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C8 Chevrolet Corvette

C8 Reveal is Car Story du Jour - Impressive Mechanicals

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Thursday, July 18, 2019, Chevrolet revealed the all new 2020 Corvette at the historic blimp hangars at the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin CA.  Luckily, I can see the blimp hangars from my back porch so the 15 minute drive to get to the event was no problem.  Chevrolet flew in bus loads of journalists, dealers, management, designers and engineers to attend the event.  Will the C8 Chevrolet Corvette be the hit General Motors hopes for?  Lets see.

Tustin Blimp Hangar Open for Corvette C8 Launch

After two hours of In-N-Out burgers, hospitality tent, Corvette Racing exhibits and apparel sales, the doors to the blimp hangar opened and the tcowd filed in.  Another hour getting seated and awaiting the event to begin.  The eventt started with a… who cares, lets talk about the car.  Here is a B-Roll from Chevrolet on the event itself.

Corvette appears to be an engineering masterpiece with questionable styling, but styling is subjective isn’t it?  Lets talk about the engineering first.   Powered by a 495-horsepower 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 mated to an 8-speed dual clutch transmission, the Corvette has a sub-3-second 0-60mph time.  This puts the car in the league with most European exotic sports cars.  Like any mid-engine sports cars, you can see the engine from outside the vehicle.  The mid-engine layout is somewhat controversial among Corvette traditionalists, but Chevrolet says they had taken the previous front engine chassis to its limit.  To achieve optimum handling, mid-engine was required.

Where today’s Corvette drivers may be most uncomfortable is the lack of a long hood.  The driver has been moved 16-inches forward and peers over a very short hood that includes a “frunk” for stowing small items.  It looks like a rollaboard might fit.  Behind the engine is a trunk that can hold two golf bags.  This Corvette may actually be easy to live with.

The styling has interesting elements.  The aggressive front end is reminiscent of recent Corvettes – the C6 and C7.  The bodyside has an aggressive air inlet that directs cooling air to the engine.  The silhouette is a bit bulky.  The rear end has taillamps similar to the C7.  Those were controversial at the time.  I don”t know if anyone would describe the C8 Chevrolet Corvette as a beautiful car, but it is distinctive in many ways.  It will surely outsell any of the mid-engined sports cars on the road today.

The interior is very contemporary with the center stack sweeping around the driver.  There is a 12-inch screen over the center stack and a reconfigurable instrument display in front of the driver.  It’s all very high tech looking.  General Motors normally misses the mark when it comes to interior execution opting for more plastic and cost-reduced materials.  Based on what was shown of the Corvette’s interior, this execution is top-notch.  At least it will be top notch in the top-of-the-line models.

Then comes the real surprise – the price.  The base price for the Corvette is under $60,000.  Ed Kim, Vice President of Industry Analysis at AutoPacific wonders how this super- advanced Corvette can be so inexpensive when a top of the line Chevrolet Blazer crossover can top $50,000?  Does this base price – less than half the price of the Acura NSX, a quarter the price of a Euro exoticar, a fraction of the Ford GT – mean that the base ‘Vette will be bare bones and sheathed in chintzy plastic?  Still, if you can get the mechanical wizardry of the car at that price, it is a steal.

Then there is the business case.  Gary Vasilash, Editor of Automotive Design and Production magazine wonders if General Motors can make any money from a vehicle that is relatively low volume and shares essentially no parts with any other GM vehicle?  About 400 additional workers and a second shift are being added at the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Clearly GM has hopes that the car will sell briskly even in a market where sports cars are losing market share – especially to crossover SUVs.  Maybe GM thinks the halo the car will bring to Chevrolet and the Company is worth the investment even if the program is not profitable.

What got the biggest rise from the crowd at the unveiling?  The announcement that the Corvette is available with a feature that raises the front of the car two inches when approaching a curb or speed bump.  The system will remember up to 1,000 cases where you would need to have the front end higher.  Also, for the first time, the Corvette will be available in a right hand drive version.

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