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Spied again: 2014 Corvette

Yes, America does still build rocket ships, as Chevy likes to say, and the C7 promises to live up to that hype. Spy shots of the car offer several clues as to how the next-gen Corvette will differ from its direct predecessors yet perhaps draw on the car’s singular heritage.
Looking at these photos, it’s evident the wheelbase of the Corvette will change. The wheels, particularly in front, are clearly off-centered in this C6 body shell being used as a test mule. This indicates a longer wheelbase which could return a more comfortable drive character. The photos also suggest a narrower layout.
In back, there’s a quad exhaust configuration, though intriguingly, the outer two pipes are capped off. That could have a variety of implications.
Corvette also sells the C6 with two frames, one made of steel for the base versions and an aluminum frame for the Z06 and the ZR1. It’s expected that the C7 will go strictly with steel.
GM said in May that it will spend $131 million and will add 250 jobs to improve the Bowling Green, Ky., factory that builds the Corvette. That’s a dramatic increase from the $39 million spent in 2005 when the site changed over to produce the C5. The facility has built Corvettes for 30 years.
Production of the C7 will begin in 2013, and the car launches as a 2014 model.
That dramatic increase in spending has led to speculation that the Corvette could be in for a major facelift. Reports have suggested a seven-speed manual transmission could be offered. It’s also possible that the 6.2-liter V8 could be downsized, perhaps to about 5.5 liters. The current V8 in the Corvette ZR1 employs supercharging, but twin-turbocharging has also been rumored as a future technology. A V6--perhaps reinforced with some kind of forced-induction and making a high output--has also been generating considerable chatter among Corvette fans.
Also look for some carbon fiber, but not as extreme as the tactics employed by some supercar makers such as Lamborghini.
GM design chief Ed Welburn has told Autoweek that the Stingray concept from the 2009 Detroit auto show will not be the C7. But many reports have suggested that the next Vette could get a split-window option.
Chevy has sold 9,123 Corvettes through the first eight months of 2011 in the United States, a 5 percent uptick compared with the same period in 2010.


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