THE VILLAGES WEATHER
Eisenhower Rec Ctr.
We have a very, very active club, enjoying the camaraderie of our fellow members and our cars with many cruises, shows, dine&drive's. etc. on our agenda. Please visit our calendar page for details and links to our upcoming events. If, after perusing our entire website you feel an unrelenting urge to join our club, please click this button for an on-line registration form On-Line Applicattion Our club is open to all residents of THE VILLAGES who own CORVETTES. Thank you and please, enjoy our site and the rest of your day.
LATEST CLUB HAPPENINGS, NEWS,VIEWS,PICS,ETC.
Welcome to the Village Vettes Corvette Club website. Here you will find a plethora of entertaining, informative, insightful, useful (or perhaps) useless information about our club and our beloved cars,
This is, without a doubt, the greatest upcoming event in the HISTORY OF CORVETTES.
It is one of those
"JEEZ, I CAN'T MISS THIS ONE"
the 25Th. Anniversary CM Caravan
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25Th. Anniversary NCM Caravan
How the Chevrolet Corvette Was Saved from Extinction
Twice Back from the brink once and again thanks to a few bold, passionate leaders.
Chevrolet’s Corvette may now be America’s sports car, but it barely survived its first few years. From its 1953 debut through that decade, it continually flirted with cancellation as its sales never rose above four figures. Yet it stayed alive—and enjoyed generally strong sales through the mid-1980s—mostly thanks to ace chief engineers Zora Arkus-Duntov and Dave McLellan.
But in 1992, when Dave Hill took over from the retiring McLellan to become the third Corvette chief engineer, Chevy’s sports car was about to be toast. With the fourth-generation C4 selling poorly and General Motors flirting with bankruptcy, the company’s brass had reluctantly canceled the next-gen C5 program to free up money for higher-volume products.
Not on my watch, thought Joe Spielman, a passionate enthusiast who was running the mid-size-car division at the time. “I just couldn’t let that happen.” He asked Chevrolet boss (and fellow enthusiast) Jim Perkins for help. Perkins met with GM president Lloyd Reuss, who told him, “We need the capital and engineering resources to do the new full-size sedan [platform]. So we can’t do Corvette.” The resources instead went toward the 1992–1999 Pontiac Bonneville, Buick LeSabre, and Oldsmobile Eighty Eight; not exactly a murderers’ row, that.
“GM president Lloyd Reuss told Perkins, “We need the capital and engineering resources to do the new full-size sedan. So we can’t do Corvette.” The resources instead went toward the 1992–1999 Pontiac Bonneville, Buick LeSabre, and Oldsmobile Eighty Eight.”
Spielman then asked Russ McLean, director of manufacturing for GM in Mexico, to return to the States to “save the Corvette.” McLean’s responsibilities as a platform manager were similar to those of GM’s current vehicle line executives (commonly known as VLEs) and included product engineering, manufacturing/plant engineering, purchasing, quality, service parts, and finance. “When I took over in February 1992,” McLean told Car and Driver, “the C5 program was not approved. We were at the bottom of the heap on quality and customer satisfaction and [were] losing a significant amount of money on each car built.”
McLellan’s team was already working on a revolutionary replacement for the aging C4 with a longer wheelbase, a rear-mounted transaxle, and a much stiffer backbone structure. To keep that work funded and on track, Perkins clandestinely tapped his Chevrolet marketing budget.
“Jim came up with a million dollars out of his advertising budget,” Spielman says, “and I looked across the rest of my organization and found half a million here, a hundred thousand there, and put enough together to build a working mule with a new structure under the old car.” Lifting money out of his marketing budget for Spielman to keep the C5 project going was a potentially career-ending risk for Perkins, but he went back to that well twice more for a total of $2.5 million. The C5 program was on its way to being saved, but much work still needed to be done.
“We desperately needed to build a vehicle,” Hill says. And they needed it in time for the North American Strategy Board (NASB) Concept Approval meeting, just 90 days away. “We didn’t have time to do it inside the company, so we had to use an outside shop.”
The mule car was built with a hydroformed backbone structure and the rear transaxle, all disguised under a “raggedy” C4 body. “We were driving it at the Mesa, Arizona, Desert Proving Ground,” Perkins says, “and everybody was blown away with what we had. For example, when you ran over ripple strips with the old car, you got memory shake that would rattle your teeth. But the C5, even with that old C4 body on it, just settled down and—burrrr—ran over it.”
Then Perkins got a meeting with Reuss and some other top execs and had “a nose-to-nose, heart-to-heart talk about that car and why we should continue it.” He won a grudging okay to continue development, then worked with Spielman and Hill to get as many high-level people and NASB members as possible into the mule car before the Concept Approval meeting.
Then, as Perkins recalls, when he presented the business case, “I had had our guys go back and tally up all the Corvette magazine covers we had since 1953, and it was more than 800!” He also lectured the NASB that the Corvette was the purest example of what GM and America could be proud of, “an American icon that they had no right to cancel.”
“Perkins lectured board members that the Corvette was the purest example of what GM and America could be proud of, “an American icon that they had no right to cancel.””
Through a focused effort to improve the C4 Corvette’s performance, quality, customer satisfaction, and profitability, McLean’s team “earned the right to request approval for the C5 Corvette,” he says. “The C5 financial projections were 250 percent better than C4, and, as a result, no one could deny Corvette being placed back on the corporate product program. After I prepared the proposal and completed several reviews, I received C5 approval from [new CEO] Jack Smith and his executive committee.”
When the Strategy Board decision to revive the program and take it to production finally came in 1994, the U.S. car market and GM were fortunately in much better shape. That C5 Corvette turned out to be one of GM’s most successful programs of the 1990s, and the more refined and stylistically clean C6 built on that success. But when it came time to start work on the next-gen C7, GM was spiraling toward bankruptcy—again. And so the Corvette was killed one more time.
The Struggle for C7
When engineer/racer Tom Wallace succeeded the retiring Dave Hill as Corvette’s fourth chief engineer in 2005, he shared a burning desire with its first, Zora Arkus-Duntov, to do a mid-engine Corvette. He also soon realized that assistant Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter—who also wanted to explore mid-engine designs and was working on a prototype—was the technical brains behind the Corvette. “So we promoted Tadge to chief engineer, North American Corvette,” Wallace relates, “reporting to me as global chief engineer and VLE.”
But by 2008, the U.S. economy was plunging into a deep recession, vehicle sales were cratering, GM was spiraling toward insolvency, and new-vehicle programs were being reviewed, delayed, or killed. The last two on the block were the Corvette and the full-size truck, and going into the October board of directors meeting, vice chairman and head of product development Bob Lutz told Wallace, “I’ll fight to keep the new full-size truck and C7 programs, but I don’t know if I can keep Corvette.” And he couldn’t. The Corvette was dead. So Wallace took early retirement.
““I’ll fight to keep the new full-size truck and C7 programs, but I don’t know if I can keep Corvette,” Bob Lutz told Tom Wallace in 2008. And Lutz couldn’t. The Corvette was dead. So Wallace took early retirement.”
But Juechter and his team kept working, even after GM declared bankruptcy in June 2009. “We were really worried about GM collapsing in a quick liquidation where we would just be shut down, and the Bowling Green plant and the tools and the brand would be sold at scrap value,” he recalls. “We even put a Corvette phone book together with home phone numbers, so if the worst did happen and everything collapsed around us, if someone wanted to buy Corvette and Bowling Green, we had a team ready to sign up and go to work.”
Participating in a conference call one day with the “task force” put together by the U.S. Treasury Department to consolidate GM manufacturing operations, Juechter was planning to advocate passionately for Corvette and its small, special plant: “We went around the room introducing ourselves, and when I introduced myself as Corvette chief engineer, one consultant said, ‘What can you tell me about C7?’—the same question we were getting from our customers. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy knows the lingo and wants to know about C7. He may get it.’ They got into our books and saw that Corvette made money, so getting going on a new one was on the to-do list coming out of bankruptcy. It was spared as an extremely valuable brand that is known globally, and the Bowling Green assembly plant was also spared.”
“When I introduced myself as Corvette chief engineer, one consultant said, ‘What can you tell me about C7?’—the same question we were getting from our customers. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy knows the lingo and wants to know about C7. He may get it.’ ” — Tadge Juechter”
Yet still, as GM was emerging from its government-guided bankruptcy, nothing was happening on C7. Then Juechter saw Fritz Henderson, who had succeeded Rick Wagoner as GM CEO, on the Autoline Detroit TV program. “People were phoning in questions,” he recalls, “and one asked, ‘When are we going to get a new Corvette?’ Fritz said, ‘We’re working on one right now. We’re doing an evolutionary but major change off the C6.’ Which was wrong. He was either misinformed or wishfully thinking.”
The next day, a friend of Henderson’s who decided to buy a Corvette emailed him some questions. Henderson passed them along to Juechter for answers. Which gave Juechter the opportunity to say that he had seen Henderson on Autoline Detroit, and they were definitely not yet working on a new Corvette. Henderson responded, “Well, we’ll see about that.”
Less than a week later, direction came from GM product planning to greenlight the C7, which Juechter and his team engineered and developed into easily the best Corvette ever. With that generation preparing to ride into the sunset on the might of the beastly ZR1, the team behind America’s Sports Car soon will realize Duntov’s, Wallace’s, and their own mid-engine dreams when the C8 officially breaks cover.
THE FUTURE OF THE CORVETTE & MORE ! ! !
In 2021 GM will revolutionize the Corvette lineup. In addition to the base Corvette, two different high-end models will be introduced: Corvette Grand Tour and Corvette Grand Sport. The GT is as luxurious as if Cadillac designed it because a Cadillac team is, in fact, responsible for the GT. It’s a true GT and in addition to standard MRC it will deploy a full gamut of NVH countermeasures like acoustic glass, heavy sound deadening, and special wheels/tires, all for a cross-country tourer that with a twist of the mode dial will handle any road or even a race track. The GT will be propelled by a version of Cadillac’s 4.2L twin turbo V8 with the turbos moved to the sides, and this engine is said to be the quietest V8 GM has ever developed. Word is that GM benchmarked the Corvette GT’s NVH against German luxury tourers from Mercedes Benz and BMW. Not sports cars, tourers.
And now some of the information provided by unlimitedPower has been backed up with a patent awarded to GM in October 2018. Whether or not this GT emblem is destined for the C8 Corvette or another GM vehicle is still up for the debate.
As far as my personal observations go, I am not so sure I like the GT moniker attached to the Corvette. The GT, or Grand Tour as it has been suggested, has more connotations in the USA as a performance model instead of a luxury touring model. But it’s the close association of GT models with Ford including the Ford GT and the Mustang GT that has me mostly saying no to having a Corvette GT in the line-up.
Back in 2007 when Chevrolet was developing the 2009 Corvette ZR1, there were strong indications that the car would end up being called a Super Sport (SS) model. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and the King of the Hill Corvette ZR1 returned. With the C8 mid-engine being a “new kind” of Corvette, I think the strong history of Corvettes wearing the Grand Sport/Z06/ZR1 badges should be retained. But I am willing to make an exemption for naming it the ZORA, which honors the Corvette’s champion of the Mid-Engine, Zora Arkus-Duntov!
Did an Insider Just Reveal GM’s Bold Plan for the C8 Corvette Manta Ray?
"I’ve been a member of the Corvette Forum for over 15 years now and while I’m not a huge participant in forum conversations, I have learned a few things over the years about those that join the forum. There is something about a person’s first post that is noteworthy. Did you join because you have a question or problem you are trying to solve? Maybe you are an owner or future owner wanting to learn more. You could be a fan of another make/model and you want to troll some Corvette owners? Maybe you know something about the future Corvette and you just need to get it off your chest.
That last reason is what we are discussing tonight. A first-time poster on the Corvette Forum named unlimitedPower has posted a thread called “Corvette Manta Ray: GM’s Bold New Plan” and it has really raised a lot of eyebrows from those that have been following the development of the C8 mid-engine Corvette.
Could it be that we have another insider following in the steps of those like ZERV that have come and shared some of the Mid-Engine Corvette’s secrets? Or is this just a well-written diversion based on the many of the rumors surrounding the next generation Corvette? Like any first-time post on the forum, we have no history to judge any previous comments, but what unlimtedPower has to say does seem very believable.
We’ve decided to share the entire thread from unlimtedPower with the disclaimer that “Hey, it’s on the internet so it must be true.” Just joking but you know what I mean. Take it for what it is, and we’ll let history decide if he was correct."
I’m close enough to the inside to know the following about GM’s plans for the Corvette. I cannot reveal all I know without jeopardizing my business’s success, so please do not ask me to explain further, I will not answer. If you don’t believe me then that’s fine, I wouldn’t either if I was in your shoes, but I’m compelled to post now so there is less disappointment later when the Eagle has Landed.
The C8 Corvettes at Nürburgring are the real thing – the 2020 Corvette Manta Ray. This base Corvette will be powered by an updated LT1 V8 with about 520hp and 485 lb-ft torque. A DCT transaxle is used in all C8 Corvettes, no exceptions. The R&D investment in the DCT is said to be equivalent to that of both the manual and automatic in the C7 – they knew they had one chance to get the DCT right. The interior will be somewhat higher quality than the C7, and GM’s stylists have attempted a more “upscale” design. I have not seen it but those who have say it’s impressive, but still not at Porsche or Ferrari levels, which seems fair given the price.
In 2021 GM will revolutionize the Corvette lineup. In addition to the base Corvette two different high-end models will be introduced: Corvette Grand Tour and Corvette Grand Sport. The GT is as luxurious as if Cadillac designed it, because a Cadillac team is in fact responsible for the GT. It’s a true GT and in addition to standard MRC it will deploy a full gamut of NVH countermeasures like acoustic glass, heavy sound deadening, and special wheels/tires, all for a cross country tourer that with a twist of the mode dial will handle any road or even a race track. The GT will be propelled by a version of Cadillac’s 4.2L twin turbo V8 with the turbos moved to the sides, and this engine is said to be the quietest V8 GM has ever developed. Word is that GM benchmarked the Corvette GT’s NVH against German luxury tourers from Mercedes Benz and BMW. Not sports cars, tourers.
The Grand Sport moniker will be used for the insane sports version and it will feature additional escalating packages with more and more track orientation. GM found that buyers liked the name “Grand Sport” better than their alphanumeric gibberish “ZO6” so they ran with it. MRC is standard and in later years there will be a track package with DSSV and a higher output engine. What engine, you say? Hold on to your butts because the GS will be powered by a beastly 5.5L twin turbo V8 that is said to be frighteningly powerful and in private track sessions has dominated both “the Germans and Italians.” That’s just the first year GS, not the track-oriented version. My description isn’t hyperbole – those who have driven the GS tell me that it is literally frightening to floor it. GM even had a team of lawyers in to advise on the legal perils of selling such a potent vehicle for street use.
How the Corvette is sold will change as radically as the engine mounting position. Any GM dealer will be able to sell the Corvette brand, but on the flip side, it will be far more difficult for dealers to qualify to sell Corvettes. You won’t have to worry about Joey the Chevy Cruze expert wrenching on your Corvette since dealers will require a minimum count of certified Corvette techs and only those techs will be permitted to work on Corvettes. Since “Corvette” will be a brand unto itself it implies more than just the GT and GS sub-models, doesn’t it? Make of this what you will.
Interestingly, a mid engine Corvette makes space for the 7th gen Camaro to slip into the C7’s current segment in 2021, at current Camaro prices. The 2021 Camaro will be as revolutionary as the C8 but that’s for another forum at another time.
So there you have it, GM’s bold and brash sports car strategy. These will be the last of GM’s gasoline powered sports cars, a bright nuclear flash before the onset of an EV future. I’m familiar with one of the upcoming EV sports cars as well. Suffice to say, performance gearheads have absolutely nothing to worry about because every one of the sports cars (and sports CUVs) in development at GM are poised to vastly exceed expectations.
The following video embodies what the
is all about, loving & driving our cars and taking care of our fellow man. Before you go any further, please take a moment to watch this really touching VIDEO