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…
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.
Late Night Speculation: C7 Corvette Moving to Kappa Platform?
Those of you who are knowledgeable in Corvette trivia know that the name for Corvette came from Chevrolet’s Chief photographer Myron “Scottie” Scott, who turned a dictionary to the letter C and found the name of “a speedy pursuit ship in the British Navy”. With a fresh licensing deal from General Motors, Malibu Boats will be helping Corvette return to her roots by building the new Corvette Limited Edition Sport-V, a water sports boat based on the design of the 2008 Corvette C6.
This isn’t the first time Malibu Boats has produced a Corvette for General Motors. In the 1990′s Malibu produced boats with styling cues from both the C4 and C5 Corvette. Now, the 3rd generation Corvette Sport-V will be available in both Coupe and Z06 editions. The Z06 package includes the 512 horsepower 7.0 liter LS7 and features Z06 emblems and trailer wheels.
Previous versions of the Malibu Corvette featured a Corvette styled hood, an instrument panel styled like a Corvette dash and a bucket-seat interior trimmed in the Corvette pattern. Actual Corvette emblems are strategically placed inside and out, while openings for the bilge vents have been integrated into the transom and styled like Corvette taillights. Even the dual exhausts carry Corvette-style extended chrome tips, while the matching trailer flashes four frenched taillights and genuine Corvette alloy wheels with Z-rated Goodyear tires.
The new Corvette Limited Edition Sport-V will be unveiled at the Malibu Boats Dealer meeting in November and should be in showrooms this winter. Based on previous sales of the C4 and C5 Malibu boats, these limited production boats won’t be available for long.
Doran Racing has entered their Maserati MC12 in the GT1 class for this weekendâ€™s running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. This is their second race this year, after coming in third at Road America in early August. Drivers for the MC12 are Fredy Lienhard, Didier Theys and Andrea Bertolini.
This will be just the third race this season where the Corvette Racing team has had competition in the GT1 class. An Aston Martin DBR9 fielded by a privateer battled Corvette at Sebring back in March, but it just wasn’t strong enough to give the two C6.R’s a run for the top spot on the podium.
Unfortunately it is looking more and more likely that this will be the final year for the GT1 Corvettes. The team has been a victim of their own success in the American Le Mans series and unless they get an announcement from Prodrive’s Aston Martin or another serious contender whose committed to racing a complete season, this could be the end of the line. Pratt and Miller, builders of the Corvette C6.Rs for the Corvette Racing team are busy building a P1 prototype. Talk about moving down to GT2 appears to have waned as well as my favorite idea of taking it to the European FIA-GT circuit where there is no shortage of challengers in the GT1 class.
Before future plans are made through, Corvette Racing still has two ALMS races to finish. After this weekend’s 10 hour/1,000 mile Petit Le Mans, the season wraps up at Monterey on October 20th.
In other Corvette Racing news, the field has been narrowed and voting is underway for the “From the Fans” award, considered to be one of the most coveted honors of the ALMS. Corvette Racing’s Program Manager Doug Fehan and Team Manager Gary Pratt are among the five finalists. Word from Bad Boy Vettes is that Acura is stuffing the ballot box, so click here to vote for either Doug or Gary for the From the Fans Award.
And speaking of Ron Fellows (nice segue, huh?), the Most Popular Driver award is again up for grabs and what a send-off it would be for Ron Fellows should he win it for the fourth year straight. Click here to vote for the ALMS Most Popular Driver award. Ron will be making his final start this weekend as a co-driver in the #3 Corvette C6.R sporting a pink helmet that will be auctioned off this Thursday October 4th to support breast cancer awareness. If you are interested in bidding on the custom helmet visit the bid page for the 2007 Le Petit Elegance silent bid page.
The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, will start at 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 6. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race will be televised live on SPEED Channel from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6:30 to 10 p.m. ET.
Corvette Racing’s ALMS Future
Depends on Aston Martin
Petit Le Mans |
Road Atlanta |
Ron Fellows |
We are about 100 days out from January’s Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona and details are beginning to emerge about some of the “talent” that will be hitting the auction block. Corvettes are always well represented and that should remain the case despite plans to cut back the number of vehicles from around 1,200 to 1,000.
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Demand for the Chevrolet Corvette remains constant and is basically on par with last month’s sales figures according to General Motors. In September 2007, Chevrolet delivered 2,837 Corvettes which is just 40 shy from what was delivered in August. Year to year September sales were off by 3.5% and for the 2007 calendar year, sales are 25,849.
It is fairly apparent as we get closer to the end of this calendar year that the 2007 model production numbers will not be equaled, but given that the 2007 MY was the highest production Corvette since 1984, it shouldn’t be a cause to be concerned about.
August 2007 Corvette Sales
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…
A V6 Corvette? Hell No Chevy!!!
During the negotiations last week between General Motors and the United Auto Workers, the main sticking point which resulted in the 2 day walkout according to various press accounts was job security. The UAW was looking for assurances that jobs wouldn’t be sent abroad. A glimpse into the tentative agreement that GM and the United Auto Workers signed which ended the walkout also provides details about the GM lineup, the factories that will produce them as well as future target dates for production.
The summary of product commitments included in the agreement shows the C7 Corvette and the Cadillac XLR as arriving in 2012, making them products of the 2013 model year lineup.
We’ve already heard that GM has greenlighted the C7. In an interview earlier this year, Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tom Wallace suggested the C7 Corvette could come as early as 2010, while a google search shows GM’s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is all over the place with various target dates for the C7. Even future GM product watcher Ted Krygier’s website has the C7 (codename GMX711) being introduced during the summer of 2010.
The key point I’m making with these observations is that its important for the faithul not to get caught up with talk of “delays” as target production dates are simply “targets”. The good news is that the C7 is coming and will be here quicker than you think. If you have ever read about the development of the C5 corvette in James Schefter’s All Corvettes Are Red, you get a sense of the major undertaking for producing any new car, and then double or triple that when the new car is the Corvette.
Thanks for the tip, George!
Autoextremist: GM May Greenlight Mid-Engine C7 Corvette
The 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.
CorvetteZR1Forum.com via Jalopnik.com
Second Video of Corvette ZR-1 Surfaces
Our friends at Digital Corvettes have released Episode 10 of Vette Dogs, which is the final chapter of what is being called Season 1. The storyline for the inaugural season follows Patrick Gramm and fellow DC member Steve Hardy and as they took on the Cannonball One Lap of America. As in the previous episodes, the production values are high and the scenes are filled with eye candy for those of us who love Corvettes.
Based on comments from Patrick on the DC forums, it sounds as though a Season 2 is in the works. We can only hope it comes sooner rather than later as we looked forward to the (nearly) weekly releases of each episode at VetteDogs.com
Vette Dogs: Oklahoma’s Hallett Motor Racing Circuit
A homeowner in Hiawatha, Iowa heard a loud crash early Thursday morning and upon investigating, found a yellow C5 Corvette in their house. The car crashed through the wall of the split level home before coming to rest fully in the basement.
The driver, 52 year old Lee Francis Brown was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving.
Amazingly, the Corvette appears not to have been seriously damaged considering it crashed through a wall of a home.
Brakes Fail, Split-Window Corvette Lands on Wall