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Auto blogTue, 22 Jan 2013 13:29:00 EST
It was inevitable that we'd see the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray topless at some point, but that didn't make us any less interested when a pair of supposedly leaked official images showed up on theautoinsiderblog.com last week. We posted them on our Facebook page, but held off reporting on them here until we could get a little more information.
Those images, which feature a dark red car on a sterile black studio background, supposedly first appeared on the website of diecast model maker Maisto. A Chevrolet spokesman has been reported saying that they are "not official images released by Chevrolet PR," which isn't a denial they're the real deal, but neither is it a confirmation.
Close examination of the photos suggest they could be official shots of the Corvette Stingray Convertible, and while some have doubted their authenticity due to a lack of vents (which were seen on the C7s that debuted in Detroit last week), it could be that the images are of a base model car without the Z51 package that doesn't require the extra venting and cooling.
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.
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"