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Corvette: The 2007 Year in Review

by Keith Cornett on December 27, 2007

There was much afoot for Corvette in 2007. Three special edition Corvettes were unveiled to buyers both domestically and in Europe. We saw the regular production Corvette break through to new levels in performance, specifically with the introduction of Corvette’s LS3 460 hp V8 engine on the 2008 Corvette. But the biggest news of the year comes from the introduction of the 2009 Corvette ZR1. With the amount of hype and speculation surrounding the blue devil/SS/ZR1 Corvette in 2007, this summary of news events could have easily been called “2007: The year of the Corvette ZR1″ due to the amount of coverage that any tidbit or spy photo of the Blue Devil/SS/ZR1 generated. But there is more to Corvette than just the ZR1. Check out our annual Year in Review for more on America’s Sports Car:

January

The renewal of Chevrolet’s Trademark on the ZR1 opens the door to speculation about the official name of the Corvette’s Blue Devil project. The National Corvette Museum celebrated the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the 1997 Corvette, the first of the C5 Corvettes. Bob Lutz comments on horsepower war with the Dodge Viper SRT10 and throws down the challenge about how important it is for the Corvette “to be the most powerful, most capable, best handling sports car in the United States.” Corvette Racing announces they will be back in 2007 to defend their ALMS crowns despite the lack of a serious competitor in the GT1 class. The Last Sting Ray sold for $660,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale. Callaway’s production C16 coupe debuts at the Montreal Auto Show. Corvette was unveiled as the 2007 Daytona 500 Pace Car.

February

GM Simultaneously confirms production of two limited edition Corvettes: The Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Championship Corvette Z06 and a replica of the 2007 Indianapolis Pace car. GM Europe launches a special “Lemans Victory” Edition Corvette for European Corvette buyers. The Ron Fellows Z06 and the Indy 500 replica Corvette Pace Car make their first appearance at the Chicago Auto Show. Bob Lutz confirms the Blue Devil Corvette will be headed for showrooms in the summer of 2009 as a 2010 Corvette. The Blue Devil Corvette becomes known now as the Corvette SS. An shipping company employee takes close up photos of the Blue Devil/SS Corvette and posts them online. He is subsequently fired.

March

Corvette finishes first in class and second overall in Consumer Report’s Owner Satisfaction Survey. Rick Conti moves from Spitzer Chevrolet to EVS Chevrolet in Random Lake, Wisconsin. Corvette Racing’s C6.Rs finished first and second at the 12 Hours of Sebring. One of the Corvettes is a replica of the special edition Ron Fellows Z06 Corvette. Mid America Motorwork’s Mike Yager named to the Top 50 Car Collector List.

April

Gavin/Beretta win the GT1 class at St. Petersburg. GM Europe launches the Corvette Performance Academy. Two new colors for the 2008 Corvette are introduced. They are Jetstream Blue Metallic and Crystal Red Metallic. Gavin/Beretta win third straight at Long Beach. O’Connell/Magnussen claim the checkered flag at the Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston. GM releases official information about the 2008 Corvette. Changes included a new LS3 engine with base horsepower output of 430 and a refined interior.

May

Popular Mechanics captures spy photos of a red Corvette Blue Devil/SS mule. A week later two new spy photos show the hood of the Blue Devil/SS Corvette having a polycarbonate see-through panel. Source Interlink purchases PRIMEDIA’s Enthusiast Media group which includes Corvette Fever and Vette Magazines. Speculation runs about a 4-door Corvette after an “off-the-cuff” remark from Bob Lutz. Actor Patrick Dempsey piloted the 2007 Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace car during the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500. Proteam Corvette’s Terry Michaelis starts his own Corvette Blog.

June

The 2007 Corvette Convertible won its class in the Strategic Vision Total Quality Index awards. A 1953 Corvette sells for $440,000 at the McMullen Auction outside Detroit. Vette Dog’s internet TV show featuring Patrick Gramm of DigitalCorvettes.com makes its debut. Corvette Racing takes to LeMans for defense of its GT1 crown. The #64 Corvette C6.R dropped out early in race while the #63 Corvette was able to finish the rain-plagued course in Second place. Pricing for the 2008 Corvettes is announced by GM. Bloomington Gold Auction tops $8.2 Million in Corvette Sales. Corvette enthusiasts nationwide celebrate Drive Your Corvette to Work Day. Final 2007 Corvette figures are released.

July

Gavin/Beretta rebound from LeMans DNF to win Lime Rock. LG Motorsports dynos the 2008 Corvette with the new LS3. Popular Mechanic’s Jim Dunne publishes his “Corvette SS Myths Debunked” article. The Corvette is rated by AskMen.com as a Top 10 American Invention. Internet Brands purchases the CorvetteForum.com for an undisclosed amount. Members become angry when Google ads start showing up in their posts. Gavin/Beretta win at Mid-Ohio. The Corvette Z06 is chosen at the pace car for the Allstate Brickyard 400. Corvette’s finish First and Third at the Circuit du Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

August

Motor Trend hits the streets with their 2008 Corvette test drive edition. Corvette win at Road America. Autoextremist’s Peter De Lorenzo rants about how GM may greenlight a Mid-Engined C7 Corvette. A powerful storm moved through Pennsylvania, striking the fairgrounds where Corvettes of Carlisle was held, causing havoc and leaving several with injuries. In other Corvettes at Carlisle news, sales results of the new in-house Corvette auction are lackluster as only 32% of Corvettes in auction are sold. O’Connell and Magnussen win at Mosport. A third Corvette Racing team featuring Fellows and Pilgrim finished third. During a string of auctions held in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, $2.5 million worth of Corvettes were sold. Popular Mechanics published spy photos of the Blue Devil/SS Corvette, this time painted in Velocity Yellow.

September

Motor Trend announces that the Blue Devil/SS Corvette will be badged as the ZR1 and will be introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. Spy Photographer Brenda Priddy captures the Blue Devil/SS/ZR1 on video for the first time. The video makes it appearance at FastLaneDaily.com. 300 Corvettes were displayed on the retired USS Lexington aircraft carrier in Corpus Christi. The event raised nearly $60,000 for charity. Picket Lines form outside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant as UAW workers are ordered to strike. The walkout ends two days later as GM and UAW reach agreement on healthcare and job security. Keith Martin launches a specialty magazine called “Keith Martin’s Corvette Market”. The quarterly magazine focuses on the collecting and investment aspects of Corvettes. Wayne Scraba steps down as editor of the NCRS Corvette Restorer magazine. Vette Dogs wraps production following 10 episodes. Season Two is promised featuring new characters.

October

The GM/UAW deal opens the door to much speculation including the year of introduction of the C7 Corvette (2012) and new features of the C7 that include all wheel drive and a dual-clutch transmission. Kappa platform production will also shift to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant as part of the GM/UAW deal. Gavin/Beretta clinch GT1 Championship with a victory at Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta. Lou Gigliotti and Bill Riley announce they will field an ALMS GT2 C6 Corvette in 2008. Kentucky State Representative C.B. Embry files a bill proclaiming the Corvette as the official sports car of Kentucky. Bad Boy Vettes convinces Corvette Racing for a makeover for final race of the 2007 ALMS schedule. The repaint features mascot Jake on the sides and hoods of the two Corvette C6.Rs. Mecum’s St. Charles auction produces $2.8 million in Corvette Sales. Included in the sale was a 1967 427/435 L71 which sold for $393,750 and a 1968 L88 Corvette which took the top sales price at $446,250. A yellow Corvette ZR1 makes an appearance at Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey. The one-lap around the track was the subject of blog posts and forum conversations for days. Gavin/Beretta win the battle of the C6.R Corvettes at Laguna Seca. Ron Fellows wins fans choice as ALMS Most Popular Driver. Jay Leno’s E85 powered Corvette C6RS steals the show at SEMA. A limited production version is announced for 2008.

November

American Supercar’s 1963 Twin Turbo V7 was introduced at SEMA. Another 1953 Corvette sells for $440,000 at Hilton Head’s Concours d’Elegance. Corvette Racing puts the #3 Corvette C6.R up for sale. Selling Price? $650,000. The Z06 Corvette was chosen to pace the 50th Anniversary race of the Daytona 500. In acknowledgement of the golden anniversary, the Corvette Z06 Pace car is decked out in “Anniversary Gold” with Red, White and Blue racing stripes. Several Auto Blogging sites including Jalopnik run GM promotional photos of the new LS9 6.2L V8 that will power the Blue Devil/SS/ZR1. The National Corvette Museum begins its $9 million expansion that will ad 47,000 sq ft to the facility. The addition will include a library and archives area, expanded gift show and conference center.

December

Several significant Corvettes sell at the Wiseman Auction in Tarpon Springs, Florida. A 1955 Corvette owned by Zora Arkus-Duntov sells for $134,750 and a matched set of Corvettes, #39 1953 Corvette, #39 2003 Corvette, and a #39 Corvette pedal car, sell for $390,500. A 1965 Corvette cutaway display sells for $704,000. Corvette Quarterly shows the video that was taken from inside in the Corvette Blue Devil/SS/ZR1 during October’s hot lap of Laguna Seca. Corvette Racing announced that they will return to defend their ALMS crowns in 2008. The 2009 Corvette ZR1 is officially announced. The groundbreaking Corvette is expected to generate 620 horses and cost around $100,000. Those two final details are expected in early 2008.


Related:
Corvette: The 2006 Year in Review

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Corvette’s 2008 Indy Pace Car Unveiling Date Set

by Keith Cornett on December 12, 2007

The Corvette has been chosen yet again to pace the world’s greatest race, the Indianapolis 500. On December 27th the curtain will be raised on the 2008 design and you can be there as part of a National Corvette Museum fundraiser. The NCM was given 19 tickets to the event and they are being sold for $100 each. The ticket admits you to the Indiana Convention Center/RCA Dome in Indianapolis to witness the unveiling of the newest Corvette pace car. The event also includes a Chevrolet Exhibit with displays of a Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, a Camaro Convertible and of course the 2008 Indianapolis Pace Car. There is also mention of a surprise display called the Flying Corvette. We will have to wait and see what that is all about. Finally lunch will be provided to participants in the ballroom, which is your chance to “mix and mingle” with representatives from GM and Chevrolet. Tickets to the event can be reserved at the National Corvette Museum’s website. Click here for details. Related:
Corvette Z06 Chosen to Pace 50th Daytona 500 in 2008 Technorati Tags:
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November 2008 Corvette Sales; 2008 Corvette Price Increase

by Keith Cornett on December 7, 2007

General Motors released the Corvette sales figures for November 2008. Production over the last couple of months has averaged around 2,450 which is about 300 units less than 2006. Total calendar sales (January through November) just broke the 3,000 mark at 30,771. Production in 2007 continues to lag last year’s production by 8%.

Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%
November 2,438 2,773 -12.1% Jan-Nov 30,771 33,437 -8.0%
On a related note, both Corvette Conti and the Corvette Blog have reported a slight increase in 2008 Corvette prices. Coupes and Convertibles are going up by $115 bringing the prices to $46,225 and $54,565 respectively. A destination charge of $825 is included in these figures.
Source:
General Motors Related:
October 2008 Corvette Sales
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Ultimate Factory: Building the Chevrolet Corvette Z06

by Keith Cornett on November 27, 2007

The National Geographic Channel is kicking off their second season of Ultimate Factories on Thursday night with an in-depth look at the manufacture and assembly of Chevrolet’s Corvette Z06. The one hour show gives viewers an unprecedented look at not only the processes of production, but focuses on the people behind the scenes that bring our favorite car to life. The host of the show is Kevin Moore, who gets the awesome responsibility of going beyond the visitor’s line and doing the Corvette production jobs we wish we could try once, like assembling by hand the Z06′s LS7 engine at the Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan or starting the Corvette for the first time and taking it through the quality control tests. Here is a promo of what you can expect to see on Ultimate Factories: Corvette

Ultimate Factories: Corvette will air on Thursday, November 29th at 10:00 PM EST. The show will reair on Friday, November 30th at 1:00 AM EST and Saturday, December 1st at 2:00 PM EST.
Source:
National Geographic Channel via GM FYI Blog Related:
AutoBlog Tours The Corvette Assembly Plant Technorati Tags:
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October 2007 Corvette Sales

by Keith Cornett on November 8, 2007

Corvette Sales declined significantly in month to month sales according to the latest General Motors monthly sales figures. October 2007 totaled 2,484 compared to September 2007 sales of 2,837. As the UAW strike affected production in late September, this monthly decline is almost directly attributable to the two day walkout. As for Calendar year sales, it looks like we are closing in on around 35,000 Corvettes produced for the year, which has been roughly the average yearly production of Corvettes over the last decade.

Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%

Source:
GM.com Related:
September 2007 Corvette Sales Technorati Tags:
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ZR-What? Corvette C6RS coming April 2008

by Keith Cornett on November 5, 2007

Pratt & Miller's Corvette C6RSPratt & Miller wants you to forget all about the ZR-1, the 650 hp supercharged Uber-Vette due sometime next year. The big hype over the last view days has been reverberating from SEMA with the revelation that the famed race car builders will be producing an ultra limited number of Corvette C6RS, the 8.2 liter E85 powered Corvette with an exterior inspired by Corvette Racing’s C6.Rs. Only 25 Corvette C6RS are planned with deliveries beginning April 2008, however the entry fee into this unique club is stiff: $185,000 plus a C6 donor car. The Corvette C6RS is unique in so many ways and the E85 angle must drive environmentalists crazy. Yet, for the cost of two new ZR-1 Corvettes, is the Corvette C6RS worth the price? As someone pointed out. You’re essentially buying into the association with Pratt & Miller more than the car itself so if you can pony up the $200 large for an ultra cool C6RS, make sure you do it right by providing a velocity yellow donar car and then slapping a number #4 (or #64) on its side and painting Jake on the B-Piller when its complete. With Chevrolet offering what will essentially by four models next year: coupe, convertible, Z06 and ZR1, the tuners in the Corvette enthusiast market will need to push their designs to a new level if they want to succeed in their niche. Despite the costs of ownership, Pratt & Miller has created a winner with its 600 horsepower E85 powerplant and race-inspired carbon fiber panels.
Source:
PrattMillerC6RS.com Related:
Video: Jay Leno’s E85 C6RS Corvette Reveal
Green Gets Mean: The Skinny on Jay Leno’s E85 Corvette C6RS Technorati Tags:
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V7 Twin Turbo Corvette Concept Makes SEMA Splash

by Keith Cornett on November 1, 2007

V7 Twin Turbo Corvette Concept Makes SEMA Splash

For months we’ve been watching the progress on American Supercars 1963 split window inspired Mid-engine Corvette Concept called the V7 Twin Turbo and finally the car was ready for its introduction at SEMA. The concept is an engineering marvel, boasting an LS1 with twin turbos in a mid-engine layout. On the dyno, the V7 churned out 1,067 horsepower and 980 pounds of tourque.

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LeftLaneNews Details GM’s LS Engine Plans

by Keith Cornett on October 31, 2007

Leftlanenews.com did a query of their sources at GM to provide a detailed look of future plans for GM’s LS engines. For our purposes, we’ll cover the three that have implications for Corvette: The LS7, LS8 and LS9. The LS7
The LS7 is a naturally aspirated 7.0 liter motor and is the current top of the line performance engine for GM, appearing exclusively in the Corvette Z06. It is hand built at GM’s Wixom Performance Center, and therefore very expensive to make. The LS7′s days are numbered according to Leftlanenews sources, ceasing production sometime during late 2009 or mid-2010. Previous rumors of the Cadillac CTS-V getting the LS7 appear to be false. Instead, the performance Cadillac sedan will get the new LSA motor next year with the Corvette Z06 upgrading to the supercharged small block LS8 in 2010. The LS8
The LS8 is a 6.2 liter smallblock V8 with a supercharger. This motor will be dropped into the top-end Zeta platform cars with the Camaro Z28 being the most likely candidate. Initial specs have it at 475-500 horsepower with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. As mentioned above, the Corvette Z06 will receive this power plant in 2010 with a possibility of an uptuned version to ensure Corvette’s horsepower superiority over the Zeta cars. The last thing a Corvette owner who plunks down $75K for a Z06 is going to want to hear is that they bought the Corvette with the Camaro engine. The LS9
So much has already been written about the LS9 that is seems like it’s already in production and out on the streets. Another 6.2 liter smallblock V8 with a supercharger, it has an integrated intercooler on the intake manifold. Estimated horsepower is speculated to be 650 hp with 700 hp in reach. The ZR-1 may also feature an optional automatic with paddle shifters. Earlier this year it was said that the LS9 would come only equipped as an automatic, but the run by the ZR-1 with an LS9 coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission at Laguna Seca earlier this month quashed that rumor. The LS9 will be hand built starting in July 2008 at Wixom Performance Center alongside the LS7 as no more than 2,000 units are expected per year.
Source:
Leftlanenews.com Related:
PM’s Jim Dunne Debunks Corvette SS Rumors
2009 Caddy CTS-V Getting 600hp Blue Devil Corvette Engine? Technorati Tags:
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Corvette: The Official Sports Car of Kentucky

by Keith Cornett on October 10, 2007

Kentucky State Representative C.B. Embry (R) filed a bill for the upcoming Kentucky General Assembly that would officially designate Corvette as the states official sports car. The bill would server to honor General Motors “For locating the [Bowling Green Assembly] facility with us. They have over 900 jobs there that pay very well” said the Representative. The bill doesn’t have any co-sponsors yet, but Embry expects broad support for the bill when the legislature convenes in January. The bill shies from naming the Corvette as “Official Car” due to several other assembly plants located in the state that make the Ford Explorer, Ford F-Series Super Duty Trucks and the Toyota Camry. Embry concludes that “there would be a controversy to name it as the official state vehicle.”
Source:
Louisville Courier-Journal Related:
Corvette Assembly Plant Celebrates 25th Anniversary Technorati Tags:
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C7 Corvette to get All Wheel Drive System?

by Keith Cornett on October 3, 2007

Since the GM-UAW agreement became available last week, tons of information usually kept close to the chest has been laid out for all to see and it seems as though a new nugget of information relating to the C7 Corvette is revealed every day. Earlier this week we read about plans to move the Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant sometime after 2011. Yesterday we learned that the C7 Corvette could be offered with a dual-clutch transmission and today’s news? All Wheel Drive!

GM and Sweden’s Haldex already have a performance AWD system dubbed XWD that debuted on the Saab 9-3. The AWD system features an electronic differential and can send up to 85% of torque to an individual wheel to prevent slippage, whether it’s from a fast corner or when trying to put power to the ground.

Various accounts state that engineers have been seen testing a GM prototype with a very wide rear track, which is thought to be a test mule for the next generation Corvette.

We are still five years away from the production of the C7 Corvette and I am already dizzy trying to keep up with the details. If all these rumors are correct, in 2012 you’ll be looking at a kappa-based mid-engine Corvette with all wheel drive and some fancy Shmancy dual-clutch transmission.

Yep, that sounds like a Corvette to me…

UPDATE:

Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know what a dual clutch transmission is:

A twin-clutch gearbox or dual clutch transmission (DCT) is a semi-automatic transmission with separate clutches for odd and even gears. The outer clutch drives the odd numbered gears and reverse, while the inner clutch drives the even numbered gears. Shifts can be accomplished without interrupting power, by applying the engine’s torque to one clutch just as the engine’s torque is being disconnected from the other clutch. Since the synchronizers that select an odd gear can be moved while driving the car in an even gear, and vice versa, DCT’s have been configured which shift faster than Formula One cars and other single-clutch AMT’s (automated-manual transmissions, a.k.a. single-clutch semi-automatics); the shift can also be made smoother and more suitable for street-driving than a single-clutch AMT is capable of.


Source:
MotorAuthority.com

Related:
Late Night Speculation: C7 Corvette Moving to Kappa Platform?