If this is the C7 Corvette, is it revving you up, or stalling you out?
Be sure to take our informal survey at the end of this post.
We’re now about 3-1/2 months from FINALLY knowing what the next generation C7 Corvette will look like and what kinds of mechanical improvements Chevrolet has in store. I have no doubt that the new C7 will run like a bear, but don’t expect anything revolutionary, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the C6 platform is already pretty stout. I’m hoping that the base C7 uses the all-aluminum chassis design of the C6 Z06.
What’s got a lot of Corvette fans holding their breath is the car’s styling. In November ‘11 Jalopnik.com set the Corvette world on fire with their computer generated illustrations that were NOT well received by the Corvette community. GM cried “FOUL! That’s NOT the Corvette!” and Jalopnik said, “Yes, it is, STUFF IT!” Even before the Jalopnik flap there was a lot of jib-jab from GM people that the the next Vette would be a “world car” and designed for a “younger generation.” We also heard that the new Corvette would not be “your grandfather’s Vette.” (OUCH!)
What it comes down to is this. GM will do what it wants to do and we can love it or leave it. It’s no secret that Corvette sales have been dismal the last few years, but it’s not because the car is dismal! Quite the contrary. The Corvette product planners have done a spectacular job of availing to customers a truly “boutique” Corvette. From the comfort of your Chevy dealer’s office, you can personalize your Corvette ride with a dizzying array of options. And the Grand Sport model has taken the Corvette community by storm, accounting for the vast majority of sales, even though a tricked out Grand Sport can cost as much as a superior performing Z06! As comic Gallagher used to say, “it’s about S T Y L E…..” And as far as the dismal sales is concerned, to quote a former president, “it’s the economy, stupid.”
Now, about the leading photo of the back end of what it obviously the C7. I deliberately removed the Corvette badge from the image so that you can look at the image with this question.
At a fast glance, would you recognize this as a Corvette?
Can car companies “lose their way” when it comes to styling in the pursuit of “let’s do something different?” Absolutely. All you have to do is look at the past history of the Ford Thunderbird and Mustang. The classic T-Bird eventually became a bloated box car and the sporty Mustang became… something. The same with the Camaro. The fourth generation Camaro was so “lost,” customers simply bought something else, and GM eventually completely walked away from the Camaro concept after ‘02. Then Ford sucker punched Chevy with the retro Mustang in ‘05 and it took GM five years to deliver their retro Camaro that’s more like the 40-something bloated Elvis. While the King could still belt out a song, OH – MY – GOD, he was BIG. Same with the latest Camaro.
While I’m not a Porsche fan, I do admire the 911. The newest 911, always looks like a 911 – just fresher, slicker, hotter, but at a fast glance, it’s always a 911. Same with the latest incarnation of the XK-E Jag. That’s called “heritage.” So, back to the C7. Will the young designers and managers inside GM honor the Corvette’s heritage? Or will they move the car into a “world car” for the sake of doing “something different” because of an erroneous conclusion that the C6’s soft sales are because of an inherent design flaw with the traditional Corvette?
In 3-1/2 months, we’ll know for sure. – Scott
Related: Check out our previous C7 Corvette reports, HERE.