handler were the First Couple of the toy world. The two had founded Mattel as a picture frame company in 1945. While making a dollhouse, Ruth decided to craft a series of dolls she named Barbie.
It was an instant hit to make Mattel a success. Elliott then realized how a toy car line could be great for boys to craft what would become Hot Wheels. The two remained together until Ruth’s death in 2002 (Elliott passed on nine years later) to be icons of their industry.
Sources: Mentalfloss.com, hotwheels.com, hotwheelsmedia.com, thrillist.com
Both cars retail for about $81,000, but one is a lot more accessible.
SPEED PHENOM ON YOUTUBE
If you’ve got $80,000 to spend and want an American high-performance car, now’s a pretty good time to be in the market. In addition to tire-shredding stalwarts like the Camaro ZL1 and Challenger Hellcat, Ford and Chevy have recently launched high-profile, track-ready sports cars. And thanks to a new video by Speed Phenom, we now know how they directly compare on track.
Naturally, we wanted to do this comparison ourselves. But the GT500 wasn’t ready during our Performance Car of the Year competition when we had an early C8 to test. And now that both cars are on sale, stay-at-home orders and track closures mean we’ll have to wait for an opportunity to do a full R&T comparison.
In the meantime, Speed Phenom does a good job of breaking down how they perform. With the caveat that he’s got a base model GT500 without the optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, he notes that the car struggles for grip more often than the similarly-tired Corvette. It’s also less composed through mid-corner bumps, with slower cornering all around. Thanks to its massive horsepower advantage, though, it jets through straightaways.
The C8, meanwhile, benefits from serious mechanical grip. The better-balanced midship car fires through corners and has no problem putting its power down. That makes it more approachable, not surprising given that it’s the tamest version of the C8 while the GT500 is stretching the limits of the S550 platform. We’re sure to see more track-ready Corvettes soon, but for now the Stingray is a surprisingly capable start.
Mack Hogan- Road&Track
Even off the pavement, the new ‘Vette is a rocket ship.
The 2020 C8 Chevy Corvette is a fast car. In base form, it can hit a staggering 194 mph flat-out. Even with the drag-inducing Z51 performance package, the car can still do 184. Hennessey Performance took theirs to 182 mph with ease before they turbocharged it to oblivion. Now, there’s another C8 top-speed run on the internet, and this time, it takes place on a dry lake bed.
Popular YouTube TheStradman took his new Z51-equipped Corvette to a dry lake bed in Utah to test out the top speed of the car. He managed to hit an impressive 173 mph before slowing down—not bad considering the uneven and bumpy surface. It helps that there’s absolutely nothing for miles in either direction. In fact, from inside the cabin, it looks a bit uneventful. Here’s a perspective from outside the car to give you a sense of how fast 173 mph is:
If the base Corvette is this quick right out of the box, we’re curious to see how the upcoming Z06 stacks up. Considering the last-gen car could hit 200 mph, we’re expecting big things.
Source: Brian Silvestro; for RoadandTrack