A few hours before the first press events at North America International Auto Show kicked off in Detroit, General Motors stole the thunder with an invitation-only event to unveil the all new Corvette. Obviously, there was a lone electric guitar player in black jeans present to keep everything appropriately rock and roll.
Bearing the classic Stingray badge and trimmed with carbon fiber, the seventh generation Corvette is the first all-new design in nine years, though it's hard to tell from a distance. The new Corvette has the same broad angles and gentle curves as its predecessor (see right), but the real differences are under the hood. Despite the similar shape, the new Corvette only shares two parts with its predecessor. The newly designed 6.2-liter V8 engine boasts 450 horsepower but drops down to four cylinders on the highway to save fuel. Meanwhile, the fiberglass body is trimmed with carbon fiber making it 37 pounds lighter than the last model and its stiffer aluminum frame is 99 pounds lighter. It features functional yet fashionable cooling vents on the side and goes zero to sixty in less than four seconds. It hits showrooms this fall and will also set you back about $50,000.
There's more to Chevrolet's new masterpiece than a shiny body and impressive engine. As the Associated Press's Tom Kirshner explains, it also marks a comeback for Detroit. "To many fans, the new Corvette symbolizes the rebirth of America's auto industry after its near death in 2009, showing the world that it again can lead in technology, styling and performance -- at a lower cost that European competitors," writes Kirshner. "Getting there was tough for the 1,000-member Corvette team, which gave the car the code name 'C7.' GM's bankruptcy slowed development twice." But they did it. Now people just have to buy the darned thing.