Tell us Which Version You Like at the End of This Post!
Ever since the Transformers movie car arrived, C7 speculation has been the hottest topic in the Corvette community. And as if speculation over the C7 wasn’t enough, there’s also speculation about the C8 Corvette! Of course, all of this may well be happy talk because if the C6 doesn’t pull out of its nose dive, we may be looking at those familiar lines for a LONG time. I also want to point out that while anything can be improved, the C6 didn’t suddenly become an outdated, stogy, slug. There’s SO MUCH red meat built into the car. Look at the Lingenfelter ZR1 with some minor intake and slight gearing changes that ran 9.8-seconds in the quarter-mile in December ‘09!!!
My C7 Wish-List
As far as hardware is concerned, it’s all speculation at this point. The Corvette designers are 100% mum about ANY details. About styling, for me, the basic shape of the Transformers / Centennial MINUS the cartoonish front and rear gills, works. I’ve been following Corvettes since the mid-’60s and every time there’s a new design, it takes about a year to get used to the new shape. But in retrospect, I can NOT look back at any new generation Corvette and say, “bad job.” I’m very confident that the designers and stylists that are now working on the C7 will get it right and successfully capture the eseance of that which is “Corvette”.
Here’s my short hardware wish-list…
* Base the frame on the Z06/ZR1 all-aluminum design. yes, carbon fiber would be SO cool, but this IS a mass produced production car.
* Direct-port injection. And I hope that the LS7 427 doesn’t go away. LPE (Lingenfelter Performance Engineering) has developed a LS7 engine that uses the LS9’s supercharged intercooled induction system and claims that the setup meets emissions and durability concerns. We can dream a little.
* All-Wheel-Drive for the C7 ZR1, if there will be such a model. The heavier and lower horsepower AWD Porsche 911 Turbo pulls the same 0-60-mph time as the ZR1. It’s all about traction.
* A GREAT interior! Make it drop-dead gorgeous guys. Make it so cool that the magazine guys CRY!
So, forget your troubles, come on let’s get happy with some C7 bench racing.
Come on, EVERYONE!
For the sake of this post, I’m going to stick with what we’ve been seeing from GM and some interesting art work. We’ll start off with some photos of the real Transformer/Centennial Concept Cars, then move through some interesting variations of those cars. With the proliferation of Photoshop and Illustrator in the hands and fingers of talented car guys, some concept renderings look almost real. Old guys, such as mark Sterhrenberger and myself, still like to render with pen, markers, and colored pencils.
Okay, let’s do some C7 Corvette Daydreaming
So, let’s have a look-see at some concepts that have been officially presented to the public and those of creative types, like myself, that love to daydream of future Corvettes…
Transformer/Centennial Coupe – Let’s start here. This is my favorite view of the car because I can’t see the silly gills. But it’s slick, swoopy, and Corvetty!
Transformer/Centennial Concept Roadster – And if you thought the coupe was LOW, careful, you could trip over this car!
Schulte Design did a nice rendering of the Centennial wearing ’11 stock-style wheels.
Transformers Jake Version – Someone just could NOT dress up the Transformers / Centennial in Corvette Racing livery. I would have liked to seen some “race car” details on this rendering.
Centennial / C7 Split-Window Coupe – This is the design element that revived the whole “split-window coupe” question. There was a very good reason why the split was eliminated after ’63. It severely restricted rearward vision. What WOULD be cool would be if the first year of the C7 had the split-window element, then the next year it goes away. If the C7 is released as a 2013 model, it would be the 60th anniversary of the entire line, AND the 50th anniversary of the ’63 Sting Ray with the iconic split-window. Hmmm.
Above illustration by Mark Stehrenberger.
Motor trend magazine got in on the C7 speculation early, proclaiming that 2012 would be The year of the C7. From a marketing perspective, 2013 makes more sense, with the 60th and 50th-thing happening. besides, an extra year would give the design and development team more time to get it “right” out of the gate. We’ll see.
Stying studies abound! I’d bet that within well protected computer servers deep inside the heart of GM, there are hundreds of computer “styling studies.” Different treatments of ever aspect of the new design.
Another Schult Design study – Not quite C6, not quite transformers. Imagine the road dirt that will collect in those front fender gills.
There’s been lots of speculation over the question of will the C7 go retro, and if so, will it be C2 or C3 retro? Part of the challenge is the fact that the C7 will likely be on the same long-ish, 105.7-inch wheelbase – a full 7.7-inches longer than the C2 and C3 cars. it makes the positioning of the rear fender humps to the cabin and B-pillar somewhat awkward. The scoops on the front fenders and doors is, for me, a little over-done.
C7 Avarvarii Concept – Pop-up headlights were from a time when headlights were not allowed to be covered with even clear lexan. Now that we’re past that restriction, headlamp arrays have gotten pretty wild. The Transformers / Centennial concept car had LED headlights along the leading edges of the front fenders. It seemed gimickey to me. Gills aside, this is a nice treatment.
Perhaps the Gold Rush Green paint will be an option on the C7? Here’s another headlamp stydy on the Transformers / Centennial design along with a grills that looks like it came from the SSR Chevy gentleman’s roadster pickup truck.
Here’s what a car guy can do with Adobe Illustrator. Cartoony, but definitely a Vette!
Here’s a C6.5. There’s another photo on the net with the exact same background, angle, color, etc of a 2010 Grand Sport. Ain’t Photoshop great?! Almost looks real!
Another C6.5-type design. You can see the Transformers front fenders, minus the gills. And you don’t often see ’65 – ’66-style fender vents on Corvette concept art. Those are kind of lost styling elements.
This is a beautifully rendered transformer-type design with the ’68 – ’77 style roof design.
Ever since the early ’60s there’s been chatter about the Corvette getting small – REAL small. The original Corvair Monza concept cars were cool, but the heart and soul of the Corvette is all about power. The Monza concept Corvairs eventually became the Opel GT – a nice little car, but NOT a Corvette. So, with talk of late about the need to much better fuel mileage, the Turbo V6 C7 Corvette concept just had to get in there. For anyone ofer 50 that’s been inside a C6 Corvette, do you really want the car to be smaller?
I thought these were very interesting. (Gee, did someone in the Corvette design group heed my protests about the Transformer’s silly gills? Probably not!) The top profile receives a C6-like rear treatment, while the middle profile received the early C3 duck spoiler design. The botton image clearly shows a C6-like flavor. Ever since the C5 arrived, observers have been complaining, “It’s a great looking car, but it’s got a BIG BUTT!” And it IS hard to miss. The middle profile certainly slims that bahoofie down!
When I first saw the Transformers car I said, “It looks like the kids at Hot Wheels did it!” But when I asked myself, “What do I like and what don’t I like?” I found a lot to like. And the more I looked, the more I wanted to change it. So, for The Illustrated Corvette Series No. 160, that ran in the October issue of VETTE Magazine as a 2-page center spread. Since the split-window design element was most obvious on the transformers car, I chose to pull more of the C2 Sting Ray design into the overall shape. My drawings were based on the essential shape, proportion, and size of the transformers car.
Worst case scenario, if things go badly, there’s always the SmartVette.
So, after all that, it comes down to this. We won’t know until we know. I’m sure that a few months before the official release we might see some heavily disguised C7s that are out for real-world road testing. Usually those disguised cars look pretty awful. In the mean time, artists and wanna be car designers will be taking pen and markers to paper or moving pixels about in computer programs.
For decades, the standard take has been that new Corvettes are the hardest design challenge in the entire automotive world. The new design has to be fresh, yet look familiar. So we’ll see! Let us know what you think. The comment box is below, don’t bashful! – Scott
PS – Be sure to check out my other C7 posts…
Prints of my C7 Split-Window Coupe Corvette art are available HERE.
This is the Laser-Etched version
This is the parchment paper version with the story copy.
(Whenever possible, I have linked the above images to their source.)