Sunday, April 10, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: Corvette Stingray

We often remember exactly where we were and what we were doing, when something out of the ordinary came our way. We recall the moment we noticed in vivid detail; we stopped that instant and it changed how we forever see the world.

The Chevy Corvette can and does illicit these moments. Larry Edsall documents it as such in Corvette Stingray: The Seventh Generation of America’s Sports Car.

Original Origins

In 1953, the Corvette Convertible captured the hearts and minds of a generation when it unveiled at the New York International Auto Show. It reflected a bold new era for American automobiles, be it as a weekend cruiser or track warrior.  At the time, it could hit 60 in 8.5 seconds. Today, the Corvette Z06, with the available Z07 package, does it in 2.95 seconds, while running a quarter-mile in 10.95 seconds.

Looking back and contrasting to today, it may seem as if the Corvette had humble beginnings. Call it how you see it, but one thing is for sure: it was destined for greatness, never to be matched, never to be duplicated because it was, and still is, an original.

Bill Mitchell poses with his 1959 Stingray, a car originally built for racing but which Mitchell later used for his daily commute to the GM Design offices. In addition to on-road testing in various ambient weather conditions - from the cold of Canada to the heat of Death Valley - the C7 undergoes a series of tests inside the climate chamber at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan. The Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled in January, 1953 as part of the GM Motorama, a traveling auto show that started in New York City and then visited several other American cities.


GM granted Edsall exclusive access to engineers, designers, and photographic archives to tell the Corvette story from day one to the current, seventh generation. The book features over 300 amazing photographs that truly capture the essence of the Corvette.

Edsall, a former newspaperman, went on to serve as Managing Editor of Autoweek. He now lives in Phoenix, Arizona where he helped launch Edsall still contributes to several automotive and lifestyle publications.

The depth of his experience is played out masterfully through this book. Be it your lifelong obsession or your first introduction to the Corvette, this one is worthy of setting on the coffee table. Corvette Stingray: The Seventh Generation of America’s Sports Car is available through Amazon and Motorbooks.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

A trio of C7 Stingray prototypes and a pair of C6 Corvettes are ready for cold-weather testing at a General Motors facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The C7 Stingray works for the daily commute to work, the weekend road trip, or when pushed all-out at the race track. To underscore that the new seventh-generation Corvette truly marks the start of a new generation of the American sports car, the traditional crossed-flags Corvette logo was re-designed once more, drawing from the proud history of its six other predecessors. Hourly employees from Bowling Green work with technicians and engineers in Michigan during the prototype-building process. Their presence helps with the transition from styling and engineering design to the actual assembly of those components into a finished automobile. It’s one thing to build nearly one-off prototypes, but another to do production on a moving assembly line. It’s better to identify any potential issues a year or more in advance when there’s time to devise a solution without slowing production. The Stingray Design team considers a couple of full-size scale models in the private courtyard at the GM Tech Center. Note how the mirror is positioned so viewers can see the full rear end of the vehicle, even though the clay model holds two different design proposals. General Motors designers from studios around the world were invited to submit sketches showing their ideas for a seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette. Here is one of the 300 or more that were submitted.

Last week on Automoblog Book Garage, we examined the story behind American Motors Corporation.

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