Spoiler alert: Chevrolet’s fabled $60K C8 Corvette is the performance bargain of the year.
More than its 3-second 0-to-60-mph time, its 1.0 G of cornering grip or the fact that, you know, its engine sits behind the cockpit, the craziest thing about Chevrolet’s new C8 Corvette Stingray is that everything I just mentioned comes on a wildly styled sports car that costs $59,995 — including the delivery fee. No other car offers so much performance for so little cash.
Real quick, though, I need to be honest: I kind of figured the $59,995 Corvette would be the car world’s white whale. You know, the C8 that grabs headlines for its low MSRP even though the reviews all feature more generously specced 3LT Z51 models, like the nearly $87,000 example Andrew Krok just tested, the one Tim Stevens took to the track or the one Chris Paukert first drove last year. I assumed it’d be like the headline-grabbing-but-nowhere-to-be-found $35,000 Tesla Model 3. So, good on Chevy for calling my bluff and sending me the no-options, $59,995 Corvette seen here. Because now I can say it again, and this time with feeling: No other car offers so much performance for so little cash.
The base 2020 Chevy Corvette is a whole lot of car for $60K
The base Corvette 1LT has the same 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 as every other Stingray, with 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Working through an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, the rear-wheel-drive Corvette will accelerate to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, and do so without any overdramatic or skittish tendencies. Even on its stock all-season tires, the wide, 305/30-section rear rubbers simply claw into the pavement and shoot the Stingray forward.
The V8 sounds freakin’ awesome on full boil near its (relatively low) 6,500-rpm redline, even without the performance exhaust. I don’t like the transmission’s paddle shifters — most automakers get these wrong — but they’re a direct link to the quick-shifting DCT, which is also perfectly tuned when left to its own devices. The steering is communicative and nicely weighted, letting me know exactly how much grip those all-season tires have. And the standard limited-slip differential means power is appropriately distributed at the rear axle, so you can goose the throttle coming out of a corner without breaking the back end loose. The brakes are strong and offer confident, composed stopping without fade. The standard chassis tune is really good, too — comfortable when you need it to be but nicely taut when it counts.
The key thing you miss out on with the base Corvette is the almighty Z51 pack, which includes larger Brembo brakes and Chevy’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension with adaptive damping and performance traction management tech. You also can’t get the sportier exhaust, which in turn unlocks an additional 5 hp and 5 lb-ft and actually pushes the Corvette’s 0-to-60-mph time below the 3-second barrier, as if this car wasn’t already holy-smokes quick.
But here’s the thing: On several runs along my usual canyon test route north of Los Angeles, nothing about this base Corvette lets me down. It’s clear that even the most stripped-down C8 is a fantastic driver’s car through and through. In fact, it’s one of the most memorable sports cars I’ve tested this year — especially at this price. Frankly, all the Corvette most people really need.
The only real limitation here is the choice of all-season tires. But even then, I don’t think the majority of Corvette owners will ever exceed the limits of what the Michelin Pilot Sport rubbers can muster (Chevy says they’re good for 1.0 G of lateral grip, remember). If for some reason you find yourself needing something stickier, a whole slew of summer options are available from tire shops around the country. Besides, a $1,500 set of Pilot Sport Cup 2s is slightly easier to justify on what is, effectively, a $60,000 supercar.
And I do mean supercar. Just look at this thing; not a single part of the 1LT’s appearance says “base Corvette.” You get the same staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch wheels as other trims, and I don’t have any qualms with the standard silver-painted look. Every Corvette comes with sharp LED headlamps and nothing about the long, low, wide proportions changes from model to model.
The Corvette’s interior is hardly basic, with perforated leather wrapping the standard GT1 seats. And while these chairs aren’t as comfortable as supportive as more expensive GT2 and GT3 options, I can’t find a reason to complain. The seating position is excellent and never leaves me sliding around during spirited driving. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great, too, though I hate its squircle shape, which doesn’t really lend itself to nine-and-three hand placement.
As far as in-car tech is concerned, the Corvette offers some of GM’s best. That 12-inch digital gauge cluster is standard across the board and it looks awesome, with colorful, reconfigurable displays. Move to the center stack and Chevy’s Infotainment 3 setup is housed on a eight-inch, high-definition touchscreen. Upper trim levels include embedded navigation, but the C8 comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so if you have a phone and a USB cable, you’re all set.
Taken as a whole, however, the 2020 Corvette Stingray 1LT is a sports-car bargain that’s absolutely unmatched. Chevrolet’s more expensive versions offer more creature comforts and widen the performance envelope, sure, but I’ll be damned if this base Corvette isn’t hugely impressive in its own right. Good luck finding a comparable experience for $59,995 out the door.
Steven Ewing for CNET
The first mid-engine production Corvette was six decades in the making
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a rock star car. I don’t mean that figuratively. An actual rock star owns one.
Kiss frontman Paul Stanley picked up a white Stingray with a red interior and tweeted his love for it, saying he bought American because it’s beyond “world class.”
OK, perhaps the fact that he’s buds with General Motors President Mark Reuss influenced his purchase, but he’s driving it, so the endorsement is legit.
Of course, the 68-year-old singer does fit the classic stereotype of a Corvette buyer: mature with money to burn. Just the type of customer many expected to be alienated by the Corvette’s switch from a front- to mid-engine design. So much for that.
The eighth-generation Corvette is the realization of a dream that dates back six decades, when legendary GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov started building mid-engine prototypes because the layout offered potentially better performance than a front-engine design. It’s an idea that race and exotic car builders took and ran with while Chevy stuck to tradition.
Arkus-Duntov’s team and its predecessors developed over the years, but the executives at HQ just couldn’t be convinced. Current Corvette Executive Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter told Fox News Autos that a mid-engine Corvette was rejected as recently as 2006 simply because of inertia.
“There were people when we first started talking about this that were almost entirely naysayers. Virtually nobody in leadership thought it was a good idea because we were building and selling Corvettes to an enthusiastic fan base, or selling them in volumes to make a profit,” he said.
Cooler heads prevailed as the seventh-generation Corvette was completed for 2014, and Juchter and his team were off to the races, even though none of them had ever worked on a mid-engine car before. You’d never know it.
The new Stingray is a radical departure from previous editions, but it keeps many classic Corvette traits intact, including a relatively low starting price of $59,995. Some of the bodywork is technically fiberglass, but in various modern composite forms. Jucther calls it a “mosaic” of materials, which also applies to a chassis made from aluminum, steel, magnesium and a touch of carbon fiber.
Then there’s the rear trunk, which you don’t often find in a mid-engine car. It’s big enough to fit the lightweight, removable roof panel or two golf bags, because the latter capability may be even more entwined with the Corvette’s image than the location of its motor. Since that’s in the middle of the car, there’s also room for a sizeable front “frunk.”
The Stingray’s interior is equally practical, as far as low-slung sports cars are concerned, with enough legroom for the 6-foot-tall Stanley to fit comfortably, perhaps even while he’s wearing his sky-high stage boots. It’s well-trimmed and designed with a lot of interesting details, like panels hovering over the top of the dash, and is more appealing than the cabins in some far more expensive cars, including the $450,000 Ford GT’s stark accommodations.
Its one controversial element is a long row of climate control buttons on a buttress separating driver and passenger that can be awkward to use. However, the tablet-style infotainment screen, which is a close reach, has redundant on-screen controls that you can operate with your thumb while you steady your hand on the bezel.
A second display serves as the instrument cluster, which is configurable and framed by a squared-off steering wheel that stays below your line of sight as you look over the low dashboard and through the absolutely panoramic windshield. The over-the-shoulder views aren’t anywhere near as good, but the rearview mirror is equipped with a video feed, and if you turn your head all the way around you can see the engine behind the window. It’s a glorious sight.
The Stingray is powered by GM’s latest 6.2-liter pushrod V8. Yes, pushrods. Just like the Chevy Silverado. Except this one is presented in all of its mechanical glory with parts designed to be displayed under the humongous hood’s glass panel.
The V8 gains 35 horsepower over the outgoing version for 490 hp and has 465 lb-ft of torque to go with it. A toggle and pushbutton-controlled 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard and the only type available, but it does come with paddles behind the wheel that let you shift gears manually. If you pull them both at the same time it instantly switches to neutral so you can rev the engine for your audience. There will always be one, because the Stingray’s chiseled body has all the presence and drawing power of a million-dollar exotic.
The $5,000 Z51 performance package on my test car tweaks the engine to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft and adds extra cooling for the engine and transmission, a track-oriented suspension tune, downforce-producing rear wing and body extensions, larger Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential and a set of sticky summer tires.
The car was also equipped with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control adjustable shocks, which are worth it on any model they are available on, from trucks to sedans, even for the $1,895 they cost here. Just as valuable, but for a very different reason, is the optional $1,495 hydraulic system that raises the Stingray’s pointy nose 2 inches to avoid scrapes and can be programmed to do that automatically as you approach up to 1,000 marked locations where you often drive.
Although billiard table-smooth roads are preferred, a Stingray configured like this and set to Tour mode can be used as a daily driver on the most wretched pavement, even with its ridiculously low-profile tires and staggered 19- and 20-inch wheels. The car just glides over them with no shakes, rattles, rolls or flexes. But the Stingray can flex when you want it to.
Drop the hammer and 60 mph arrives in about 2.9 seconds without any wheel spin, according to Chevrolet. That’s thanks in part to the 40/60 weight distribution provided by the mid-engine design and the Stingray’s excellent traction management system. It’s nearly as quick as the old front-engine 755 hp Corvette ZR1, which was a big part of the reason Chevy made the switch.
The other becomes apparent when the road gets curvy. Moving the weight between the wheels improves steering response and helps neutralize the handling, which is like a slot car’s up to the limit. I didn’t get the opportunity to find out what happens when you go past it, but I can tell you that there is a long way to go to get there.
The Stingray plays good music while you do all this. Jucther said refining the engine sound with it located right behind your ear was one of the tougher challenges posed by the layout.
“The nice thing about a front-engine car is that you’ve got induction noise in the front and the exhaust pipe in the back, so you’ve got a kind of stereo,” he said. All I can say is: expert-level challenge complete.
The transmission can be a little lazy to shift in Tour but rips through the gears and always picks the right one in the Sport and Track modes, which also adjust the throttle response and firm up the suspension and steering feel. You can customize everything to your liking and engage your settings with a Z-mode button on the steering wheel if you prefer.
The reimagined Stingray now nearly exists in a class by itself. The cars closest to it on price and execution are the mid-engine Porsche 718 and the rear-engine Porsche 911, but neither are quite the same thing. As far as six-figure, mid-engine cars like the Audi R8, Acura NSX and Lamborghini Huracan are concerned, despite their power advantage and all-wheel-drive, I’d be hard-pressed to give you a truly good reason to spend triple your money on one.
Those arguments won’t even hold much longer against the Corvette, because you know there are much more powerful models on the way. Juechter won’t even hint at how much, but word on the street is that 800-1,000 hp isn’t out of the question, possibly with an electric boost. Based on the Stingray’s performance, the platform has plenty of room to grow.
But regardless of what’s to come, the car on sale today makes one thing perfectly clear:
This Detroit city automaker still knows how to rock.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Type: 2-passenger, 2-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe
Base price: $59,995
As tested: $80,315
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Power: 495 hp, 465 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
MPG: 15 city/27 hwy
Gary Gastelu for Fox News
We’ve been expecting to hear this news and finally today it has been confirmed by Chevrolet that the new 2020 Corvette Stingray will be the official Pace Car of the 104th Indianapolis 500. This marks the 17th race that Corvette has served as the official Pace Car, and the 31st Chevrolet to lead the field.
This year’s running of the Indy 500 will take place on Sunday, August 23 with the race being shown live on NBC.
With no fans allowed in attendance this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the official pace car driver will be GM President Mark Reuss.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be behind the wheel of the mid-engine Corvette Pace Car at such a historic race as the Indy 500,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The 2020 Corvette Stingray is the result of a close collaboration between the Corvette Racing and production engineering teams, setting a new benchmark for supercars around the world.”
The 2020 Corvette Stingray Pace Car is Torch Red and features the high Wing Spoiler and ground effects package. The Z51 Coupe will also wear the 104th Indy 500 livery on the doors. The new 2020 Stingray is capable of accelerating from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 194 mph, so it should have no trouble in setting the pace for the IndyCar racers.
“This is a continuation of our outstanding partnership with Chevrolet,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “We’re so grateful for all that Chevrolet has contributed to the success of our events. The Torch Red 2020 Corvette Stingray is a world-class machine rich with speed, performance and excitement, perfectly suited to pace the ‘500′ field.”
Chevrolet has been linked to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with both entities founded in 1911. Company founder and namesake Louis Chevrolet and his brothers Arthur and Gaston raced in the early 500-mile races with Gaston winning the race in 1920. Today, Louis Chevrolet rests in peace in a local Indianapolis cemetery just 15 minutes away from the track.
This afternoon we came across this Facebook post from Corvette Exterior Design Manager Kirk Bennion sharing these words from fellow GM designer Adam Barry who led the project. The 2020 Corvette Pace Car features a number of items from Genuine Corvette Accessories as discussed:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Many gearheads have a strange affinity to Hot Wheels. Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the company, but never asked.
Toy cars can be divided into two categories: Hot Wheels and everybody else. For over 50 years, Mattel has dominated with what is now recognized as the best-selling toy in the world. It’s impossible to count how many car buffs, from mechanics to real race stars to TV personalities, grew up playing with these cars. Whether it was just a few models or massive collections, Hot Wheels has been part of car culture for decades and is never going to stop. Whether it’s a simple model or some fancy licensed vehicle, Hot Wheels simply enthralls.
Yet it’s incredible how some people are unaware of the facts of the company and its history. From its unique origins to how these cars are put together, the story behind Hot Wheels is fascinating. There are also touches from how some of these cars are more expensive than real ones to some unique touches on the culture. Here are 20 amazing facts about Hot Wheels to prove they’re more than just “kids toys.”‘
20/20 Real-Life Hot Wheels Jump Was A World Record
Growing up a massive Hot Wheels fan, racer Tanner Foust decided to honor them in a fun way. At the 2011 Indy 500, Foust talked the management into seeing up a massive orange ramp and raced down it in a rally car.
After 90 feet of track, Foust sailed 332 feet, the longest record for such a move. He topped it by driving through a 66-foot loop in 2012 to live out the dreams of every kid.
19 Technology In Car Building Is Amazing…
Making toys has become a very high-tech business today. Just like real car companies, Hot Wheels has adapted to the 21st century nicely. Computers and 3-D technology are utilized to make sure the designs are perfected before the building begins.
It also helps them keep on top of the latest car trends to ensure that today’s Hot Wheels are sleeker and more natural than the ones of the past.
18 But They’re Still Diecast
There are many toy car lines out there, but Hot Wheels is still the king of the bunch. The key reason is that, for all the advances in technology, every car is still diecast and built mostly by hand.
Even when cheaper materials are available, Mattel knows the diecast is what the fans want. It’s also helped in making customized cars at home for popular models. After 50 years, Mattel doesn’t want to mess with success and do away with diecast.
17 They’ve Worked With NASA
Hot Wheels have done a few astronaut-themed toys over the years. But that’s not the only connection they have with NASA. In 1998, they were able to work with the agency to create an exact replica of the Mars Rover, which landed on the Red Planet that very year.
They also worked with them in 2012 for scale models of the Curiosity rover. It’s amazing how the company got access to top-secret plans to make these toys.
16 Collectors Take It Seriously
Some may dismiss Hot Wheels as “just for kids.” But collectors take it more seriously than real automobiles. The 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb (only 16 prototypes were made) is known to go for at least $15,000.
Some rare models can go for a hundred grand, and collectors are always on the lookout for unique mint models. Entire museums are devoted to various cars as some Hot Wheels collections put legit car collectors to shame.
15 Scaling Down The Cars Was Tricky
A key to the company’s success is that they work with scores of real car companies to get looks at plans for their toy models. Yet it’s not so simple as just “make a smaller version.” The biggest challenge is to achieve the proper scale for the toys in a diecast model yet retain the details of the actual car.
That can be complex with some fancy vehicles. That every model has to be sized to fit the same tracks just adds to why it takes as long developing a toy car as a real one.
14 NASCAR Star Has The Record For The Longest Track
Ever since the Hot Wheels tracks were created, fans have been trying to top themselves making the most extended and most complex. A few have achieved great ones, but it’s fitting a NASCAR star holds the record for the longest.
In 2019, Joey Logano unveiled a 1,941-foot long track stretched across his garage. It weaves through his car collection with 1222 boosters before ending in Logano’s own 2018 HW Ford Mustang. Add yet another title to Logano’s list of accolades.
13 They Made A Car Coated In Diamonds
In 2008, Mattel made a big deal of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Hot Wheels line. As a special reward, Mattel had Jasons of Beverly Hills craft the most expensive Hot Wheels car on the planet.
Cast in 18-karat gold, it’s covered with 2700 diamonds and gems totaling nearly $150,000 today. It’s become a rotating exhibit at toy museums for the glitziest Hot Wheels you could see.
12 The Darth Car Is A Speed Machine
While they do stick to toys, the company has been busy creating some real-sized cars for collectors. One of the most notable is based on Darth Vader, with the hood looking like his fearsome helmet and in jet black.
This isn’t just for show as it’s based on a C5 Corvette with a GM LS3 V-8 engine capable of 526 hp and 150 mph. The Dark Lord of the Sith would be proud of this powerful craft.
11 Every Car Is Tested To Make Sure It Can Run A Track
Almost from the beginning, Hot Wheels car fans had to have a track with the cars. They’ve gone from straight lines to elaborate roller-coaster-like loop systems to leave kids entertained for hours.
What few realize is that the track determines if a car makes it as Mattel prides itself on “every car can fit every track.” More than once, a prototype has to be altered when it won’t fit as the track decides a car’s final form.
10 There Are More Hot Wheels Cars Than Real Cars
While it’s tricky to figure out for sure, most sources agree there are at least one billion cars on the planet (give or take a few hundred thousand in auto graveyards). In contrast, since 1968, six billion Hot Wheels cars have been created.
True, many have been trashed and/or recycled, and it’s impossible to count how many have been lost in backyards. But given how 16 cars are produced every second, it’s no shock the toys outnumber the real deals.
9 Several Creators Are Legit Car Designers
The one constant of Hot Wheels is that the cars look just as good as the real deal. There’s an excellent reason for that as scores of the manufacturers are legitimate car designers. Larry Wood was a veteran of Ford before becoming one of the first Hot Wheels designers.
He’s not alone as Jack Ryan was a rocket designer who crafted the bearings that made the cars so great. Scores of the car designers were in real automobiles first, so it’s no wonder the vehicles look so good.
8 The Original Camaro Is Worth A Fortune
Mint conditions of the Original 16 Hot Wheels releases are all pretty collectible items. But one dominates from the pack. While versions of a Camaro were produced, a few had white enamel paint.
They had been meant to discover flaws in a prototype but accidentally released. A mint version of one went for a hundred thousand dollars and made this one of the most expensive toys on the planet
7 They Released A Custom Corvette Before GM Did
An early standout for the company at a custom Corvette in 1968. What made it notable was that the toy was released before GM had their actual Corvette in car dealerships.
The fact designer Harry Bradley had worked at GM indicates he may have “borrowed” the designs before he left to allow Mattel to beat GM to releasing a Corvette to the masses.
6 The Red Stripes Are Expensive
If you find what looks like an old Hot Wheels car, take a good look at the wheels. If they have red stripes, then you’ve just found a fantastic collector’s item. From 1968 to 1977, designers hand-painted red lines onto the wheels to make the cars look distinctive.
As a cost-cutting measure, they switched to all-black wheels in 1978. Some mint condition red-striped vehicles have been known to go for thousands online.
5 One Of The Original Cars Was Based On A Car With No Doors
The first wave of Hot Wheels was just 16 cars, and any of them can be valuable today. One is notable, the 1965 Dodge Deora. This car boasted no doors but rather a hatch for folks to crawl into.
It was based on a fun design used by Mike and Larry Alexander but in an irony, no real Dodge Deoras were built, to make this a truly unique model
4 A Tie-In Cartoon Got Pulled By The FCC
Today, cartoons based on toy lines are commonplace. But in 1969, Hot Wheels got in trouble when they put out a cartoon series about some teenage car drivers. Despite good messages, the show was hit by complaints about being a “half-hour commercial.”
The FCC agreed, and it was yanked off the air. The company was just ahead of their time with a cartoon tie-in for a hit toy line.
3 There’s A Fight On Where The Name Came From
Much of Hot Wheels is shrouded in myth, and that includes just where the name comes from. The familiar story is that when Eliot Handler saw the first models from designer Fred Adickes, he remarked: “those are some hot wheels you’ve got there.”
Another version is that Handler just blurted the name out in a meeting with a designer. Regardless, it just stuck to become one of the most popular toys on the planet.
2 They’re Number One…Because They Remain So Cheap
In the ranks of the most popular toys on the planet, Hot Wheels dominates. They’re not just the biggest toy vehicle sellers but also the number one selling toy in the entire world. The reason is that in many markets, the cars can still go for only a dollar each.
True, they can be put out in packs, and some nations charging a few bucks more. But many stores do sell the cars for less than a bottle of water, which is the reason they are so dominant.
1 Its Creator Was Married To Barbie’s Creator
Elliott and Ruth Handler were the First Couple of the toy world. The two had founded Mattel as a picture frame company in 1945. While making a dollhouse, Ruth decided to craft a series of dolls she named Barbie.
It was an instant hit to make Mattel a success. Elliott then realized how a toy car line could be great for boys to craft what would become Hot Wheels. The two remained together until Ruth’s death in 2002 (Elliott passed on nine years later) to be icons of their industry.
Sources: Mentalfloss.com, hotwheels.com, hotwheelsmedia.com, thrillist.com
Both cars retail for about $81,000, but one is a lot more accessible.
SPEED PHENOM ON YOUTUBE
If you’ve got $80,000 to spend and want an American high-performance car, now’s a pretty good time to be in the market. In addition to tire-shredding stalwarts like the Camaro ZL1 and Challenger Hellcat, Ford and Chevy have recently launched high-profile, track-ready sports cars. And thanks to a new video by Speed Phenom, we now know how they directly compare on track.
Naturally, we wanted to do this comparison ourselves. But the GT500 wasn’t ready during our Performance Car of the Year competition when we had an early C8 to test. And now that both cars are on sale, stay-at-home orders and track closures mean we’ll have to wait for an opportunity to do a full R&T comparison.
In the meantime, Speed Phenom does a good job of breaking down how they perform. With the caveat that he’s got a base model GT500 without the optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, he notes that the car struggles for grip more often than the similarly-tired Corvette. It’s also less composed through mid-corner bumps, with slower cornering all around. Thanks to its massive horsepower advantage, though, it jets through straightaways.
The C8, meanwhile, benefits from serious mechanical grip. The better-balanced midship car fires through corners and has no problem putting its power down. That makes it more approachable, not surprising given that it’s the tamest version of the C8 while the GT500 is stretching the limits of the S550 platform. We’re sure to see more track-ready Corvettes soon, but for now the Stingray is a surprisingly capable start.
Mack Hogan- Road&Track
Some fans complain that race cars don’t have much in common with road vehicles, but that wasn’t a priority in the 1970s. Loose regulations in the period allowed teams to erase nearly all road-car DNA as they searched for greater performance. This 1977 Chevrolet Corvette, dubbed the “SuperVette,” is an example of the era’s excesses.
Offered for sale by noted Porsche 959 restorer Canepa, the SuperVette was built to take advantage of a rule change in IMSA road racing. In 1976, the sanctioning body allowed full tube-frame cars to compete in its top-level series. Corvette racer John Greenwood saw this as an opportunity to build a more competitive car, and teamed up with designer Bob Reilly to make a tube-frame Corvette. This Corvette—COV002—is one of two chassis completed in 1977.
This car has almost nothing in common with a stock 1977 Corvette, which is a good thing because Corvettes offered very little performance at the timie. Underneath the swollen bodywork is a chassis and roll cage made from 2.0-inch chrome-moly tubing. Its bulging hood hides an aluminum 500-cubic-inch big-block V-8, making more than 750 horsepower. It was built by Don Nichols, whose Shadow Racing team competed in Formula 1, Can-Am, and F5000. The engine is harnessed to a Jerico 4-speed manual transmission.
COV002 was bought by John Paul, Sr. for the 1978 season. Paul raced with his son, John Paul, Jr., and both were later convicted for running an illegal marijuana trafficking operation. It was a different time, for sure.
It was the elder Paul who specified the Nichols-built engine, rather than one built by Greenwood. In an effort to reduce drag, the car also got a narrower track and more aerodynamic bodywork than its sibling.
Paul raced the ‘Vette during the 1978 IMSA season in the GTX class, primarily competing against Porsche 935s. The car earned two podiums that year. After that, it was sold but continued to race through the 1982 season. After retirement, the car changed hands a few more times before being bought by Canepa.
The Corvette has been restored to its 1978 racing specifications, and is currently eligible for to compete in vintage racing, according to Canepa. The seller didn’t list a price, but we don’t expect a car with this pedigree to sell cheap.
Stephen Edelstein for Motor Authority
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
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
The etiquette of doing something you do regularly while staying safe and clean.
- We might need new gas-pumping etiquette rules for the 21st century, both for selfish and altruistic reasons.
- We’ve known since 2011 that gas pump handles can be filthy—they’re worse than ATMs or escalators, even—but there’s no reason to worry if you take the right precautions.
- You can lower your risk by using gloves or paper towels to gas up, using touch-free pay options, and staying as physically separate from others as possible as you refuel.
You may have heard this one before: the best way to avoid catching some sort of communicable disease is to wash your hands well, and often. This advice isn’t exactly new, which hints at how reasonable and responsible it is.
Washing your hands to stay clean was the takeaway lesson from a 2011 study conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, which found gas pump handles were “the filthiest surface that Americans encounter on the way to work,” according to Reuters. The Los Angeles Times reported back then that the study found 71 percent of gas pump handles the Kimberly-Clark researched tested were considered “‘highly contaminated’ with the kinds of germs most associated with a high risk of illness.” Compare that to only 41 percent of ATM buttons and 43 percent of escalator rails.
The Kimberly-Clark Professional tests were done in big cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia) almost a decade ago, but when something like the coronavirus impacts pretty much every corner of the world, it’s a good reminder to take care when gassing up. When it comes to the COVID-19 coronavirus specifically, the National Institutes of Health has issued information that explains that coronavirus can be stable for 24 hours on some surfaces like cardboard and “up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”
If you’re not already carrying disinfecting wipes in the car with you, this is a good time to start, assuming you have some available, and wipe off the pump handle and touchscreen, or any other surfaces you plan to touch, before your hands make contact. Even better, it might be a good idea to search out a station that accepts contactless payment at the pump, so you won’t need to come into physical contact with the touchscreen or anything else other than the pump handle. Two easy solutions to this issue are to either wear gloves or to use the paper towels commonly provided for window cleaning as a guard between your hands and the screen, buttons, and pump handle. Keeping gloves in the car is a good idea, but they shouldn’t be the disposable sterile gloves that hospitals can use when there’s a need for them there. If you don’t have gloves, keep some hand sanitizer in the car to use on your hands after filling up.
As for social distancing, it’s convenient that gas pumps are relatively far apart from one another, contagion-wise, but even so, choosing to fill up your tank at an off-peak time can be safer. If there are other people getting gas at the same time, keeping at least six feet between you and them is a good idea for everyone involved. And it should go without saying that you shouldn’t go into the store unless there’s a reasonable need to do so if there’s still a rapidly spreading disease going around.
The actual chance that you will catch a transmittable viruses at the gas station is low. As the Illinois TV station ABC-20 reported based on answers from a medical expert, the sequence of events that have to happen to get the virus from someone who has it (someone coughing onto the pump handle or touching the touchscreen with virus on their hands, and then you touching it and then your face) can be interrupted in any number of ways. Even so, there’s no harm in being extra careful in these potentially dangerous times.
Sebastian Blanco- Car and Driver
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
Did you see the two race on YouTube? We’ve tested them, too; here’s why the results were no surprise.
- 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?
Greg PajoCar and Driver
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
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
William Walker: Photographer Manufacturer Photographer Mar 11, 2020
It’s weird to say, but immediately after my first test drive in the new mid-engine, eighth-generation 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette, I was angry. Angry not because the car didn’t do what it should, but precisely because it did everything I asked of it, and did it beautifully—and I’d been led to believe it was a hot, understeering mess by the reviews I’d read elsewhere. How could they all have been so wildly off base?
There are many possible explanations, of course—differing driver skill levels, evaluation methods, and conditions. But two variables stand out among the rest: the C8 Corvette’s option for track or street alignments, and the length of exposure to the car. Addressing the latter issue first, we were lucky enough to spend the better part of week with the new C8, a rare chance given the limited availability of test cars so early in the Corvette’s production (All-Stars testing took place in early December 2019). That greater exposure to the car allowed us more time to get a feel for its behavior in a wide array of situations, both on the road and on the Streets of Willow Springs racetrack.
Perhaps even more importantly, however, was the choice of track and street suspension alignments. You see, the 2020 C8 Corvette has two official specifications for its alignment settings; the street alignment sets the camber at 0 degrees, while the track alignment sets the camber to 3 degrees negative. The result is the difference between a (somewhat) understeer-biased street setup and a balanced, ready-to-rotate super sports car. The former is intended to help Corvette owners new to the world of low polar-moment mid-engine cars make the transition without ending up backward in a guardrail their first time out. We spent our week with the Corvette in track-alignment mode, whether hammering out laps or zooming around the mountains near Lake Hughes.
But wait, isn’t that cheating, you ask? It might seem like it at first—track settings are meant for the track, not the street, right?–but Chevrolet itself recommends owners who use the track setting for track go ahead and leave the car setup that way all the time. No, it won’t cause excessive or premature tire wear, at least according to Chevy’s engineers. For the record, we did visually notice more wear to the front tires’ inside shoulders than we’d expect with the more conventional setup, so we’d be curious to see the state of the rubber after 5,000 or so miles with this alignment. It’s certainly something for owners to be aware of and to keep an eye on, at the very least.
Regardless, and not for nothing, the two alignment settings might better be named “beginner” and “advanced”. If you’re a moderately accomplished driver who’s comfortable with a car that’s willing to rotate, don’t leave the lot with your new Corvette until you’ve had the car set to its more aggressive alignment.
With that out of the way, holy cow, is this thing good! The nearly instant-on torque from the 6.2-liter V-8 means you’re never left wanting for thrust, the quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch transmission bangs out upshifts with authority, and the steering feel, while not telepathic, is still abundantly communicative. Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa did note, however, that several of our evaluators found “the steering in its own separate Track mode is too heavy without doing anything for feel,” and resident professional race driver Andy Pilgrim pointed out, “The gearbox is very good on the street, but did not always give me the lower gear I wanted on the track.” If those are the worst things we could think to say after back-to-back runs in hardware as exotic as the $474,000-plus Ferrari F8 Tributo and the nearly as pricey McLaren GT, it’s pretty apparent the mid-engine Corvette is something special.
Braking is remarkably stable for a mid-engine car, as is power application, the latter thanks at least in part to the car’s Performance Traction Management system. Chevy’s PTM is one of the key technology transfers from the factory Corvette Racing program, and it shows its racing roots when put to the test. But of course even the best traction-control programs can’t work when the tires aren’t in contact with the road; that’s where the Corvette’s excellent suspension tune comes in.
“Glides over broken mountain roads like a hovercraft—but still sticks like crazy,” wrote contributor Arthur St. Antoine in his evaluation notes. Pilgrim agreed, noting the C8 Corvette “has more suspension travel than the Porsche 992, and feels more compliant, allowing more roll in transition; none of which is a bad thing for everyday driving comfort.”
In fact, far from a rabid, on-the-edge supercar, it’s clear the Chevy engineers behind the new C8 Corvette put a great deal of time and effort into the car’s daily driving demeanor, or, as features editor Rory Jurnecka noted, “It should make a nice road car with good interior space. Feels pretty easy to live with.” Not only is there a rear trunk that’ll fit two golf bags (or several carry-on bags or backpacks), there’s a front trunk (or frunk) that’ll hold some more. But the new C8 Corvette’s interior is what truly stands out in terms of daily comfort, especially in comparison to previous Corvettes.
“When I took the C8 on the road trip between the hotel and the winners’ shoot location, I was blown away at how good of a GT car it is,” social media editor Billy Rehbock said. “I put on the cooled seats, played music over the crystal-clear sound system, and rolled in complete comfort. My only complaint was that it was actually a bit quiet, even when being driven hard, but subsequent performance versions will fix that, no doubt.”
Beyond even the excellent interior feature set (though the verdict is still out on the extra-long button strip in the center console), the most notable and immediately noticeable upgrade to the C8 Corvette’s interior is the massive improvement of materials and build quality over previous generations. Our test car’s 3LT interior trim specification included Chevy’s upgraded infotainment system, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, and a head-up display. And in addition to the upgraded materials, it featured extended leather surface treatments, and GT2 bucket seats—though ours swapped the GT2 seats for “competition sport bucket” seats for an extra $500); the 3LT spec added $11,950 to the car’s $59,995 base price. Tack that cash onto the additional list of optional extras like the Z51 performance package ($5,000), magnetic ride control suspension system ($1,895), front lift system ($1,495), upgraded 19-inch front/20-inch rear wheels and tires ($1,495), and engine appearance package ($995), among others. Total price, as configured: a surprisingly reasonable $83,825.
Admittedly, this was a pre-production car, but it was also one of just a handful of streetable C8 Corvettes available at the time, meaning it had already lived a rather hard life before our testing even began. Sitting in the C8 back-to-back with the Ferrari F8, the Italian doesn’t come off as insanely luxurious or refined—and the F8’s interior is already perfectly lovely.
It’s no revelation that the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is a great performance value; the Corvette has been that way for decades. But for Chevy to have done such an impressive job on its first go with the engine behind the driver, and to have included so many improvements to the luxury and quality of the C8, all for a price that’s a fraction of the cars with which it competes, it’s easy to see why I was so angry after experiencing the car for myself—and it’s hard not to agree with Jurnecka when he says, “So glad this car is what I’d hoped for. Worth the wait.”
Nelson Ireson for Automobile
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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:
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:
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.”
Video by Keith Cornett
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.
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.
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.
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!
Video by Keith Cornett
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.
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.
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
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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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. (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
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.
When you’re Chevrolet and you have access to five-time Le Mans winner Oliver Gavin, it’s a smart idea to shove him behind the wheel of a new C8 Corvette with the Z51 performance package and point him out for a flying lap of the Nordschleife. These lap times are largely irrelevant as they absolutely do not correlate to driving enjoyment or real-world usable performance, but it’s a slightly abstract way to compare the relative abilities of sports cars.
With ideal conditions and an incredibly capable driver, Chevrolet managed a lap time of 7 minutes and 29.9 seconds. That’s quicker than a recent independent test Porsche 992 time, and Chevrolet’s own high-powered Camaro ZL1. That said, it’s 16 seconds off the pace of the C7-generation Corvette Z06. Interesting? Maybe.
Chevrolet confirmed to RoadShow that this was the lap time, as hidden (below) in a teaser video for its upcoming documentary on the development of the C8.
Are you and I capable of this lap time? Hell no. But the car is capable of it in the right hands, and I guess that has bragging rights of some kind.
Obviously this is still just the base model Corvette with its 495 horsepower V8 mounted in the middle. The Z51 pack adds aero bits, better tires, better suspension, and better cooling for the entire car. There will be more powerful, better, and faster Corvettes coming, but for now you can rest assured knowing a C8 Corvette is slightly faster around the ‘ring than the big bad supercharged Camaro. That is, unless the ZL1 was of the 1LE variety (which ran a 7:16.04).
Bradley Brownell for Jalopnik