Dithithium crystals powered the Star Ship Enterprise across the galaxy and back.
Commensurately, “Secret” Corvettes are the dilithium crystals of automotive journalism, powering magazine sales and mouse clicks across globe for decades.
Certainly Corvette Online has been culpable of leveraging this fertile time in Corvette history, but hey, reporting all the news about Chevrolet’s plastic wunderkind is what we do. It doesn’t help that you guys always send the traffic gauge twirling round and round when we post our musings.
Anyhoo, at the beginning of August, we heard from a reliable source, that a ZR1 mule would make a lap or two at Road America/Continental Tire Challenge. The event came and went with nary a stitch of ZR1 sheet molded frocks to be seen.
Well, here we go again, this time from Automobile Magazine.
According to Automobile mag, “The C8 Zora is likely to be unveiled January 2018 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with production to begin in time for a fall ’18 release, possibly earlier. The Corvette’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly plant suspended public tours this year, suggesting that Chevy has begun to build C8 prototypes there.”
Sounds like they got this mixed up as the most likely secret Corvette to debut in Detroit would be a tricked out version of the current model, the ZR1. The factory is indeed currently shut down ’til November 2017 for a paint shop upgrade, but public tours will remain verboten for another eighteen months, probably as long as it will take to build the line for the mid-engine car, so 2019 would be the earliest we would see the debut of a radical new Corvette.
Another curious excerpt is “Arguments against a mid-engine C8 are the configuration’s higher cost and its departure from the Great American Sports Car’s image. Arguments for it are stronger. First, Corvette buyers are getting old, and they would find little reason to trade in for an evolutionary, front-engine C8 Corvette.
Foremost, by switching to mid-engine, Chevrolet is doing what Porsche refuses to do with the Corvette’s direct competitor, the 911. By going mid-engine with the C8, Chevy may finally have a Corvette that can out-handle the 911.”
All Corvette buyers are old? Maybe some day will Corvettes will out handle Porsche? Huh? Where has this author has been hiding for the last 20 years?
For now, here’s what we say about the C7 ZR1
- Pushrod supercharged V-8 engine–with big displacement 2650cc blower–with 750-800 horsepower. We aren’t saying that a DOHC motor isn’t on the way, we just think it’ll debut as a “double-whammy” with mid-engine model.
- Running gear upgrades mirroring Camaro ZL1 1LE – Multimatic shocks, bigger sway bars, revised, track focused suspension tweaks, and sticky, gumball Goodyear rubber.
- Active Aero – we’ll see two versions of this “heat sink” killer technology. We’ve all seen the “big wing, little wing” mules in the videos so expect two flavors of high tech cooling plumage to choose from.
- Revised styling from A-pillar forward including hi-rise hood bulge, revise front fascia and unique from fender vent/badging.
- Braking is where the ZR1 and 1LE Camaro sibling will diverge. Count on the ZR1 to have the Z07 carbon disc brakes as standard equipment, while little brother pony car relies solely on non-ceramic Brembo brakes.
- Interior will mostly be carry over but with specific badging and all of the bespoke factory options we’ve come to expect over the last few years.
- Available in Coupe or Convertible
- Bowing in Detroit in roughly 4 months.
The mid-engine car is still shrouded in mystery but here’s what we said about that car. What ever it is, a Corvette or a Cadillac, it’s 18 months out at least. For now, check out the silver Zora render at the top of the page, that ran with the Automobile article.
One last tidbit, Automobile is also reporting the model will be powered by a small block V8 engine. There’s no word on specifications but the report suggests the model could eschew the turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that is expected to power a number of new Cadillac vehicles including the 2020 Escalade.
It looks like nothing we’ve seen previously and might be an indicator of where Michael Simcoe and the guys at GM Design are taking the next ‘Vette.