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Rumors & Innuendo

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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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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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?

A Kappa-Platform Corvette?

Yet another tip from my new friend George led me over to Automotive News where a preview of an article that’s related to the recent GM-UAW agreement and the now famous summary outlining the distribution of future GM products states the following:

Two GM plants are left without long-term products
Orion Township, Mich., and Wilmington, Del., will wait
General Motors’ Orion Township, Mich., plant and its assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., did not have new vehicles designated for them as part of broad job guarantees in GM’s tentative new contract with the UAW. Wilmington does not have replacements for the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Opel GT roadsters after 2011. The contract says the next generation of Solstice and Sky will be built at Bowling Green, Ky.

Whoa, Kappa designated platforms will be moving to Bowling Green AFTER 2011? And the C7 Corvette is now slated to be introduced in 2012. And Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tom Wallace is also the Vehicle Line Chief for GM Performance Cars, which in addition to the Corvette and Cadillac XLR includes the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and the Opel GT.

Do you see where I am going with this?

A year ago this month, a bomb was dropped by CorvetteConti.com who wrote about an inside source saying there was a possibility of a Kappa-based vehicle wearing a Corvette badge and sporting a V6. The enthusiast community cried NOOOOOO while Zora rolled over in his grave (I know his ashes are in a urn at the NCM, but that visual doesn’t work here).

But let’s drop the V6 aspect of that story for a minute and concentrate on the core concept: a Kappa-based Corvette. Sure we know economies of scale and the dollars saved when the brands share a platform. Motor Trend even mentions the Kappa C7 Corvette possibility in their Nov 2007 issue. We also know that the Kappa can handle a big V8, as Mallet proved by dropping an LS2 into the Solstice. The downside though is that one kappa looks like the others: The Opel GT looks like a Saturn Sky, which looks like a Pontiac Solstice. Imagine driving down the road, seeing a familiar looking car and throwing out a Corvette Wave, only to find out it wasn’t a Corvette at all. Remember the front view of the Fiero anyone?

Of course this is all just late night speculation on my part. I don’t have an account to Automotive News (help anyone?) so the complete story could be just the opposite. For all I know it could say that the Kappa platform vehicles are going to be sharing the Corvette platform in 2012. But I don’t even think “Maximum” Bob Lutz could sell that story…


Source:
Automotive News
CorvetteConti.com

Related:
A V6 Corvette? Hell No Chevy!!!

 

Corvette SS Spy Photo by Jim DunneThe GM Source’s Josh Oliver says the first 2009 Corvette ZR-1 will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Actually, that’s already been speculated, but Josh takes the rumor a step forward by reporting that days after its NAIAS unveiling, the new supercharged 650 hp Corvette ZR-1 will be off to Scottsdale to be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event sometime between January 12-20th.

Should such an event come to pass, the amount of buzz generated by the General would be huge, first with the bounce from the Detroit auto show and then placing the car in the middle of all those car-crazy collectors in Scottsdale with cameras from Speed TV capturing the moment. of course, no word from GM on whether or not this will happen officially or if this is just irresponsible speculation.


Source:
CorvetteZR1Forum.com via Jalopnik.com

Related:
Second Video of Corvette ZR-1 Surfaces

 

New King of the Hill: Corvette Blue Devil/SS is now ZR1

by Keith Cornett on September 6, 2007

Motor Trend is the latest to suggest the new supercharged 650 hp Corvette will have a name that looks to the past: ZR1, the King of the Hill, will be resurrected for the Blue Devil/SS Corvette currently being developed in anticipation of next year’s introduction. I like the name and it works for me, but don’t believe for a second that this is a done deal yet. Remember those previous monikers: Z07, Stingray, SS and now ZR1. There’s a couple good names in that list and while my vote would most decidedly go to Stingray, I wouldn’t be surprised if its none of them. Motor Trend also reports that the Blue Devil/SS/ZR1 will be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2008.
Source:
Motor Trend Related:
The Blue Devil’s New Name – The Z07 Corvette
Blue Devil Corvette to be Named SS
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New Corvette SS Spy Photos Show Design Refinement

by Keith Cornett on August 29, 2007

Just a week ago I was lamenting about the lack of Blue Devil/SS Corvette news and made the observation that this was probably due to Chevrolet making changes based on their previous road testing. Low and behold Popular Mechanics caught up with the Velocity Yellow Corvette Blue Devil/SS and points out some of the changes they have seen on this latest incarnation that are different from previous mules.

Check out the hood bulge and carbon fiber roof Rear spoiler creates downforce at high speeds
 
With that hood, there's plenty of space for supercharger New wheel design with Michelin tires
These biggest change appears to be a bulge in hood that is much more pronounced than on previous versions. It’s always hard to tell with the black covering GM uses to hide, but on this yellow SS mule, the bulge is definitely larger than before. It also looks like GM is testing a carbon fiber roof. While harder to spot on previous spy photos, these new photos again show a black roof, not painted or tinted as a production Corvette would have. Going to a carbon fiber roof would be yet another way that Corvette engineers are shaving pounds off the SS. Other Changes include: A rear spoiler on the back is now extended across the back of rear. This is for added downforce at high speeds. Michelin tires are on the Corvette for the first time as GM has reportedly reopened the bidding between Michelin and Goodyear for the Blue Devil/SS contract. Mudflaps extend to the fenders to cover the width of these Michelin tires. The Wheel takes the traditional 5 spoke “star” in a split design and adds two more between each of the five points. Popular Mechanics surmises that these are actually a weight saving move that allows for lighter materials and more reinforcement.
Source:
PopularMechanics.com
Related:
See our new section dedicated to Corvette Blue Devil/SS News Technorati Tags:
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