The Corvette has a reputation of being an old man’s toy. Nobody – not even old men want to drive an old man’s car but everybody wants to drive a young man’s vehicle. Almost 50% of ‘vette buyers recently have been 55 years or older. The cars seen by G.M. as the competition for the Corvette have a much younger interest group on average; G.M. wants to shake the image of the ‘vette being for senior citizens only. One of the marketing strategies has the new ‘vette featured in a popular video game “Gran Turismo”. Don’t underestimate the marketing acumen of General Motors; if they want to shake this image they will do it. I am sure they have more ideas in the works. The ‘vette will be the pace car at Indianapolis for the twelfth time and a pace car commemorative edition will hit the show room at some point in the future. The new Corvette Stingray is now sporting a fish of a similar name in its redesigned logo.
The 2014 ‘vette has been in development since 2007 and was slated for release to the public in 2011 but the engineers delayed the release date three years. Unseen features in 2014 are a carbon fibre hood and the removable roof is the same light weight material. A composite material used in C6 is still the same for fenders, doors, and the rear quarter panels. The underside panels are made of a “carbon-nano” composite and all are mounted on an aluminum frame. The wheels are one inch further apart; both front to rear and side to side than the C6 counterparts. G.M. has not announced the weight of the 2014 model but weight saving materials used has increased this year although the interior is more plush which adds some weight.
Cost was the deciding factor in choosing the conventional placement of the engine in front; transmission behind with a transaxle and rear wheel drive as opposed to a mid- mounted engine design for the new “Corvette Stingray”. The 2014 Stingray has the LT1 6.2 liter V 8 376 cu in small block engine as standard equipment producing 455 bhp (339 kW) unless you want the performance exhaust for an increase horse power rating – to 460 bhp (340 kW.). This is an older style engine from the 1970’s but this newest version has some enhancements such as direct injection, variable valve timing, and an active fuel management system with the fuel injectors now mounted under intake manifold. If you like to shift you can have your pick of seven gears with the standard transmission or if you don’t like that the six geared automatic would be the choice for you. The all new interior has wide bottom seats standard or you can have a sportier looking seat with high side bolsters as an option if you like.
Concept cars have inspired all the generations of Corvette since Hartley Earl – the designer of the 1953 EX-122 Corvette prototype that was displayed and then marketed one year later with very few changes. Prototypes have integrated the Maco shark in design as well as a mid-mounted engine have been used for testing purposes. Around 1970 a prototype made from an aluminum alloy, a similar composition to the one G.M. is now using, was built and dubbed the “Reynolds Aluminum Car”. I have included some pictures of these prototypes; have a look – which points will be incorporated into the ‘vette next year? Your guess is as good as the next persons.