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Rumors & Innuendo

Motor Trend C7 Corvette Rendering

Motor Trend’s Mike Conner is reporting that a mid-engine design for the next generation Corvette is out. Unfortunately, he also mentions the C7 Corvette is on hold and unlikely to launch earlier than 2014.

Mid-Engine Corvette supporters, including GM’s Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz, believe they can achieve better fuel economy utilizing gas-saving cylinder shutoff with an LS3 V8 mounted behind the driver as its hard to deactivate cylinders based on the current front engine/rear transaxle setup without adding a clutch to deactivate the driveshaft.

Detractors counter that the extra weight that comes with a mid-engine layout and its heavy rear cowl would offset any fuel-economy savings of cylinder shutoff.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on your outlook of a mid-engine Corvette) the accountants appear to be having the final say as the funding for a complete ground up redesign of the Corvette is just unavailable during this time of GM’s fiscal difficulties.

With all that being said, MT says don’t count out Tom Wallace and his team considering 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 for the base C7 Corvette.

Sources:
Motor Trend

Related:
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon
Late Night Speculation: C7 Corvette Moving to Kappa Platform?

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Transformers Corvette Concept Revealed as Sideswipe

by Keith Cornett on September 25, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept on Set of Transformers

Since the mysterious Corvette Centennial Design Concept was spotted on the set of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, there has been much speculation about the identity that the car would portray when in Robot mode. At a recent Hasbro Licensing summit in Malaysia it was revealed that the Corvette was in fact Sideswipe.

Producer Michael Bay has had to jump through some hoops to appease the Transformers fan base (we know all about rabid fan bases) because GM has an exclusive agreement to provide the vehicles for the movies. In the original cartoon, Sideswipe was one of original crew members of the ARK, although he was a red Lamborghini when in auto-mode.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept
Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

I’m the first to admit that I’m not really up on Transformers trivia. I’d rather have a hunk a junk that can make the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs any day than a car that transforms into a robot. But I digress. I’m just still trying to understand that if you’re a robot hiding on earth, why pick a Corvette Concept car as your secret identity?


Source:
Seibertron

Related:
Transformers Mystery Car Revealed as Corvette Centennial Design Concept
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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Corvette Centennial Design Concept: Lutz Comments

by Keith Cornett on September 4, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept

As another set of high quality photos featuring the Corvette Centennial Design Concept make their way to our friends over at Jalopnik, we finally get a comment from GM’s Bob Lutz regarding the significance of the concept in relation to the next generation C7 Corvette.

Since the first photos surfaced earlier this year of the Centennial parked behind a car hauler on the Transformers movie back staging area, the Concept has fueled rumor and speculation about this being a C7 Corvette prototype.

Leftlane News recently posed the production question to GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz:

Leftlane: “Is there any significance to the Chevrolet Corvette Centennial concept, aside from the role in Transformers 2?”

Mr. Lutz: “No, I would say that is in the realm of ‘pure concept.’ At this point, there’s zero intention to produce.”

Leftlane goes on to point out that Lutz said the very same thing about the Camaro beginning as “pure-concept” so anything may be possible.

The Corvette Centennial Design Concept was developed as part of GM’s 100 Year celebration. This design study integrates key design elements of previous Corvettes as well as other GM vehicles.

Once of the more fascinating elements is the stingray emblem on the rear deck behind the split window. It’s a very minor element but it gives the Corvette Centennial an attitude and a sense of identity that is sometimes lacking in design concepts. Bottom line? We think its a great starting point for the C7.

Make sure you view the entire gallery of new Corvette Centennial Design Concept photos at Jalopnik.


Sources:
Jalopnik
Leftlane News

Related:
Transformers Mystery Car Revealed as Corvette Centennial Design Concept
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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C7 Corvette Rumors: Is A Twin Turbo V6 In The Mix?

by Keith Cornett on August 26, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept

Popular Mechanics recently played the guessing game on the 2012 C7 Corvette and since we’re all about Corvettes here (hence the name – CorvetteBlogger), we decided to reprise our role of irresponsible speculators. Besides, now that the supercharged ZR1 is rolling off the assembly line, we need something new to dream about. With the changing times brought on by $4/gallon gas, we know two elements that will become the mantra for those in charge of developing the next Corvette – reduced weight and fuel efficiency. How GM gets there will be the trick.

Development for every generation of Corvette since the C4 has started out with engineer’s dreaming of a mid engine layout. And every single time its tried its ruled too expensive. As one of the hallmarks of the C7 program will be weight reduction, a mid engine Corvette will not be in the cards for the C7. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics tells Popular Mechanics “The mid-engine Corvette is simply too expensive. It would need costly new tooling and offers little weight savings because it requires an extra, metal-intensive firewall.” So count on the next Corvette being like the first Corvette – front engined and rear wheel drive.

So what will go in that engine compartment? GM’s recently foray into supercharged engines could mean a smaller V8 with displacement returning back around 5.7 liters instead of the 6.2 liter and 7.0 liters we see on the C6 Corvette. But superchargers, turbo charging and variable valve timing will still make the smaller V8′s much more powerful than their predecessors.

Can a Corvette be a Corvette without a V8? Another bold idea being floated is a twin-turbo version of the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 that’s currently in the Cadillac CTS. That engine could easily pump out 400 hp, just 36 less than today’s LS3 V8. Drop that engine into a Corvette that weighs several hundred pounds less than today’s C6 and you’ll have something moves.

And speaking of weight, the new C7 Corvette will have to be several hundred pounds lighter to maintain that all important performance to weight ratio. The Corvette Z06 is already considered relatively light at 3200 pounds and technology exists to cut this figure even more. Katech recently announced that their ClubSport Z06 in its ultimate performance configuration has a weight of 2825 lbs, so we know its doable.

We could see the next generation Corvette make more extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum, especially as these materials mature and higher production levels can be achieved. The hydroformed steel frame found on the Coupe and Convertible models could be dumped altogether in favor of the aluminum frame used on the Z06 and ZR1 models. Titanium and Magnesium are two other pound saving materials that have found their way onto Corvettes in limited production but the cost factor for these metals is higher so use may still be limited to wheels and exhaust.

Popular Mechanics also believes that despite the fuel savings that could be gained from Corvette moving to a dual clutch gearbox, one with seven gears and a wide ratio spread, the development dollars for such a project, estimated at half a billion dollars, has already been shifted to other more pressing projects like the Chevy Volt. We’ll have to wait and see if this is the case as that UAW agreement that ended the strike last fall calls for such a transmission to be built.

And finally, the next Corvette will be drawn by the same talented designers who’ve been on a roll lately with efforts including the Cadillac CTS, Pontiac’s Solstice Coupe and the new Chevrolet Camaro. The Corvette Centennial Design Concept that will make its movie debut in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may provide some insight to the limits that GM’s designers are willing to push for the 2012 Corvette C7.


Source:
Popular Mechanics

Related:
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon
GM-UAW Deal: C7 Corvette Planned for 2012

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Corvette Centennial Design Concept

Jalopnik got a tip from “the Auto Insider” about the corvette concept car spotted this summer during the filming of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s been identified as GM’s Corvette Centennial Design Concept. So it is a Corvette Concept car, just not the C7 Corvette Concept as some have been speculating.

As the name suggests, the Corvette Centennial Design Concept was developed as part of GM’s 100 Year celebration. This design study integrates key design elements of previous Corvettes as well as other GM vehicles, namely the Camaro.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept
Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

As far as the design of the C7 Corvette, we think the designers should use this Corvette Centennial study as their starting point. It would need to be refined so its mostly acceptable to the masses and enthusiasts, but still keeping the sharp design aspects that make you stand back in awe. Can you imagine this thing in black? We should be seeing more of this car early next year before the opening of the Transformers.

Click over to Jalopnik to read more and see the exclusive photo of the full sized clay model.


Source:
Jalopnik

Related:
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

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Is Chevy Preparing to Sell Corvettes in China?

by Keith Cornett on July 21, 2008

Corvettes for sale in China?

This black C6 Corvette was recently spotted outside China’s National Department for Automotive Quality, the agency that reviews automobiles and decides whether or not they will be allow for sale in the People’s Republic. With China’s booming economy and burgeoning middle class, not to mention the fact that China will at some point become the world’s single largest market for automobiles, establishing a foothold for America’s iconic sports car only makes good business sense for GM.

One of the hurdles that Corvette will have to overcome is that Chevrolet is knows as a bargain brand in China much like Daewoo is in the US. GM sells the Corvette as a standalone brand or paired with Cadillac and Hummer in much of the world so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

I’m not too up on my Chinese automotive trivia, but are their roads (and cars) right hand drive or left? If you know, please leave a comment.


Source:
ChinaCarTimes.com via Jalopnik

Related:
Japan’s Special Edition Corvette: The Corvette S-Limited Technorati Tags:
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Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed

by Keith Cornett on July 17, 2008

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

I was skeptical at first about the photos that surfaced last month from the filming of the Transformers 2 movie showing what was reported as a Corvette concept. But some intrepid photographer was to get to the automotive staging area on the set of the sequel currently being filmed on Edwards Air Force Base and snapped a few photos including this one showing not just one Corvette Concept, but two.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

The lines on this Concept do scream Corvette with what appears to be a highly evolved coke-bottle design and a split rear window. The chopped top and wrap around windshield (first appearing on the ’53 Corvette) are so cool and the massive tires look to be able to supply plenty of traction. Could this be a preview of the C7? Let’s hope!

As GM is supplying many of the vehicles for the movie including the Chevrolet Beat, Trax and the now familiar next-generation Camaro, we wonder if this is an actual C7 style exercise, a tuner rebody or the product of a famous movie car customizing shop. GM has supplied two concepts to Michael Bay previously, the Camaro for the first Transformers movie and a Cadillac Cien for the cinematic thriller The Island, (LOL, cinematic thriller…) so we’re not off base for making the suggestion.

The sequel, officially titled as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is sure to be hit when it makes it to the big screen next year. Total gross of the first Transformers movie was $319 Million in the US and $708 Million worldwide. GM’s product placement of concepts into movies allows the automaker feedback about their designs as well as gives the base a chance to warm up to any redesign of the iconic American sports car.


Source:
Jalopnik

Related:
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon

 

The 2009 Corvette ZR1

Dealers, do you know where your 2009 Corvette ZR1 allocation letters are? We heard the letters were promised in “early May” and being so close to the date that the system will start accepting orders for the 2009 models, it’s unusual that they haven’t shown up yet. We already know that yearly production will be 2,000 units according to Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, so what’s the holdup in letting dealers know their preliminary allocation numbers? It could very have something to do with pending legislation in Florida that would cause a ripple effect across the country for not only allocations of the Corvette ZR1 but the Z06 as well.

On May 1st, the Florida Legislature approved a bill pertaining to Motor Vehicle Dealers and their relationship with the licensees (ie manufactures) and sent it to the desk of Governor Charlie Crist for his signature. The 17 page bill, titled “CS for SB 2582” contains language that prohibits certain actions that licensees can take against a dealer including coercion to improve or relocate facilities or punishing dealers for selling motor vehicles knowingly to customers who intend to export them.

However, there are two sections of this bill that deal with fairness of allocations. It is specifically these two clauses that could effect the allocation of a limited production car like the 2009 Corvette ZR1. The worst case scenario is that no Florida Chevrolet dealers will receive the ZR1 because if GM makes one available to any dealer in Florida, than technically it would have to make one available to all dealers in the state, which is what it seems the bill requires.

The two clauses in “CS for SB 2582″ dealing with allocations are below with the relevant passages highlighted:

(18) The applicant or licensee has established a system of motor vehicle allocation or distribution or has implemented a system of allocation or distribution of motor vehicles to one or more of its franchised motor vehicle dealers which reduces or alters allocations or supplies of new motor vehicles to the dealer to achieve, directly or indirectly, a purpose that is prohibited by State Statute 320.60-320.70, or which otherwise is unfair, inequitable, unreasonably discriminatory, or not supportable by reason and good cause after considering the equities of the affected motor vehicles dealer or dealers. An applicant or licensee shall maintain for 3 years records that describe its methods or formula of allocation and distribution of its motor vehicles and records of its actual allocation and distribution of motor vehicles to its motor vehicle dealers in this state. As used in this subsection, “unfair” includes, without limitation, the refusal or failure to offer to any dealer an equitable supply of new vehicles under its franchise, by model, mix, or colors as the licensee offers or allocates to its other same line-make dealers in the state.

(22) The applicant or licensee has refused to deliver, in reasonable quantities and within a reasonable time, to any duly licensed motor vehicle dealer who has an agreement with such applicant or licensee for the retail sale of new motor vehicles and parts for motor vehicles sold or distributed by the applicant or licensee, any such motor vehicles or parts as are covered by such agreement. Such refusal includes the failure to offer to its same line-make franchised motor vehicle dealers all models manufactured for that line-make, or requiring a dealer to pay any extra fee, require a dealer to execute a separate franchise agreement, purchase unreasonable advertising displays or other materials, or relocate, expand, improve, remodel, renovate, or recondition, or alter the dealer’s existing facilities, or provide exclusive facilities as a prerequisite to receiving a model or series of vehicles. However, the failure to deliver any motor vehicle or part will not be considered a violation of this section if the failure is due to an act of God, work stoppage, or delay due to a strike or labor difficulty, a freight embargo, product shortage, or other cause over which the applicant or licensee has no control. An applicant or licensee may impose reasonable requirements on the motor vehicle dealer, other than the items listed above, including, but not limited to, the purchase of special tools required to properly service a motor vehicle and the undertaking of sales person or service person training related to the motor vehicle.

As the Corvette ZR1 is considered its own model, any dealer not allocated a ZR1 could technically invoke these clauses and force a claim against GM for violations. While the clauses would also apply to the Corvette Z06 because its also considered a “model”, our understanding of the bill is that special editions like the Indy 500 Pace Car replicas would be exempt as they are technically an option on a convertible or coupe, and not considered its own “model”.

It’s easy to see the dilemma that GM faces. General Motors has a mathematical formula for which of the 4,000+ Chevrolet dealers that would be able to sell the 2,000 Corvette ZR1s (not taking into consideration that some of that number is planned for export) and if this legislation is passed, GM may be forced to exclude the Sunshine state altogether from its ZR1 allocations unless they want to offer one to every Florida-based dealer first. As you can see, this decision could cause a ripple across the US with thousands of dollars of profit per ZR1 at stake.

We’ll be watching MyFlorida.com for announcement on whether this bill will be signed or vetoed.


Related:
The Devil in Red: Corvette ZR1 Spied Again at Nurburgring
Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter Hosts A ZR1 Chat

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427 Corvette Z06

CorvetteConti.com is telling us a new limited edition “427″ Corvette Z06 will be unveiled Thursday by General Motors at the Chicago Auto Show. The 427 Corvette Z06 is a trim package with the following options:

  • Crystal Red Metallic (89U) Tintcoat
  • Special Dark Titanium custom leather wrapped interior trim
  • 427 logo embroidered on seat backs and floor mats
  • Hydrographic patterned center trim plate
  • Unique chrome wheels
  • Special graphics package
  • Individually signed and numbered covered armrest
  • Certificate of Authenticity

The 427 Corvette Z06 is another “signature” edition, this time featuring the penmanship of outgoing Corvette assembly plant manager Will Cooksey who retires on March 1st. GM is already set to produce 500 30th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 Pace Car replicas with Emerson Fittipaldi’s signature.

A second source claims the special chrome wheels on the 427 Corvette Z06 will be one of the wheel options on 2009 Corvettes. We’ll have more details once GM makes the announcement.


Source:
CorvetteConti.com

Related:
Two Unique Corvettes to Pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500

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As I discussed in Saturday’s video blog post, there is a steering wheel on the 2009 Corvette ZR1 that is not on any of the 2008 Corvettes. This new steering wheel has two buttons on the left side that allow the driver to view information displayed on the DIC. The top button chooses the information or moves through the screens. The bottom button with the arrow is used for selecting the menu.

These function buttons show up on several other GM vehicles including the Chevrolet Silverado, Malibu and the Saturn Sky. Below you see the 2009 Corvette ZR1′s steering wheel and a similar (albeit more advanced) steering wheel of the 2008 Saturn Sky.

2009 Corvette ZR1 Steering Wheel 2008 Saturn Sky Steering Wheel

We’re going to make an assumption that this new wheel will also be standard on the 2009 base and Z06 models. It seems controlling your DIC while keeping your hands on the wheel is a fairly reasonable feature and there’s not much reason why it would be offered exclusively to ZR1 buyers.

Now how about those cruise control buttons!

Thanks for the tip George!


Related:
Video: In The CorvetteBlogger.com Garage – V1.1

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