|C1||- 1953 to 1962|
|C2||- 1963 to 1967|
|| - 1968 to 1982
|| - 1984 to 1996
|| - 1997 to 2004
|| - 2005 to 2013
|| - The All-New 2009 Corvette ZR1
* Detroit Auto Show Images
* Added 1-16-08
|| - the Future Corvette
While the exterior of the buildings of the Russell Industrial Center left no clues as to what was concealed within, this was the site chosen for the 2 014 Chevrolet Corvette's official coming out party. Held on the evening of January 13, 2013, this was the first chance to see the new car in its unmasked form. For months, photographers had been chasing Chevy's newest Vette, trying to be the first to get a peek at a car that has filled the cover Of more automotive magazines than any other.
Mike Antonick, who since 1978 has authored the marques handbook, the "Corvette Black Book," and I made the journey to the innards of Detroit, eager to see the new car. We had attended the C6's unveiling at the Detroit Opera House in 2004, so the change of venue held a marked difference.
Mark Reuss, the President of GM's operations spoke about the heritage of Corvette, rehashing what we enthusiasts were aware of, and enlightening the others as to what Corvette means. I listened intently, yet I was distracted by the anticipation of seeing the car. When the Torch Red Corvette became visible, it could be likened to a spectacular play in sports. Not a seat was filled as we all rose, hoping to get a better glimpse of the car. When the speech was over, we were invited to view the car. Once we were invited, it was now clear as to why the change in venue. The folks on the Corvette team had set up a seperate Salon to view the parts and pieces that make up Corvette, along with the men and women responsible for Corvette.
While Mike and I waited for the throng of viewers to thin out, we made our way to the upper platform to view the car, and take that opportunity to take some pictures. Viewing the car from the platform let us take in the details, how the fenders creased as well as how the rest of the bodywork flowed from nose to tail. We noticed the scoops, vents, and intake, wondering their functions. True to todays mission of Corvette, we discovered they were all functional, all with purpose.
Most noticabe were the four rows of louvres in the hood, ducted to carry hot air away from the radiator and over the car, rather than let it spill beneath. The traditional front fender exhaust vents, a feature common to Corvette since 1965, scontinue to vent hot underhood air around the car. At the rear, nested atop the rear quarter panels are ducts to capture air as it flows across the flanks and distribute it to coolers for the transmission and differential coolers on Z51 models. Both the hood and the solid roof panel are made of carbon fibre, with the roof being available painted or in exposed (but clearcoated) weave form. We were told the carbon fibre hood of the C7 weighs just 12 pounds. By contrast, the fibreglass hood of the C6 weighs 22.
Chevrolet chose to replace the large curved glass rear window, a heavy but identifiable feature Corvette has enjoyed since the 1978 restyle when the 1968-77's flying buttress was eliminated, with a large flat framed panel. The opening created is still quite large as it extends beyond the window frame to go deep into the quarter panels. The new large quarter windows decieve in their function as massive interior trim pieces reduce the actual viewing area.
The nose and tail overhangs are still quite short, with the C7 growing two inches in overall length, settling in at 176.9 inches. Visually it appears to be a bit narrower, however the specifications indicate that it is actually 1.3 inches wider. The height of the new car is actually a hair or two taller the the 2013 Grand Sport, and about the same difference shorter than the base version C6. Axle to axle, the gap lengthens by an inch with the wheelbase being 106.7 inches.
The assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky will build the frame of the new Corvette, replacing the vendor supplied frame of the C6. The long, single piece, hydroformed side rails of the old frame now comprised of five different pieces. Each piece being optimized for the load and function of its area of influence. The transmission tunnel is about an inch and a half taller with the exhaust now running within the tunnel with no seperation aside from insuation from the driveshaft torque tube. A strong, vented aluminum plate conceals the exhaust. The composition of the floorboards core changes from balsa woods to foam. The new frame, constructed from aluminum tubes and castings promises to be 57-percent stiffer than the outgoing frame.
There are a pair of different wheels being offered on the new Corvette. A five spoke is offered on base cars, measuring 18 x 8.5in in the front with a 19 x 10in for the rear. The Z51 models roll on a 10-spoke wheels, being an inch greater in diameter in front and rear with wheel width being the same. Michelin has replaced Goodyear as the standard tire supplier with Michelin Pilot Super Sport with a section width of 245mm in the front and 285 in the rear. The braking system is supplied by Brembo.
Corvette has alway been the most powerful car Chevrolet offered, even during the doldrums of the last Stingrays of the 70's. The C7's 6.2L V8 is expected to offer at least 450 net horsepower. The current car's 6.2L can be ordered up to produce 436 hp with the optional dual mode exhaust system, however the new car's projected 450 lb/ft of torque will best the old by 26 lb/ft, with the torque curve being optimized to provide usable torque equal torque to the 427 found in today's Z06. The new engine, dubbed the Generation V Small Block will take everything that has been learned from previous versions, sprinkle in the knowledge of the racing program, and add current technolgies to produce a cleaner, more efficient powerplant.
The new engine, dubbed LT1, is the third third time Chevy has used this engine designation. The first appeared in 1970, where a 350 cubic inch engine employed Corvette's last use of solid lifters and Holley Carburetors. Additionally, an 11.0:1 compression ratio was used, creating 370 gross horsepower. In 1971, the engine was formulated for unleaded fuels, the compression ratio dropped, and the horsepower withdrew to 330 gross. In the original LT1's last year, 1972, compression ratio dropped once again, and the horsepower was rated at 255 net.
In 1992, the LT1 option code was attached to GM's new "Gen II" small block, an iron block, aluminum headed 300 net horsepower powerplant. Replacing the much loved L98 that arrived in 1985 with tuned port injection, the 1992 engine featured reverse flow cooling, engineered in such a way that coolant arrived at the cylinder heads first, maximizing thermal effiency of the combustion process. In addition, four-bolt main bearing caps were revived, a Corvette feature that had gone missing since the departure of the L82 350 engine after the 1980 model run.
Now, we have the latest Corvette small block, displacing 376 cubic inches, or in modern speak, 6.2 litres. The new engine will pack 1.18 horsepower per cubic inch, giving it the same power density as the LS7 427 found in 2013's Z06 and 427 Grand Sport convertible. The engine employs cylinder deactivation, allowing Corvette to operate on four cylinders when cruising, immediately firing on all eight when called upon. The induction system now has variable valve timing, which varies the camshaft timing to provide optimum horsepower, torque, or fuel economy. The combustion chambers, having spent 6.5 million computing hours in the quest for an optimum shape, allow for a 11.5:1 compression ratio, the highest of any production small block. Direct Injection electronic fuel injection sprays fuel at a higher pressure directly into the cylinder head, replacing port injection which sprays fuel into the intake manifold.
Corvette also increases its gear count for the 2014 model, with a new Tremec 7-speed manual transmission, while the automatic is an improved version of the C6's 6-speed automatic. The manual adds "Active Rev Matching," allowing the engine speed to match the next gear selection, whether going up or down in the gears. Sensors monitor the intended gear selection and on downshifts "blip" the throttle, allowing for smoothe heel and toe style downshifts.
Electronic driving assists abound, with an electronically controlled limited slip system replacing the decades old limited slip clutch pack enclosed in the differntial. The new system relies on a pair of wet clutch packs affixed to the side of the differential case with the stub axles going into a set of splines a nd the halfshafts going into their splines with the clutches performing the union. This allows the vehicles computer system to give the optimum power transfer depening on data such as vehicle speed, steering wheel angle, yaw rate, and throttle position. One more system to turn us all into drivers with Michael Schumacher potential.
Electronics invade the interior of the C7, replacing some of the traditional needle and dial gauges for a reconfigurable electronic display. The new cluster (?) can display the information in a traditional gauge display, or a combination of digital, graphs, and vehicle graphics. Only the sppedometer and a combination fuel and coolant temperature gauge are of the conventional sweeping needle gauges. The performance of the car can be altered by chosing between 5 different driving modes that affect 12 different vehicle parameters ranging from launch tontrol to steering feel. While this will certainly be entertaining, will the average Corvette owner really be able to take advantage off all this technology?
One additional piece of welcome technology will be Chevrolet's MyLink being added to the standard equipment list. A large 8-inch display will supply Corvette owners with vehicle information along with seamless integration with today's smart phones. In a world where many consumers change cell phones frequently, the Corvette sound systems haven't received any real audio updates since 2005.
Now about the seats. Wow, these are seats that Corvette has cried out for since 1997. The seats offer much more support in all the right areas, and are crafted in such a was as to finally be fitting of a car of Corvette's price class. A pair of seating choices will be offered, a very agressive leather covered base seat with a high dose of lateral support and an optional Competition Sport Seat, which will be introduced later in the model year. The sport seat has inflating bladders to better grip your torso in agressive driving manouvers.
In all, the 2014 Corvette is such an improvement over the old, it could be likened to the difference between the 1996 and the 1997 that it replaced. It's a radical departure in terms of styling, especially at the rear, but it is still easily recognized as a Corvette. With this being the base Corvette, one can only wonder what comes next...
- 1953 to 1962
- 1963 to 1967
- 1968 to 1982
- 1984 to 1996
- 1997 to 2004
- 2005 to 2013
- The Future Corvette - 2014 to ?
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