* Seventh-generation Chevy sportscar goes on sale in summer
* Ground-up redesign, zero to 60 in under 4 seconds
* Nostalgic Stingray name with cutting-edge technology
By Paul Lienert and Bernie Woodall
DETROIT, Jan 13 Members of America's Corvette
Club can't wait to see General Motors Corp's 2014
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the first new Corvette in nine
years, which the automaker will unveil this week at the annual
Detroit auto show.
The seventh generation Corvette, called C7 by fans of the
iconic American sportscar, has a front-mounted engine and a
shape like a race car. GM showed it to the media on Sunday and
will make pictures and video available to the public.
But 100 members of the Corvette Club from southeastern
Michigan are counting the hours until Jan. 19, when GM will give
them a chance to see and touch the car an hour before the doors
of the auto show are opened to the public, said social director
Peter Shilland, who owns an exclusive 2009 Corvette Callaway
"We want to hear from the engineers and see how far they've
come with the C7," said Shilland, a former GM employee.
The car has been has been redesigned from the ground up and
goes on sale next summer.
Dan Akerson, GM chief executive officer, said the Corvette
is a "halo car" that will draw buyers to the Chevrolet brand,
which accounted for 71 percent of the company's U.S. sales in
Akerson said the Corvette is indicative of the risks the
company is willing to take with its new products and called the
new Corvette "a balanced risk."
"It's a statement about American ingenuity," Akerson said on
Sunday night. "It's a statement about our technology, and, quite
frankly, our risk-taking. This is the first car that was
designed, start to finish, since our bankruptcy."
Since it debuted 60 years ago this month as a GM Motorama
"dream car" concept in New York, the Corvette has earned the
nickname "America's sports car" - embodying Detroit muscle and
engineering know-how. To date, GM has built and sold more than
Even as sales have dwindled from a peak of 42,571 in 1977 to
14,132 last year, Corvette has maintained its cachet and
exclusivity as the only legitimate U.S.-built competitor to such
exotic European sports-car brands as Ferrari and Lamborghini.
That position has been secured by continuous technical
improvements and equipment upgrades to the car over the decades,
with the 2014 Corvette poised to offer "better performance by
every measure" than its predecessors, according to chief
engineer Tadge Juechter.
At its heart is a new version of Chevrolet's long-running
"small block" V8 - a 6.2-liter engine that produces 450
horsepower, but can run under part throttle on only four
cylinders and is expected to return average fuel economy of
better than 26 miles per gallon.
The new front-mounted V8 is also potent enough, when
equipped with either a new seven-speed manual transmission or a
six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, to propel the Corvette
from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds - pure
In comparison, the 2013 Porsche 911 - its exterior
dimensions are virtually identical to those of the 2014 Corvette
- has a rear-mounted 350-horsepower 3.6-liter in-line
six-cylinder engine that enables 0-60 acceleration in 4.6
seconds, with an average EPA fuel-economy rating of 23 m.p.g.
The Porsche is priced from $83,000 to $173,000. The current
Corvette starts at just over $50,000 and runs up to $112,600.
The 2014 Stingray's edgy new exterior design was inspired to
some extent by the swoopy Corvette C6.R race car, while the name
dates to perhaps the best-known Corvette, the 1963 Sting Ray.
The 2014 Stingray maintains the classic sports-car
proportions - long hood, short deck - while providing a visual
complement to the car's extraordinary performance. To help
reduce weight, Chevrolet has fitted a carbon-fiber roof and
hood, composite body panels and an aluminum frame.
And, to support the car's mission of knocking off more
expensive and exotic European rivals, the new Corvette features
a variety of branded high-end hardware from such European
suppliers: Michelin tires, Brembo brakes and Bilstein shocks.
A more premium cockpit, bristling with the latest digital
technology and intended to attract luxury import buyers, can be
trimmed in leather, aluminum, suede and carbon fiber. Among the
available gear: A color head-up display, a pair of eight-inch
configurable screens and a 3D navigation system.
"I don't know that much about the C7, but I'm anxious to
hear about some of the new technology in the car," says Corvette
club member Shilland. "I like the idea of more innovation."