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Corvette: What You Need to Know Now

Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, arguably “made news” on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.” Juechter said—to host John McElroy, Todd Lassa, executive editor of Automobile, and me—that there is no mid-engine Corvette under development.
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Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, arguably “made news” on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Juechter said—to host John McElroy, Todd Lassa, executive editor of Automobile, and me—that there is no mid-engine Corvette under development.

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One of the reasons why, Juechter explained, is an issue of packaging. No, not packaging the drivetrain. But packaging the overall vehicle such that it is something that ordinary people can use as a daily driver, use in the context of having the capability of going to the market and being able to come home with more than a can of tuna.

Realize that last year GM delivered 34,839 Corvettes.

To put that number in context:

According to Autodata, last year, Porsche sold a total 23,561 vehicles.

That’s 911 Carrera/GT3, 911 Turbo/GT2, 918 Spyder, Carrera GT, Boxster, Cayman, and Panamera combined.

Yes, all things considered, the Corvette is a high-volume vehicle.

Another set of numbers to look at is to compare Corvette to Cadillac cars. Last year Cadillac delivered 24,335 XTSes, 29,890 ATSes, and 31,115 CTSes. Which is to day that the Corvette outsold every one of those.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Todd Lassa speculates that maybe the mid-engine car that may be under development at GM could be for. . .Cadillac.

However, Juechter said that no one has talked to him about that, so wouldn’t it seem odd—or borderline criminal—for a sports car to be under development at GM and that the people involved wouldn’t consult with the guy who has more real-world experience in that realm than probably anyone else in the corporation?

Juechter brought a 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible—the first Z06 Convertible since 1963, when, Juechter said, they built one—to the studio.

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He explained that when the C7 was under development, it was that car that the engineering was predicated on, so all other models (including non-Z06 Stingrays) benefit from the requirements of the convertible.

Juechter talked about why there is no all-wheel-drive in the Z06 (the engine is too low to accommodate a prop shaft to the front axle), why there is an 8L90 eight-speed paddle shift automatic and not a dual-clutch transmission (torque and packaging), and much more.

If you’re at all interested in Corvettes or product development, you’ve really got to watch this one.

In addition to which, McElroy, Lassa and I talk about some of the developments at the Geneva Motor Show and a whole lot more.

So here you go:

 

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