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Vettes in the News

Corvette Wheels in Short Supply

by Keith Cornett on December 22, 2005

GM has alerted dealers that production of its wheel supply has experienced significant disruptions. This is probably due to the bankruptcy filing in early December of Amcast Industrial Corp, which is one of the largest suppliers of wheels for the Corvette. Court documents from the bankruptcy filing show that while Amcast is still shipping Corvette wheels to GM, the automaker is looking to end the relationship. Here is the letter that was sent to a GM dealer as it was posted on DigitalCorvettes.com:

To: All Corvette Dealers
Date: December 15, 2005 Subject: Corvette Production Disruptions Coupe & Convertible Production
The wheel supply for Corvette has experienced significant disruption. Unfortunately, this situation has caused GM to make several adjustments affecting wheel options, production volumes and production schedules. Many orders may need to have wheel selections changed based on wheel availability. Since timing is critical, and current wheel supply is uncertain, Order Fulfillment / Distribution is unable to follow the normal process of returning orders to dealers for necessary changes. Regrettably, polished wheels will not be available from our new supplier. This will force us to change all orders scheduled to be built after 1/3/06 to Silver Painted wheels. The much anticipated Chrome wheel option will be postponed until late spring production. Any substitution of a lower cost wheel will be reflected in a reduced MSRP and invoice. Additionally, overall wheel availability may delay production dates of “In System” orders. Z06 Production
The impact to Z06 production is still undetermined as is the future availability of the polished wheel option. Some orders may need to have wheel selections changed based on wheel availability. As is the case with Coupe & Convertible, wheel availability may delay production dates of “In System” orders. Dealers will be advised of their future Z06 allocation outlook as soon as production schedules can be solidified. Summary
As orders are changed, Order Fulfillment will notify affected dealers via GM Messenger. Order Guides, GM AutoBook and Order Workbench will be changed as soon as practical to reflect the change in wheel options. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and disappointments this situation may cause you and your customer(s).
Credits: CovetteConti.com, DigitalCorvettes.com

Corvette to Pace Daytona 500

by Keith Cornett on December 16, 2005

A specially prepared Corvette Z06 will serve as the Official Pace Car of the 48th annual Daytona 500, on February 19th. It wears a unique paint scheme, including Daytona 500 logos, as well as mandated safety equipment and strobe lights. No mechanical modifications or enhancements were needed to prepare the Corvette Z06 for its on-track duty. The car will make its debut at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show in January before heading to Florida for the race.

Z06 Corvette Wins Car of the Year Award

by Keith Cornett on December 14, 2005

CorvetteBlogger.com, the Sales, News and Lifestyle blog has named the 2006 Corvette Z06 its Car of the Year. This marks the first time this award has been handed out since the founding of the blog in August 2005. “We considered several cars for this award and actually narrowed our search to three vehicles,” said Keith Cornett, Senior Editor of CorvetteBlogger.com. “The Corvette Coupe and the Corvette Convertible models were considered, But the Z06, with its heart-thumping 505 horsepower and relatively low super car price of $65,800 made the decision easy.” The Corvette Z06 marks the latest evolution of the Corvette icon. Rebuilt from the ground up, the latest Z06 features a 505 hp 7.0 liter LS7 aluminum block with an innovative Dry-Sump oil system. Massive six-piston front and four piston rear brakes can stop this beast 60 mph to 0 in 109 feet. The Corvette also features a strong, yet lightweight aluminum frame combined with a magnesium engine cradle allowing superior power-to-weight ratios. All these features add up to an unheard of MSRP of $65,800. There were only two considerations that the editors took into account during the selection process. First, the car must be manufactured by Chevrolet and second, it must be a Corvette. “Few autos have generated more excitement from enthusiasts and the automotive media than the Corvette Z06. We feel the selection of the Corvette Z06 as our 2005 Car of the Year ads another dimension to the American Icon,” said Cornett.

Corvette SS Rumors

by Keith Cornett on December 12, 2005

Our friends over at DigitalCorvettes.com have now dedicated an entire category to the rumors swirling around a brand new Corvette model. The new model, referred to as the Corvette Super Sport, will sport an LS9 supercharged small block that will output around 600 hp. GM of course is denying the SS story the same as they did the Blue Devil rumors a few months ago. If you recall, the Blue Devil stories also featured a supercharged small block. Up until this weekend, the rumors were just that. But recently a DC forum member posted documents (with CIA like blackouts) that give credence to the LS9 Super Sport Story. These documents, which may be coming from a supplier, shows a proposed timeline of the LS9′s development as well as the replacement of the Z06′s LS7 7.0L 505 hp engine to the LS8′s 480-500 hp engine. Yes, these are rumors and like most can usually be dispelled quickly. But DigitalCorvettes.com and its members have broken the GM Shroud of Secrecy before and past rumors have come to fruition so stay tuned.

Z06 in a Class of Its Own

by Keith Cornett on December 8, 2005

Canadian automotive journalists have been raving about the new Corvette Z06 so much that when it came to handing out their annual end of the year awards, they gave the new Chevy super car it’s own category. The Automobile Journalists of Canada (AJAC) announced creation of a new award to recognize a “truly exceptional vehicle that sets new standards” and presented the inaugural “AJAC Most Coveted Vehicle” award to General Motors of Canada. Richard Russell, President of AJAC, said “Every once in a long while, a vehicle comes along that stirs the hearts and minds of automobile enthusiasts. Often, it stands apart from the pack and in some cases has no competition at all, let alone in a category created for the annual AJAC award”. While this is a new award, it is one that would be handed out only on rare occasions where cars like the Z06 truly separate themselves from their competition. Hattip: The Auto Channel.

Corvette Makes 10 Fastest List

by Keith Cornett on December 4, 2005

Think the Z06 Corvette is the fastest American-produced automobile? At a top speed of 198 mph, the Z06 is certain to be the fastest American car to be produced in mass quantity, but in terms of pure speed, there are 4 other American sportscars whose top speed ranks before it. Forbes.com has compiled a listing of the fastest American cars using the top-speed data listed by the manufacturer. The list only allows room for one nameplate so the Z06 makes list but the coupe and convertible models, which both boast a top speed of 186 mph do not make the list. Cars that make up the 10 Fastest List in order are: No. 1 SSC Ultimate Aero. Base Price: $654,500 Top Speed: 260 to 273 mph No. 2 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. Base Price: $555,000. Top Speed: 240 to 260 mph (estimated) No. 3 Evans 387 and 487 (tie) Base Prices: $175,000 (387); $170,000 (487) No. 4 Ford GT No. 4 Ford GT. Base Price: $141,245 Top Speed: 205 mph No. 5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Base Price: $65,800 Top Speed: 198 mph No. 6 Dodge Viper SRT-10. Base Price: $85,745. Top Speed: 190 mph (estimated) No. 7 Mullen M-11 with V-8. Base Price: $69,950 Top Speed: 180+ mph No. 8 Panoz Esperante GTLM. Base Price: $121,325 Top Speed: 180 mph No. 9 Chrysler 300C SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Dodge Magnum SRT8 (tie) Base Prices: $42,695 (300C), $38,095 Charger) and $37,995 (Magnum) Top Speed: 165 to 170 mph (estimated) No. 10 Cadillac CTS-V. Base Price: $51,395 Top Speed: 163 mph What Forbes.com says about the Corvette Z06:

The newest Corvette is also the fastest Corvette ever. Recently released, the Z06 has about as low a sticker price as a car with 505 hp can have. The Z06 performs like a race car or supercar, but is also a perfectly acceptable “daily driver.” Consider its fuel economy: 16/26 city/highway mpg–hardly typical for a race car.

Power and Responsibility

by Keith Cornett on November 10, 2005

Reporter Paula Simons from the Edmonton Journal details the unfortunate death of a pedestrian killed by the irresponsible actions of someone driving a Corvette. While the death is unfortunate and justice awaits for the driver, Paula takes the argument farther:

“But the crime Ricky Richardson committed didn’t begin that terrible August night when he punched the accelerator. The chain of events that led to Irene Nicholson’s death began when Richardson decided to buy a Corvette with a special super-charger that gave the already-powerful car a 500-horsepower engine.”
In the reporter’s perfect world, we would all be driving small cars with the horsepower of a lawnmower. She does concede that the pedestrian could have died had the out of control driver been in a “nice little Smart Car or Prius”. However she continues with how no one “needs” a Corvette or a Hummer or Escalade (Is she anti GM?), fashion choices to parade your wealth and power…making the driver to feel more viral and fleet and powerful. Her article finally comes back to reality as she weighs in how the Corvette driver made a bad choice and must deal with the consequences. With power comes responsibility, and that should be the lesson of this story.

American Muscle Comparison

by Keith Cornett on November 9, 2005

Finally someone put the three American muscle cars together for a little compare and contrast article and perhaps bragging rights as America’s best sports car. And while I admit that I am not the most impartial observer to this contest, I got to say Automobile Magazine’s review of the Z06 in comparison to the Dodge Viper and Ford GT is about the best I’ve read to date.

“The Corvette is just awesome. It is the lightest of our three cars by more than 300 pounds, and that shows on acceleration down the short straightaways and on braking into the tightest corners. Man, this thing is fast. And it sounds fast, too. “
The cruise starts in western Pennsylvania, but due to the remnants of Hurricane Katrina, the drivers are forced to head west to Michigan on the rain soaked highways of Ohio and Indiana:
“The Corvette leads the way. As if 505 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque in these conditions weren’t enough of a handful, we turn off all of the electronic aids. (OK, we’re a little bit crazy.) This is what we discover: The Corvette is sensational on these roads, whether we’re sliding around second-gear hairpins or blasting through fourth-gear sweepers. “
All three cars performed well on their 1200 mile journey and the reviewers themselves call them the best of the American auto industry. Although none was chosen as the best sports car, the Corvette Z06 appeared to garner the most favorable reviews of the three in this outstanding review of American Muscle. Read the entire article at Automobile Magazine and make sure you check out the video of the three cars at the track!

My Thoughts on Dave Hill

by Keith Cornett on October 30, 2005

Autoblog has a post entitled “What Dave Hill Meant to the Corvette.” I thought I’d post my two cents. Dave Hill was essential to the success of the C5 and C6 Corvettes. Nearly every major decision he made during the development of these two generations was made not only with the thought of how it would impact current and future Corvette owners, but also how it would conform to the history of this great car. Not an easy feat on either account. Corvette owners embraced him as one of their own. He attended the major Corvette shows and was always accessible to both Corvette enthusiasts and the Corvette media. On the forum sites you hear story after story about someone meeting Dave and they all say the same thing: He was always gracious and he cared about what I had to say about Corvettes. While I never had the opportunity to meet Dave, I can imagine that my experience would have been the same. In an industry that doesn’t always listen to consumers, Dave not only broke the mold, he shattered it. He will surely be missed.

Chief Engineer Hill to Retire

by Keith Cornett on October 27, 2005

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. announced today that David Hill, currently vehicle chief engineer (VCE) of the Chevrolet Corvette and vehicle line executive (VLE) of performance cars, will retire effective Jan. 1, 2006 after more than 41 years of dedicated service. Tom Wallace will replace Hill as vehicle line executive of performance cars and vehicle chief engineer of the Corvette. Additionally, he will assume responsibilities for compact rear-wheel-drive performance cars including Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. Wallace currently is VLE of small and midsize trucks. Lori Queen, currently VLE of compact cars and the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, is appointed VLE of small and midsize trucks, replacing Tom Wallace. The North America compact car team will now report to Peter Mertens, vehicle line executive of global compact cars. Mertens is currently leading the Global Compact Car Development Team located in Germany. “Dave Hill has taken the Corvette to heights that few of us can imagine. In terms of performance, refinement and value, he has truly helped to make Corvette second to none. He is a true car guy who will take his rightful place among the legends of Corvette lore,” said Bob Lutz, General Motors vice chairman, global product development. “What do you do to replace a guy like Dave? You do your best to get another one. Tom Wallace also is a car guy and racer who will make a perfect choice to lead the Corvette and Performance team. Besides, Tom was Dave’s choice too. That should tell you all you need to know,” Lutz concluded. Hill has a rich history with GM since joining Cadillac Motor Car Division in 1964. He moved through various engineering positions and was named an executive in 1979. In 1982, he was named chief engineer of the Cadillac Allante. Following the introduction of the Northstar engine in 1992 in the two seat luxury roadster, Hill assumed chief engineer responsibilities for the Cadillac Deville and Concours. Hill was named chief engineer of the Chevrolet Corvette in 1993, only the third chief engineer for the sports car in the vehicle’s 53-year history. In 1995, Hill was named vehicle line executive of performance cars and led the development of the fifth-generation Corvette and the introduction of the Cadillac XLR. Last year, Hill launched the sixth-generation Corvette followed by the introduction of the new 505 bhp Corvette Z06 for 2006. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. Wallace has been with GM since 1966 when he joined Buick Motor Division in Flint, Mich. He was named to an executive engineering position in 1980 while still with Buick and was later named to the GM Truck Group in 1995. Wallace holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Kettering University (formerly GMI), and was a Sloan Fellow, earning a master’s in business administration from Stanford University. Wallace and his team were responsible for the development and launch of Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Chevrolet SSR. Additionally, he led the highly successful launch of the Saab 9-7X and the HUMMER H3. An avid performance car enthusiast, Wallace has enjoyed competing in both amateur and professional road racing, rally car and drag racing. He started racing with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) more than 30 years ago and has raced in a variety of Sedan and GT classes with race-prepped Oldsmobile, Buick and Chevrolet models. Queen received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University (formerly GMI). She recently led the launches of some of GM’s most successful products currently in the market: Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR, Saturn ION, the Pontiac Solstice and the soon to be released Saturn Sky. Queen has been with GM since 1974 and has held numerous Engineering positions, including vehicle chief and VLE assignments for both cars and trucks.

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