Carbon Fiber Extreme

Corvette Assembly Plant

Open-Throttle Therapy Awaits In A 2020 Chevy Corvette Z51

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!

<img src="2020-corvette.png" alt="2020 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 being offered through Ronald McDonald House">
Ronald McDonald House

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.*

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Amie Williams for Motorious


REPORT: C8 Corvette Ranks 8th on 2020’s Most American Made Cars Index

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:

  1. Origins of the engine and transmission
  2. Origin of parts in the car (as reported by the American Automobile Labeling Act)
  3. Final assembly location
  4. 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.

2020 American Made Index by Cars.com

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.”

You see find reviews of the Top 10 American Made Vehicles at Cars.com as well as view several videos that discuss the 2020 American Made Index.
Source:
Cars.com


Composites-intensive masterwork: 2020 Corvette, Part 1

Eighth-generation vehicle sports more composites, and features parts produced using unique materials and processes.
#weaving #discontinuousfiber #outofautoclave

here and in Part 2 next month.

composites in mid-engine Corvette

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.

All eight generations of the Chevrolet Corvette

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.

Vehicle architecture

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).

Frame structure

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


2020 Corvettes are Now Shipping from the Corvette Assembly Plant (Again!)

2020 Corvettes are Now Shipping from the Corvette Assembly Plant (Again!)
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Dawn Marie Melhorn

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.

Corvette Deliveries with Mike Furman

Thanks to some of the sleuths on the MECF, we also see a few CTF Convertibles heading up to the Detroit area:

2020 Corvettes are Now Shipping from the Corvette Assembly Plant (Again!)


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.

Source:
MidEngineCorvetteForum.com


How The Corvette Will Evolve Over The Next Five Years

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.


Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Hot Wheels (But Never Asked)

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


Watch a Track-Day Comparison Between the Shelby GT500 and C8 Corvette

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


Watch a C8 Mid-Engine Corvette Hit 173 MPH on a Dry Lake Bed

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


Mid-Engined Chevy Corvette Video Analyses The 2LT Interior

The Goldilocks zone of Corvette C8 interiors?

By now, you should know that Chevrolet has started deliveries of the mid-engine 2020 Corvette. Lucky owners of the ‘Vette C8 are starting to receive their newest toy and most likely you’ve already seen one on the streets – that’s if the state you’re in is not affected by the coronavirus lockdown.

If you’re among those who are planning to purchase the new Corvette but are undecided with the trim level to choose, this video might be able to help you – especially if you’re particular with a car’s interior.

The Corvette C8 comes with three trim levels: 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. The differences lie mainly in the features offered on each trim level, which defines that the cabin will look and feel like. That’s pretty important, considering that we spend so much time inside the car rather than staring at our investment from a distance. So, here’s a little guide.

The base 1LT trim isn’t really basic. With the entry-level trim, you already get the GT1 seats wrapped in mulan leather, a customizable 12-inch gauge cluster, push-button ignition and keyless entry, and an 8-inch Chevy MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and 10-speaker Bose sound system. The Corvette 1LT trim is available in three color options: black, gray, or red.

Going up the 2LT trim gives you more interior color options plus features like a rearview camera mirror, a colored head-up display, heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, advanced blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic warning. The infotainment gets upgraded as well with a wireless charger and a 14-speaker Boss audio system.

Finally, the 3LT trim dials up the ante by adding a premium Nappa leather with suede microfiber accents – all in combination with the GT2 seats that have more bolsters. These seem not a lot but the range-topping trim adds luxury to the sports coupe.

If you’re still undecided, watch the 2LT interior review on top of this page to check whether you need to take it down a notch to 1LT or go all out on the top-level 3LT.

Source: HorsePower Obsessed


Hennessey’s twin-turbo C8 Chevy Corvette V-8 makes 643 horsepower early in development

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey

It took 30 hours for Hennessey Performance Engineering to tear apart a new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, install twin-turbo setup, and put it back together.

It’s no surprise, then, that the twin-turbo C8 Corvette isn’t ready to be sold to customers. The engine lacks intercoolers and Hennessey hasn’t cracked the code of GM’s new electrical architecture to reprogram the ECU.

“This is just the beginning, our own car, doing R&D,” company founder and CEO John Hennessey told Motor Authority.

On Monday, the engine made 643 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque at the wheels on a Dynojet dyno while running just 5 psi of boost. That compares to baseline testing HPE performed on the stock car which revealed 466 hp and 451 lb-ft of torque. HPE plans to offer a 1,200-hp version of the C8, which Hennessey said could make 18-20 psi of boost.

Hennessey took delivery of an orange C8 Corvette in Detroit on March 13. He and his daughter, Emma, drove back to the performance outfitter’s Texas headquarters and performed baseline testing before the Hennessey team tore apart the car.

The orange C8 fired back to life on Friday with twin 62-mm Precision Turbos and twin blow-off valves connected to the throttle body mounted behind the catalytic converters. Both turbos are oil-cooled with twin scavenge pumps that feed back into the motor.

The system is not intercooled. Instead, there’s a methanol injection setup to keep things from getting too hot. HPE is considering where to put intercoolers. The current packaging has limited space for intercoolers without cutting into trunk space, which Hennessey does not want to do. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray undergoes twin-turbo conversion at Hennessey

Hennessey told Motor Authority his team currently can’t tune the factory ECU, but it is looking at aftermarket solutions for the engine management system. He noted it took a year for solutions to come to market for the C7 and added, “hopefully, it won’t take a year.”

Hennessey said when the turbocharged C8 was first started it didn’t throw any codes, errors, or a check engine light. “The computer seems happy with the turbos,” Hennessey noted. A check engine light did appear when the front wheel speed sensors were disconnected to put the car on the dyno, Hennessey said.

The orange C8 will used for R&D of upcoming modifications. Hennessey said he doesn’t expect to deliver modified customer C8s for at least six months, and all will have intercoolers and full plumbing.

Joel Feder for Motor Authority


2020 Chevrolet Corvette vs. 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 at the Drag Strip

Did you see the two race on YouTube? We’ve tested them, too; here’s why the results were no surprise.

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  • We have tested both the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette (11.2 seconds at 122 mph) and the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (11.4 seconds at 132 mph) in the quarter-mile.
  • A video on YouTube, however, shows flipped results: 11.5 seconds at 120 mph for the Corvette and 10.8 seconds at 132 mph for the GT500.
  • As always, the driver and track conditions are critical, and our two-run average is far more repeatable than any one-off run at a drag strip.

When we tested Ford’s new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 against the top-dog 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the Mustang came out on top on the drag strip. But how does the front-engine Shelby stack up against the other, now mid-engine, threat from Chevy?

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Greg PajoCar and Driver

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During our testing, the GT500 hurtled through the quarter-mile in 11.4 seconds at 132 mph. But that was on a regular street-like surface, not a sticky, prepped drag strip. We struggled mightily with traction at launch, and our best run was with the launch control set to the lowest rpm allowed (1200 rpm) to prevent igniting a rear-tire fire. However, no surprise: with more traction far, better numbers are possible, and we’ve seen numbers below 11 seconds at drag strips, including this kid, who ran a 10.665 shortly after he acquired the car.’Murica Which Ultimate Pony Car Is the 1/4-Mile King?This Kid Ran a 10.66 Quarter Mile In His GT500

On the other hand, the 2020 Corvette has far fewer launch struggles, as it benefits from its newly acquired mid-engine layout and rear weight bias. Moving the weight distribution rearward improves launch traction, helping it jump off the line much quicker. During our testing, and despite far less horsepower, the mid-engine Vette outaccelerated the GT500 through the quarter-mile by two tenths of a second, reaching it in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph.Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

We’re starting to see other people’s numbers from both of these cars, though, as customers are starting to take deliveries of their C8 Corvettes and GT500s. Contrary to our test results, there’s a video circulating on YouTube that shows the new GT500 beating the C8 Corvette through the quarter-mile by seven-tenths of a second. It raced to the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds while the Corvette reached it in 11.5 seconds.

Keep in mind that the driver and conditions are huge factors in quarter-mile and acceleration results. We suspect that here, the Corvette likely got bogged down on the high-grip surface, as the launch control isn’t optimized for those conditions, and the 760-hp Mustang benefited from the extra traction on the track.

 Connor Hoffman for CarandDriver


Chevy Camaro Mid-Engine Rendering Could Be Corvette’s Cool Sidekick

It’s not such a crazy idea.

The Chevrolet Corvette went mid-engine, so why not the Camaro? That’s the question this particular rendering from Carlifestyle on Facebook asks, figuratively and literally in the post. Sometimes, these oddball renderings can go off the rails but if we’re honest, this one has our interest … in a good way.

It’s not hard to see shades of the Lamborghini Huracan in this design, presumably because that’s the car this rendering is based upon. The side intake and lower rocker trim is a dead giveaway, but beyond that, this car definitely looks like a proper good ol’ Camaro.

And what are the attributes of this, dare we say, Lamaro? As with all things mid-engine, the nose is short and the hips are wide to accommodate an engine behind the driver. From this angle, it’s quite impressive how well the pony car adapts to life as a mid-engine supercar. Of course, this is also an exceptionally well-done rendering that could pass for something real if we didn’t know otherwise.

Here’s a radical thought. The Corvette and Camaro were a stout one-two punch for Chevrolet as front-engine performance machines from America. Camaro sales have fallen sharply in recent years, and the Corvette has transitioned to its new mid-engine form. Maybe creating a mid-engine Camaro could be the pony car’s salvation. Keep the one-two Bowtie punch, just move both the ‘Vette and ‘Maro to the mid-engine world. The Camaro certainly wouldn’t have any domestic competition in such form, and we wouldn’t have even a teeny problem driving the car you see here – be it a V6, V8, or even a neat hybrid.

Alas, Chevrolet already had the guts to build the C8 Corvette with its engine behind the driver. As such we suspect that absorbed all of GM’s gambling chips so the Camaro’s future will likely be far less interesting. The car is expected to disappear in the next couple of years as the current generation winds down, fading into the annuls of automotive history for a second time.

Christopher Smith for Motor1


2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8: Top 10 Reasons To Buy

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Front Red

All-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is now on sale, and buyers are lining up

With deliveries of the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette beginning this month we know there are a lot of very excited Corvette buyers out there who are just now getting familiar with Chevrolet’s newest sports car. What drove those shoppers to the new eighth generation Corvette C8, and what are they likely discovering as their ownership experience begins?

We’ve been fortunate to drive the new Corvette on multiple occasions, on both public roads and at a closed course race facility. This has given us sufficient seat time to understand the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s upgraded design cues and capabilities. We could make a nearly endless list of why people want the new Corvette, but here are the top 10 reasons we think new, and prospective, Corvette buyers are lining up to sample Chevrolet’s latest supercar.

  1. Zero-to-60 Performance: The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s “base” 6.2-liter V8 engine makes 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power and twisting force to catapult the Corvette to 60 mph in 3 second flat. Spring for the $5,000 Z51 performance package, with 495 hp and 470 lb-ft, plus more effective engine cooling, more advanced brake and suspension components, stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, along with aerodynamic enhancements, and the Corvette can hit 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.
  2. Exceptional Value: The 2020 Corvette starts at a meager $59,995, including delivery charges. Once again, that price includes a zero-to-60 time of 3 seconds flat, making the new Corvette not only one of the quickest street-legal cars you can buy, but one of only a very few cars capable of hitting those numbers for less than $100,000. The Corvette has always offered exceptional “bang-for-the-buck” performance specs. The C8 takes this longstanding Corvette tradition to new dimension.
  3. Top Speed=194 MPH: Not that we endorse going almost 200 mph in any vehicle, and certainly never on a public road. But – IF you have a safe, closed course facility to do it – the Corvette can indeed hit 194 mph. That’s in base form, at the $59,995 starting price. Pro tip: ordering the Z51 performance package actually reduces the car’s top speed even at it improves the Corvette’s zero-to-60 time. The Z51’s aggressive aerodynamics increase downforce, but the added drag reduces top speed to “just” 184 mph.
  4. 8-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission: Unlike a traditional manual transmission (which is not offered on the new Chevrolet Corvette), a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) has the benefit of keeping the rear wheels connected to the engine, even while shifting The “dual” in dual clutch means the incoming gear is engaged even before the outgoing gear is disengaged. This makes for shifts in under 100 milliseconds, far quicker than a human. The transmission’s design and placement also lowers the Corvette’s center of gravity.
  5. Magnetic Selective Ride Control: General Motors perfected this advanced active suspension technology years ago. How perfect? Ferrari licenses the use of this tech from GM for its own cars. When buyers equip the new Corvette with the FE4 $1,895 option they’ll have multiple driving modes, including Tour, Sport and Track. This enables a smooth, comfortable ride during relaxed driving conditions or track-ready stiffness when driving a 2020 Corvette on a closed course. It’s the definition of the “best of both worlds”.
  6. Cargo Capacity: A sports car with functional cargo capacity is relatively rare, and a 3-second sports car with 13 cubic feet of cargo capacity is unheard of…until now. The new Corvette has adequate space behind the engine to fit two full sets of golf clubs, while a front trunk, under the hood, can swallow a large carry-on bag with room leftover. We’re not sure how often Corvette owners actually pick up a buddy to hit the links, but for those that do, the 2020 Corvette is ready and willing, with cargo space to spare.
  7. Fuel Efficiency: Yet another longstanding Corvette character trait that continues in the new Corvette. Between the car’s slippery shape, torque-laden engine and 8-speed transmission there’s the potential for very little energy expenditure while cruising at a steady highway speed…assuming the driver’s goes light on the throttle. If he does, the new Corvette can deliver between 25 and 30 mpg.
  8. Driver-Focused Cabin: Everything from the squared-off steering wheel to the 12-inch, reconfigurable gauge cluster to the driver-angled 8-inch touchscreen confirms the Corvette’s performance-oriented purpose. The smaller front-end provides excellent forward visibility, which adds to driver confidence when navigating corners, and all three seats options provide excellent lateral support while remaining comfortable for long drives. The days of disappointing Corvette cabins are finally in the rearview mirror.
  9. Open Air Cruising: The new Corvette comes as a coupe or convertible, but even in coupe form the Corvette’s roof panel is easily removed and securely stored in the rear cargo area. The convertible uses a retractable hardtop design, the first in Corvette history, that folds away in 16 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Powered by electric motors, the Corvette convertible offers the same coefficient of drag as the coupe, with two cool nacelles behind each seat to smooth airflow at higher speeds.
  10. So Many Options: Almost as exciting as the new Corvette’s performance and value is the car’s range of personalization. The option list long, and can’t be remotely covered in this top 10 list. So head over to the Corvette Configurator and play with exterior colors, interior colors, stripe designs, seat designs, wheel designs, performance upgrades and exterior accents to your heart’s desire. But be prepared to spend quite a long time there. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Karl Brauer for Forbes


The Corvette’s Hybrid Future Is Hiding in Plain Sight

Chevrolet has kept quiet about whether an electrified midengine Corvette is in the works, but the owners manual apparently didn’t get the memo.

OK, so “plain sight” might be a bit of an overstatement, but further evidence that a hybrid midengine Chevrolet Corvette is in the cards is right there—if you know where to look. And in this case, you have to look at page 244 of the 2020 Corvette owners manual. You can download your very own copy in PDF form right here if you so desire.

As the wonderful Chevy nerds at Corvette Blogger (who brought this tidbit to our attention) explain, it all has to do with fuses, or at least designated spaces on the Corvette’s rear compartment fuse block.Related Story20 Coupes You Can Buy Instead of the C8 Corvette

First up is fuse No. 7, “Power sounder module/Pedestrian friendly alert function.” That’s a fancy term for the noise electrified cars must make when they are not running on internal combustion power (if they even have an IC engine onboard) in order to keep the people around them aware of their presence. Usually this sound is some sort of vaguely futuristic whir, whine or murmur.

Then, there’s fuse No. 12, which works in conjunction with a “Lithium ion battery module.”

2020 Chevrolet Corvette fuse block with indications of future hybrid powertrains

The owners manual information for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s rear fuse block. Pay special attention to slots 7 and 12.CHEVROLET

The latter implies a hybrid system, and the former isn’t necessary on any vehicle that isn’t capable of running, for at least a short distance, on electric power. Neither of these things are true about the 2020 Corvette, though they’d be necessary in the rumored Corvette hybrid. And it would make sense that, if such a car were planned, Chevrolet would build a certain amount of infrastructure for hybrid systems into the car from the very beginning—especially when you’re dealing with something as fundamental as a fuse block.

(For the record, we looked through owners manuals for other new Chevrolet vehicles, including the Blazer; there’s no fuse block openings for these systems, implying that they aren’t something GM simply includes by default as a sort of “just in case” contingency.)Related StoryThe New Midengine Corvette Is a Blast to Drive

This is hardly the first time we’ve speculated about a hybrid Corvette. Such a car would likely place a motor up front (there’s room for one ahead of the front bulkhead, right in between the two front wheels) and tuck batteries away in the center of the car, probably nice and low in a tunnel between the two seats, in order to maintain a low center of gravity and balanced front-rear weight distribution. What remains unknown is what gasoline engine such a system would complement.

A hybrid Corvette could stick with the regular car’s 6.2-liter naturally aspirated LT2 V8, but video suggests that a flat-plane crank V8 appears to be in the works, as well. Giving either of those engines an extra 100-plus hp and all-wheel drive by adding an electric motor to the mix would turn an affordable supercar into an all-American exotic.

In any case, it’s clear that this is just the beginning for the midengine Corvette—and that speculation on what’s next hasn’t died down even after the model’s debut.

Graham Kozak for AutoWeek


Review: 4 days with the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Mike Stapley, KSL.com Contributor

By Mike Stapley, KSL.com Contributor | Posted – Mar. 4, 2020 at 2:32 p.m.

AMERICAN FORK — The Chevrolet Corvette had humble beginnings.

In 1953, only 300 were produced with fewer than 200 sold. With only 150 horsepower, the car failed to move fans of more lively British roadsters and refined American sedans.

A couple of years later, the original V-6 engine gave way to a more powerful V-8, and the Corvette began to find its way. The 1956 model brought styling changes and additional horsepower that laid the groundwork for what would become America’s sports car.

The second-generation car, dubbed C2, debuted in 1963 and offered a coupe option for the first time. That same year, the Sting Ray moniker made its mark, and Chevy began offering its first production racing model Z06 with 360 horsepower.

In 1965, Chevy made its big-block 425 horsepower V-8 available in the Corvette. The C3 (called the Sharknado for its unique design) was released just a few years later. According to true aficionados, the modern Corvette originates with the C3, since Chevy eliminated any true rear storage area and debuted a Targa-style removable roof panel.

In 2020, the Corvette will experience its most stunning transformation to date and become a mid-engine supercar, sharing a powertrain layout with European competitors for the first time ever.

Despite its rich history and reputation for power, the Corvette has been subjected to a messy, mixed reputation among car enthusiasts. America’s sports car is often viewed as a value offering for middle-aged drivers, and stories abound of Corvette engineers feeling limited in their offerings.

With the new car entering production, there is no better time to pay homage to the outgoing C7, which changed the Corvette’s reputation for the better. The 2019 Grand Sport model combines the power and value of the Sting Ray with Z06 styling.

“The Grand Sport has long been the best value in the sports car world. You simply can’t match what’s available, dollar for dollar, anywhere in the world,” said Zach Madsen, fleet sales manager for Ken Garff Chevrolet in American Fork.

Pros

The Grand Sport model offers the body kit and downforce stylings of the top-end Z06, and the car is stunning from almost every angle. The fastback-style roofline meets massive rear fenders that blend and create a rear end that makes the Corvette seem much larger than it is. When parked next to other cars, the ‘Vette’s true size becomes quickly apparent.

There is no mistaking this car for another from behind. The traditional quad lens taillights flank the huge Corvette emblem on the rear, and all four exhaust outlets are located at the center of the rear bumper rather than split among each side.

The Z06 rear deck spoiler is tall enough to require an opening in the center so the driver can see behind. The rear fenders are squared off more than prior generations, but the front fenders still provide a sweeping arc that screams Corvette. Large front fender air vents provide color contrast and sport the Grand Sport logo.

From the front, the hoodline rakes down sharply, stretching elongated headlight housings on either side. A black hood vent down the center and a three-tiered front splitter provide color contrast and make it seem like the car is floating just barely above the ground.

The ‘Vette’s best attribute, and my most pleasant surprise, is the handling. The beefier body and chassis of the Z06 is present on the Grand Sport, and buyers can choose the even beefier Z07 suspension package.

The word “compromise” has always been part of Corvette lore, and I didn’t anticipate a car that felt confident on nearly every road I threw at it. The C7 is a capable track car and most track-capable cars don’t make the transition well to the mean, uneven, pothole-filled streets of America.

I’ve been disappointed by some of the best cars in the world, where even the seams of an elevated canyon road can throw them every which way. The C7 Grand Sport, in my humble opinion, is only bested in this area by the Porsche 911. It’s a bold statement, but I stand by it.

Cons

The lore of “compromise” is true inside the Corvette, though. It isn’t fair, of course, to compare the interior of a sub $80,000 car to those of cars costing three and four times as much. It’s difficult not to, though, when Corvette competes for buyers with those cars from Italy and Germany.

There’s no doubt the interior is much improved over the prior C6 generation: nothing about the fit, finish and quality of the materials stands out as subpar. At the same time, nothing stood out as exceptional or distinctive from any Cadillac or Denali on the road. In a car like this, something should.

The two-tone dash layout is nice, and the cockpit-like feel of the driver’s seat is unrivaled. The entire center console pushes out toward the driver and ends on the lower passenger side with a grab handle for wary riders. The passengers will also find their separate climate and heated/cooled seat controls built into the passenger vent itself — a nice and convenient touch.

But Corvette tech is a mixed bag.

The heads-up display is excellent and adjustable to provide a wide range of information, and the center touch screen reveals a James Bond-like secret storage bin when lowered mechanically.

GM has an excellent MyLink infotainment system, but the Corvette seems to have been given a lesser model — though, the Bose sound system is superb. Perhaps the intent was to “enhance” the display so it would stand out from Chevy’s other offerings, but the result is a mess of poor layout and overlapping controls.

Fortunately, both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available to rescue it.

In betweens

I might lose some Corvette fans by saying this, but hear me out. The powertrain is excellent but left me wanting more.

While the Grand Sport borrows from the upper-end Z06 in terms of appearance and handling, it also borrows the engine and transmission from the base model Sting Ray. The 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 provides 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque and moves the ‘Vette from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds with the smooth eight-speed automatic.

It’s quick, it’s gloriously loud at startup, and yet, it left me feeling like the experience was less than spectacular. Perhaps the C7 is a bit too refined for its own good. Perhaps Corvette engineers have favored the stereotypical mid-life buyer a little too much.

The glorious sound loses some luster at highway speeds. The G-forces are clearly there when moving that quickly, but they aren’t felt the way one would expect. The engine lacks initial “oompf” but makes up for it while the transmission spins through the gears in a way that seems impossible. The paddle shifters added some fun, and I’m curious whether the seven-speed manual transmission would “un-tame” the beast in the way I would want.

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the Corvette to the wonky, jolting shift pattern of an Aston, and the handling more than makes up for any ethereal shortcomings. Best of all, it’s the first sports car I’ve brought home that my wife actually enjoyed riding in. She paid it high praise one evening with the light Targa top removed and actually said she could get used to this one.

In the end, the Corvette left me very impressed and quelled the mythical shortcomings that preceded it.

I doubt many potential Corvette buyers care, but the EPA fuel economy comes in at 19 combined mpg, aided by a less than 3,300-pound weight. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for this car, as tested, was $77,840.

Source: Mike Stapley; KSL


2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Base Model Review: Here’s What You Get for $60,000

And also what you don’t get

Although we test hundreds of cars every year, we rarely get to take a look at base trims—especially when it comes to supercars. But during the media launch of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 last week, we were able to see the much hyped $59,995 model, and we got a chance to sit in it and see how the materials compare with the car we evaluated last year and ultimately named our 2020 Car of the Year. We didn’t drive the $60K model, but we got to drive a non-Z51 Corvette C8 for the first time, which was very similar to the base car. We were impressed to see the long list of standard equipment on the base model and appreciated how there are almost no compromises with its performance. Here’s an overview of what you get when you buy the cheapest C8 Corvette model in the lineup.

Mechanical Features

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 rear side in motion

You buy a Corvette because you care about driving, and the C8 delivers on that front. That’s one of the reasons we named it Car of the Year. And even on the $60,000 car, you still get a lot for your money. The 6.2-liter V-8 engine produces 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, which is 5 hp and 5 lb-ft less than what you get with the optional performance exhaust. Just like on the higher trims, an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission sends power to the rear wheels. Four-piston Brembo brakes are also standard, so you’ll get that hard stopping power when you need to. And you still get the mechanical limited-slip differential.

Non-Z51 C8 Corvettes ride on all-season tires, so this was our first time driving the car with the Michelin Pilot Sport all-seasons and the standard suspension. The ride is a little stiffer with this setup, but it still continues to be comfortable on the road. You’ll have to drive the Z51 and regular models back to back to notice the difference. The standard suspension is also very competent, though I still prefer the optional magnetic Ride Control adaptive damping system, which adjusts every millisecond to the road surfaces and rides more comfortably than the base suspension when set to Tour mode (driving modes are still offered even without the MR shocks on the base C8).

Interior Materials

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 front interior detail

There’s no doubt about it—the C8’s interior design is just as good as (or perhaps even better than) its exterior design. You’ll note that the biggest difference between the 1LT (base) and 3LT (top trim) is on the dashboard, where the absence of leather is notable. But even then, you’re still getting a lot of standard equipment. The dash still has a premium feel, and you still get the contrast stitching throughout the cabin. You also get a lot of leather in the standard interior. The seats and steering wheel are wrapped in leather and you don’t really see any hard plastics (except where the wireless charger is located, which you can’t get on the base trim). You don’t get the suede headliner, but the standard fabric headliner is pretty decent.

Technology

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 infotainment system

The 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on the Corvette C8, so you don’t lose any major technology. What you don’t get is the Performance Data Recorder (PDR), which is able to record the view of the front camera along with the speed and g force readings when you’re on a track. The reason you don’t get the PDR is because the base C8 doesn’t come with the front camera. You’ll miss that feature when parking as the display automatically shows the camera view when you’re approaching a curb block or other potentially front end-scraping object. Another pro is the 10-speaker Bose audio system, which sounds crisp and will have you rockin’ and rollin’ wherever you go.

Although it’s weird not to see them on a $60,000 car, blind-spot monitor and rear-cross traffic alert are not included on the base C8. Those are part of the 2LT package, which increases the price by more than $7,000.

Convenience Features

2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 interior detail 2

Although you might not get some safety features, there’s a long list of convenience features that come at no extra charge. Keyless access with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, power adjustable GT1 bucket seats, automatic LED headlights, and a 12.0-inch digital cluster display are standard on the base C8. The removable roof panel is also standard, so every C8 can be driven topless.

Miguel Cortina for Motor Trend


[VIDEO] Watch this 2019 Corvette ZR1 Hit 191 MPH in the Standing Mile

Oh ZR1, how quickly we have forgotten you and moved on to the C8. But then comes along a video like this that reminds us that even with an engine upfront, you are still one of our favorites!

All kidding aside, the 2019 Corvette ZR1 is one of our favorite Corvettes of all time particularly because of the things it could do, like shooting down a former Space Shuttle runway at Cape Canaveral at nearly 200 MPH!

Typically we see these high speed runs with a ZR1 that has the ZTK’s High Wing. This Long Beach Red Corvette ZR1 has the low wing for less drag and it seems to definitely show off its speed in this standing mile run in which the Corvette reached a top speed of 191.16 MPH.

Two views are shown including the in-car with telemetry overlay on the screen. We see the car was still accelerating past the mile and we’re excited as they tell us that two more videos coming that show the ZR1 also running 2.3 miles and 2.7 miles down the runway.

The video comes the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds on Merritt Island Florida. Previously we have seen the Genovation GXE Electric Corvette run on the same track and in fact, it might be interesting to compare the two cars after the ZR1 shares the two final runs

From Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds via YouTube:


C8 Corvette Secrets: The 2020 Corvette Has a Flying Car Mode

C8 Corvette Secrets: The 2020 Corvette Has a Flying Car Mode


As we continue to digest all the new information that came out of last week’s First Drive Event with the 2020 Corvette Stingrays in Las Vegas, there is a new “Mode” to discuss that most Corvette enthusiasts have never heard of.

The 2020 Corvette Stingray has several “modes” that help drivers get the most out of their cars. We are already familiar with the regular driving modes that feature settings for Weather, Touring, Sport and Track, as well as the two customizable modes called MyMode and Z-Mode. But what you may not be aware of is that the 2020 Corvette Stingray’s equipped with Magnetic Ride Control also features a “Flying Car” mode.

Well, it is the 21st century after all!

Corvette’s Vehicle Performance Manager Alex MacDonald is responsible for the chassis tuning of the new Corvette and he was tasked with explaining much of the on-track performance capabilities of the new Corvette to those at Spring Mountain last week.

For the C8 Corvette, engineers have rolled out version 4.0 of Magnetic Ride Control with the biggest change to the system is the use of accelerometers rather than position sensors that measured wheel height. Here is the slide that was offered on the new Mag Ride for the C8 Corvette:

C8 Corvette Secrets: The 2020 Corvette Has a Flying Car Mode


The Magnetic Ride Control is tied into the Corvette’s Performance Traction Management system and that’s where the Flying Car Mode comes into play.

When your crest an incline and the Corvette’s wheels are off the ground, they will spin faster like they are on ice or another slippery surface because there is no resistance. The performance traction control senses that and sends commands to slow the wheels. But that’s not the best reaction when on the track. The system now senses when the car’s front wheels leave the ground (and assumes that the rears will be leaving as well), and the system tells the performance traction control to ignore it because it knows that it’s temporary and that all four wheels will be back on the ground momentarily.

Here is Alex talking about the Flying Car Mode:


“The other interesting note about MR is that it communicates with the performance traction system and it tells that performance traction system that if the front wheels have just gone over a big crest that we know that one wheel-base later the rear is about to go over that same crest, we can adapt the traction control to work in that situation and we call that Flying Car Mode, which is a cool name for it, because it does detect when the car is airborne and we can alter the chassis controls to deal what happens when the car lands.”


Source:
Video by Keith Cornett


Tech We Would Like to See on the C8 Corvette: Active Aero

Tech We Would Like to See on the C8 Corvette: Active Aero


With the highest performance versions of the seventh generation Corvette, customers were forced to make a choice. Did they want their car to have the highest possible top speed, or did they want to sacrifice some of that by bolting a slew of aerodynamic aids to their car for maximum cornering ability?

We would love for Chevrolet to take that decision out of the ordering equation for buyers of the upcoming Z models and the Grand Sport. They could give buyers the best of both worlds with the incorporation of Active Aerodynamics.

Active Aerodynamics can take many forms, from grille vents that close at high speeds to streamline a car, to suspension that lowers at speed to reduce lift. We know that the Corvette team would build a fully functional system that integrates several of these technologies into a cohesive package, just like they did on the C7 ZR1’s chassis-mounted wing and innovative balancing front underwing, but what we mostly want to focus on here is the most visible piece of such a system, the rear wing.

This unit would elevate both the performance and even the prestige of GM’s looming halo car. There are several benefits of an active rear wing that accompany their off-the-charts cool factor.

1. An active rear wing can be lowered, causing it, for all intents and purposes, to disappear, along with any drag that it was creating. Top-end General Motors Products have become so fast that the most track-worthy editions have suffered at the dragstrip because of massive fixed wings. The effects of the C7 Z06/Z07’s wickerbill spoiler have been well documented. Chevrolet officially listed the top speed of ZR1’s with the “big-wing” ZTK package as 10 MPH lower than their stock counterparts, and the Camaro ZL1 with the 1LE package has proven slower than the car it is based on, even in distances as short as a quarter-mile. Allowing these serious track performers to retract their wing, and the ZTK/Z07/1LE models become the best version of their respective model-line with no excuses or asterisks, which is what buyers that dole out more funds expect.

Causes of Aerodynamic Drag

Photo Credit: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz


2. Just as these wings can retract to reduce drag and improve top speed, they can be “actively” placed in full “attack mode” for maximum downforce in the corners. This increases cornering speed, stability, and driver confidence which can lead to drastically lower lap times.

3. Upon hard braking, an active wing can also go vertical, transforming into an air brake. This assists the actual brakes, resulting in shorter stopping distances. It also keeps more weight in the rear of the car, again helping with stability and, especially in a rear-wheel drive car, improved corner exit speeds.

Car Magazine (UK)

Photo Credit: Car Magazine (UK)


All three of these traits brought to the table by an active wing radically assist the driver and make the car faster in all aspects. The coolest thing is that, with the right programming, the wing does all three automatically with seamless transitions, and, did we mention how awesome they also look?

There has been speculation about Active Aero coming to the Corvette for several years now. These rumors were fueled by GM’s own patent filings which showed a sketch of a C7 fitted with advanced aerodynamic trickery. We think the top dog mid-engine offerings are the perfect place for the General to finally deploy this technology that can already be found on the majority of the world’s supercars.

Corvette Blogger


Watch These Multiple C8 Corvettes Utilize Launch Control

For the last two days we’ve been in Corvette Heaven as we were invited by Chevrolet to come out to Las Vegas and test drive the 2020 Corvette Stingray. The test consisted of two parts that included a route through the Valley of Fire state park and then today we drove the new mid-engine sports cars at Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club.

Today’s driving session culminated with the very talented instructors from the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School offering hot laps around the track. Each driver gave their passenger a demonstration of the capabilities of the new Corvette and those two fast laps started with engaging launch control as each car took to the track.

With 60% of the weight of the 2020 Corvette residing over the back wheels, the Launch Control demonstration shows just how quick these cars are able to put power to the pavement as those Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires quickly hook up to send the car on the track.

We will be traveling from Las Vegas to home in Tampa on Wednesday, but keep checking back as we got a lot of great photos and videos from our 2020 Corvette drive on deck!


Source:
Video by Keith Cornett


10 Essential Options For The C8 Corvette Stingray

If you’re going to tick option boxes, then these are the ones to concentrate on.

The C8 Corvette is finally in production, which means people can start getting excited about their orders. The new Chevrolet Corvette comes well-stocked from the factory before you hit the options list, and the mid-mounted 6.2-liter V8 engine with a dry-sump oil system making 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque is just the beginning. It also comes with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, a limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, a 10-speaker Bose sound system, 8-way power seats, keyless entry, and remote start, and a starting price of $59,995.

That’s one hell of a lot of car for five bucks shy of $60,000, and we would not turn our nose up at a base model. A lot of people are going to tick options though, so for those that are going to go beyond the base model goodness, these are the must-haves, and how we would go about speccing out a C8 Corvette.

1. 2LT Package

If you want more creature comforts for daily driving duties, the 2LT Package adds heated and ventilated seats, a head-up display, wireless phone charging, memory seats, upgraded digital rear-view mirror, forward-facing camera, power-folding mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear-cross-traffic alert. For track days, it also includes a performance data recorder. It adds $7,300 to the price, but if it’s not going to be stored in the garage for weekends, this is the way to go.

The 3LT trim adds even more luxury to the Corvette but also pushes it over the $70,000 price point before anything else is added.

2. Z51 Performance Package

Whether you want the added convenience of the 2LT Package or not, any enthusiast will want the performance package for $5,000. It adds a performance exhaust, electronic limited-slip differential, a different rear axle ratio, upgraded Brembo brakes, improved engine cooling, front brake cooling inlets, Z51-specific front splitter and rear spoiler, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires.

It also adds an extra spoonful of power, taking the 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque up to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. However, that’s purely from the performance exhaust which can be added without the Z51 package for $1,195.

3. Paint

Let’s face it, everyone and their neighbors will be ordering their C8 Corvette with red, white, yellow, or black paint. Which is a shame as there are some seriously cool colors available. We are partial to the Zeus Bronze Metallic, but we know that’s not going to be bold enough for many. Thankfully, the Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic is available and looks stunning. Rapid Blue is the lighter shade, but the darker hue of the Elkhart Lake Blue is sophisticated, accentuates the lines of the Corvette’s bodywork, and with the black accents, gives it a little extra menace without being too dark.

4. Visible Carbon Fiber

This is an easy way to ramp up the price of the C8 Corvette, so the key is to be judicious here. The $2,095 Visible Carbon Fiber grille insert is a bit much, as is the $1,145 carbon-fiber door mirror option. However, we would go for the visible carbon-fiber roof panel with a body-color surround that is not just lightweight, but can also be stored away in the rear trunk. For $3,495, you could go with the Carbon-Fiber Dual Roof Package that includes a transparent roof panel. That’s what we would opt for if the climate where you live doesn’t provide for long warm summers.

5. High Wing Spoiler

You don’t have to spec the High Wing Spoiler in Carbon Flash Metallic, but it’s the only way to get it with some paint schemes and will replace the Z51 spoiler if the package is added already. How much difference to the aerodynamics the higher spoiler makes isn’t clear, but it gives the C8 Corvette a different look. If you don’t want the optional spoiler in Carbon Flash metallic, then your paint is limited to Arctic White, Black, Shadow Gray Metallic, and Torch Red.

6. Engine Appearance Package

It’s frivolous and costs $995, but the carbon-fiber closeout panels on each side of the engine and LED lighting illuminating the engine compartment is a nice touch for the mid-engined sports car. You can get engine covers with different color accents, but in plain black with the bare carbon-fiber being lit up keeps things tasteful when looking through the rear window.C

7. Upgraded Seats

If you’re reading this and want a C8 Corvette, you’re probably planning on driving hard. They’re expensive at $1,995, but the Competition Sport Bucket Seats increase lateral support when cornering at speed on the track, and the high-wear areas are bolstered with harder wearing textiles.

The less hardcore option is the GT2 bucket seats, which look cool, but are more about comfort than holding you in place. For around the same price as the Competition Sport Bucket Seats, you can also get the GT2 seats in two-tone with Sky Cool Gray, Adrenaline Red, and Natural seat colors.

8. Carbon-Fiber Interior Trim

Carbon-fiber trim is played out on cars that don’t deserve it, but we think the C8 Corvette is worthy. The carbon-fiber material replaces the plastic black that holds the instrument cluster with a carbon-fiber frame. It also adds carbon-fiber to the center console below the infotainment screen and to the door switch plates. It’s costly at $1,500, but we think its a must-have if you’re splashing out on the new Corvette.

9. Wheels

The $1,495 Trident Spoke wheels with their Y-shaped elements are going to be a popular box to tick in one of the two finishes available, but we also like the more low-key but stylish 5-open-spoke Carbon Flash-painted aluminum wheels. The Carbon Flash takes the shine off the wheels and helps keep the Corvette looking sleek. A lot of people will be going after-market, but this is a great option for staying stock. There’s no option for size, though, and all styles and colors are for the staggered setup featuring 19-inch wheels on the front and 20-inch discs on the back.

10. Corvette Museum Delivery

Buying a new car, let alone a new Corvette, is not something people often do. That’s why we like the idea of the National Corvette Museum delivery program. You can take a few days and go to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where your car is built and take a tour of the museum where your Corvette will be displayed. Then you’ll have a delivery presentation, followed by a drive-off ceremony. As you road trip home, you’ll be able to admire the personalized interior plaque on the dashboard with your name, VIN, and the NCM logo engraved upon it.

We knew by the time we loaded one up it would get much more expensive than the $59,995 entry level, and optioned out with everything we talk about here, you’re looking at $83,610 before delivery.

 Ian Wright CarBuzz


Official C8 Corvette Driving School at Spring Mountain To Start Classes this April

The Corvette Owner’s School at the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School will officially kick off its new program for the mid-engine 2020 Corvette with the first classes to start in April. And once again, Chevrolet is offering huge savings on the enhanced two-day program for just $1,000.

This announcement comes from Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club, home of the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Chevrolet and Ron Fellows here at our world-class facility. There has been an incredible buzz around the 8th generation Corvette, and what better way to kick off 2020 and our twelfth year of the school, with the all-new mid-engine Corvette,” said John Morris, CEO and co-owner of Spring Mountain.

The new C8 Corvette program features a two-day curriculum designed to provide drivers of all experience levels the skills and techniques of performance driving. You will experience both classroom and on-track driving instruction in a manner that builds upon your skills and increases your confidence with each session. You will come away from the Spring Mountain experience more knowledgeable and confident in the incredible capabilities of the 2020 Corvette.

Located just 55 miles from downtown Las Vegas, the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School offers some of the most fun you can have in a Corvette. Tuition for the two-day class is only $1,000 and includes a one-night stay in one of Spring Mountain’s luxurious condominiums. Enjoy access to the clubhouse for meals and drinks with breakfast and lunch prepared by Spring Mountain’s onsite chef.

“Our entire team here at Spring Mountain are incredibly excited about the 8th generation Corvette and cannot wait to get the new Owners School program started. I know that everyone responsible for the day-to-day operations of our school are really looking forward to providing our outstanding service and a great overall experience showcasing the next-level engineering of the new mid-engine Corvette,” said Ron Fellows, charter member of Corvette Racing and co-founder of his school at Spring Mountain.

To book your C8 Corvette Owners School, Call 800 391-6891 or view online at www.CorvetteOwnersSchool.com

Check out this photo gallery from Spring Mountain featuring the 2020 Corvette Stingray Z51 Coupes on the track!

Official C8 Corvette Driving School at Spring Mountain To Start Classes this April

Source: Corvette Blogger


Rare drawings, documents reveal secret history of mid engine Corvette

From an acclaimed concept car John DeLorean reportedly dismissed because he wanted something “smaller and more European,” to the design that ended a feud between a pair of GM giants — but may have set the Corvette back decades — a trove of unique documents, sketches and models tells a secret history of the 60-year quest to build a mid engine Chevrolet Corvette.

The story begins in the late 1950s with legendary Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and came to fruition when the first mid engine 2020 Corvette Stingray sold for $3 million at auction in January.

Titled “The Vision Realized: 60 Years of Mid engine Corvette Design” and created by GM Design Archive & Collections, the exhibit included 19 original sketches by designers including Larry Shinoda and Tom Peters, the massive 4-Rotor rotary engine from the 1973 Aerovette engineering, a wood wind-tunnel model, even letters from Arkus-Duntov’s personal files.

“The story of the mid engine Corvette is incredibly complicated, full of fits and starts,” said Christo Datini, manager of the GM Design Archive & Collections.  Cristo Datini at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

Cristo Datini at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

A mid engine Corvette was a dream shared by GM designers and engineers. The layout, in which the engine is behind the passenger compartment and immediately over the rear wheels, improves acceleration and handling. It’s been a mainstay at Ferrari for decades, and inspired repeated design and engineering projects at GM. None of them made it to production till now, largely because the Corvette’s original front-engine layout was so successful.

“Why would we change the Corvette?” GM chairman and CEO Richard Gerstenberg said to Arkus-Duntov before both men retired in the mid-1970s. “We sell every one we can make.”

‘Design without limit’

A generation of GM designers and engineers had already fought that attitude toward the sports car that debuted in 1953 model, and a couple more would before the midengine eighth-generation C8 Corvette Stingray debuted last year.

The exhibition included dozens of sketches, models, photos and documents.

“Our mission is to preserve the heritage of GM Design and educate our designers on GM’s prominence in the world of design,” Datini said. The archive also is working with the Detroit Institute of Arts on a massive exhibition dedicated to automotive design that opens this summer. 

The Corvette exhibition closed at the end of January, but elements of it are likely to be displayed at other events and locations, possibly including the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which provided materials for the collection.Original magazines with drawings of what Corvettes could have looked like on display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

Original magazines with drawings of what Corvettes could have looked like on display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle I, Also called SERV I and XP-708, was the beginning. A running model that debuted in 1960, the car had the looks of an Indy car and a chassis that tested what a midengine layout could do. It was “a design without limit” and an “admirable tool” to help Chevy figure out “what to put in Corvette,” said Duntov, himself a former driver in the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race.

CERV I was used as a test vehicle for years. Larry Shinoda, who would go on to be known as the father of the ’63 Corvette Stingray and the Mako Shark concept car, tweaked its design repeatedly as engineers tested it with seven different power trains.

GM eventually retired CERV I, selling it to the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum for $1. When the museum failed in the 1980s, GM bought it back for “somewhat more,” Datini said.A model of the 1968 Chevrolet mid-engine Corvette Roadster that is one of many items for General Motors workers to see at the Corvette design display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

A model of the 1968 Chevrolet mid-engine Corvette Roadster that is one of many items for General Motors workers to see at the Corvette design display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Corvettes the world never saw

Shortly thereafter, Duntov heard rumors Ford was developing a Le Mans racer to challenge Ferrari and launched work on CERV II. GM decided not to race, Ford and Carroll Shelby built the GT40 that inspired “Ford vs. Ferrari,” and the CERV II was used as an engineering test bed at secret proving grounds and never seen by the public during its active lifetime. Built in 1964, CERV II had a 500-horsepower V8, 210-mph top speed and 2.8-second 0-60 mph time.

A picture of the CERV II Corvette. The sports car never went into production but it was influential in the design of the C5 production Corvette. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

“By that time, engineers and designers knew a midengine chassis was necessary” to get maximum performance from the ‘Vette, Datini said. Putting the engine behind the passenger compartment puts the car’s weight over the rear wheels to put down more power without spinning. Shifting balance from the production ‘Vette’s nose-heavy weight distribution would also improve handling.

Also in 1964, the XP-819 experimental car was being tested. Designed by Shinoda, it bore a strong resemblance to 1970 Corvettes, but Duntov hated it, calling it an “ugly duckling” at least in part because he wished his engineering team got some of the budget allotted to designing the car. It had a 327 cubic-inch V8 and pop-up headlights.

Like many concept and engineering vehicles, XP-819 was destroyed, chopped up. Years later, the pieces were found in NASCAR designer and mechanic Smokey Yunick’s garage.

Half Corvette, half Porsche

With a name GM would later recycle on a minivan, the Astro II XP-880 was never publicly identified as a Corvette, but it was one, intended for production in 1970, but never got there. It debuted at the New York auto show, featuring a nose, front fenders and Firefrost Blue paint that that foreshadowed 1970s production cars.

DeLorean, then Chevrolet general manager, asked for a rush program to create a different midengine design to match the midengine Pantera Ford was developing with Italian sports car maker De Tomaso to debut at the 1970 New York auto show. The XP-882 had a tapering body with dramatic fender flares and a louvered rear window like the Mako Shark II concept car. Like so many midengine ‘Vettes before and after, GM brass decided to stick with the tried and true front-engine layout.

Also in the 1970s GM president Ed Cole — another legendary engineer who led the development of the small block V8 and catalytic converter, among other achievements — became enamored with the Wankel rotary engine. Duntov built two midengine experimental ‘Vettes with rotary engines, glad for Cole’s support despite not sharing his enthusiasm for the engine.Sketching and notes about the Corvette, one of the many originals on display for workers to see at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

Sketching and notes about the Corvette, one of the many originals on display for workers to see at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

The 1973 Corvette 2-Rotor XP-987GT was a smaller, European-scale sports car with a rotary engine. The body was all Corvette, but its chassis came from a Porsche 914. Italian design house Pininfarina built its body. GM displayed the 2-Rotor at auto shows in Frankfurt and Paris before the car disappeared, probably sold to a collector.

Bill Mitchell’s most beautiful car

At the same time, Duntov wanted to develop a bigger midengine Corvette. He and Cole hadn’t been on speaking terms since Duntov refused an annual bonus he thought was insultingly small. They made up, at least in part because Duntov wanted a budget to develop what would become the Corvette 4-Rotor Aerovette, an iconic, gull wing design. Duntov believed it was the most beautiful vehicle GM design chief Bill Mitchell oversaw in a career that included the ’57 Chevy Bel Air and ’66 Buick Riviera. 

Duntov recycled the XP-882’s chassis for the Aerovette, which featured silver leather interior trim.A picture of the Aerovette featuring bi-fold gulping doors in the sports car that was never made. It is one of many photographs, drawings and sketches on display on all things Corvette design inside the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

A picture of the Aerovette featuring bi-fold gulping doors in the sports car that was never made. It is one of many photographs, drawings and sketches on display on all things Corvette design inside the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Despite the car’s striking appearance, Duntov would come to believe his agreement to use a rotary engine was a nail in the midengine ‘Vette’s coffin.

Despite that, another midengine engineering car arrived in 1974. The XP-895 began its life with a steel body. Intrigued by the idea of lightweight materials, DeLorean asked Reynolds Aluminum to create an aluminum body. That cut the car’s weight by nearly 40%, but DeLorean pulled the plug on the project because he wanted a smaller, more European design.

That never happened, and design work on midengine ‘Vettes came to a halt for more than a decade, as GM struggled meeting the challenge of higher fuel prices.

Closing the deal

By 1986, the quest for a midengine Corvette was ready to create another giant figure, and it got one when a young designer named Tom Peters began work on the Corvette Indy concept car. Peters went on to become the chief designer of the sixth- and seventh-generation C6 and C7 Corvettes and play a key role in starting work on the 2020 C8.

With a radically short hood compared to production ‘Vettes and cutting-edge technologies including four-wheel steering, traction control and active suspension, the Indy — so named because it used a 2.65L V8 Chevy developed for Indy Car racing —  kept dreams of the midengine ‘Vette alive

The 1990 CERV III — this time the C stood for “Corporate,” not Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle — was the next step. Datini’s research convinced him it was an attempt at a production version of the Indy.

CERV III had scissors doors and was built of Kevlar, carbon fiber and aluminum. With a 650-hp twin-turbo 5.7L  V8, GM predicted a top speed of 225 mph. It debuted at the 1990 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

After that, work on the midengine Corvette went undercover for two decades. Photos of disguised prototypes at test tracks surfaced from time to time, but the car seemed to be as much myth as metal. There are whispers the Great Recession halted work on one, setting development back years.A display of Zora Arkus-Duntov known as "The Godfather of  the Corvette" at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020.

A display of Zora Arkus-Duntov known as “The Godfather of the Corvette” at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Development of the 2020 Corvette Stingray began around eight years ago, a long time for most projects, but the blink of an eye when it’s the last chapter of a 60-year story.

Mark Phelan for Detroit Free Press


Chevy does a deep dive on mid-engine 2020 Corvette Stingray development in new documentary

Revolution, as the documentary is titled, will air in two parts and goes deep behind the scenes of the biggest ever change to the Corvette.

If there’s one word that describes the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray pretty darn well, it’s probably “Revolutionary.” It’s the first time in the nameplate’s history that the engine resides behind the driver, as Chevy elevates its long-running sports car to battle the world’s best.

Naturally, curious minds have to wonder what went on behind the scenes to make this car come together. Chevy has good news for you. Revolution, a two-part documentary detailing the C8-generation Corvette’s development, is set to air in the coming months, the brand said Monday.

Chevy told Roadshow the documentary will air on the Corvette’s homepage here, but for now, the quick trailer embedded above will give fans a taste of what the upcoming feature holds. There’s plenty of first-hand knowledge on display — the team that put the latest car together gets plenty of camera time. Numerous people in the mid-engine Corvette program spill how it felt to take an icon and reinvent it.

The documentary announcement comes just after Chevy announced that the production of the 2020 Corvette Stingray kicked off on Monday. With the C7-generation car in the rearview mirror, and all necessary retooling done for the mid-engine car, the workforce in Bowling Green, Kentucky is solely focused on the new Corvette.

Chevy didn’t have an exact timeline for when the first part of the documentary will air, but it should give fans eagerly awaiting their cars something to pass the time as deliveries begin in early March at the latest. Hopefully by this summer, we’ll see plenty of 2020 Corvettes on the road as the plant ships them out to their new homes.