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  • May 2004:  C6 Corvette Design:  Reality or Restraint?
  • May 2004:  C6 Corvette Design:  Reality or Restraint?
  • May 2004:  C6 Corvette Design:  Reality or Restraint?
  • May 2004:  C6 Corvette Design:  Reality or Restraint?

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  1. #1
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Default May 2004: C6 Corvette Design: Reality or Restraint?

    C6 Corvette: Reality or Restraint?

    It's always interesting to sit back and read all the love/hate mail that gets published in car magazines after a new generation of Corvette is unveiled. As soon as the fake body panels, plastic shrouding, duct tape and plastic chunks are removed from the prototypes, and the final production version is shown to the public, the Corvette community mutates into a feeding frenzy of blood-thirsty sharks nipping and tearing at the newest Corvette's tucked and tightened body.

    The lines are immediately drawn, and the camps develop. On the one side, you have the enthusiasts who absolutely love the car. And on the other side, you have the enthusiasts that now consider themselves to be ex-enthusiasts, taking every chance they get to bemoan, belittle and incinerate, the car, the engineers, Chevrolet and all of GM.

    Did Corvette engineers fail with the new C6? Did they do a poor, shoddy, lazy job at designing the next generation of our pride and joy? Could they have gone much further with it? Should they have gone much further with it? Well, lets take a brief look back into Corvette design in history...

    In looking at the 1953 - 1962 Corvettes, "C1" as we call them, also known as the first generation of Corvette, we see some very significant changes in design. The 1962 model looks nothing like the 1953 model.

    The second generation, or 1963-1967 models are once again, a drastic change in design from the first generation models. In 1968, the third generation of Corvette hits the streets featuring a radical design change from the previous generation. This design will end up becoming the longest production run of any Corvette generation thus far.

    In 1983/1984, the fourth generation of Corvette is unveiled and yet again, we see another radical change in design. Not as radical as the change from C2 to C3 production, but still, it was a significant redesign in Corvette history.

    In 1997, the fifth generation of Corvette is unveiled to the public and as expected, fan-fare was mixed. It featured an obvious redesign compared to the C4 generation, but radical? In some ways, yes, and in some ways no. From an engineering perspective, it was a radical change for the most part, but from a design perspective, you could still see the evolutionary changes in the skin from the C4. The "visual" redesign was not as radical, again as we see in going from the C2 to the C3 generation. Is it possible that we could be seeing a "slow down" in the Corvette's evolutionary design?

    So now that the sixth generation of Corvette is prancing around in its birthday suit, a large group of enthusiasts are stark raving mad. Why? Because even though it's a new generation, visually, it doesn't look much different than the previous generation. Regardless of what it may look like, as Corvette engineers have stated, 80% of the parts used in the car are new. They basically stated all along it would not be revolutionary, but evolutionary in design. For all intents and purposes, the redesign is not radical at all, and nowhere near the degree of change we have seen from previous generations.

    In my opinion, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Let's face it, the C5 is a damn good Corvette, and until the C6, it is the best Corvette yet. It does a tremendous job at meeting the needs and demands of a finicky segment of the market, and you can't deny the fact that it is the best bang for the buck out there. That's one of the things that the Corvette has always been well known for. From the hydroformed steel frame rails, to the chassis/suspension setup, Chevrolet has one hell of a winner in the C5 and they know it.

    So if you have a real winner on your hands, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Why invest an astronomical amount of money into developing a complete and radical redesign when all that's really needed, is a makeover that will greatly improve upon what has already been established?

    A couple of the main goals of the Corvette engineers for C6 was to continue getting the weight out and increase quality, features, and potential without adding more weight. From the pre-production prototypes that we've seen so far, it's fair to assume that they're not too far off the mark.

    So what if there is an apparent similarity between the look of the C5 and C6? Is this really a bad thing? Let's take a brief look at Porsche design.

    For 40 years, Porsche has been building incredible sports cars capable of attracting many different customers from all types of income levels. From the Porsche Boxster to the $400,000+ Carrera GT, one thing remains visually apparent - design. You can't mistake the obvious look of a Porsche.

    In looking at the design changes of the Porsche 911 over the years, I think it's fair to say, that model has never really seen a radical design change like the Corvette has seen during its lifetime. Yet, the Porsche continues to win on the street, the track, and in the hearts of its owners and enthusiasts. You could say, that Porsche has a winning and accomplished design theme on their hands.

    So isn't it possible to say, that maybe...just maybe, Corvette engineers have a winning and accomplished design theme on their hands for the first time in Corvette history? In my opinion, I think so.

    As for the pictures of the C6 front license plate we've been seeing...let's just leave that for another topic on another day.

    Comments, rebuttals, insults? Let's hear 'em!

    -Rob

    Related Links: C6, Naked and Exposed: Corvette Action Center's First Look at the 2005 Corvette


    Rob Loszewski, Owner & Site Administrator
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  2. #2
    May 2004:  C6 Corvette Design:  Reality or Restraint? warren s's Avatar
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    The reality is simple, no matter what the product is, a Corvette or a shopping cart, there will always be some who like it and some who dont.

    The trick is to get at least 20,000 folks a year to buy it.


  3. #3
    Brett
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    I agree that Corvette should have a "common" design to its generations. I believe the car "found itself" with the C3 design, and it hasn't strayed from that since.

    I've never understood the people that complain that the C6 looks too much like the C5. The comments "C5.5", etc.

    Like the article said, the evolution has slowed now. Sharks (no pun intended) havn't changed for millions of years. Making cosmetic changes just for the sake of making changes is silly.

    However, for me, that issue is a strawman. My problems with the C6 have never been that it looks too much like the C5.

    By the way, who wrote that article?

  4. #4
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett

    By the way, who wrote that article?
    Who wrote what article?


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  5. #5
    Brett
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    The Wheel Spin: C6 Corvette: Reality or Restraint?

    That you just posted.

  6. #6
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett
    The Wheel Spin: C6 Corvette: Reality or Restraint?

    That you just posted.
    I wrote it.


    Rob Loszewski, Owner & Site Administrator
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  7. #7
    Administrator Yoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    C6 Corvette: Reality or Restraint?
    Did Corvette engineers fail with the new C6? Did they do a poor, shoddy, lazy job at designing the next generation of our pride and joy? Could they have gone much further with it? Should they have gone much further with it? Well, lets take a brief look back into Corvette design in history...

    Comments, rebuttals, insults? Let's hear 'em!

    -Rob
    Rob, as usual your article raises good points and opens the door for conversation surrounding the subject matter

    First and foremost, I like the new C6 design.

    The question I raise is calling this a “New Generation” the C6?? In my way of thinking a New Generation should be “revolutionary in design, not evolutionary!

    I mean it should be completely removed from the previous generation by either Technical and/or Mechanical design, or be so visually different that it leave the previous generation looking obsolete.

    Past “Generation Changes”
    The C1 with exception of the engine and a few body changes is the same car…
    The C2 goes to new designed suspension and the unmistakable front end with the beginning of the hidden head lights...
    The C3, while maintaining most of the suspension changes from the C2 goes to new heights with body design…
    The C4, I believe the most prolific changes came with the C4. A total redesign from the ground up. The C4 set the automotive industry on it’s ear. Corvette design brings a competitor to the world market...
    The C5, here again ground up design and performance that brings world respect and a body that is unmistakably Corvette, just sit in one and all the negative stories and naysayers are brought back into the Corvette fold...

    I don’t see the 2005 Corvette worthy of being dubbed the C6 a “New Corvette Generation.” Where are the revolutionary changes in either the technical, mechanical or the body to warrant calling this Corvette by a new Generation!…

    Until I see one coming at me out on the highway or one approaching from my rearview mirror, I’m sorry but this old boy thinks the C6 is an extension of the present C5 and falls into the C5 class, much like the way a 1968 and the 1982 fall within the C3 Generation.
    "Quality, not quantity"
    "The American people will never knowingly adopt "SOCIALISM." But, under the name of "LIBERALISM," they will adopt every fragment of the "SOCIALIST" program, until one day America will be a "SOCIALIST NATION," without knowing how it happened.
    (Norman Thomas, U.S. SOCIALIST PARTY CANDIDATE PARTY presidential candidate 1940, 1944 and 1948)


  8. #8
    Registered User DkBG's Avatar
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    Rob , I enjoyed the article and I really love the C-6 . But I also agreed with about everything said in the other's comments so far , such as Warren's remark about it being impossible to please everyone . Now as for Rare's comment about it not being a new generation , well that may be valid but I really don't care . ( No offense intended ) . I only care what they are giving us and what they are charging us for it . In my opinion the C-5 is a world class car . Be it revolutionary or evolutionary , if the C-6 is an improvement over the C-5 , then I think Chevrolet is to be commended . They are giving us one of the best cars the world has known , keeping it decidely Corvette and keeping the price way below what the Euro cars , in it's class , are selling for . What more can you ask for ? Cliff

  9. #9
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    I do not think anyone will mistake a C6 for a C5 when it hits the streets. I think the design of the C6 is unique. The sharp lines of the C6 are not the same as the rounded lines of the C5. IMHO I believe that the Corvette designers have hit a grand slam. Of course, a few years will have to pass before a lot of us will understand that. I love my LT4. But in 1997, I could picture myself in a C5. Now in 2004, I can picture myself in a C6. What a wonderful predicament for a Corvette lover to be in!
    BTW Rob, enjoyed the article!

  10. #10
    BlackZ28Turbo
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    Great observation Rob. I love my C5 and will most likely be adding a C6 to the stable next year. I need another rag top and the convertible C6 is the best looking car I have ever seen.

  11. #11
    LongTimer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    For 40 years, Porsche has been building incredible sports cars capable of attracting many different customers from all types of income levels. From the Porsche Boxster to the $400,000+ Carrera GT, one thing remains visually apparent - design. You can't mistake the obvious look of a Porsche.

    In looking at the design changes of the Porsche 911 over the years, I think it's fair to say, that model has never really seen a radical design change like the Corvette has seen during its lifetime. Yet, the Porsche continues to win on the street, the track, and in the hearts of its owners and enthusiasts. You could say, that Porsche has a winning and accomplished design theme on their hands.
    Rob, You and I have bantered about this before so you know that I agree with nearly all of your post. However, let's expand on one of the big reasons for the sucess of Porsche, OK? True the 911 has not changed significantly in layman eyes for many, many years - though we all know that MANY changes have ocurred in the chassis and engine areas. But another thing that has added to Porsche's success is the addition of lower and upper end models which, as you know, I endorse for Corvette. Beginning with the 914, 924 based cars, and now the Boxster, Porsche has been grooming their version of entry level buyers for decades now. Although less than successful with the 928 Porsche has always mangaged to have upper end cars available and they are doing it again.

    I would like to see 3 completely different vettes offered on three chassis. The new Kappa platform would be a great chassis to fit a high tech V6 into to do battle with the 350Z's market segment. No change to the "middle" C6 offering would be required in my scenario, but the Blue Devil must be produced and on a unique chassis with a unique look and unique power. If all three models were offered, vette could spin off into it's own division and be sold on any qualifying GM dealer's lot. Qualification would require the devotion of certain dealer resources for selling and servicing vettes. JMHO.

  12. #12
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongTimer
    Rob, You and I have bantered about this before so you know that I agree with nearly all of your post. However, let's expand on one of the big reasons for the sucess of Porsche, OK? True the 911 has not changed significantly in layman eyes for many, many years - though we all know that MANY changes have ocurred in the chassis and engine areas. But another thing that has added to Porsche's success is the addition of lower and upper end models which, as you know, I endorse for Corvette. Beginning with the 914, 924 based cars, and now the Boxster, Porsche has been grooming their version of entry level buyers for decades now. Although less than successful with the 928 Porsche has always mangaged to have upper end cars available and they are doing it again.

    I would like to see 3 completely different vettes offered on three chassis. The new Kappa platform would be a great chassis to fit a high tech V6 into to do battle with the 350Z's market segment. No change to the "middle" C6 offering would be required in my scenario, but the Blue Devil must be produced and on a unique chassis with a unique look and unique power. If all three models were offered, vette could spin off into it's own division and be sold on any qualifying GM dealer's lot. Qualification would require the devotion of certain dealer resources for selling and servicing vettes. JMHO.
    I agree with you 100% on this, and I know that you and I have discussed this before and feel the same about this issue.

    I was going to mention this in my article, but decided to keep it out as I wanted to focus strictly on the design rather than the marketing potential of the platform.

    However, since you brought it up, the one thing that comes to mind here, and I hate to even mention the word because I totally dislike the car and its quality but.......Saturn.

    Personally, I like what GM has done with Saturn in terms of marketing the platform. It is its own car with several different models and its own dealerships. Unfortunately, I think the design is butt-ugly and the quality is comparable to a Yugo or an old '60s Jaguar E-type with Lucas electronics. If you know anything about either of these cars, you'll get the picture.

    If GM moved the Corvette into the direction of Saturn in terms of its marketing with a couple different models and its own dealerships, I think it would be very cool.

    Again....just my humble, unprofessional opinion. What the hell do I know anyway....I'm just some web wonk.


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    Rob,

    That was a truly enjoyable read. Thank you.

    As far as an opinion on the new C6. It surely makes sense to evolve the existing C5, refine the areas that might have needed attention...and for the most part creating the performance of a C5Z06 in both coupe and convertible format..along with additional refinements to improve the ownership and driving experience..

    The Corvette team hit a home run...

    Sure I don't like the three little bulbs I keep seeing in the headlight buckets..but thats just me and an easy aftermarket fix....(lightly smoked headlight lens)

    Change whether its good or bad...tends to be tough to process...and that includes Corvette Sports Enthusiasts..

    When the Detroit Show opens next January...Thats when all Hell breaks loose..

    Thanks again for a great read..Excellent and appreciated..

    JB
    C6 Black/blk Z51, NPP exhaust, 1lt, M6/2008 Silver AWD CTS, FE2, 304hp

  14. #14
    Site Administrator Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rare81


    The question I raise is calling this a “New Generation” the C6?? In my way of thinking a New Generation should be “revolutionary in design, not evolutionary!

    I mean it should be completely removed from the previous generation by either Technical and/or Mechanical design, or be so visually different that it leave the previous generation looking obsolete.
    Bud,

    Interesting points, and in some ways, I'd have to agree. In looking at the C1 generation, the '53, '54, '55 were all very similar. It wasn't until 1956 that we saw the first apparent redesign/makeover, and then again in 1958, we see even less of a redesign/makeover with most of the changes apparent in the front-end of the car.

    However, this raises the question, should the defining criteria of a generation be strictly design, strictly engineering, or a combination of both?

    With the C6, it seems to me like an equal amount of redesign and re-engineering went into the car, possibly with a heavier percentage of change seen in the design over the engineering aspect? I don't know...I'm making assumptions at this point.


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  15. #15
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    The thing I can't understand about people liking it or not liking it is that no one has driven one yet. I'm sure with the technology and engineering that GM has put into the C6, a drive will shut many of us up.

    We're liking or hating the car because of it's looks. Sure, they've released preliminary performance features but no one knows how it truly feels.

    We can't forget that the standard for Corvette's is raised every year and especially with every new generation unveiled. Have we raised the expectations too high?
    Edmond.

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