Drive Type: 4x4
Clackamas, Oregon, United States
Ladies and gentlemen,
Fri, 01 Mar 2013 14:15:00 EST
Supercharged, 6.2-liter V8? Check. Seven-speed manual? Check. Obsession with weight? Check.
What did you expect when Chevrolet said it was bringing a new Corvette variant to the 2014 New York Auto Show? Maybe a sticker and trim package, like the C6 Corvette Grand Sport or a tie-in deal like the Black Widow car from Chicago? On the opposite end, maybe there was an even more hardcore Z06 waiting in the wings. Who knew?
With all of the attention given to the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray lately, you could be forgiven for thinking that it's already well along in production, yet tooling up for the new C7 has only just begun. In fact, production of the outgoing C6 generation in Bowling Green, Kentucky just halted on Thursday.
As the C6 has aged, production numbers have predictably ebbed along with demand, but this year, the addition of the 427 and 60th anniversary models resulted in an uptick in vehicles built - this, despite a model year shortened by around 25 percent to accomodate the new model changeover. The final C6 Corvette ever, No. 13,466 built this year, was a white 427 Convertible destined for the General Motors Heritage Center museum. The car's 7.0-liter V8 heart was assembled by Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter himself.
In total, Bowling Green pushed out 215,100 C6 Corvettes over nine years. If you're still a C6 fan at heart and are hoping to get a good deal on a phase-out model, step lively - Chevrolet reportedly had about 6,100 unsold units, which Autoweek suggests is good for around five and a half months of supply at the model's current sales rates. Given that demand will likely slacken even further as the C7 draws closer, that should be a big enough stockpile to keep dealers satisfied until 2014 Stingrays begin showing up on their forecourts in December.
When are stripes more than just stripes? Follow up question: Is the product development team at Chevrolet really cocky enough to hide the next C7 Corvette variant in plain sight? This very recently spotted, and ostensibly obscured C7 asks a lot more questions than it answers, but there's at least some evidence to support that it might be the next Corvette Grand Sport.
The first and most obvious tip-off that something is up with this 'Vette revolves around those silver stripes. Obviously the stripes themselves don't necessarily denote a new model. However, when Chevy recently launched its "colorizer" website for the Stingray, there was no provision made for racing stripes - solid colors only.
Grand Sport exhibit number two is actually an incriminating lack of badges. The production Corvettes we've seen to date have all carried Stingray badges on their fenders, just behind the vent. The car seen in these images has no such badges, which is an intriguing omission on an car that looks like a production-spec vehicle otherwise.