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  1. #1
    C7 - mid-engine by 2010 Tuna's Avatar
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    Default C7 - mid-engine by 2010

    Latest report from the AutoExtremist is that the C7 will be mid-engine and will take the Cadillac XLR along with it.
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    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    The Mid-Engined Corvette is not only back on the front burner - it looks to be a certainty

    by Peter M. De Lorenzo
    AutoExtremist.com

    Detroit. It was already supposed to be a done deal that the seventh generation of the Corvette would arrive in its current, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive configuration - albeit slightly smaller, lighter and with two engine choices. There was serious talk of an extremely limited production mid-engined "super" Corvette (fewer than 500 units), which would be built as an adjunct program to the traditional car, but that had not been decided. That's the way we reported it many weeks ago, and that was the assumption by many in the business as to how it was going to go down - until now. But after my conversations late last week with executives at the top of the company (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons), I can tell you that the "idea" of a mid-engined "C7" Corvette has not only progressed far beyond the initial planning stages, the engineering on the car is well underway.

    What brought on this monumental philosophical shift? Read on...

    1. Cost. Up until this point, the argument that the Corvette's fundamental high-performance-for-the-money equation - one that has been a hallmark of the car since Zora Arkus-Duntov took over the program in the mid-50s - would be compromised with a mid-engined car has held sway over every future Corvette product discussion/decision. That's no longer the case, apparently. The two key stumbling blocks for a mid-engined Corvette that have always put a damper on previous discussions were the sophisticated, complex and highly expensive transaxle required, and the extremely difficult cooling challenges. The transaxle in particular has a heavy cost-per-piece price that cannot be subjected to shortcuts due to the engineering requirements necessary to accommodate the high horsepower output of a proper Corvette.

    GM has found a way to solve these issues while still maintaining the Corvette's fundamental value proposition and while still delivering the kind of high performance expected of a car that wears the famed Corvette name. I have it on impeccable authority that as a result of the intensive engineering push on the C7 in the last five weeks, the new car will have a target base price that's very close to a loaded Corvette convertible of today, a number that will keep the future mid-engined Corvette well within reach of its core buyers at current volume levels. This would also obviously allow the Corvette to remain true to its raison d'etre - and continue to outperform cars costing thousands upon thousands more.

    Judging by the digital images I have seen, the new mid-engined Corvette is sensational looking, which, given GM Design's roll of late, certainly shouldn't be a surprise. Futuristic, purposeful and bristling with exquisite "signature" Corvette design elements - with no "blades" and no bull**** gimmicks - the new Corvette is everything the Corvette faithful could hope for. But an interesting sidebar? Judging by the reactions of people I have spoken to who have seen it, the Cadillac XLR variant of the mid-engined car is drop-dead gorgeous too.

    2. The Technological Imperative. There has always been a passionate group of True Believers within General Motors, Chevrolet and GM Racing that wanted to push the Corvette envelope further and aggressively present and promote the sports car as a technological showcase for the entire corporation. This group has always believed that GM has squandered the success of the Corvette - not only failing to use the power of the Corvette brand in corporate image advertising but failing to let the car's significant achievements in racing in recent years speak forcefully on behalf of the corporation in terms of technical ability. This is a belief I share, by the way, because in an era when GM - and the rest of Detroit - is literally and figuratively on the ropes and has become the favorite punching bag of the anti-car, anti-Detroit "intelligentsia" (and I use that term derisively) in the media and in Washington, here is a car that not only humbles cars costing thousands more on the street, it regularly competes and wins against the best that the competition has to offer on racetracks around the world. And its success goes largely unnoticed and unappreciated both within and outside the corporation.

    The mid-engined configuration will not only propel the Corvette to the next level in terms of performance - giving cars such as the new Audi A8 and any future Porsche 911 fits, by the way (not to mention making Ferrari and Lamborghini very uncomfortable) - it will finally be able to assume the role as a global technological showcase for the corporation, something that it couldn't quite accomplish as long as it was hamstrung with its traditional front-engined configuration, even though the current Z06 already humbles some of the world's most expensive exotic sports cars.

    Rick Wagoner got up in front of the media at the L.A. Auto Show last November and touted that GM was going to become a technological leader. But being a technological leader is about much more than producing plug-in electric cars - it's about demonstrating passion for the product and in your products - and the willingness to put your technological stake in the ground on all fronts. A mid-engined Corvette will help deliver Wagoner's positioning in spades.

    3. The Competitive Imperative. Right now, GM's Corvette Racing program exists for one simple reason: to win the premier GT1 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans - the world's greatest sports car race - every year. Everything else Corvette Racing does revolves around that single quest, which is why they find themselves running without competition in the American Le Mans Series this year. The ALMS' connection to the world's most prestigious sports car race requires that Corvette Racing wins over here in the GT1 class first, even though no worthy competitor (other than the occasional Prodrive Aston Martin effort) runs consistently against the Corvette in the series, which makes for some less-than-ideal "We beat ourselves - again" headlines.

    But a mid-engined production Corvette changes everything.

    Remember the first scenario that I mentioned? That the next-generation Corvette would be in its current front-engined configuration with the possibility of a ultra-limited-production mid-engined "super" variant? The decision to go with a mid-engined configuration for the Corvette alters the landscape significantly. First of all, it eliminates the expense of developing (and paying for) two separate cars, which was something that the GM brass was not jumping up and down with joy about, understandably.

    Secondly, it allows GM and Corvette Racing to do something that is long, long overdue, and that is to become the second American automobile manufacturer to go for the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans - something that hasn't been achieved since the glory days of Ford's four-year winning onslaught in the 60s - some 40 years ago.

    As you read this, GM's senior brain trust is contemplating every facet of this mid-engined scenario down to the last detail for the seventh-generation Corvette. The facts of the matter are hard to deny: The technical issues are on the way to being solved, the classic Corvette high-performance value proposition would remain intact, and GM's drive to establish itself as a global technological leader would be enhanced and embellished, especially with a mid-engined Corvette Racing prototype going for the overall victory at Le Mans.

    I strongly believe that Corvette's True Believers out there - some of whom have been wishing and hoping for a mid-engined Corvette since the early 70s - are finally going to have their prayers answered - and very, very soon.

    The word from inside sources intimately familiar with the next-generation Corvette is that a final "go" decision for the mid-engined C7 will be made by the first week in September, and given everything I've learned and everything I've pieced together on the timing, I'll bet the farm right now that the next-generation mid-engined Corvette will make its debut - on the street and at Le Mans - in 2010.

    Thanks for listening, see you next Wednesday.
    1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 , 350 Stock ZF 6-speed. Stock Bright Red

  3. #3
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    All I've got a say is...."yeehaaaaa!" BRING IT ON GM!!!!!


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  4. #4
    C7 - mid-engine by 2010 Tuna's Avatar
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    You and me both. Looks like I'll be buying another new Vette in a couple of years and I haven't got my '08 yet.
    Tuna
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  5. #5
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Corvette Goes Midengine? Not So Fast

    August 23, 2007
    Edmunds.com AutoObserver
    Posted by Michelle Krebs at 7:12 AM

    Here we go again. Parts suppliers to automotive blog sites are atwitter about the prospects for a midengine Corvette. Indeed, that discussion –- which has occurred repeatedly since the 1960s -– is heating up yet again inside General Motors.

    Automotive Web site AutoExtremist.com claims to have inside information that the C7 going midengine is nearly a done deal; a final decision is due next month, it insists.

    Not so, say sources. Such a move is a long way from being a done deal with the C7 not due until mid next decade, and a decision to go midengine is not imminent. In the meantime, numerous enhancements will be made to the C6 Corvette before the C7 arrives, around 2013.

    Proponents argue a midengine Corvette would allow them to do things with the sports car that can’t be done with a front-engine version, not the least of which is boost acceleration. Such a car would go a long way toward establishing GM’s global technology leadership, a top goal for the automaker, they contend.

    But is a fast, high-horsepower midengine Corvette the right symbol for GM's global technology leadership? Might not be, in this era of more stringent fuel-economy efforts.

    Cost is another major question mark, however. Proponents insist a midengine Corvette can be accomplished at a cost minimally more than the cost of the current model, so it would sell at the equivalent of about $66,000, claims sources talking to AutoExtremist. The Web site adds that a more luxurious version would replace the Cadillac XLR, which now shares the Corvette’s C6 platform, and would feature a unique motor, retractable hardtop and different styling.

    Other sources and outside analysts don’t buy that a Corvette, with its hallmark for affordability, can go midengine without a significant cost bump that would have to be passed onto the customer –- or eaten by GM, not a desirable situation in light of the automaker’s struggle to stay in the black.

    Forecasting firm, Global Insight says GM’s move to a midengine Corvette is risky business.

    “To replace the Corvette with a halo sports car nearly half again as expensive as the current model would be an extremely risky move,” Global Insight said in its daily analysis of news today. “A halo vehicle for GM could be a good move internationally, but to so dramatically change what has become an American icon would seriously risk alienating the market that the vehicle already has in North America, by far its largest market.”

    Global Insight warns GM risks the current price advantage Corvette has over comparably performing competitor sports cars. “But to move the model into the more rarefied territory occupied by the Porsche 911 and Audi R8 would move it out of the affordability range presently enjoyed by its current owners.”

    Edmunds' own Jeremy Anwyl, CEO, agrees: "Corvettes should be front-engine and Porsche should not be a sport-utility. Some things just shouldn't change, like Classic Coke."
    1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 , 350 Stock ZF 6-speed. Stock Bright Red

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    Default Mid-engine will not add costs

    See

    http://www.windingroad.com/features-...t-c7-corvette/

    According to Dave McLellan, former Corvette chief engineer:

    “When we got to the C5 Corvette, I told [designer Jerry] Palmer that if he wanted to do a mid-engine Corvette, I would support it because I knew we knew how to do it and do it well. In the end, it would have been easier to do than the front-mid- engine rear-drive that we came up with and it wouldn’t have cost a nickel more. That a mid-engine car would cost more than a front-engine car is basically phooey." [empasis added]

    Folks, this is coming from somebody who knows Corvette manufacturing costs as well as anybody!


    On the other hand, with respect to John Wolkonowicz of Global Insight, it is stated:

    "One of the problems is that mid-engine cars have bad proportions,” said Wolkonowicz. “In this time of design, I think we’re moving beyond those mid-engine proportions. I think doing a mid-engine Corvette is mistimed right now and even in 2011 or 2013. We’re only just starting to create vehicles with classic proportions again, and in turn people are only just starting to appreciate what great proportions mean. The Chrysler 300 and C6 Corvette both have great proportions. The Ferrari Enzo does not."

    I respectfully, and full hartedly, disagree The Corvette C6 is a beutiful car, but so are the Enzo, the F430, the Saleens, the Lamborghinis, etc. Nonetheless, I dream of the day I can have an AMERICAN BUILT LS7 (or the new 650 hp beast comming in the SS) in a rear mid-engine Corvette. Now we're talking American Sports car...

    Winding Road's take on the rear mid-engine Corvette is abolutely stunning!

    See http://www.windingroad.com/photo-gal...hotos/?image=1

  7. #7
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Excellent article at Winding Road. Further quotes from Dave McLellan that I found interesting:

    “Fundamentally, cost gets thrown up as to why it wouldn’t work, but it’s not true. The engine is the real cost and the engine can basically go anywhere. And we can make transaxles now that we couldn’t back then. It’s not a big deal. The question is, is that what Corvette people want?

    “Personally, I would do both cars. Both a traditional car and a mid-engine car.”

    But, would both configurations work as Corvettes?

    “That’s a marketing choice, but you could. There are those that argue that you shouldn’t have Corvette as a two-tiered brand. That argument ultimately prevailed and got us into trouble with the ZR-1.”
    1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 , 350 Stock ZF 6-speed. Stock Bright Red

  8. #8
    Member TheSearcher's Avatar
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    I bought a new Corvette Coupe in 2004 with the preferred equipment package (heads up, sport seats, memory, 12 CD Changer, etc.) during the $6,000 rebate window and at dealer's invoice. It ended up slightly over $36,000, plus about $2,000 in sales tax. For a play car, I thought that was very reasonable.

    I drive a 4x4 Tahoe daily, my wife drives a new Caddy and there's a 4x4 3/4 ton pickup (Chevy of course) in the driveway too (and a motorcycle in the garage). The Vette is purely for play and now has only 15K after 3 years of ownership.

    I looked at buying an additional Corvette in 2007 (a power top convertible), but even at dealer invoice, the price was about $61,000.00. Instead I bought a new 2007 Cadillac with a MSRP of $58,000 for about $52,000 (the Caddy is a lot more car with a lot more features and a whole lot easier to travel with).

    I still want to buy another new Corvette, but its going to have to be a replacement for the 2004 (which I love and have put about $5,000 more into it). If GM puts a big rebate on the last of the C6's like it did on the C5s; I will buy one of the last C6s. If not it looks like I will have the C5 a looooong time.

    I simply cannot justify $90K-$100K in today's money for a weekend play car, so if
    Chevy wants a 50% premium for a mid-engined car, I'm out.

  9. #9
    Member Norseman's Avatar
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    Default Mid Engine

    I hope more people opt out of the new mid-engine vette; IMHO there are way too many vett's on the road as it is. I want them to become exclusive again; and I want one for sure. Only I'll wait for the 2nd. or 3rd verson; after the kinks are worked out.
    For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know. HM1 1st MAR DIV.

  10. #10
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    Interesting that Dave McLellan is referenced saying the mid-engine Vette could cost no more than a front engine/rear drive one. In "All Corvettes are Red", he's shown to have pursued hard for the mid-engine during C5 development, even to the point of ignoring platform decisions and cost-benifit analyses calling for the front engine layout. He was ultimately more or less rail-roaded out of Corvette engineering because he chose to ignore the evidence showing a mid-engine effort would be significantly more expensive to develop, especially given the perceived performance benifits and packaging issues. In my opinion, even the current Z06 pushes the limit of what is often viewed as the "affordable" American sportscar. Many can still aspire to a new Corvette, with relatively meager means. The Z06, and likely any Corvette on a mid-engine platform, really becomes the realm of only the wealthy. And while it seems there to be a C5 or C6 in every direction ones looks, there still are far fewer of each generation on the road than the C3s and C4s. It's just that these newer cars are so much more user friendly than their predecessors, that they tend to be driven far more often. While a mid-engine Corvette can certainly be a stunning and even sexy, high-perfoming supercar, I for one would like to keep the Corvette within the reach of the working middle class, and front engine. Anything more exotic, and more expensive, will almost certainly close the door on many a person's dream, and ultimately the possible end of the Corvette itself. GM policy tends to be if it can't move 20,000 cars a year (the generally accepted profit threshold), the car gets cut, regardless of how good the car itself is. I'd rather see a lot more front-drives than none at all, as I can't see Corvette selling 20,000+ $100,000 cars. Just my $.02.

  11. #11
    Member bwing's Avatar
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    If GM can produce and sell a mid-engine Corvette for the price of a front engine model I'll buy one but I don't thinks that's going to happen. You just have to know that the price is going to be astronomical for a 1st gen mid-engine Corvette. The Ford GT retailed for $153k at its debut and dealer mark-ups added another $80k-$90k putting it out of reach for all but the wealthy. If Corvette wants to remain America's sports car its going to have to be moderately priced.

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    Default Supply and Demand

    Quote Originally Posted by bwing View Post
    If GM can produce and sell a mid-engine Corvette for the price of a front engine model I'll buy one but I don't thinks that's going to happen. You just have to know that the price is going to be astronomical for a 1st gen mid-engine Corvette. The Ford GT retailed for $153k at its debut and dealer mark-ups added another $80k-$90k putting it out of reach for all but the wealthy. If Corvette wants to remain America's sports car its going to have to be moderately priced.
    Such dealer markups can only be supported if the demand for a vehicle far exceeds the supply. Obviously, based on this scenario, Ford did not produce adequate numbers of GTs to keep up with the demand. If Chevy continues to produce enough Corvettes to meet or exceed the demand, you will never see an $80k or $90k dealer markup on a base model. You may see some dealer price gouging for the first six months after introduction of a new model, but once production catches up to demand, the price gouging will, for the most part, end. In other words, if a Chevy dealer has 40 unsold Corvettes sitting on his lot, and the end of the month is approaching, he is going to adjust his pricing to close the deal and boost his sales figures for the month. Basic economics 101.

    That said, there is so much buzz about the upcoming ZR1, that I doubt Chevy will produce enough units to meet the demand for it, so I would expect high premiums will be paid for the ZR1.

  13. #13
    Moderator KANE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    I hope more people opt out of the new mid-engine vette; IMHO there are way too many vett's on the road as it is. I want them to become exclusive again; and I want one for sure. Only I'll wait for the 2nd. or 3rd verson; after the kinks are worked out.

    I'm not so sure GM intended the Corvette to be exclusive. I was under the impression that GM wanted Corvettes to be affordable supercars.

    I think they end up that way- relatively exclusive- because of price. Not everyone can afford one. Corvettes enter the market at 2x the median yearly income for the poverty level (assuming poverty is $22K or less). Which is really cheap given the abilities of the car!

    I really don't care where the engine lies. Affordable and performance minded is what counts. The Corvette has always sought to prove the point that you don't need a lot of $$$ to get a lot of car.
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  14. #14
    Member bwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssonmylist View Post
    Such dealer markups can only be supported if the demand for a vehicle far exceeds the supply. Obviously, based on this scenario, Ford did not produce adequate numbers of GTs to keep up with the demand. If Chevy continues to produce enough Corvettes to meet or exceed the demand, you will never see an $80k or $90k dealer markup on a base model. You may see some dealer price gouging for the first six months after introduction of a new model, but once production catches up to demand, the price gouging will, for the most part, end. In other words, if a Chevy dealer has 40 unsold Corvettes sitting on his lot, and the end of the month is approaching, he is going to adjust his pricing to close the deal and boost his sales figures for the month. Basic economics 101.

    That said, there is so much buzz about the upcoming ZR1, that I doubt Chevy will produce enough units to meet the demand for it, so I would expect high premiums will be paid for the ZR1.
    My reply was re: the high mark up for a 1st gen mid-engine Corvette, not the ZR1. The first mid-engine Corvette's will undoubtedly have a higher price tag than a front engine unit. Its novelty will also have interests peaked and actual Corvette enthuiasts, wanting to get a piece of history, will be first in line to purchase one. With this type of expected demand, dealers will have a hay-day with their markups.

    The ZR1, to me, is not a new model Corvette. I kind of compare it to a Z06 vs. the base model. It's just another "step-up" in the Corvette line.

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    C7 is in design right now.

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