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What Will Future Front Engine Generation Corvette Entail ?

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  • What Will Future Front Engine Generation Corvette Entail ?


    There seems to be two camps on what the C8 generation Corvette is. This has surprisingly become a contentious issue with the Corvette faithful. One side thinks there will only be a mid engined version. The other side thinks we will have both front engined model and a mid engined model. Since there currently is a 65 year history of front engined Corvettes, why would Chevrolet ever want to walk away from that fan base? More importantly why wouldn't they do both and expand the demographics of the Corvette buyer? I personally think they will build both and we can go over the attributes of both configurations. Looking at how successful the C7 generation has been, why wouldn't they just massage and expand new technologies into the C7 platform to give us the best FE yet ! They already have in place the robotic equipment to build the C7 space frame chassis. New advancements on the mid engine chassis have shown high-pressure die-cast aluminum or magnesium structural ribbed chassis stiffeners, struts, and brackets. The new ME is also using an advanced mixed-material approach for the lightweight body structure and that tech would certainly transfer over to the C8 FE chassis. The new C8 FE chassis would therefore most likely be lighter, stronger, and stiffer. Keeping the same body panel mounting point locations would then allow them to redesign the exterior body shape and in effect just switch out the body panels. A virtual new body design could be implemented easily and efficiently. A entirely new driver centric interior design could also be developed with a slightly higher level of quality specifications to give us the best FE interior ever. We know that they are developing the latest SBC OHV generation engine that in effect could be called the LT2. Most likely the suspension, brakes, and other control systems would carry over and could also be enhanced. Realizing that we currently have four FE models(Stingray, GS, ZO6, ZR1) they could still maintain that model progression. One big change that would most certainly get approval would be to redesign the front fascia to accommodate better breathing and reduced heat soak. I can see the new C8 ZO6 having a ZR1 style front fascia with 3 large openings to satisfy the track guys. Fixing any C7 issues while modernizing the FE platform would still create the best FE ever. Of course there will be a plethora of other changes so that we can expand the wide range of buyers. Your Thoughts please !!
    Last edited by Skank; 07-09-2018, 05:50 AM.

  • #2
    I couldn't agree with you more, Steve! However, your statement: "I can see the new C8 ZO6 having a ZR1 style front fascia with 3 large openings to satisfy the track guys" leaves me wondering just why General Motors and Corvette would plan a design based on, at most, the desires of about 100 Corvette owners? Surely they will plan to sell more then 100 of them! Numbers I've got in mind suggest as many as the ZR1, which could ramp it up to a thousand per year with potential to be higher. The pause necessary to wait and see just what Corvette uses as a design continues to be trying and anxious.

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    • #3
      Skank,
      I have been seeing the 2 different camps as well. And I have gone back and forth on what I think GM will do. Right now I believe the FE car will remain and they will continue with 3 maybe 3 models. I’m picturing the stingray and GS but the GS getting a healthy power bump. Then the ME will come in and start the performance oriented line of Z06, eventually a ZR1 and Zora model. ME pricing starting in the mid 80’s which would easily option up to 100k. I really don’t believe GM wants to leave the market they are currently in as they have a strangle hold on it, but at the same time I don’t really believe they can build an entry ME for much less then 70k. I’m very interested to see their plan though!

      Comment


      • Skank
        Skank commented
        Editing a comment
        TtiME,
        If you have time, go and read the list thread that I posted up on the ME section here. I truly believe that it is going to be a pretty darn accurate assessment of the Mid Engined Corvette Zora. That thread was a huge compilation of thoughts from a lot of people that I felt were very knowledgeable on the Zerv leaks. That takes care of the ME, but I believe the FE will follow the above process IMHO.

    • #4
      What if the outlier predictions of the ME’s entry price being in the $60K range are true?
      So many questions about the ME right now, but the answers are nicely, though slowly, coming out.

      Excited owners of a 2015 Z06. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20 year members of NCM. Our 2020 ME C8 Corvette is next.

      Comment


      • TtiME
        TtiME commented
        Editing a comment
        IF that’s the case and they can probduce the ME around 60k or so then I do believe the FE will be phased out. I think it’ll also mean they have a solution for storage as that seems to be a concern for many. Me personally I want max performance and enough room for a couple duffle bags!!

    • #5
      The latest believable rumors I see, from people with at least the potential for inside knowledge, are saying base price about $10K more than the current FE 'vette. And sales stats show that the base-model Stingray 1LT is the best selling model. That says to me that GM will lose a lot of sales if they eliminate the FE Corvette. I could see them, perhaps, eliminating the Z06 and GS models, and leaving the FE model as the "entry level" Corvette, with the ME taking on the higher performance roles.

      If there is a next generation FE model, I would expect it to be largely the same as the current C7 under the skin, with a fairly significant restyle (think C5 to C6, which many considered a C5.5), but with the higher output engine that is rumored to be in the ME car.
      SunKissed, my 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible (One of about 40)

      Purchased 5/2/2015,
      >31,000+ miles

      Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club. Check us out http://www.olddominioncorvetteclub.org

      Comment


      • #6
        One of the many beauties of this situation is that GM can make both the front-engine and rear-engine Corvettes as great as their budgets allow and still sell plenty of both. All they have to do, which I believe to be the case, is offer less than half the C7’s storage space in the mid-engine models. That alone would deter a plethora of buyers. The other inherent impracticalities of mid-engine vehicles will deter even more customers. However, the inherent looks, performance, and drivability advantages of such a car will attract a thousands of buyers. GM still does not know how long the front-engine model will live on or how they will have to price their models to be successful. I hope to see the front-engine model continue on as the C8, and the mid-engine start as a Corvette Zora or Chevy Zora.

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        • #7
          Well considered Quinten. You have raised lots of important issues. I hope GM continues to offer both FE’s and ME’s. I believe they will at least for the next two year.

          Glad you joined us on MECF. You have lots to offer on my ME issues.
          So many questions about the ME right now, but the answers are nicely, though slowly, coming out.

          Excited owners of a 2015 Z06. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20 year members of NCM. Our 2020 ME C8 Corvette is next.

          Comment


          • #8
            I belong to the camp that believes there will be the FE and ME Corvettes, at least for a few years. GM has invested about $1 billion in the BG plant. This adds heavily to the location's fixed costs which a higher volume of production is needed to absorb those costs. Going with the unproven ME only may not meet the volume needed to cover those costs.

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            • #9
              Originally posted by Bobfred44 View Post
              I belong to the camp that believes there will be the FE and ME Corvettes, at least for a few years. GM has invested about $1 billion in the BG plant. This adds heavily to the location's fixed costs which a higher volume of production is needed to absorb those costs. Going with the unproven ME only may not meet the volume needed to cover those costs.
              The money invested in the Corvette Plant has given an updated assembly line which is much more ergonomic for the people who work there. Along with a new (overdue) paint shop that greatly improved the visual quality of the end product, there is the new frame/body shop for the C8. The idea of a blended production for the C8 does have merit if they can get the bugs out of the program when trying to put a front and mid engine one after another through the body shop. In addition, you mention the need to get return on such a large investment. The question should be, is GM going to build another model of car in the plant? For years there has been rumors of a "new product" for Corvette Plant along with a second shift for production/assembly. An announcement has recently been made of a new engine for a GM product line, but no information has been forthcoming on what vehicle it will be going in or where it will be produced. All that can be said is stay tuned!

              Comment


              • #10
                Well reasoned/thought out!

                While I was at Bowling Green for the BASH this year, a little birdie whispered to me that tomorrow and August 10th (both Fridays when the regular employees do not work), the ME development team is going to built, back-to-back on the line, a C7, then an ME, and then another C7 to verify that this would work — of course, later refining current procedures and processes to make sure that would happen seamlessly by next year.

                However, full disclosure, while I believe the person who told me was repeatedly exactly what he was told by a Plant employee (I have known and trusted the person who whispered to me for over 10 years), this schedule is now “old info,” subject to timing changes, and I do not know the veracity of the source who spoke to my friend (who does not work for GM but lives in BG).

                As to a separate/distinct Corvette product, maybe a 2022+ Cadillac ME, the 2022+ Corvette E-Ray or ???

                Zora”s Ghost, you choose a great forum name.

                So many questions about the ME right now, but the answers are nicely, though slowly, coming out.

                Excited owners of a 2015 Z06. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20 year members of NCM. Our 2020 ME C8 Corvette is next.

                Comment


                • #11
                  What about body style refresh/facelift for the 2020 C7? Ive heard whispers of an update to the C7 coinciding with the debut of the C8 ME but am unsure of their legitimacy. Is this what you guys are discussing, just a facelifted C7, or a complete redesign of the C7 platform as a true C8 FE?
                  2019 ZR1 in Watkins Glen Gray, Manual Trans, 3ZR, ZTK, Dual Roof, Black Interior, Blue Calipers and Stitching, Carbon Flash Wheels

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    I personally am hearing the same conflicting tea leaves as you are. First I have heard, GM is absolutely not putting another dime into the C7. Actually heard it from two different individuals. But then one person said that he thinks we are getting a new front and rear C7 SR, GS and Z06 fascia — more like the ZR1’s to reflect their aero learning from it. I still think GM is done investing another penny into the C7.

                    The Corvette team is truly tiny, so small that they periodically “borrow” staff from other parts of GM. I doubt that with the massive time investment to create an ME, then to go with the supposed upcoming wide body, ERay, Z06 and ZORA versions, that they have any time at all for a complete C8. What I have heard is that if the FE’s continue after the 2021 model year, that it would be a C7.5, e.g., some new body panels, a stylistically new front fender duct, some new interior pieces (perhaps borrowed from the ME), maybe then getting the approximate 500 HP, ME’s motor. However, I am not even sure, from what I have heard separately from those “inside sources,” that GM is going to do anything FE after 2021. Of course, the amount of the success of the ME will play a part in the FE’s future.

                    So sorry, HTXSkydiver, while I have written a lot, do not know anything for sure — just sharing some sort-of-educated, partially-informed best guesses.
                    Last edited by John; 07-12-2018, 11:42 AM.
                    So many questions about the ME right now, but the answers are nicely, though slowly, coming out.

                    Excited owners of a 2015 Z06. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20 year members of NCM. Our 2020 ME C8 Corvette is next.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by HTXSkydiver View Post
                      What about body style refresh/facelift for the 2020 C7? Ive heard whispers of an update to the C7 coinciding with the debut of the C8 ME but am unsure of their legitimacy. Is this what you guys are discussing, just a facelifted C7, or a complete redesign of the C7 platform as a true C8 FE?
                      The company that makes the body panels for the C7 requested from their local government, a couple of years ago, permission to enlarge their plant. The reason: to manufacture panels for an all new car while continuing to make panels for the existing C7 for some period of time. While GM can always change it's mind, that pretty strongly implies the C7 body panels will not change dramatically when the ME is introduced.

                      As far as any eventual FE replacement for the current C7, your guess is as good as anyone's. No one outside of GM and its suppliers even knows if there will be an FE replacement for the C7, or whether the shorthand C8 will be applicable, Maybe the ME car will get tagged as the C8. After all, if it's called a Corvette, it WILL e the 8th generation to wear that name.

                      My guess? GM has spent a boatload of money developing the ME Corvette. It's unlikely they'll be willing to devote another boatload to completely redesign the FE platform. So I think any next generation FE 'vette will lean heavily on the C7 platform.
                      SunKissed, my 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible (One of about 40)

                      Purchased 5/2/2015,
                      >31,000+ miles

                      Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club. Check us out http://www.olddominioncorvetteclub.org

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Auto manufacturers have been building multiple cars intermixed on the same assembly line for decades. It's not rocket science, and the new assembly line was certainly designed to support this. GM would be nuts to spend that kind of money to upgrade the plant and not do so. I had a tour of a Toyota plant in Japan some 13 or 14 years ago, and there were Corollas, Camrys, Crowns, and other home-market only cars coming down the line all intermixed. Ford and Mazda built multiple Mazda based vehicles on the same line in Michigan around 1990, maybe earlier.

                        I'm sure GM will have no issues building FE and ME cars at the same time in the BG facility.
                        SunKissed, my 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible (One of about 40)

                        Purchased 5/2/2015,
                        >31,000+ miles

                        Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club. Check us out http://www.olddominioncorvetteclub.org

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          I have no idea what they have planned but I do hope they keep FE along with ME. Whatever they do I hope they improve their quality control.
                          We’ve had too many problems with our 15 Z06- new differential, shudder problem with transmission and a HVAC problem that has not been solved since first reported to the dealer in September of 2016. Maybe their customer service needs improvement too.
                          Dont really want to buy a new one until I feel they have their act together better.
                          There is a madness to my method!

                          2015 Z06 Torch/adrenaline
                          2001 coupe Torch/oak R8C
                          79 coupe Silver/oyster
                          All one owner
                          Museum lifetime members

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