We all know the C8 Corvette is a big hit and the hottest car on the North American market right now, but there is a lingering, underlying narrative from ‘Vette fans that the car’s styling is bland and has little Corvette heritage. While we could argue that point, the car does have some chunky angles and is a touch dowdy in certain colors with the factory wheels.
Last week we brought you a video of famed designer Chip Foose re-styling the C8 into what he thinks is a more cohesive design. He goes on about the C8 and how it doesn’t borrow many heritage styling cues from Corvette’s storied past and ultimately is indistinguishable from all the other mid-engine cars on the market, not to mention GM’s own Fiero from almost 35 years ago.
We dig Chip’s work and loved him on ‘Overhaulin’, but we were a little concerned how badly he missed the mark with his assessment of the C8. The C8’s new layout is exactly why the car looks the way it does, and why it’s so darn good and revolutionary.
The car’s new mid-engine blueprint is very persnickety and unforgiving. A mid-engine design has a cab forward passenger compartment, a bulkhead behind the seats, a short hood and a long rear deck to accommodate the motor and cooling considerations.
These hardpoints are fixed and non-negotiable. The resulting proportions are the exact opposite of a traditional long hood, short deck, rear-wheel drive Corvette.
As long as the Corvette has an ICE engine behind the seats, this rigid blueprint will dictate the styling. Sorry Chip, but this doesn’t have anything to do with a nefarious plan headed by GM Design to throw the ‘Vette’s rabid fanbase a curveball, incompetence or other speculation. All the styling tweaks in the world won’t alter the hard points and proportions of a mid-engine car. Please make a note of it.
The proof is in the pudding here as after Foose is done with the restyle, the car’s profile changes very little. To be honest, we didn’t like his take and think the factory car looks better. I doubt his delicate front and rear styling treatments would pass crash standards as well.
So where do we go from here? We speculated about the C9 Corvette, and when we offered the old Indy Corvette concept from the Eighties as a stepping-off point for a styling update, many thought it was a C9 render. Some didn’t even know it was a storied Corvette mid-engine prototype. The comments were spicy to say the least. Bottom line? Corvette styling is a very touchy subject and we got a taste with our last op-ed.
Undeterred, we forge ahead and bring you this C8 bodykit build from Pandem and Fit Automotive.
This is a better realization of a C8 styling tweak as it accepts the current car’s design yet adds a healthy dose of styling MSG. Essentially four fenders that mechanically fasten to your C8’s exterior corners, the kit gives the car a menacing look with chiseled wheel openings that borrow from the old Vector supercar and late-model Lamborghinis. The thing has been slammed too and together this is one sinister-looking C8. If you can’t wait for a factory widebody Z06, here is the next best thing, and the kit retails for $5,800 or $7,000 with the rear wing.
When the Corvette goes electric in the next decade or so, maybe we can expect a return to classic Corvette proportions. For now, companies like Pandem are demonstrating how to spice up our new fangled, mid-engine Corvette in the latest automotive couture.
[PICS] Digital Artist In the U.K. Creates a C8 Widebody Concept Corvette
[VIDEO] Let’s Take a Closer Look at that Slammed C8 Corvette with the Pandem Widebody Kit
[PICS] The Pandem Widebody Kit Really Wakes Up This C8 Corvette