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One of our Premium members made the mistake of suggesting a "what if" to me: What if GM had debuted a new generation every 6 years rather than the extreme variations that make up the ACTUAL Corvette history? Obviously, I am too obsessed with all things Corvette.

So at the risk of being lumped in with those who in recent years have attempted to re-write history, I decided to put some serious thought into the proposed scenario. My first thought was that decisions made by a company the size of GM makes MUST consider the context of the times the decisions are made. What I've tried to do using this Scenario is to stay as close to the 6 year Generation life requirement as possible, but with FULL consideration for the real-life facts and events that transpired over the last 70 years. Real-life FACTS, as you will see, were not always tolerant of the 6 year Scenario.

  • Design Engineers are capable of producing new designs every 6-year period when THAT is the deadline.
  • Chassis Engineers' developments can generally match that of the Design engineers. New body, new/updated chassis every 6 years.
  • Power Train developments pretty much take as long as it takes with regard to new engines and transmissions. They would have LOVED to develop the Engine Control Module in 1975, but they didn't. No one did until the early to mid 80s.
If you disagree well you might be more correct than I. After all, we are only building a new Corvette history here. :)

If this all sounds like a stupid waste of time, that's ok too. Bye, Hope to see you next time we have some new C8 REAL LIFE FACTS to share.

Absolutely no offense taken if you consider this to be a waste of your time. However, if you actually find this interesting, feel free to jump in and make changes YOU think would be appropriate:

C1 = 3 years (Corvette almost canceled) 1953-1955 same body - no roll-up windows etc. IMO, GM should have labeled the solid axles as two generations given the two VERY unique body designs. So we do that now to stay closer to the 6-year requirement.
C2 = 7 years 1956 - 1962 Complete body change with many changes recommended by Zora. Roll-up windows first time and multiple design updates almost yearly under Harley Earl. Not 6 years because Zora was still working out issues with the new Sting Ray independent rear suspension until calendar 1962. Note that changing the generation demarkation to reality shows that GM was 2 years AHEAD of the 6 year plan at the time OUR C2 Sting Ray was introduced.
C3 = 5 years 1963 - 1967 the first Sting Ray
C4 = 6 years 1968 - 1974 Sharks - 6 year rather than the 15-year Gen life would have resulted in making them more valuable than they are today. We are 3 years ahead of the 6 year cycle in 1968.
C5 = 6 years 1975 - 1981 Assume - This is probably a unique design that we've never seen or a variation of a concept. Zora retired in 1975, so a new outgoing generation would likely get some attention from Zora that he wasn't allowed to do with the second half of the Shark. He couldn't have done much because engineering $$$ were still very tight. The engineers were working their asses off trying to comply with Fed EPA emissions and Safety requirements.
C6 = 6 years 1982 - 1988 This is likely very close to OUR C4 clamshell design and chassis. It would eventually be powered by the L-98 in 1985.
C7 = 6 years 1989 - 1995 This Gen would also have a unique, unknown design IMO. It's power sources: the L-98, the LT-1, the VERY low units selling ZR-1 with the Mercury Marine DOHC V8. Corvette narrowly escapes cancelation for the second time. This time it was an attack by GM Accountants. The C5 developments saved it.
C8 = 6 years 1996 - 2002 Our C5?? or very close to it. The LS1 becomes available for year 2. Corvette started international racing including Le Mans in 2000. Stays true in the Scenario.
C9 = 6-11 years??? 2003 - 2009 or 2013 Our C6?? or very close to it. The Bankruptcy Years. This gen life MUST be stretched because it cannot end in 2009. The government bailout made the Fed a partner and we might never know their interference levels.
  1. The word we got during THE bankruptcy was that Lutz supported the mid-engine and work had started but was stopped for economic and political reasons so work began on our C7.
  2. Someone in the Obama Administration knew a car guy. They brought him in to analyze and make recommendations vis a vis: cancellation of model lines. As it happens, this guy was a Corvette guy and emphasized that it was not only a profit-maker, it was a hugely important halo car for GM. Corvette saved for the 3rd time.
  3. I think the same decisions would be made in this scenario and one more Front Mid Engine model would comprise the next generation in 2014.
  4. GM did not make the final repayment to the Government until 2019 and the Mid Engine came immediately following that final payment. I think that nothing would have changed here. Yes, they were spending development $$$ on the Rear Mid-Engine, but still not releasing it until AFTER the final loan payoff to the Fed.
  5. It IS possible that because of the required longevity of this C9 (Our C6) that a significant mid-year design update in could accompany the introduction of an LS2 & LS3
C10= 5 years 2014 - 2019 Our C7 or VERY close body design, this gen would be the same as our C7 tech. Pretty darnn close to our C7.
C11= 6 years 2020 - 2026 Our C8 Generation. Because Corvettes have been racing and winning for multiple generations at LeMans and in the USA - Winning Manufacturers' Championships the Corvette team has gained confidence and backers on the GM BOD. The Board approved the Mid-engine C11 and it is Our C8.

This is my guess at what Corvette history would have looked like if GM had been committed to a 6 year Generation life...maybe. It is also possible that it could have been killed, most likely before the 1996 Scenario C8. Lose to the Accountants rather than produce one more generation.

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Great thoughts. And thank you. I now have a yet to be released C9 !
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Great write up....that had to have taken some time and thought...pretty cool though. My run is still short, with only C3 (4) and C5 (1) and I think I'll always have a C3 and C5 in my stables and IF the opportunity arises in the future (and I think it will) I'll want a C1 restomod and a future C (?) if they go retro C3/front engine/EV, but I don't think I'd ever own a C2, C4, C6-8.
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