If you follow cars, you probably know at this point that the completely re-styled Corvette is going to be unveiled very soon at the Detroit Motor Show. Pictures are leaking on an hourly basis.
The new styling, in a word? Aggression.
Image via Jalopnik
The Corvette has never looked particularly mean. Even the most sought-after Vettes (personally, I’m a fan of the ’63 split-window Stingray, but who isn’t?) aren’t really edgy. The C2 Corvette was basically America’s stylistic answer to the stunning Jaguar E-Type. There is no doubt that the E-Type inspired dozens, if not hundreds of vehicles in the decades after its introduction in 1961 at the Geneva auto show – the C2 Corvette being one of them.
Over the years, though, Jaguar started to get more conservative. It fell into a more luxurious, tasteful image. The Corvette, too, became more conservative. The problem was that because the Corvette really stood alone in Chevrolet’s lineup, and had no such association with luxury or refinement, it had little to fall back on but its 1950’s-fiberglass-boy-racer roots.
For decades, this allowed the Corvette brand to limp on with relative success, cashing checks against that increasingly distant heritage.
It wasn’t until the C6 platform was unveiled in 2005 that a real Corvette took the motorsports world by storm again – almost 40 years after the C2 went out of production. But by then, the damage we can still see clearly today had been done.
We all know what the Corvette represents. Guys with gray hair hitting on women in their 20’s. Mid-life crisis. Ego issues. On and off involvement in poorly-organized crime. Some people still respect the Vette, and after the C6’s out-of-left-field motorsport domination, I guess that’s understandable. The ZR1 was truly a track car for the road. But come on, no one looks at a yellow Corvette today and thinks “I would have absolutely zero reservations about being seen in that vehicle.” If you think that, you’re either a bigger man than I, or part of the Vette’s terrible image problem.
The new C7 may finally mark an end to the stigma. It is edgy. It is daring. And it has corners. Lots of them. And intake vents – intake vents everywhere. No circular tail lamps. No giant swaths of swoopy fiberglass panels. No awful looking plastic and vinyl interior. The C7 looks rigid. It looks mean. It looks like it’s ready to take on the European sports coupes and then go get a cappuccino because fuck you Americans can order fancy coffee, too.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my cup of tea (the hyper-aggressive sports car look doesn’t do a lot for me). But it’s a hell of a lot better than what it replaced, because it looks like the sort of car that should perform like I’m guessing it does. The C6 ZR1 was insanely fast. Ferrari fast. And I’m betting this is, too. The difference is that this Corvette isn’t a safe-looking retirement hot rod for your father in law to putter around town in order to relive his boyhood fantasies. This is a Corvette that’s built to go fast, and it lets you know that’s exactly what it’s meant to do.
So good on you, GM, for having the balls to do what you avoided for so long. Now let’s hope the numbers live up to those air intakes and carbon fiber accents. I may not think it’s pretty, but seeing something so overwrought, crude (come on, it has leaf springs), and violent kick the shit out of a 458 on the track would certainly get my patriotic juices flowing.