2014 CHEVY CORVETTE – C7 EVEN BETTER THAN THE C6!
If you’re like me, you were probably thinking “What could they possibly to do the new Corvette that would surpass the C6? Some new styling surely, and more horsepower without a doubt. But that could be accomplished with a minor facelift. Like you, I read all the recent magazine articles raving about the new car and all that it represents. I’ve heard all about the new aluminum chassis, the increased downforce, the improved handling, breaking, etc., etc. All very impressive. But, it wasn’t until I actually walked up to one and looked it over close up that I really got it. The biggest change to the C7 over the C6 and every other previous Corvette is the way its put together. This thing looks like it was machined out of a solid piece of billet. Everything fits perfectly, the doors open and close solidly. Everything under the hood is buttoned down and all-business. And the interior, finally, rivals that of almost any car made anywhere (save a Bentley or Rolls) in terms of design, fit, finish, and materials. Bravo, Chevy, you have finally arrived. The new Corvette is a truly world-class car, and that’s no longer an idle marketing claim. This is the real deal. This car looks fast when its sitting still, and it surely is, viciously so. But you also get the feeling that it would be perfectly happy to take you back and forth to work or to pick up your kid (one) at school. The C7 is the best Vette ever!!
2014 Chevy Corvette COUPE
2014 CHEVY CORVETTE LAUNCHES THE 7th-GENERATION
The introduction of an all-new Corvette is a very big deal. It only happens about once every 10 years or so that Chevy blesses the faithful with another generation of this iconic American Legend. Each successive generation forged new ground, besting the prior model by a good margin. But, as technology increased, and the cars just kept getting faster and better, by the 5th-generation (1997-2004) it became increasingly difficult to best the outgoing model by a significant enough margin to justify the tremendous cost of change. But, somehow the bright minds at Chevy found more power and better handling out of an already powerful, great-handling car with the introduction of the C6 in 2005. But, this indeed would be a tough act to follow, with the venerable small block’s displacement already stretched all the way 7 liters (same as the old big block 427), and horsepower as high as 638! How do you top that?!
2014 Chevy Corvette CONVERTIBLE
2014 CHEVY CORVETTE PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES
Only the top-of-the-line performance versions of the C6 (Z06 and ZR1) got the aluminum chassis, while the standard Corvettes got steel units. Every C7 Corvette now has a new aluminum chassis. And Chevy is now building them in-house at Bowling Green KY. They used to have them built by an outside supplier in low volumes. But GM has just invested well over a year and $131 Million upgrading and modernizing the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green. $52 Million was spent upgrading the body area alone. Also moved in-house now is the Performance Build Center, makers of hand-built, low-volume, high-performance engines, formerly located in Wixom MI. GM has gotten numerous patents on various aspects of this car and its production, including a new process for spot welding aluminum to aluminum. The emphasis is on quality and precision, including a new 3D laser inspection system that has helped to assure that assembly parts are 25% tighter than in the previous generation car. No more squeaks and rattles.
2014 CHEVY CORVETTE AERODYNAMICS
Aerodynamics are a huge part of this car. Not only was the visible body shaped in the wind tunnel, but numerous ducts, ports, splitters and downforce generators that you don’t see were also perfected there. The C7 spent countless hours in a 120mph wind tunnel and after that, in a 180mph rolling road tunnel, and adjustments a little as a millimeter were made to fine-tune the shape. The new Corvette is no longer a bottom-breather (having no conventional front grille, and taking radiator air from under the car) like its C6 predecessor. There is now a conventional front grille opening and the air is carefully managed through a forward-slanting radiator (a new innovation developed through the C6R racing program), forcing air into the engine bay then out the top of the hood to reduce lift, and carry away more heat. Certain styling decisions were made early on that would affect aerodynamics, such as the inclusion of Corvette’s signature side coves. While earlier cove designed caused turbulence and thus drag, these were stylized and optimized in the wind tunnel and actually help lower the Cd down to just 0.29. Some twenty different side mirror shapes were considered and/or tested before the perfect one was settled on. With a top speed approaching 200mph, the smoothness of the airflow around the car is absolutely critical.
2014 Chevy Corvette INTERIORS
2014 CHEVY CORVETTE IS WORLD CLASS
Rest assured, the new C7 2014 Chevy Corvette is significantly improved in almost every way over the C6. That’s hard to believe but it’s true. More standard power, better brakes, better handling, more technology, better fuel economy, and a look and feel that puts it on par with literally any car built by anyone, anywhere. The Corvette has finally moved from that lower-priced American sledgehammer to a finely crafted, high-tech, world-class supercar. And at a price that is half of what you’d have to spend to buy another car that will beat it! They start at a base price of $51,000! That’s crazy, right? I don’t know how they did it, but they not only did it, they did it extremely well. The new C7 is so well put together that everything fits perfectly, and precisely. The doors open (with a cool hidden microswitch) smoothly, and close with a solid thud. No more plasticky cracking noises. And the interior is every bit as good as they say, better even. The materials are top notch, the stitching, the switchgear, the trim, and the overall fit and finish are as good as anything coming out of Europe (except Rolls and Bentley, of course). It was designed once, then rejected and started again from scratch before it was right. They cut no corners.
2014 Chevy Corvette ENGINES
2014 CHEVY CORVETTE ENGINE
While sharing the classic small block V8 architecture and displacement as before, the new 6.2 liter LT1 V8 is truly new. Now in its 5th generation, the venerable small block is all all aluminum, has direct injection, continuously variable cam timing, and cylinder deactivation (called Active Fuel Management). While still a pushrod engine with 2 valves-per-cylinder, it is incredibly sophisticated. GM engineers point out that this time-tested design allows for a smaller, narrower, lower, lighter and more compact engine than a DOHC V8 of similar output. The new LT1 is just 25.3” tall, from oil pan to top of engine cover. This allows a lower hood and cowl which improves dynamics. The new Corvette comes standard with 455hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, hooked up to either a rear-mounted 7-speed manual with rev-matching, or a 6-speed auto. They can do zero-to-sixty in under 4 seconds, and assault the quarter mile in just 12.2 seconds at 117mph, showroom stock right out of the box! Oh, and did I mention that they get 29mpg on the highway? This thing is amazing. If you can do it, mortgage the farm, sell the kids, put the dog to work if you have to, but go out and buy a new 2014 Chevy Corvette. The red looks really hot.
It’s been tough to find a new C7 that I could take pictures of. Most dealers have a waiting list, and as soon as they come in, they’re gone. But, I got lucky. FH Dailey Chevrolet in San Leandro CA (San Francisco Bay Area) happened to have not one, but two on hand. Better yet, one was a Coupe and the other a Convertible. I dropped everything and went out to take the jaw-dropping photos you see here. Our special thanks go out to Chuck Santana of FH Dailey Chevrolet, and to FH Dailey Chevrolet proper, for their help in making this happen. If you want one of these beauties, call Chuck direct at (510) 915-7070. FH Dailey Chevrolet is located at 800 Davis Street, San Leandro CA, (510) 351-5800.