When is that C7 Corvette Coming Out, Detroit?
I’ll Believe It When I See It. C7 Musings
by K. Scott Teeters
I Smell Something
4WheelsNews.com has had several speculation posts concerning the C7 Corvette. I hate to be the one to say it, but I’m smelling some PR-BS here.
They’re talking about a C7 coming out in 2013, which would be the 60th anniversary of the Corvette. If we were living in a ‘90s economy, 2013 would seem reasonable. But let’s take a reality check here. Detroit moved some inventory in August thanks to the tax-payer, deficit financing of nearly $2 Billion on the the Cash For Clunkers Program. I don’t know what happened to the notion of “fiscal responsibility,” but I guess the Clunkers program was somewhat of a “bailout hybrid.”
The plan helped car makers unload ‘09 cars and now workers are coming back to some of the closed plants. But what choice does Detroit have? After all, if they want 2010 cars to be available to buy, they’re going to have to make some. This is not an indicator that all’s well and the bad economic times are behind us. They are not. Detroit still had the same problem they had last Spring – not enough customers. So, how they can predict that things will be good enough to develop a totally new car that normally doesn’t sell many units compared to other cars in the line? Seems like voodoo to me.
Do We really Want To Repeat the Split-Window Coupe?
In the Wheels4News.com post titled, “Split-window design to return on the next Corvette”
The chatter is about the return of the split-window coupe as a follow up-punch to the arrival of the retro ‘2010/1969 Camaro. This must have come from some market people. When the ‘63 coupe came out I think that the only two people that liked that darn split-window were definitely Bill Mitchell, Chief of GM Styling (the split was Bill’s pet design element) and maybe Bill’s mother. Generally, most people that got behind the wheel of a split-window coupe complained because the split blocked at least 25% of the image in the rear-view mirror. What seemed like a narrow bar was wide enough to visually block out a motorcycle in the rear-view mirror. Some ‘63 Corvette Coupe owners were so irritated about the split that when the ‘64 Coupe came out, minus the split, they took their ‘63 Corvette coupe back to the dealer’s body shop to have the newer rear window installed! No one missed the split after ‘63 and it didn’t become an icon until many years later. Yes, it looks cool, but it’s no fun as the daily driver car the Corvette is designed to be. So, for me, the split-window C7 is just a distraction – happy talk.
“So the LS3 is Obsolete? REALLY?
In the post titled, “Corvette C7 making its debut in 2013”
–There is talk about how the $30,245, 2010 Camaro SS with its 426-horsepower has made the 430-hp, $48,565 Corvette lose its luster and has made the Corvette to be perceived as being obsolete. Ah… Here’s a reminder to younger automotive writers – “A Camaro is not a Corvette. Only a Corvette is a Corvette.” But, the post says there’s a solution, “To rectify the matter, GM set into motion the preparation for the 2013 model that would produce at least 450hp.” Okay, keep that in mind as we move on to the next post.
PLEASE! Not a GREEEN Corvette!
And finally, there’s 4WheelNews.com’s post, “Corvette will survive, says General Motors regarding the new regulations”
–Tom Stephens, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, said, “I think we have a pretty good plan right now that probably will not require a hybrid in the near term.” Ah, he did say, “near term” and “probably”? Does a “green” hybrid Corvette make you warm, “maybe” in the “longer term”?
One thing is certain, GM has to meet the tougher CAFA rating of 35.5-mpg in 2016. Perhaps if the production volume is low enough, a slightly higher than current Corvette MPG rating, might not negatively effect the corporate average all that much. But then again, if the volume gets too low, there’s no reason to keep an expensive car, that uses lots of R&D effort, that few people actually buy. Remember, GM STILL has those pesky bean-counters, plus, governmental oversight bean-counters. Sorry, but this doesn’t look good to me.
There’s talk of a lighter Corvette, something many wish for, but given everything the car does, I don’t see happening without mega cubic-inch development dollars. Electric power steering, variable valve timing, and direct injection sound cool. But Tom Stephens, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, also said that a six-cylinder engine won’t be necessary. But he didn’t say that the V8 would maintain its current cubic-inch displacement – AKA a smaller CID.
And when you hear of “tires with less rolling resistance” does the word, “narrower” come to mind? Corvette tires are supposed to get wider, not narrower. Or, is it possible that there are new, wide tires with less rolling resistance? I suppose anything is possible, but that does fly in the face of some basic resistance physics.
GM and the rest of the car industry on BOTH sides of the Pacific and Atlantic are far from out of the woods. Even “can do no wrong and never make a bad decision” companies such as Toyota and Honda are posting huge losses because they all have the same problem – a shrinking customer base.
Does the C6 REALLY Need To be Replaced?
But seriously Corvette friends. I’ve got nothing against advancing the car’s technology, so I have to ask a nasty question. Is the C6 so deficient that it needs to be replaced while all this other stuff is going on? Remember, 2010 is only the the beginning of the car’s 6th production year. The C3 “Shark” Corvette had a 13-year production run. And unlike the old C3 Corvettes of the early to mid ‘70s, there’s plenty of good, performance technology that can be borrowed from the ZR1 and integrated into the regular Corvette. Body panels can be easily enough changed and redesigned to keep the looks fresh, similar to the 2010 Grand Sport. And no one would complain if the interior got a high-quality makeover. The C6 could be incrementally moved closer to the ZR1 and not have to justify hundreds of millions of dollars of new car development capital expenditure while this economic storm roars on.
Call me an old geezer, but (not “old geezer-butt”) is all this electronic hardware good for us? I mean, electronic tire pressure indicators? Get involved with your car and check your own tire pressure, for Duntov’s sake! I was talking with a mechanic friend once about the electronics on new cars. He mentioned the electric doors in the top-of-the-line mini vans. He said, “Yea, they’re great when they work, except for when you go to get them fixed when the car’s 5 years old.”
Is This What Zora Had In Mind?
This is not an indictment of the new electronic Corvettes and I mean no insult if you happen to own one. There was a time when if you had a decent box of Craftsman tools, a shop manual, and some jack stands, there was a lot you could do to make minor repairs to your Corvette. Now, you make an appointment at a certified dealership that has diagnostic equipment that cost’s 100’s of thousands of dollars. It’s as bad as going to see a brain specialist. The performance figures of the new Corvettes are mind-boggling, but somehow, I don’t think Duntov ever imagined this.
Okay, go ahead and call me “old geezer butt.” That’s “Mr. Old Geezer Butt”, thank you.
K. Scott Teeters
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