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Old 01-16-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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A contrarian's criticism of the Corvette Stingray (by the AUTOENTHUSIAST)

The outpouring of positive reactions on the internet to the 2014 Corvette has been overwhelming so far, so I thought it'd be fun to see what a contrarian has to say about it. Here's one:


Via: http://www.autoextremist.com/
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But let’s face it - there was only one debut that really mattered at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The introduction of the seventh-generation Corvette, or should I say, the new Corvette Stingray is a very big deal. A Joe Biden kind of big frickin’ deal, if you know what I mean. And for the most part GM Design and the True Believers in the Corvette Program delivered.

That the new Corvette will be the best driving Corvette in history is indisputable. The advancement of technology alone in the ensuing years since the development of the sixth-generation Corvette ensures that. The new Corvette utilizes the latest in advanced materials and it also uses a stack of technical knowledge gleaned from the world-class – and wildly successful – Corvette Racing program. The lessons learned on the racetrack through that championship-winning program have contributed immeasurably to the development of the new Corvette, especially in terms of aero performance. (And it will make a sensational-looking GT racer for the 2014 season as well.)

In short the new Corvette is flat-out better in every way. So is it the best production Corvette ever built? Absolutely. Will it be the best driving Corvette ever built? Emphatically so, yes. Does it boast the best interior environment ever put in a Corvette? No question. But is it the best-looking Corvette ever built? No.

Now don’t get me wrong, the overall shape and packaging of the new Corvette is excellent. And there are pieces of the design that I really like. And it pains me to say this because the only person I’ve met with the knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the legacy of Corvette that I have is Ed Welburn, the Chief of GM’s Global Design.

I know Ed’s troops worked overtime on the new Corvette, and make no mistake these are some of GM’s truest True Believers, the people who eat, sleep and breathe Corvette every day. And Ed is the most committed of them all. And overall they did a superb job.

But the new car falls down in two major areas in my estimation. 1. The side detailing and surface development of the car, and 2. The overall look, feel and detailing of the tail.

Now to the first point, that the side vent and surface development of the car clearly borrows from the Nissan GT-R was shocking to me. The GT-R, though an impressive performer, is a mishmash of design elements tossed together and shaken in a bag, resulting in one of the most unimaginative super car designs of all time. And to “borrow” from that car? The explanation given for this was that this new Corvette is supposed to skew younger and that it’s more of an “international” design and not as overtly “American” in its look and feel.

I vehemently disagree. First of all, if there’s any car that should exude its American-ness, it’s the Corvette. If you’ve attended the 24 Hours of Le Mans you’d know what I’m talking about. The international audience there isn’t clamoring for an “internationalized” Corvette. They love the Corvette for what it is: Bold. Loud. Fast. And American. So that “international” rationale shouldn’t have been applied anywhere to this new Corvette. Period. It’s flawed and wildly inappropriate. (Thank goodness the True Believers working on the Viper don’t get caught up in that ********-think.)

And secondly, this car isn’t going to skew younger because young people can’t afford the car. But I’ll have much more to say about that in next week’s column when I discuss the marketing of Corvette.

And finally, there are only two cars in the world that should be allowed to have round taillights: Ferrari. And Corvette. It has been pre-ordained by the automotive gods for more than 60 years now. The explanation as to why the new Corvette doesn’t have round taillights is because this is supposedly a Corvette for a new generation and again, the design is more “with it” in its attempt to appeal to younger buyers.

But throwing that “you’re just not hip enough to understand” rationale – something car designer’s do when they’re out of ideas – is just unmitigated ********. The rear end of the new Corvette is busy and uninspired. And the Camaro-esque taillights are wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Really? The True Believer designers entrusted with the legacy of Corvette used a Camaro design cue on the taillights? It doesn’t get any more ridiculous than that.

Here’s the deal. As someone who has been immersed in this business since I was a kid and someone who has been privileged to know some of the true legends of this business firsthand, including the legendary GM designer Bill Mitchell, and someone who has been a student and appreciator of design from way back, I feel more than a little qualified to critique the Corvette. And even though I love the new car, it could have been so much more by being so much less, if you can understand what I’m getting at.

And as I talked to top designers roaming the show, they all said the same exact things: “They needed to dial it back about 25 percent.” Or, “They nailed the overall shape but it’s just too busy.”

Listen, the new Corvette is a great car. The best Corvette ever built by a long shot, with enough advanced technology and cool stuff baked-in to savor for years to come. It will be a sensational performer and it will move the enthusiasts who love them to tears. And the True Believers on the Corvette program who toiled long hours on the C7 should be justifiably proud.

But it’s not a great design because it’s overwrought and overthought and overdone.

Or as Bill Mitchell would say, “You gotta know when to lift the brush.” In other words, there’s a point when you have to stop the tweaking and the fussing and the hand-wringing and just stop. And walk away.

I just wish they had.

We’ll have more Detroit Auto Show coverage and updates throughout the day in this week’s “On The Table.”

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:45 PM   #2
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It was time to take the styling to another level. It still so strongly resembles the C6 in the overall, I was actually slightly let down at first. I wanted it to go just a bit further towards that next step. Yes, major elements are changed such as the back glass, rear end treatment, but geez, at some point you have to advance these things. I think they did a awesome job. If I had to find something to pick at, I guess I would have liked wider rear tires, but that can be fixed!
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:58 PM   #3
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I'll agree the front end is the weakest view of the car. But the front end has been the weakest part of the Corvette for some time in my opinion. Thank goodness for the aftermarket.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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I think on the front they need to play homage to the original Stingray with a stylized version of the split front bumpers. But that might not work aerodynamically.
Didn't a few years in the 50's the Corvette did not have round tail lights? And until 60 it only had one light on each side. I bet the crap would really hit the fan if they went back to one taillight per side, especially if it wasn't round. People today are too hung up on keeping things traditional. Sometimes change is a good thing when it comes to car design.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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I have yet to find one thing I don't like about it.. I only have to decide if I want to part with my Camaro that I still love having..
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:13 PM   #6
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The design isn't there to just look good, though. It's completely functional. Everything on the car is styled and built to serve a purpose.

It is a bit of a radical departure from what we've come to expect from a Corvette, but the C6, which was pretty much an evolution of the C5, and the styling cues that came with those two cars were getting pretty stale.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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The guy who wrote the article is just plain wrong. It was time to move forward, and they did a great job! And you wow the young so when they come of age they'll buy one based on those memories. That's why I love cars so much.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:02 PM   #8
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He's not really wrong. First of all it's simply opinion and perspective.

First, the rear end of the car was "heralded" as the worst part of the car when the "leaked" images popped up.

Side view looks like a GT-R? I don't think so but I also don't think the back end looks anything like a Camaro. But over at our cousin site, there is a thread about how much the back of the car looks like a Camaro.

And Peter Delorenzo is often "contrarian". He has clearly complimented the crap out of the C7. He is just the type to find the things that are less than perfect and highlight them. It's just his way.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:10 PM   #9
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He's not really wrong. First of all it's simply opinion and perspective.

First, the rear end of the car was "heralded" as the worst part of the car when the "leaked" images popped up.

Side view looks like a GT-R? I don't think so but I also don't think the back end looks anything like a Camaro. But over at our cousin site, there is a thread about how much the back of the car looks like a Camaro.

And Peter Delorenzo is often "contrarian". He has clearly complimented the crap out of the C7. He is just the type to find the things that are less than perfect and highlight them. It's just his way.

Gotcha Number3. And in case you didn't know its 2cnd Chance under an assumed name.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #10
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The more I look at it the more I love it.

I can't get enough of it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:25 PM   #11
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To try and turn subjective asthetic into objective fact ruins beauty and treats fact like silly putty. What a boor.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:43 PM   #12
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To try and turn subjective asthetic into objective fact ruins beauty and treats fact like silly putty. What a boor.

To be honest reading that statement made me bored:eek:
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
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I fall into the "younger people" category and I agree with this article to some degree. Anyone that fits into that "younger" category that has any interest in the corvette, is going to like the corvette because it's a corvette, it's american and the history, the same reason anyone else loves the corvette. There's no "hip" design or European influence that is going to change that, the only thing it can do is hurt it. That being said I LOVE the front end/side profile of the C7, it still retains a feel from the C4/5/6 but takes it to a new level.

The decision to go with the camaro-esque rear-end was just beyond anything I could have imagined. All of the history of the corvette, and you're going to just throw how many years of awesome circular headlights out the window? It's blasphemy. If they could have made a nice rear-end with circular tail lights this would probably be one of my favorite cars EVER. But the rear end just ruins it for me.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:02 PM   #14
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Just sayin', they got rid of pop-up headlights with the C6. Everyone raised a fit about it but after a few years nobody cared.

Same thing will happen with the taillights.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:13 PM   #15
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To be honest reading that statement made me bored:eek:
Yes, but it didn't take you near as long to read, huh?
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:14 PM   #16
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Yes, but it didn't take you near as long to read, huh?
Cliff note material. Touché
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:28 PM   #17
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Just sayin', they got rid of pop-up headlights with the C6. Everyone raised a fit about it but after a few years nobody cared.

Same thing will happen with the taillights.
Exactly! They only sold how many 2012 C6 (with round tail lights)? Thought so...Time to move on.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:08 AM   #18
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That guy is spot on dead right!
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:11 AM   #19
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Someone on GMI did a render of the C7 Stingray with round taillights last night.

Holy freaking hell. People may not agree with the new taillights but its pretty clear that round does not fit with this car at all.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:42 AM   #20
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Apparently, it's un-American to use HIDs and heat extractors. Having vents that increase cooling capacity is totally foreign, and no American car could possibly evolve in design. In fact, all American cars look the same as they did in the 1960s with no changes in design, performance, or amenities whatsoever.

Stop being stuck in your ways. Car design changes over time, and the best, most desirable cars revolutionize the market. The new Corvette, like the Camaro, brings a lot of newness to the table. Just because it shares minor elements with other cars in its class, people are crying foul. Someone needs to punch them in the mouth.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:17 AM   #21
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I fall into the "younger people" category and I agree with this article to some degree. Anyone that fits into that "younger" category that has any interest in the corvette, is going to like the corvette because it's a corvette, it's american and the history, the same reason anyone else loves the corvette. There's no "hip" design or European influence that is going to change that, the only thing it can do is hurt it. That being said I LOVE the front end/side profile of the C7, it still retains a feel from the C4/5/6 but takes it to a new level.

The decision to go with the camaro-esque rear-end was just beyond anything I could have imagined. All of the history of the corvette, and you're going to just throw how many years of awesome circular headlights out the window? It's blasphemy. If they could have made a nice rear-end with circular tail lights this would probably be one of my favorite cars EVER. But the rear end just ruins it for me.
The rear 4 circle tails though to me isn't entirely true, I mean to me the C4 didn't have circular tails, they were squared but rounded and when the Camaro and Corvette shared taillights in 1971 it didn't lead to the failure of the models.

Risks have to be taken to evolve, people complained when the C6 was too alike the C5. They caimed toward a new demographic, which we'll have to wait and see if it worked.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:24 AM   #22
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Someone on GMI did a render of the C7 Stingray with round taillights last night.

Holy freaking hell. People may not agree with the new taillights but its pretty clear that round does not fit with this car at all.
i noticed several days ago on corvette forum there were photoshops not only with round taillights, but with the black plastic trim bodycolored. looks much better.. i want to see without the spoiler too. i'm sure that rear end will not make it through the life cycle of the car.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:27 AM   #23
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I disagree. The entire car is angular with sharp body lines. Round taillights have no place on the car.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by FenwickHockey65 View Post
Someone on GMI did a render of the C7 Stingray with round taillights last night.

Holy freaking hell. People may not agree with the new taillights but its pretty clear that round does not fit with this car at all.
Really? I couldn't find it. :(\


Nevermind. I found it. EEwww.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:55 AM   #25
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Really? I couldn't find it. :(\


Nevermind. I found it. EEwww.
I suck at finding. Where please?
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