History of the C7 Corvette
Chevrolet Corvette C7 (2014-2019)
The C7 Corvette was the seventh generation of the Chevrolet Corvette, and the 2014 model was the first Corvette to include the Stingray name since 1976. The debut of the C7 came after months of hype and speculation among enthusiasts and the automotive media. The C7 was also widely anticipated as it was originally planned for 2011 but then delayed. Rumors swirled that the designers were considering a mid-engine or even a rear-engine layout, but the front engine with RWD was the eventual choice to keep costs lower. The 2014 Corvette debuted in early 2013 at the North American International Auto Show.
History of the C7 vette
GM began planning for the C7 many years in advance of its eventual release date. Planning started in 2007 and was supposed to lead to 2011 being the first model year, but it was delayed. The lead designer for the C7 was Hwasup Lee. Lee's team completed the C7 design between 2010 and 2011, and it was approved in 2011. The design of the C7 was truly different from the C6. In fact, only two parts were the same as that previous generation--one of the air filters and the roof release lever. Everything else about the C7 was new.
The rear of the C7 was somewhat criticized for its overly styled design. The four-barreled tailpipe design was lined up in a neat row beneath the license plate, and the taillights were a trapezoidal shape similar to the Camaro of the time. Aerodynamic aids were added to just about every body panel on the C7, often accompanied by chiseled creases. Previous generations minimized the appearance of the headlights or hid them completely with the pop-up style. However, the C7 featured intricately styled headlights with LED daytime running lights fully integrated into the design. Finally, the C7 featured the brand new LT1 6.2-liter V8 engine making 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
Evolution and Changes Year by Year
Both coupe and convertible trims were offered on the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray. There were three trim levels--1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. Each trim level came in either coupe or convertible layouts. All coupe and convertible cars were offered with the Z51 Performance Package as an available option. The LT1 V8 engine was the only engine for every 2014 Corvette model. At that point, this engine was the most powerful standard Corvette engine to date.
For the 2015 model year, the Stingray received an array of new features, including a new transmission, two new design packages, and the debut of the Z06 variant. The new design packages were dubbed the Atlantic and Pacific packages, respectively. The Atlantic Package offered features to turn the Corvette into a luxury sports car, while the Pacific configured it into a performance sports car. Perhaps the best improvement for the 2015 Corvette was the new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. This replaced the previous six-speed transmission.
The all-new Z06 was the highlight of the 2015 model year. This high-performance variant featured an all-new 6.2-liter V8 LT4 engine with a supercharger. The 1.7-liter LT4 blower boosted it to 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, which made the 2015 Z06 the most powerful production car ever made by GM to this point. It was also the first Z06 to offer the choice of coupe or convertible since the first car in 1963.
Three new visual design packages were released for the 2016 Corvette Stingray. These packages were color-themed and consisted of Twilight Blue, Spice Red, or Jet Black Suede. The C7.4 Edition was released for the 2016 model year as a direct tribute to Corvette race cars. This special edition came in yellow and black color schemes and included coordinated aesthetics on both the exterior and interior. Only 500 of these Corvettes were built, and all of them came with the Z07 Performance Package.
The newest version of the Corvette Grand Sport was unveiled for the 2017 model year. This special model was inspired by race cars with a new lightweight design, upgraded aerodynamics package, and a naturally aspirated engine. Z06 performance technologies were integrated into the Grand Sport model as well. A special Collector's Edition Grand Sport was offered in the exclusive Watkins Glen Gray Metallic color with Tension Blue graphics. GM's 2017 focus was primarily on introducing the Grand Sport, so there were no major changes to the other Corvette models.
The 65th Anniversary of the Corvette fell on this model year, and Chevrolet celebrated with the Carbon 65 Edition Corvette. This car came in either the Grand Sport 3LT model or the Z06 3LZ model and blended carbon-fiber elements with a brand new color called Ceramic Matrix Gray. On convertible models, the new color was combined with a blue top. In upgrades for the 2018 Corvette Stingray, all models now came standard with 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels. Rumors began to swirl again in 2018 that a new generation was on the way, and the mid-engine would become a reality. However, GM was preparing something fantastic for the final C7 model year.
As the last C7 model year rolled out, it marked the arrival of the ultimate Corvette to date--the 755-horsepower ZR1. The 2019 Corvette ZR1 came with the new LT5 supercharged engine. The LT5 blower was 2.65-liters, making it 64% larger than the 1.7-liter supercharger in the LT4. This engine created 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, which made it the most powerful Chevrolet production vehicle to date. The 2019 ZR1 also featured the first-ever dual fuel injection system made by GM. The ZR1 was naturally the centerpiece of the 2019 C7 model year, but the anticipation was also building for the next generation of Corvette set to be revealed.
C7 Corvette Fast Facts
- Won 2014 Automobile of the Year Award from Automobile Magazine
- Sales for the 2018 model were down sharply from other years of the C7
- The C7 offered the first-ever Active Fuel Management system (cylinder deactivation) on a Corvette
- C7 Corvette convertibles featured a power top that could be lowered while the car was moving at speeds up to 30 MPH
- The C7 offered increased traction for slippery surfaces with the Traction Management system
Legacy of the C7 Corvette
The main legacy of the C7 Corvette is that it would be the last generation (for now) of a front-engine Corvette. The following C8 generation made good on GM's earlier inclination to deliver a mid-engine car. The final C7 Corvette was a black Z06 coupe. It was assembled in November of 2019 and sold at a charity auction.