Kirk Bennion is exterior design manager for Corvette.
We’ll let that sink in for a minute for purposes of getting one’s jealousy under control.
What’s more, Bennion has been in the Corvette Studio since 1986.
And let that one sink in, too.
This means that he was in the studio while the C4 had its run (1984-1996).
Was there for the C5 (1997-2004).
The C6 (2005-2013) and the C7 (2014-2019).
2020 Corvette (Image: GM)
And, of course, Bennion was in deep for the C8 (the 2020 North American Car of the Year, incidentally, and probably the car that more auto enthusiasts awaited with fully rewarded anticipation last year).
Bennion is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, from which he holds a degree in Industrial Design.
He is also an enthusiastic amateur racer, so when you look at the taut aerodynamic surfaces on something like the C8 and realize that there is nothing extraneous, you can see the intersection between an industrial design understanding as well as that of someone who knows first-hand that cars that go fast and handle well cannot have any gratuitous excess.
(Image: Kirk Bennion)
What It Is: 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon
Why It Is Cool: “My 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon embraces the attributes I value most in a performance car. Weighing in at just 3,150 pounds, this is one the lightest (modern) Corvettes ever built. Production of this special edition was limited, and I proudly own VIN #199 out of 252. My favorite detail is the car’s door number which acknowledges Corvette’s 50 years of racing at Le Mans!”--Bennion
Bonus Information About the 2011 Z06 Carbon:
- Only two exterior colors were available: Inferno Orange and Super Sonic Blue
- The “Carbon” in the name speaks to the extensive carbon fiber used: hood, fenders, roof panel, roof bow, front splitter, and rocker splitter
- Magnesium is used for the instrument panel structure and the roof structure
- The frame is hydroformed aluminum
- The 7.0-liter LS7 engine is high revving and normally aspirated. It produces 660 hp at the crank. It has an aluminum block. This one is updated with hollow titanium valves, larger cam, throttle body, and high-flow intake.
- The stock Z06 Carbon came with large Z07 ceramic brakes
If there’s one thing (and it may be the only thing) that the aluminum and steel industries agree upon, it’s this: We’re leaving the steel era and entering an age of automotive material options, where there are combinations of different materials, not just one dominant material.
The engineers at Zenos Cars have combined recycled carbon fiber, drinking straws and aluminum to create a chassis for a low-volume sports car.
DaimlerChrysler's decision to scrap the front- drive LH line and replace it with the rear-drive LX large car platform is very astute.