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Vettes in the News

Corvette: The 2006 Year in Review

by Keith Cornett on December 20, 2006

This was an interesting year for Corvettes and the people that follow them. New Corvette Chief Engineer Tom Wallace took the reigns from the retiring Dave Hill. The rumored Blue Devil/SS supervette project is finally confirmed by GM and evidenced by test mules running the streets around Detroit. The 2006 Z06 Corvette was the official pace car of three major auto races while its big brother, Corvette Racing’s C6.R won their 50th race during their 50th year of racing. In between? Awards, controversy and a whole lot of fun following America’s Sports Car.
January: Tom Wallace officially takes over the Corvette’s Chief Engineer position as Dave Hill retires. Wallace is only the fourth person to hold the Chief Engineer title for Corvette. The oldest surviving Corvette, a 1953 with the serial number of #003 sold at the Barrett Jackson auction for $1 million dollars. Alan Poster gets a call from the Police. His 1968 Corvette which was stolen 37 years ago was recovered, just days before being shipped to a buyer in Sweden.
February: Jay Leno and the Z06 Corvette pace the Daytona 500. Rumors about the mysterious Blue Devil/SS project begin to swirl after comments by Ed Pepper, Chevrolet’s General Manager, appear to give the project credence.
March: GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz weighs in the Blue Devil/SS project by commenting “There will be something special for the Corvette soon.” Chevrolet implements a service bulletin for the C6 Corvettes after reports of C6 coupes’ roofs flying off. The National Corvette Museum makes its expansion program public. Corvette Racing wins at Sebring. The win celebrated Corvette’s 50th anniversary in road racing. AAA names the Z06 Corvette “The Cool Car of the Year”. The Corvette Assembly Plant builds over 4,000 Corvettes in March, the first time in 21 years that Corvette production was more than 4,000 in one month.
April: Atomic Orange, a new color for the 2007 Corvette is revealed. GM opens “The Drive” in Las Vegas which allows ordinary people a change to drive a Corvette around a high-performance loop.
May: Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tom Wallace confirms that GM will be building the Blue Devil/SS Corvette. Lance Armstrong and the Z06 Corvette pace the Indianapolis 500. Top Gear reviews the Z06 Corvette… Jeremy Clarskon is still an ass. GM issues formal recall notice for 30,000 Corvettes for the flying roof (delamination) issue. Corvette Racing finishes 1-2 in the inaugural Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston.
June: GM adds 4 Corvette and Cadillac dealerships in Ireland. AutoWeek rumor speculates that the Blue Devil/SS Corvette will be called the Sting Ray… No comment from GM. Corvette Scores Top 3 Ranking in JD Power Quality Award. Official pricing for the 2007 Corvette is announced. The Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green celebrates 25th anniversary. Gus Grissom’s 1967 Corvette listed on eBay. The former Astronaut’s Corvette had a high bid of $310,100 and was a no-sale. Corvette Racing wins the 24 Hours of LeMans. The National Corvette Museum delivers 1,000 Corvette for the year.
July: Corvette Racing takes second place at Lime Rock. Dale Earnhardt Jr’s 2005 Corvette is listed on eBay. The 2006 Model year closes out. 34,021 Corvettes were built during the model year. One rumor speculates the Blue Devil/SS Corvette will be named the Z07 while another one says the horsepower output will be in the 700 range. Neither rumor gains traction. Matthew McConaughey’s 1971 Corvette is listed on eBay. Proceeds from the sale to go to Oprah’s Angel Network. 2007 model year Corvette debuts, including the new Atomic Orange exterior color. Corvette Racing wins their 50th race at Portland. Corvette’s Assistant Engineer Tadge Juechter is elevated to the Corvette Chief Engineer position while Tom Wallace retains the Vehicle Line Engineer title. Motor Tend magazine speculates the Blue Devil/SS supervette will be called the Corvette Stingray.
August: MSRP pricing goes up across the board on Corvette, adds $3K to the price of a Z06. The Z06 Corvette paces the Brickyard 400. Corvette Ranks 2nd in JD Power Dependability Survey. Corvette Racing Finishes 1-2 at Road America.
September: Corvette Museum hosts the 5,000 new Corvette delivery as part of the R8C Museum Delivery Program. GM extends the powertrain warranty on Corvette and other GM vehicles to 5 years/100K miles. Overhaulin does a 1957 Corvette. Pro Team announces the Last Corvette will be sold at 2007′s Barrett-Jackson auction. Corvette Wins Motorist Choice Award.
October: Corvette Racing Third and Fourth at Petit LeMans. GM’s VP of Design Ed Welburn says the gold Chevy Bowtie will be appearing on the Corvette in the coming years. The first test mules of the Blue Devil/SS Corvette are photographed and published online. Corvette Wins 2 Strategic Vision Total Value Awards. The 1972 Corvette Convertible driven by Chris Tucker in the movie Rush Hour is listed on eBay. The National Corvette Museum details their expansion plans to add a library, diner and meeting areas to the existing Bowling Green facility. In the opposite direction are rumors about a V6 kappa-platform vehicle with a Corvette badge. Corvette Racing overcomes performance sanctions to sweep the ALMS Championships in the GT1 class. I finally became a member of the National Corvette Museum.
November: Consumer Digest names Corvette a “Best Buy”. Photos of a silver Blue Devil/SS test mule are posted all over the web. Corvette Wins AutoWeek Readers Choice Award. Ivan and Mary Shrodt donate $1.3 Million dollars to the Corvette Museum. Callaway Cars introduce the Callaway C16 at the LA Auto Show.
December: Kelley Blue Book unofficially names the Z06 Corvette as having the best resale value. Winding Road admits faking photos of the silver Blue Devil/SS test mule. Corvette added to Car & Driver 10 Best Cars List. Z06 Corvette names to Automobile All-Stars List.
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Irresponsible Speculation: Another Corvette Spy Photo?

by Keith Cornett on December 5, 2006

In the latest chapter of VetteGate (I sure hope we are nearing the end!) the debate that Winding Road wants you focus on is not how they mislead the public and their peers, but how this whole exercise has, according to Winding Road’s online editor Chris Paukert “opens up a valuable debate into the small but substantial economy that’s popped up around spy photography, and more honestly, artist’s renderings. Much of it is based disproportionately on speculation, and while some of that is healthy (especially when qualified as such), the issue of quality-control needs to be revisited. If that dialogue among readers, publications, and photographers is the unintended consequence of our story, that’s wonderful.” So in the spirit of said debate, I submit what appears to be a spy photo of an unknown prototype. It has the characteristic rear fascia and distinctive cue’s of a C5 Corvette. So perhaps Winding Road, with their infinite wisdom and ability to walk the high road and doing what’s best for the automotive community while looking down on the rest of us for irresponsible speculation, can please help me with my quality control. Because you know us dumb bloggers, if it says Corvette, we gotta run with it…

New Corvette Prototype?
Many of you have seen and commented about the letter I received from Winding Road asking me to remove their images from www.CorvetteBlogger.com. Here are five sites that are still posting their most valued “intellectual property”. I’ve contacted several of them and guess what? They have not been asked to remove the images: - http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2956978
- http://www.digitalcorvettes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67032
- http://web.camaross.com/forums/showthread.php?t=487840
- http://forums.streetfire.net/showthread.php?t=13038&page=1&pp=10
- http://forums.finalgear.com/showthread.php?t=15174 Tomorrow, we will definitely be moving away from this story. All that’s been said, well has. Besides, the word coming from CorvetteConti.com is that there is a Special Edition White Z06 in works that could possibly show up at January’s Detroit Auto Show. Woo Hoo!!! Stay tuned for details!!! Image: Honda-Tech.com Related:
Winding Road Fakes Corvette SS Pics – Looses All Credibility
Winding Road’s VetteGate – Hypocrisy Continues
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Winding Road’s VetteGate – Hypocrisy Continues

by Keith Cornett on December 4, 2006

My interest in this story was beginning to wane. After three days of VetteGate – the creation of a fake Blue Devil/SS test mule by Winding Road for the expressed purpose of spreading misinformation across the Internet – I found that there wasn’t really much more to say. I see those following the story have divided into two separate camps. The first is the “It’s just a joke, get over it” camp for which most people that don’t have a Corvette are in, and the second is the “Where is the journalistic integrity” camp, where I fall into. So I was all set to move on. But then I got an email today from Winding Road’s Online Editor Chris Paukert, who asked me to remove the photos and story showing the creation of the fake Blue Devil SS:

Keith, Appreciate you chiming in on the faux Blue Devil ruse, even if your opinion is obviously different from that of our publication. It’s certainly a debate worth having, and we encourage you to continue to discuss the matter in your (and any other) forum. That said, by hosting and posting our copyrighted material, you are breaking the law, and we would appreciate it if you’d remove all Winding Road material immediately. You are welcome to link to our magazine or website (or, if you prefer not to do so, that is fine as well),but screen captures of our text and images are illegal and will be treated as such. http://www.corvetteblogger.com/index.cfm/2006/12/1/Winding-Road-Fakes-Corvette-SS-Pics–Looses-All-Credibility Please let us know of your compliance within 48 hours. Thank you for your time. Best, Chris Paukert
Online Editor
So here is where I see the hypocrisy in this request, which by the way, I have honored. Winding Road created a lie that they hoped would spread across the internet and it worked. AutoWeek, MotorTrend and others all picked up on the lie as well as enthusiast sites like the forums and of course, us. Winding Road didn’t spread the lie, but because they created it, they are ultimately responsible. Now, when it comes to the truth being told and setting the record straight, they don’t want that information out there. They want to control it. A publicity stunt where the prize is measured in page views and downloads. This is why their “ruse” as they put it, has ultimately caused them more backlash then I think they expected. Here are some quotes from Chris Doane and Brenda Priddy:
Chris Doane:
If I had to guess, Autoweek, Motor Trend and The Car Connection aren’t laughing. All of these outlets published the photos of the fake car on their websites believing it to be an authentic GM prototype. It was, after all, a fairly convincing forgery. Needless to say, this obviously doesn’t make those outlets look good in the credibility department. Some of you may think these media outlets don’t have any credibility to begin with. That’s fine if you think that, but we’re talking solely about this particular incident. Brenda Priddy:
I was a bit disappointed when I heard about the “prank”. Frankly, my major concern was that our actual “spy photos” would lose their value – their creditability. I’ve already had dozens of e-mails from readers questioning our Blue Devil / Stingray photos, which are in fact actual General Motors’ prototypes.
I take the stance that had this prank been pulled by a couple of guys somewhere, well okay, very funny, you got me. For years the media tells us not to believe what we see on the Internet. Those of us who make their living online certainly know that to be true, and Winding Road should too. There is an old saying about how a bear doesn’t shit in his own cave. And that’s exactly what Winding Road did. They were the bear and we were the cave. It’s just now dawning on them they have to live in the cave too. Source: AutoBlog.com | Winding Road Disclaimer: I did not speak nor solicit the quotes from Chris Doane and Brenda Priddy directly. Therefore, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of said quotes at this time. While they did come from a respected online automotive blog, unless I get a sworn deposition that is notarized and contains verifiable DNA from both Mr. Doane and Ms. Priddy, we will not be able to stand behind these remarks as either truthful or accurate. Welcome to the new world of automotive journalism, courtesy of Winding Road.

We got duped, folks. Not just me, either. Every Corvette fan that has been following the development of the Blue Devil/SS Corvette was suckered along with all the automotive blogs and “legitimate” magazines that have followed the story. Winding Road calls the print article “Gamesmanship: The Corvette WR”. The ruse? To build a Blue Devil/SS Corvette mule in the hopes that it would be photographed and published on competitors magazines and websites. Here are the November 16th photos of the Blue Devil/SS and the accompanying story that a student named “Yonni G” just happened to be cruising near Milford and just happened to have his dad’s camera and just happen to be quick enough to squeeze off a couple frames..

Blue Devil Test Mule Blue Devil Test Mule
Blue Devil Test Mule Blue Devil Test Mule
Yonni’s Comments:
“As I was driving I saw the prototype way ahead of me on the road, and it looked like a really aggressive Corvette. Luckily I had borrowed my dad’s camera for a project at school and had it with me in the car and snapped some shots as it passed by. The car was amazing! It sounded very powerful and definitely did not seem like your everyday Corvette.
So, before I get to my comments about how Winding Road just threw its credibility out the window, here are the images from their Jan 07 print edition:

    • Charles D. Fowler, III: I stopped subsribing to both after many years, and within a year or two of even having a “feature” article accepted and published, after meeting Corvette Fever execs at Carlisle. With the merger, I...
    • Jeff McKay: I also asked a local dealer and they knew nothing about it. How do I order it myself? I think that would be faster than trying to convince them they should know about it.
    • CrystalKnight: I have always loved the 63, one of my favorite classics of all time, and I have had a many sports cars…, owned and loved the C5 even though it was heavy and underpowered, owned and loved the C6 convertible. ….I...
    • CrystalKnight: I have always loved the 63, one of my favorite classics of all time, and I have had a many sports cars…, owned and loved the C5 even though it was heavy and underpowered, owned and loved the C6 convertible. ….I...
    • tonyman262: I have an 89 C4 & an 07 C6, both white. After seeing the CUE system; the daughter may get the 07, I NEED a C7 with the CUE system. The 89 C4 stays with me. The C7 (artic white of course) could just end up being the new...
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