Since 1953, the Corvette has come to be known as "America's Sports Car". ¬†It was the first and has usually been the best American offering in a primarily European class of automobiles. In the very beginning, though, the Corvette wasn't exactly a fire breather and certainly more show than go, with a mediocre straight-six and automatic transmission. As the ‚Äė50s wore on, it was always stayed pretty and its performance steadily improved, especially with the advent of fuel injection in 1957, but arguably the Corvette's most important revision of the last century came in 1963 with the Stingray. Certainly the most notable change was the car's shape, inspired by the Q-Corvette concept of 1957 and the Stingray Racer of 1959. Underneath, the 1963 car was a big leap forward as well, and over the next few years the Stingray would see more significant advancements in power, braking, and handling. The best looking and most highly prized Corvettes are these Stingrays from the years 1963 to 1967, and a revised version of the Stingray shape would continue to define the Corvette's appearance until 1982.
It would seem only natural, then, that when General Motors decided to do a complete reworking of their flagship performance machine for the 2014 model year, they would want to reference the celebrated Stingray. And since 2013 marks that car's fiftieth anniversary, a Stingray tribute seems even more natural. Pre-production photographs were leaked for months before the new Corvette C7's launch at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, and few could deny that it looked, and still looks, great. One tiny problem is that the car, now officially designated "Corvette Stingray" by GM, doesn't really look much like the car it is advertised to pay tribute to. Granted, the original Stingray didn't look much like the aquatic animal, either, but if the C7 is supposed to have any of the spirit of the original, a few subtle styling cues‚ÄĒvintage-looking hood vents, more angular wings, even a split rear window‚ÄĒ would have gone a long way.
Nomenclature is a pretty small bone to pick, however, when the actual car itself is so promising. The C6 was already a great car with great value for money, and even it shared plenty of bits with the older C5. The C7, however, is reportedly a complete redesign. The interior looks better than it has for a very long time and the styling, while a bit too reminiscent of the new SRT Viper and the Nissan GT-R, also looks great.
What Corvette people care about more so than looks is of course performance, and the C7 doesn't look to disappoint. In another revamping of an old name, GM has labeled the C7's all new 6.2 liter direct-injection V-8 the LT1. Horsepower and torque measure around 450 each, and for efficiency the fuel management system will shut down four of the eight cylinders at cruising speeds. With an aluminum chassis and carbon fiber hood and roof, the Corvette has also cut some weight, so it should hit sixty in under four seconds. The nifty elements of the new Vette are almost too numerous to list. It has an extra gear, a stiffer chassis, plenty of vents and possibly coolest of all is the quartet of fat, gleaming exhaust pipes shooting out the back. If anything, it will give other motorists something to gawk at when they inevitably get dusted by this latest iteration of "America's Sports Car".