Where should a Corvette’s engine be?
Historically, it has always been up front and usually under a rear-opening hood – which made it easier to see the Corvette’s engine – a very American big V8 – in all its insolently crude (pushrod, single cam, two-valve and no turbo) glory.
This separated Corvette from European exotics, with their usually smaller, often-turbo’d and oh-so-sophisticated engines mounted behind the driver.
Chevy is about to reveal the 2020 Me Too Corvette.
The first mid-engined Corvette.
Will it still be a Corvette? In name certainly. But you can call something anything and it isn’t necessarily the same thing anymore.
Back in the ’90s, Ford almost called what became the Probe – a front-drive car with a small V6, which at the time Ford thought was The Future – the new Mustang. Which up to that point had always been a rear-drive car with an available V8. Mustang people got wind of the proposed alteration and made it very clear that anything front-wheel-drive and without an available V8 can’t be a Mustang, whatever you decide to call it.
Which is why Ford did a quick rethink and decided to call what they were putting together Probe – and kept on building the Mustang, as before.
In name as well as fact.
Of course the Me Too Corvette will be the fastest Corvette ever. Everything is very fast in the Corvette’s class. But until what’s coming, Corvette went fast very differently.
It no longer will.
Certainly, it will handle better – though this has become more a press kit talking point than anything with real-world relevance because however higher the new car’s grip, there are very few drivers with the skill to make use of it. On the race track – and test track – with professional drivers behind the wheel – and without AGWs on hand to wood shampoo the drivers – the new Corvette will surely post slightly quicker times vs. the previous car and vs. other cars in its class.
These differences will be measured in fractions of seconds.
On the street, the difference will be a matter of feel.
The mid-engined layout gives more neutral feel. The tail is less waggy because the weight of the drivetrain is closer now, helping both to equalize the center of gravity and to plant the driven (rear) wheels.
But this will feel . . . different. More controllable up to very high speeds. But less like a Corvette – and more like the European (and Japanese) exotics it is emulating.
In looks also.
A Corvette has always had a very long hood – in part to accommodate the very big V8 underneath but also because it just looked great. Most of the previous Corvette was ahead of the windshield.
The mid-engined 2020 Corvette will still have an American V8 (as its base engine) but it will be mounted much farther back in the chassis, so no more need for that suggestively long and very American hood.
Instead, a Euro-looking stub nose, with most of the rest of the car in the middle.
It is no longer “long and lean, every young man’s dream,” as George Jones put it back in 1985.
It is very much something else.
In other ways as well.
It will be – it already is – an expensive car. Not quite exotically priced – but getting closer with each redesign. The ’20 will reportedly start around $60k. Which, if accurate, is about $5k more than the current car. And a great deal more than other Chevys.
It was once true that if you could afford a Z28 Camaro this year, save for a couple of years and you could afford a Corvette.
Now you’ll have to save a lot longer, as the new Corvette costs about twice as much as a new Z28. It won’t be a “halo” car as much as a forget-about-it car.
Well, for people who buy Chevys. And will people who buy Euro-exotics want to buy a Chevy-badged exotic?
Reports also have it that the new Corvette will not be available with a driver-controlled manual transmission. Instead, a “clutch by wire” automated manual.
Me Too, again.
The Euro-exotics have mostly eliminated the driver-controlled clutch because it eliminates the human variable from the performance equation. A computer-controlled transmission shifts much more precisely and much more consistently precisely than any human driver – even a race car driver. This gives slightly quicker 0-60, quarter mile and lap times.
The car performs better – but the driver is less involved in that performance.
Corvettes were involving cars. Hairy cars. Fundamentally, they were two-seater muscle cars. They were heavy in the nose, light in the tail.
It was easy to wag the Corvette’s tail.
Which was fun.
Older models didn’t handle all that well, even though they looked like they did. The best-handling American car of the ’70s wasn’t a Corvette. It was the Pontiac Trans-Am of Smokey & the Bandit fame.
Corvette’s cornering ability only caught up with its acceleration ability in the mid-1980s. That marked the moment when it began the shift away from being America’s Sports Car into becoming . . something else.
An exotic that happens to be made in America.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, either – if what it’s all about is building a Ferrari or McLaren in a Chevrolet plant.
Corvette used to be about something else. Not necessarily something better – although previous front-engined/manual-manual Corvettes were capable of beating Euro-exotics on the race track and the test track.
But something different. Something that was uniquely American.
It’s not anymore – and that’s arguably a shame.
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Now that the reveal has happened, I can say confidently that this looks like they took a Ferrari 488 and hastily slapped some Corvette styling cues on it, with a little bit of old Acura NSX somewhere in the mix too. Doesn’t even look like a Corvette at all. Oh, and of course – no manual.
Get that flamin’ hot garbage outta here.
The official reveal happened after this was posted, and wow, I wasn’t expecting the price point! It starts at $60k, which is a lot of performance per dollar here. $5k gets you a brake and suspension upgrade, so for $65k you have something which will hang with cars costing four times as much.
Man oh man, tempting! I need a better paying job.
Eric your bias is hilarious. No 70’s Trans Am ever kept up with my bone stock 79 5.0/4spd. Mustang “Cobra” (Charlies angels sticker package) on any road with more than two turns on it.
While I agree with the new Vette being too expensive, only the moneyed will determine if it lives. They way things are going economically, it’s anyone’s guess how many of the moneyed now will become pore like me.
I didn’t think they were being sold and they may not be but Monday I was waiting for a break in traffic to get on blacktop when I see something sinister coming. All shiny black, big tires all around, really low to the ground and mid-engined. It was a looker and turned out to be a Vette. At least the look is, in my opinion, very good. It appears window tinting isn’t the same for everyone though. With a black interior I couldn’t see even the driver.
Names such as Zora Arkus-Duntov, David Hill, and the recently deceased James C. Perkins are deep in the brains of Corvette fans globally. Perkins, who singlehandedly saved Chevrolet and the Corvette with the C5 project, started the change in the Corvette but also was knee-deep into C5 performance and the LS engine franchise that has allowed Chevrolet’s trucks to use that engine family. Arkus-Duntov had envisioned mid-engine cars over 55 years ago, and it’s 23 years too late, sadly, for this car, which would have been a gem for Zora to see his vision come alive (which is why GM wanted to use the name “Zora” for this car).
GM screwed up. I believe there was room for both cars. I’m with Eric on this one. Mid engine is not a Corvette. This new car should have been it’s own brand.
Yup. It’s of a piece with the “Pontiac” G8 (RIP) not being a Pontiac. A great car in many ways; a much quicker/better handling car than any real Pontiac… but not a Pontiac.
They stopped making those a long time ago.
A rebadged Holden with a Chevy V8 is as much a “Pontiac” as I am a short woman.
I also liked Pontiac last attempt at the gto. I was disappointed at the press it got. I thought it perfectly maintained the tradition of the 64 or 65 by not being really flashy.
I was anon above because I forgot to add name. I’d also like to say I enjoy your segments on the David Knight show. Which one of you two do we pester to double the length of your segments? And nothing about the mustang? 😉
End stage economic bubble product planning is why this Corvette came about.
When the bubble pops, my money says the Corvette goes bye-bye.
Amen. The myopia afflicting GM is that the “boxes” must be checked. The boxes are objective performance criteria such as how quickly does it accelerate, how high are its cornering limits and how low its lap times – vis-a-vis the exotics. Thus, Corvette has become an exotic.
But one without distinction.
This is easy enough to demonstrate. Take off the car’s badges and show it to people who haven’t seen it yet and ask them to name the make and model. Probably not two out ten would guess correctly.
Now, show the same ten people any Corvette made prior to the new model. Almost all of them will recognize it as a Corvette immediately.
The numbers – and boxes – aren’t everything.
This new thing may be the quickest/fastest exotic GM has ever made.
But it is not a Corvette.
You can buy a new Corvette right now for $60,000 range…
You can buy a 2,000 mile 2019 Corvette for $50,000!!!!!
Sure its not the most powerful Corvette for 60k range but its a high 3 second low 4 second 0-60 car and low 12 high 11 second 1/4 mile car that’s damn quick!!! they’re not slow, still one of the quickest cars on the road even base form!
Chevrolet will end up canning the Corvette in 3 years because it wont sell and they will lose money on them…Sure,Youtubers will grab them up at 1st and brag about them but the general public wont buy a $1xx,xxx Corvette!
Like I said,you see a lot of Corvette’s because for $60,000 range you can buy a brand new Corvette!!!! That sells!!! GM just put a nail in the Corvette’s Coffin!!!
“Me Too Corvette”,that’s FUNNY!
Another angle: For about $30k – half the base price of the new car – one could probably buy a very good condition early-mid 2000s Corvette. The new car is quicker – but not by that much. And the new car’s handling limits, though higher, are an abstraction as most drivers will never test them – either because they lack the near-race-car-driver skills or because it’s highly infeasible on public roads to push any new performance car close to its limits without risking a brutal stomping by AGWs.
Regardless, I have no doubt one could make a 2005 Corvette just as quick as the new one, if you wanted to measure dicks. And the handling, too, could be improved to within a fractional differences’ degree such that even on a race track, the winner would come to the driver.
But will that 2000s ‘Vette have a video game dash? Will it have CarPlay? Will it have an app for remote start? Will it let Amazon open up the back and drop in packages (oh never mind, no trunk on a mid engine vehicle). Will it phone the home office every few months for a firmware update? Will it tattle to Uncle Sam and Aunt Flo when asked?
eric, you’ll feel better if you mix some Epsom salts in water and you pick the temp. Probably fairly hot would be good but maybe not if it’s a bloody thing. Anyway, good luck with it.
My dead friends and I used to always speak of that vacuum tube we needed between our residences, even though it might get a bit pricey at 400 miles. If we had one I’d be glad to send something else to let you rest. But do the salts thing. It will make it better and soften it. If you have already done so……never mind. peace b
Thanks, Eight – good advice; will do!
I agree with Mark to a degree. The American motoring public has changed. The old guys are dying off with their car cruises and fuzzy dice. Young guys aren’t wrenching, they really can’t on these new cars. The new Corvette is just a selection of this change.
For the price of a new ‘vette, could get a C4, LS/Tremec swap it, build everything up while taking care of any issues and still have enough $$$ to walk around and cruise to a vacation in (Insert Destination)
Older cars will need some tlc, but it’s cheaper and they weren’t build in the current day dick measuring contest of stats vs fun.
Real question though is how long until C4 prices start to appreciate?
Was at the Goodwood festival of speed this weekend…. and one thing I noticed – most of the new supercars/hyper cars there are just INSANELY fast/powerful when it comes to stats…… and in the real world, apart from perhaps bragging rights (or the ability to make Youtube videos)… there really is no use because at that level, 99% of people will not be able to make the most of it, especially on a public road. Even at at the stop light – below say 0-60 in 5 seconds its mostly down to human response time more than anything. On the other hand, most of these cars are crazy expensive – almost all of the new cars there were 100K+ cars. The corvette is now in this league. And in this league, whatever it is, its still just a Chevy to most today who have no appreciation for its history or pedigree…. dont know if it can pull it off….
What the world needs however is a car that has respectable performance, fun, and doesnt cost a fortune to buy or maintain…. which someone can use in the real world.. which is what the whole point of a mustang/corvette/ any other pony car was. When I was growing up a friends dad had a stingray corvette from the 70s. It was a thing to look at. he worked for the fire department … I doubt a fireman of today can get a corvette !
I know its hard with the regulatory environment, but whoever cracks it I think will mint it….
It’s the fun that’s missing – and part of that is affordability. What fun is a car you can’t afford? It is also not much fun driving a car with capabilities disproportionately high relative to your own – leaving aside what will happen if you make use of a car with Indy car capabilities on roads with Yugo speed laws.
Your comment reminded me of the ads Nissan did after they redid the Sentra the first time. The headline read: Why should the rich guys have all the fun?
Thats one funny thing I see – people today go and lease say a new M3 or something after seeing Jeremy Clarkson doing laps or burnouts on a track with it (personally know a couple)…. but in the real world they slow down to a snails pace when on a bend or in a tight spot when driving it on the road – why? They are worried sick at the cost/ loss of value / insurance headaches of a scratch, ding, or say a rim being hit…..
Me however in my now proudly 12 year car with a manual gearbox am able to drive to my hearts content, as fast as it will go without a worry in the world because if anything happens I can cover it on my own, or even scrap the car and just get a new one….. but nobody today seems to even consider this freedom when thinking if they can enjoy the car !
“but nobody today seems to even consider…..”
One of the biggest disasters of our time, the abandonment of thinking and reason. Action without thought. The unchecked ‘I-want-ism’.
Ask anyone to explain their reasoning for any decision they make. Chances are they will not be able to show any significant thought process of a logical nature and will instead start tossing out defensive rationalizations without consciously recognizing that they are doing so.
Then ask them to explain what a defensive rationalization is and it quickly becomes apparent why they fail to recognize the action in themselves.
A large portion of the world population has become thinking-adverse.
Most human beings have always been thinking averse- there is nothing new in this. What is new is the systematic brainwashing/programming. Even the average thought averse dude used to be forced into making a calculated decision and a calculated risk occasionally. But there is a force for conformity, for setting puerile rules for EVERY danged thing, which is the new part. It used to be that being smart and taking those calculated risks was an evolutionary advantage, now it is a liability with this society. Which just means this society is now evolutionarily disadvantaged.
Flyin Miata Hyabusa
Pretty close but still a little pricey.
If Trump puts that 25% tariff on European autos, maybe the Vette will sell. As someone who works on his own stuff, mid engine sounds difficult for repair/maintenance. At least that big hood on the old Vettes put everything in reach.
When the first modern Ford GT came out I was able to give the car a good look over at the Chicago auto show. I decided with proper engineering development and a few sacrifices here and there it could be a $60-70K car. I think GM has proven that it is possible. Ford of course doubled down on the rich man’s car thing with the GT plus made it even socially more difficult to have a chance to own one. Can’t have Thornton Mellon buying one.
On the Corvette name, GM has a problem if it wants to build such a car, it doesn’t have any other place for it but as a Corvette but it still has to offer it somewhat lowish price wise.
Yeah, it does look like an Acura NSX, same candy orange paint job, too. Maybe it will actually perform worth the price tag. Although I cannot afford either one, I have driven many of the earlier generation Vettes with mixed enthusiasm. If given the choice at someone else’s expense, I’d prefer an NSX. Corvettes were just fine being Corvettes, and not imitating others.
Oh, and don’t call the “Me Too” Corvette “Pretty”. That’s sexist. And you’ll probably get sued……………
Do you think at this price bracket the Corvette would even survive? I mean at this level most people lease/finance? And if one is the kind who leases, they probably want a European car anyways (higher residuals may even mean lower payments)!! The main advantage I see in American cars is they make fun cars affordable to the common man…. if thats no longer the case…. whats the point!!
The Corvette’s charm, heretofore, was that it could go to bat with elite performance cars – without the elitist MSRP. It is becoming just another elitist exotic car. I think this is a mistake as well as a sad thing. A mistake, because Chevy – the brand – isn’t Ferrari or Porsche or McLaren – and never will be. And probably most of the people in that MSRP bracket don’t want to drive a Chevy. No matter how high its performance.
Sad – because the Corvette used to be a car ordinary people could reasonably aspire to. Most people could swing a Camaro; and if you could swing a Camaro, you could swing a Corvette… if you scrimped and saved for a while.
Now the Corvette costs about twice what a Camaro SS does. Plus the exotic taxes and exotic insurance. This will eliminate most of the people who shop Chevys from ever shopping for a Corvette. It is becoming a very odd duck in the bowtie lineup.
Reminds me of what a friend said on seeing the new Corvette, you spend 100k on a sports car and what’s parked in the driveway is still a Chevy.
A Corvette has always had a very long hood – in part to accommodate the very big V8 underneath but also because it just looked great.
One of the big reasons the hood is so long is that it’s a front-mid engine placement like the Miata. If you look at most cars, like the Mustang, the engine is directly over the front wheels. In a Corvette the engine is moved a little back so it’s actually between the front wheels and the driver. (The new Corvette is a “mid engine” in that the engine is between the driver and the rear wheels.)
Right around the time of the C7’s debut, a GM marketing executive bragged about how the new model will no longer be attainable to successful plumbers.
The Corvette also used to be known for clean, tasteful styling. Now it looks like they’re styled by 10 year old boys.
Sad state of affairs.
The C3, especially the ones up to 1973-74, is to me one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Very little has even come close over the intervening years.
Agreed. Those early Corvettes are iconic. The new stuff is homogenous; the focus on speed almost exclusively will be the death of Corvette. This has already made liter-class sport bikes largely the same things irrespective of brand. They all look the same; their performance – extremely high – is largely the same (differences in fractions of seconds) and so high that these differences are irrelevances in terms of what most capable are capable of accessing.
We are losing personality as well as aesthetic differences.
Brightly colored angular plastic wedges.
All are just a variation on the Miura…and none are as sexy or beautiful. It seems like the goal (at least for non-Italians) to make it look as “nasty” as possible. Let’s make it ALL black, that way no one can tell one from another even up close.
Yeah, that new, improved Vette is just butt, plug-ugly IMH(bc)O. The split-windows were sweet looking, the best for my taste were the sharks ~late 60’s vintage. Way cool looking.
It does NOT have to be ugly just because it’s got a mid engine. The Fiat X 1/9 was very comely, and mid-engined (that is, if the tin worms had left you any bodywork to see!). Even the Pontiac Fiero (for heaven’s sake, a Poncho!) was better looking, at it was also a mid-engine!
Glad you brought up the Fiero… it was (and still is) a very distinctive car. Does not look like any other car. The Corvette used to be the same way.
Now, it’s not.
If I were 26 instead of 66 yrs old….I would buy this first mid-engine Vette and sit it on the shelf for about three decades….huge collectible in my mind…
Probably because GM will stop production of the Corvette in 3 years as it wont sell!
For $60,000 range today you can buy a brand new Corvette 0-60 high 3 low 4 second range and high 11 low 12 second 1/4 mile!
$52,499 locally here a brand new,well 2,500 mile 2019 Corvette is at a dealer! Thats what sells,sure they have higher performance for $80,000 range and $130,000 Corvette’ss now but majority are the 60k versions!
I think the 2019 might be one to get and sit on it!!! Last of the real vette’s,the mid engine could be the 1980’s Corvette 30 years from now,as for $900-$5000 you can buy a pristine 1980’s Corvette ,sure some jack the price up but they dont sell (I am a collector car owner/seller etc)
I think so, too. And here’s another angle: The market for exotics – Ferraris, McLarens, etc. – is very small. Not only because of their cost, but because exclusivity is as much a “sell” as performance and Chevy isn’t exclusive. People who spend exotic car money on a car want the experience that comes with it. A Chevy dealership isn’t that. At the same time, the people who have traditionally been Corvette buyers are being pushed out of the showroom by the cost.
As I have written about before, it’s not just the $60k base price cost, either. In my state, the property tax annually on this car would be outrageous ($5 per $100 of assessed value) and then there is the insurance on the thing. Leaving aside car payments, my bet is it would cost at least $5k annually just to keep the car – without even driving it.
Who can afford this?
How about the CERV III concepts from the early 90s? It was mid engine and that concept was epic awesome with that cool look…. from wiki—-
“The vehicle featured 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel steering, and CRT cockpit screens. The vehicle was styled by Chief of Chevy III Studio, Jerry Palmer.
1990 CERV III
In January 1990, CERV III (No. 3) made its debut at the International Auto Show in Detroit. The car’s mid-mounted V-8 is a 5.7-liter 32-valve, dual-overhead cam LT5, with twin turbos and internal modifications, giving it 650 hp (485 kW), 655 lb⋅ft (888 N⋅m)- torque, and a top speed of 225 mph (362 km/h). The car was made of carbon fiber with a fiberglass-finish coating, with estimated price of $300k-400k. Other standard features include computer-controlled active suspension system, ABS braking and traction control, six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive and four-wheel steering along with a fully multiplexed electrical architecture. ”
That price though, probably pushing a million in 2019 $$
I had a real love/ hate relationship with a built black custom painted ’73 T-top Batmobile. Oh to have that as a Sunday driver today. Heavy, hot firewall/floored in the summer and full throat uncivilized rumbly when opened up. It would hold 150+ if I could find at road and lack of CHP to let her go. Nothing beats passing a 9 year old kid hopping up & down and pointing while choking daddy as he was trying to navigate an LA freeway.
Thought I ruled the open road until I met a turbo Carrera late one night on the I-10 near Palm Springs. He played with me up to 125 looking for 130, waived, dropped a gear and all I saw was tail lights. Doctor!
Every time I see one of those stories I wish I’d been around to see the days when car culture was really in its prime, but apparently it’s now selfish and reckless to want that back. Oh well, guess it was fun while it lasted for those who were lucky enough to be around then.
this change will kill the corvette. Exotics are a dying breed because you cant go over 35 mph without the threat of jail time. You have to be an idiot to drive a Ferrari because it makes cops drool. Of course as noted all cars are going away anyway. oh well i uber everywhere anyway. dont have to worry about getting tased. i dont think
Frankly I don’t think this is the way to go. The mythical “young professionals” they’re chasing won’t care because it’s a Chevy. Chevy buyers won’t care because it doesn’t look like a Corvette to them. Such a sad waste of a name.
I agree with you, Chuck…
This car has performance in abundance but there isn’t anything special about it. Just another McLaren…without the prestige.
Agreed call it the fiero or some new made up name. If they really wanted to go euro give it a alpha numerical name like MR6.2
Since you mentioned it, I think they seriously missed the boat back in the early 2000s by not bringing over the Opel Speedster and calling it the Pontiac Fiero.
Heck, I think they missed the boat by never building the second-gen Fiero they were working on, which could have made the SW20 MR2 look pointless by existing. But then, that’s typical GM. Dump tons of money into a project, then kill it just when it gets good.
Seems like the 21st century will be remembered as the time everyone wanted to be the same extracting any residual fun. As a kid I could name every car that passed…. today they all look the same…. uhgleee. The Vette and the Stang were about the only ones left that had the Americana look. Today people say,,, “That looks European” , That looks French or Italion, or German”,,, That look Japanese” but never “That looks American”. We are losing our identity in more ways than one….
As an aside…. Ross Perot died today. Only one in living history, besides JFK, that gave a hoot about America. A real straight shooter. The only one I ever voted for where I didn’t have to pinch my nose voting for the lesser evil. Nope,,, Americans voted for Billy boy Clinton who sold their nation and jobs to the highest bidder.
I met Perot when I was an editorial writer in DC, back in the ’90s. A gentleman – and a no-bullshit guy, all around. I liked him immediately.
Cliton and the gang did not sell the jobs to the highest bidder. They said, first come first served. According to people near the action, some congressional democrats literally sold their votes for pens, keychains and stickum pads. Yes, Ross, RIP.
Ross was a three dimensional player. He ACTUALLY did the (used to be) American dream. He worked for his millions. He loved the country that offered him the opportunity unlike those today wanting it all free.
Problem was he had two dimensional Americans to work with— Republicrats | Demopublicans. It’s even worse today….. one doesn’t hear of ANY third party candidates. We only have hate, animosity, free sh*t for all with no borders.
Ross today would be hated because he loved the country, had ambition and worse,,, smarts. And he did it all on his own like many real Americans of yesteryear,,, unlike the babies of today.
Remember Ross Perot watching the TV with my dad as a kid, probably the first time I watched the debates….. The fact that theres hardly any media coverage of his death tells me that he was probably a pretty good guy who stayed away from the “swamp”…..
I watched those debates. My favorite line from Perot was, “because it’s irrelevant, It’s like saying if you run the corner store you’re qualified to run Walmart”, when challenged about his assertion that being governor of Arkansas didn’t qualify Clinton for President.
All cars are too expensive now and the exotics have reached the point of true ridiculousness.
Those who are buying the exotics are uber-rich and are collecting sets like kids with Hotwheels. This Vette will sell but mostly to those who already have a garage with a C1,C2,C3,C4…….. just so they can have a complete set. These folks have cars as status items and will likely never drive them. If they do drive them, it will be at the speed limit and only to the meeting where they want to impress some equally vapid ‘money but no value’ person. Just like the art they hang on their walls, there to impress but probably not even appreciated as art.
Chevrolet should have simply brought out the new car and called it the Zora or the ZD Vette. This could be the exotic for Chevrolet and the basic Corvette could go back to being a ‘less sophisticated’ but cheaper, simpler, more fun and more usable car.
Either way, all these cars are a complete waste of HP and money if the only place they are be used is on public roads. The road surfaces are deteriorating to the point that serious damage can be done to fragile exotics, i.e. disintegrating carbon fiber under Ferraris from simple road grit and smashed suspension and wheels from potholes. Then there is the ‘forfeit for speeding’ issue in the ‘Land of the Free’.
I’ve been driving cars on track at the limit of performance for more than ten years now, and I’ve been coaching people for the last few as well, so I’ve had the chance to drive quite a few amazing cars – including Ferraris, McLarens and others of that ilk. I’ve also driven a couple of Corvettes, z06 included. It’s both sad to see the front engined Corvette discontinued, but it’s exciting to see the new one, but as you said, the driving feels is tremendously different.
The front engined corvette, lets call it the “classic”, was stupidly fun to drive. It handled great, and powering out of a turn was an exercise in throttle management so that you didn’t get power oversteer. When you nail a turn with a little bit of a tail wiggle, you can’t help but grin. The Europeans, on the other hand, drive like a scalpel – no under steer, no over steer, just amazing balance until the limit and a lower polar moment of inertia makes them more nimble. (They also cost three times as much). The Corvette was cheaper, nearly as fast, and much more practical with its cavernous trunk, in other words, a screaming bargain. Until the new Stingray, it felt cheap and the body felt cheap, particularly the rear, but that’s why mere mortals could afford it.
It’s cool to see America competing with the Europeans on performance, but the new fast American cars are now toys for the super rich. The second generation Ford GT was $80,000 when it came out, the new one is half a million and you can’t get it. Mustangs are now touching $100k for high end ones, and I fear the new Corvette may be an expensive toy just for the rich. Perhaps I’ll be able to pick up a used classic corvette one day.
I’m also bummed out how all cars are starting to drive similarly. Car companies have gotten suspensions and engines so tuned to perfection, cars no longer have “quirks”. Everything has stupendous performance, which is great, but a McLaren and Ferrari drive the same, Camaro and Mustang – same. Electric power steering has numbed all cars, and traction control has removed pedal management. This may sound like a first world problem, but I’m getting bored driving supercars. Racing a Miata is much more fun.
I owned a 1973 Porsche 914 and a 1975 Fiat X1/9…To those unaware, both mid-engine designs. While neither was exotic or massively powered, I could slide through corners with perfect control at speed…No other automobile design can match mid-engine handling on dry roads…However a caveat to those who will drive this new Corvette…It’s Achilles heel is loss of control on wet roadways…Unless you show respect, especially in corners, you will find yourself spinning like a top and your life flashing before you….In the Marines we call it Beaucoup Pucker Factor…Take it from one who has been there.
The difference today is that RWD performance cars like the Corvette already have incredibly high grip thresholds. You have to be really pushing it to get the car close to its limits. Very hard to do on the street without driving at a clip that is extremely illegal. The mid-engined layout in a car like the Corvette just pushes the limits a bit higher, well beyond what’s feasible on the street a;most all of the time – and far beyond what most drivers are capable of handling!
With the right series of road patches, cracks, and pot holes any car can break loose at relatively low speeds.
I seriously doubt it’ll have snap oversteer like the old rear-engined cars had, but I agree that the edge where it remains controllable in wet weather will be a lot narrower. The RWD cars will step out in the rain, but the drivers KNOW that, so it’s expected behavior.
The good thing about it is that stability systems have come a long way since the early air-cooled 911’s and the Corvair, so I expect the computers will do the best they can to protect their gold-chain-wearing driver doing something dumb in the wet.
“Racing a Miata is much more fun.”
AMEN! and a Hallelujah, from the back row. It’s more affordable than most think. I know a guy that spent of $100k on a bass boat and a pick-up to haul it with. That’s close to what racing a Miata costs for a decade.
PS: Did you see the Hyundai Velosters at CTMP? Another affordable racer emerges.
Though a Miata is a fun little sports car, its’ still a GIRL’S ride! The only thing I want to do with a Miata is bang the attractive blonde driving it!
Keep talkin’ like that. It keeps the used market prices down thus making it more affordably to convert them to Spec Miata or IT trim for racing purposes.
Thanks for the help.
I’ve only seen men driving miatas
Who cares if it’s a chick car? It’s well balanced, has one of the nicest shifters ever, and there are a huge number of spec miata racing organizations. Here in Commiefornia, we have two; SCCA and NASA.
Amen. And – what makes a car a “chick” car? The Miata is a rear-drive sports car; though Mazda offers an automatic, most are are sold with manuals. Many Miatas as raced. If that’s a “chick” car, sign this dude up!
Especially if it comes with a hot, WILLING chick!
This isn’t the first ‘me-too’ ‘Vette. The C5 looked like a mix the Mitsubishi 3000 GT and other contemporary sports cars of the late ’90s-very bland…
Car mags and prospective buyers alike have been clamoring for a mid-engine Vette for over 50 years. Now that the real deal is almost here, we’ll see if they step up to buy and praise it, or if they were just blowing hot air for the last half century.
What are the odds? Pricing will be a key factor. Looks are crucial too. I’d say the exterior design looks OK, but kind of generic, and not very inspiring.
Finally, I worry that this Corvette is going to crash into a glass ceiling. A “Chevvy American Exotic” is strongly oxymoronic. Image is so important. Former Vette buyers may decide that a plastic exotic is not the image they were seeking.
Too early to know. I wish the Chevvy Exotic well, but don’t think that’s the way to bet.
‘A “Chevvy American Exotic” is strongly oxymoronic.’
Yup. They are probably going to have the same problem VW had with the Phaeton. No matter how good the Vette or Phaeton (quite spectacular), the low buck badge will (did) keep many of the ‘image over substance’ folks (the rich) from buying them.
VW basically swapped the badge off the Phaeton and replace it with Bentley or Audi badges and then the sold plenty.
They are already having that problem as the base model and zr1 model all perform in super car level but constantly receive hate for interior plastics and that smell of glue.
My cousins an engineer at Gm. He’s working on the new silverado they are trying to figure out how to get back to #2. Anyways he said this is a poor man’s Acura Nsx. I heard mention already of a hybrid model as the top option in the future.
Reading the silveradosierra forums daily, they hopefully better make something k2 and nnbs owners like. (not buying a new one since they all have spyware and AFM, ASS, etc) but would like to see them succeed.
Maybe Government Motors will next grace us with an “Electro-Vette”! They can buy the batteries from Elon. Why not keep the Vette the way it is? What is so bad about forward mounted, V8 powered, RWD car,? Be bold and unique, not a copycat! SMH……
I watched this the other night about GM’s first production gasoline fuel injection, and Covettes with it:
Cars are all the same. Even at the high end. Engineering to checkboxes and reviews. Just like F1 racing, there’s so little difference between vehicles if you watch a race on a black and white TV you probably won’t know who’s who.
Someday when “desktop” manufacturing gets a little further along we’ll have the ability (but not permission) to build custom coachwork style vehicles. The super exotics and RV space are pretty much there now, although in the case of sports cars the amount of customization options depends on how closely the builders associate themselves with the ghost of Enzo. But the cost of CNC mills and 3D printers are dropping dramatically, and carbon fiber construction is getting more competitive (at least in the third world) with steel. Imagine every town with a coachworks, and Amazon Prime shipping for crate engines. At that point, the racing world might actually show some innovation. But for the rest of us we’ll be riding around in automated electric boxes. But we’ll at least be able to “customize” the simulated engine noises!
Yup. It’s analogous to the current sport bike situation. Red plastic (for Honda) vs. Yellow (for Yamaha) Green (for Kaw)… etc.
I’d much rather ride my ancient Kz900!
And I’d much rather have a ’72 ‘Vette with the LT1 and T-tops!
I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve always been drawn to bikes. My current ride is an ’03 Honda VTX 1300, for instance, but most people wouldn’t know it. Custom shocks, brakes, and rotors, tweaked carb & fuel system, high pullback risers with a wrapped drag bar, tiny mirror, no light bar or signals on the front, custom paint and mostly de-badged… All stuff I did myself, and I’m no real mechanic. I just love engines and power and that feeling of being perched on a rocket that’s only kinda in your control 🙂
I did some stuff to my ’92 Mustang GT, but cars don’t lend themselves to that level of customization, in my experience. Plus, honestly, my skill level isn’t really up to it.
I grew up a gearhead and by 10 I had a sub to Hot Rod. Not long after, it wouldn’t hold my attention so I had Sports Car Graphic and Car and Driver for decades.
My two heroes were Fireball Roberts and of course, Jim Hall who grew up just a county over. When I finished high school I wanted to hit him up for a job but going to college was my only alternative(I thought, and it probably was true)to going to Vietnam.
From the time I was 12 I practiced, in a pickup, drifting through curves and was knowledgeable about the different theories on the fastest way around. I was the kid with the 55 Chevy pickup who went around curves with the inside rear tire spinning.
Once I got a real car, a 67 Malibu with a fire breathing 327 and 4 speed I was hell on wheels road racing. Even the few who had Vettes wouldn’t try to stay with me.
I was going around a curve marked 55 mph one day in the rain and doing 105(Goodyear Eagles)when the hood popped up and caught on the second latch, thanks GM. I installed hood locks the next day. As with all things, people who’d had their pins stolen were always stealing mine. I kept stealing mine back and the guy who stole them kept stealing them back. One day I put padlocks on it, steal that MF.
I would have gladly taken out the trash and swept the floors and scraped gaskets all day just to be in the Chaparral Hq. in Midland.
I regret not trying to do this.
I’m the dollar short and a day late personified. A buddy and I bought 4 Yamaha racing carts so we could have fun with the wives. Of course, since it was a surprise, they hated even looking at one. Two weeks after getting them broken in and running great, the local track tore the asphalt out and made it a dirt track, stupid fools the were.
This was during the early 80’s oil boom so we took to running them on tiny farm to market roads. It got old though having idiots in Impala company cars get right up behind us doing over 80mph and all you can see is the bumper of the Impala. I have no idea what they were trying to prove but it got to be old very fast. So much for racing carts. It wasn’t practical to drive 300 miles to the Dallas cart track so we sold them. I’m sure the wives were pleased but they had the good sense to not say so.
Yamaha’s superbike “color” hasn’t been yellow (and black) for decades. They are the “blue” bikes.