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Find out your C8’s Order Status by asking!

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2023 Corvette Info Including SR Pricing, SR 2023 Visualizer, 70th Anniversary SR/Z06 Press Release; The C8 Z06 Press Release, Order Guide & Its Visualizer Link

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ME Body Panel Manufacturing

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  • ME Body Panel Manufacturing

    During the C7 introduction phase in, we were surprised to see a video on the rear fascia of the Corvette and the die that was made for the manufacturing of it. There are many of these tool and die mold manufacturer's that make the retractable molds for the front and rear fascia's, front right, front left, rear right, rear left quarter panels, and other complex formed body panels for the exterior as well as the interior. Omega, Integrity, and Concour, are three of the top Canadian and U.S. companies that build these incredibly complex retractable mold forms out of forged billet steel. The front and rear fascia's are typically some of the most complex of all the body panel forms done in 3D CADCAM software designed specifically for this injection molded shape. They start with a large billet of forged steel that's large enough to machine a roughed out oversized negative shape into the block to de-stress the entire block. They then do a secondary machining to further reduce and de-stress the material to a closer tolerance. Then a final polishing to a mirror finish on the single die of the exterior side of the fascia. The interior mold is made up of multiple retractable die's that slide into and out of position. The front fascia mold or the rear fascia mold typically cost up to 1 million U.S. Dollars for each depending on the complexity of the shape. The C7 Stingray, GS, and ZO6 used the same mold for the front but the new ZR1 required a separate mold for the new front end. There were also two separate molds for the C7 generation rear fascia with a narrow Stingray rear mold and a wider mold for the GS, ZO6,and ZR1. I talked to a few of these companies engineers and they all told me that these body panels and fascia's are typically finalized and molds built up to 2 years prior to the cars introduction. Looking at FVS's renderings I would think the front fascia would stay as a single mold and possibly having two rear molds for a narrow and wider version of the ME requiring two different rear quarter panels as well.. Comments are welcome !!
    Last edited by Skank; 07-31-2018, 12:05 PM.

  • #2
    Fascinating comments! I recall the frenzy that this link created and attach it below. This is from the original manufacturing of the C7 mold. It is easy to see how these things command such exorbitant prices and add to the production and design of a forthcoming vehicle. We know that there are at least two molds on the front and the rear of any car. These are complex French Bézier curves on all axis and are difficult to create as they must render a mirror finish.
    Click the "you are being directed" part, not the "egmcartech.." part.
    Last edited by ltomn; 07-31-2018, 11:57 AM.


    • #3
      Great job Skank, e.g. Super Sleuth! Amazing Skank that you were able to talk to engineers within all three companies, and good for you to have the integrity to only post what was okayed for public sharing.

      So if I am properly interpreting within the lines, GM not only has spent a ton on the ME’s body panels, and since there is a two year time-to-manufacture window this has already been done, but think of the costs per each ZR1 with its unique front fascia and front fender molds.
      Last edited by John; 07-31-2018, 01:45 PM.
      Z06 coming late this summer: Hypersonic Gray HTC, two tone blue interior, complete high wing/aero package. CCB’s, with every piece of visible carbon fiber available to us. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 24 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


      • #4
        very interesting read.

        Tooling can be very expensive and time intensive. There are many ways to cut steel molds including CNC and EDM. I have a lot of experience with tooling but not for car body parts. They can move much faster than years ago and "could" possibly use aluminum tooling for "low production" parts which is faster and cheaper (maybe for the ZR1 ?)

        In order to achieve the undercuts and complex shapes in one injected part, the tool can contain movable cams or slides as they are called. They basically hold a section of the tool in place as the part is formed and then it can be retracted out of the way in order to demold the part. This can be very complex.

        You would not believe the polishing involved with smaller tools. After electro polishing they go in by hand with super fine emery and tiny tools to polish the steel in every nook and cranny to a mirror finish. They then harden the tool so it can withstand thousands or millions of parts run thru.

        Thanks for the post. !
        Last edited by fvs; 07-31-2018, 02:21 PM.


        • #5
          Yes, I do believe reading between the lines of all the engineers, the Body panels for the mid engine have been done for at least 1 1/2 to 2 years already. Time to take the wraps off this baby. Maybe Pebble Beach Concour D'Elegance and Classic Car Week at the Historics and The Quail.


          • #6
            To quote what I hear in some places, sweet!
            Z06 coming late this summer: Hypersonic Gray HTC, two tone blue interior, complete high wing/aero package. CCB’s, with every piece of visible carbon fiber available to us. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 24 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


            • #7
              Very interesting information skank... thanks for sharing. I really appreciate all that I learn from others on these forums.

              I also find it fascinating how far into the future these designers have to plan for knowing the lag time to go from their design to actual fabrication is 1.5 to 2 years... quite a long time for a design to "sit/last"... and it's a lifetime in the marketing world where whoever can claim "first to print" earns gold.

              Again, thanks for sharing!


              • #8
                Thanks Skank, interesting information.
                There is a madness to my method!
                C8 on order Torch/Adrenaline Z51, MSRC, front lift
                2015 Z06 Torch/adrenaline
                2001 coupe Torch/oak R8C
                79 coupe Silver/oyster
                All one owner
                Museum lifetime members


                • #9
                  Skank, excellent write-up and you kept it simple describing the process for all to understand. By the way, you don't have any black Suburban's sitting out in front of your house with manufacture plates do you?



                  • #10
                    No black Suburbans here, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.


                    • #11
                      Thank you Skank. I'm learning so much on this site.