People were talking about this car over a year ago. Countless fan renders have surfaced, and all of them have been hotly debated. The 2014 Corvette is the first year of the “C7,” generation, the 7th since the fiberglass beauty first hit the streets back in 1953, and it was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this weekend.
Drive train information came and went quite some time ago, and nobody really made much of a fuss. What we were really waiting for was the design. What would the thing look like? This is especially interesting because the C6 Corvette, while a storied and successful race car and a popular choice among American sports car customers, is generally viewed with a sigh and a search for the details. Nobody really gets their jimmies rustled over how cool it looks.
So why, if we’re so unenthused about the previous Corvette’s design, were we waiting with bated breath to see how the new one looks? Because we didn’t want them to screw it up. For all its blandness, we loved how well the C6 worked, how pure an experience it offered, and we didn’t want a similarly performing car with a busy, gimmick-ridden design that would expire faster than summer fashion at a music festival. The C7 would still be great to drive, but would we look silly driving it?
Our first reaction was yes. The C7 has quite noticeably crashed through the body styling aisle at Pep Boys, coming through with vents and things stuck all over it. The vents on the hood and fenders (front and rear) stick out like bruises on your sister, and the rear is half-conquered by a sheet of black plastic that looks like it can’t wait to get out of the showroom so it can start fading in the sun.
That rear is certainly the most controversial sector, but it’s not because of the plastic. And it’s not because of the very cool quad exhaust all clustered together in the middle. It’s because of the tail lights. The Vette’s iconic round lights have been replaced with Chevy’s double-square motif, also found on the Camaro and the new Malibu. That’s all fine and good; sticking with the round lights would have painted the rear as a Nissan GT-R. The trouble is that they’re wearing whole cakes of emo eye-liner, and it’s running. The black plastic around the tail lights juts out in weird angles and distracts from the rest of the styling.
Which is, by the way, quite stunning. New edges have been worked into the classic C6 shape. It has a purposeful, bladed look, and the blacked-out b-pillar lends the whole design a fast, swept-back stance. And while we’re on the positives, those vents are all functional, feeding air to the brakes and adding a little downforce to the hood. That rear acre of black plastic, too, seems to have been styled to add some diffusion.
The grille is refreshingly conservative, and the headlights have caught the LED virus. We also really like the roof, which is blacked out and textured with a couple of helmet bumps, not unlike the new SRT Viper’s.
This is the trouble with a sequel: We want it to do for us exactly what the first one did. We want it to evoke the same feelings and memories. But this is why Hollywood sequels are often terrible. They’re not allowed to be original. They’re produced to be copies of their earlier iterations, with more of those special moments and less creativity.
So maybe we should give the C7 some time. Yes, Chevy will need to paint some of those obviously plastic bits in body color, and yes, that tail light trim needs some deletion, but at least it’s different.
What do you think?