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AutoBlog Tours The Corvette Assembly Plant

by Keith Cornett on May 10, 2007

Corvettes on the Assembly LineAutoBlog.com recently took its readers on a tour of the Corvette/Cadillac XLR Assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The plant has been cranking out Corvettes since 1981 and just recently celebrated it 25th anniversary. The factory itself covers 250 acres and has the equivalent of 22 football fields under the roof. Each day, the plant’s 1,200 workers produce up to 170 Corvettes and 16 Cadillac XLR’s on a single shift. It takes 36 hours to fully assemble a Corvette, and during that time, the car will travel 7 miles on the plant’s conveyor system. In the paint department alone, the body panels spend 10 hours winding their way through 2 miles on the conveyor. AutoBlog has a rare glimpse of the paint area, which requires entering a dust-free clean room. Over 50,000 people tour the Bowling Green Assembly Plant every year, and Corvette owners that select the R8C option for delivery at the National Corvette Museum that’s located across the street, get a special VIP tour that allows them to be the first to start their new Corvette. Visit AutoBlog.com to take your online tour of the assembly plant.
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Corvette Assembly Plant Celebrates 25th Anniversary Technorati Tags:
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Project Gotham Racing 4: 1963 Corvette

by Keith Cornett on May 10, 2007

Screenshots from the coming Project Gotham Racing 4 will have Corvette racing fans screaming down straight-aways and jockeying for position on the curves to get their hands on this very cool driving game. First, you’ve got love the fact that these photos are technically another round of Corvette spy photos which have been making their way around the internet. But the detail of the game just continues to amaze as these photos show.

PGR4: 1963 Corvette PGR4: 1963 Corvette PGR4: 1963 Corvette
The fourth installment will feature over 200 racetracks from 10 different locations and a bevy of cars from the 63 SWC Corvette to the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. The game is set to be released in 2008.
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Computerandvideogames.com Related
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Corvette SS Spy Photos: Return of the Shaker?

by Keith Cornett on May 9, 2007

Another batch of spy photos has surfaced and these appear to be the real deal. As GM has claimed they are wrapping up performance testing, we can only assume that attention is being turned to the exterior. While many Corvette enthusiasts are hoping for a radically different body style for the SS, these latest pictures show that the SuperVette will probably not differ too much from that of its Z06 siblings. Having said that, these photos do show that GM has something pretty cool up its sleeve.

SS Corvette Spy Photo SS Corvette Spy Photo
Earlier photos of the SS showed the hood heavily camouflaged and now we know why. We are seeing what may appear to be the return of the shaker hood. The hood shows a cutout which may or may not have a polycarbonate or lexan see-through panel. Also appearing on these photos are new side vents behind the front wheels, massive rotors and a set of five-spoke wheels. The Corvette also appears to have the same black matte roof that showed up on the recent Popular Mechanics spy photos. As for my last impression of these photos, let me just say that it is good to finally see the Devil dressed in “Blue”…
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DigitalCorvettes.com Related:
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Northern California Corvette Association Today marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of America’s first organized Corvette club. On May 9, 1957, 47 members incorporated The Northern California Corvette Association. They came together to meet other owners and find more ways to have fun with their Corvettes. As the club history page on the NCCA website tells, the club was born out of the desire for Corvette owners to join together in a mutual admiration society wrapped around their Corvettes. The club has planned several activities to celebrate the anniversary, including a Show and Shine, Black and White Ball and a two week caravan to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. Sounds like a great club to be part of if you’re in the region.
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NCCACorvettes.org Related:
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Sold on eBay: 6-Pack of Split Window Corvettes

by Keith Cornett on May 8, 2007

Collection of 6 1963 Split Window CorvettesSame old story. A guy amasses a collection of 1963 Corvette Coupes and stores them in a field for thirty frickin years. Finally he sells them all to a Corvette dealer who sells the entire lot on eBay. Despite the rambling and poor grammar in the ad, the six Corvettes sold Sunday for the winning bid of $140,000. The group of 63’s include Corvettes equipped with the following engines: Fuel Injected Original Numbers Matching
Air Conditioned Original Numbers Matching
340hp Black/Red Original Numbers Matching
300hp Silver/Red NOM
300hp Silver/Blue NOM
Wrecked body/frame The average price of $23,333 per car is in line with other recent project cars we’ve seen, considering you have at one end of the spectrum a matching numbers fuelie while at the other end you have, well, half a Corvette. And what’s up with that half-a-vette having a split window rear windshield and 1965-66 quarter panel? These cars took a lot of wear and tear while parked and getting them back is going to cost some dollars. With time and money anything can be restored.
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eBay.com Related:
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Top 5! The Cars That Defined Corvette

by Keith Cornett on May 7, 2007

Automotive enthusiasts love to compare their favorite cars to cars made by the competition and Corvette owners are no exception. We’ll put our beloved American sports car against any comer. But its not just owners that engage in this practice. Comparisons to the competition often start at the factory and often with a car that only exists on paper. In our top 5 list, we take a look at the cars that have served to make the Corvette a world class sports car. #1 – Jaguar XK120
1953 Jaguar XK120In 1952 Harley Earl was designing the first American 2-seat sports car. Sitting in the design studio while the Corvette was being drawn was the Jaguar XK120. The XK120 had the characteristics that Harley was aiming for: huge long hood, minimal two seat passenger area and a short rear deck. This same philosophy would be the basis for the Corvette for more than 50 years. #2 – Shelby Cobra
1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake In 1963 Carroll Shelby’s Cobras were cleaning up at the track. The cobra was a pure racing machine and it dominated the racing circuit in the mid-60′s. Corvette’s Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov had a plan for the Cobra and it was called the Grand Sport. While the Grand Sport project only resulted in the production of just five cars, they easily returned Corvette to the winners circle. Technology and testing from the GS program filtered down to the production Corvettes. Chevrolet’s big block 427′s replaced fuel injection and by 1967, the L88-equipped Corvette was beating Cobra on Sundays and winning in the dealer showrooms on Monday. #3 – Dodge Viper RT/10
1992 Dodge Viper RT/10In 1991 Dodge introduced the Viper and the American horsepower war was back on. The Viper was the Corvette reincarnated. Long, lean and with a massive engine, the Viper was built for performance first. The Viper debuted with a V10 rated at 400 horsepower, 25 more than the 375 hp Corvette ZR-1.Other characteristics of the Viper included side exhaust and an AC delete option (no air conditioning). Vipers would dominate the performance arena until the arrival of the C5 Z06 Corvette in 2001. #4 – Toyota Supra
1989 Toyota SupraIn the late eighties, GM was in the beginnings of the C5 project with a projected launch date of 1993. The competition at the time was mostly Japanese and the lead competitor was the Toyota Supra. Toyota threw down the challenge first, calling their late 80′s Supra Turbo a “Corvette-Killer”. As the C5 Corvette was being drawn, it was the Supra that it was benchmarked against. By the time the C5 Corvette was actually produced in 1997, the Supra’s influence had waned until about only 40 Supras per month were being imported into the US. #5 – Porsche 911 (Carrera)
2005 Porsche 911 Carrera2005 brings us the C6 Corvette and the competition has shifted from Dodge and Toyota back to European manufacturers like Porsche and BMW. During development, the C6 Corvette was measured time and again versus the Porsche 911, literally. Chief Engineer Dave Hill would talk how the C6 Corvette was shortened to roughly the same dimensions of the 911. Interestingly, the Porsche Carrera, the sixth version of the 911 was also introduced in 2005. Targeting Porsche, a car known world-wide for quality and performance at a price normally double that of the regular production Corvette was a gutsy move by the Corvette engineering team and based on the performance of the C6 Corvette Z06, the gamble was a success.
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I highly recommend you read “All Corvettes Are Red” by James Schefter and “Corvette 50 Years” by Randy Leffingwell, both available at Amazon.com
The Corvette Story Related:
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Two Corvettes Make Edmunds 2007 Most Wanted List

by Keith Cornett on May 4, 2007

Readers of Edmunds.com were surveyed on their choices for Most Wanted Vehicles for 2007 and Corvette made the list, twice. Coupes under $60,000: The Chevrolet Corvette:
Like a Saddam Hussein election, the Chevrolet Corvette won its category last year with 100 percent of the vote — there were no other entrants. A reorganizing of categories assured a more spirited contest for 2007, but the Chevrolet Corvette still ran away from the pack with a dominating 46 percent. Clearly, its combination of visceral high-speed thrills, all-American heritage and value pricing did not go unnoticed by consumers. The Porsche Cayman was a distant 2nd with 21 percent, while the all-new, redesigned BMW 3 Series coupe pulled in 18 percent. The sprightly Lotus Elise and luxurious Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class both elicited 5 percent. The BMW Z4 and M coupes came in with 4 percent. Convertibles under $60,000: The Chevrolet Corvette:
Value may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you consider the 400-hp Chevrolet Corvette, but that’s exactly what this classic roadster promises to bring to your garage. Chevy’s singular drop top offers iconic good looks and world-class performance, all for a surprisingly affordable price. It’s little wonder, then, that the Corvette was miles ahead of the competition in this race, with a staggering 50 percent of the vote. Porsche’s graceful Boxster was a mere silhouette on the horizon with a distant 2nd-place finish with 20 percent, and it was followed closely by the redesigned BMW 3 Series, now a hardtop convertible at 17 percent. The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class (9 percent) and Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class (5 percent) brought up the rear. Visit Edmunds.com to see the all the category winners.
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April 2007 Corvette Sales

by Keith Cornett on May 2, 2007

April 2007 was the best month for 2007 Corvette sales this calendar year. Customers in April took delivery of 3,227 Corvettes. For the calendar year, January though April, GM has sold 11,403 Corvettes. For comparison, April 2006 saw 3,516 Corvettes delivered and January-April 2006 had sales of 12,808. With the introduction of the 2008 Corvette, with its refreshed interior and the new higher output LS3, it will be interested to see if 2007 Corvettes sales remain steady or fall off even more from their 2006 sales figures.

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%

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GM.com Related:
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Patrick DempseyActor Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Sheperd on the hit TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”, was named the driver of the 2007 Corvette convertible Pace Car at the 91st Indianapolis 500. The worlds largest single-day spectator event is scheduled for Sunday, May 27th. While Dempsey is know for his acting work, he is no stranger to auto racing. Dempsey is a co-owner of IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 team Vision Racing. He also drives in selected sports car races for Hyper Sport Racing and off-road events.

“Most people recognize Patrick Dempsey from his on-screen endeavors,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “But among the racing community, where Chevy plays a role globally, he is known as a dedicated car and racing enthusiast. Being accustomed to high performance cars and racetracks, he’s a great candidate to drive the Pace Car, and he’ll no doubt appreciate the Corvette’s power and handling abilities.”

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Spy Photos: Little Red (SS) Corvette

by Keith Cornett on May 1, 2007

Popular Mechanics has nailed the last two spy photos of the Corvette SS, the highly anticipated supervette that will make its debut next year. The Corvette SS, formally known as the Blue Devil, Z07 and the Sting Ray, is expected to push 650 hp from a supercharged V8 and should be priced in the neighborhood of $100,000.

SS Corvette Spy Photo SS Corvette Spy Photo SS Corvette Spy Photo
 
SS Corvette Spy Photo SS Corvette Spy Photo SS Corvette Spy Photo
With these new photos, it does appear that engineers are moving onto other aspects of the development. Popular Mechanics notes the uneven construction of the roof, suggesting that this mule may have a carbon fiber prototype in place. And then there’s the wheels. The black finish makes it hard to distinguish the design, but you can bet there’s something exciting happening there as well. The rear wheels do appear to be extra large and on the 3/4 rear shot, you can see the addition of mud flaps. Lastly, the rear spoiler has been redesigned and features an ultra small third brake light.
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PopularMechanics.com Related:
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