Ed Welburn on the C7 Corvette Stingray

GM Design’s VP on the 7th generation American legend and the revival of the Stingray badge

It’s not every day that we get to see a new Corvette unveiled. The now iconic Chevrolet sports car has only seen seven different iterations since it first revealed at GM’s Motorama in New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in January 1953. And now, 60 years later, the C7 Corvette has made its debut at the Detroit auto show.

Longer, lower and wider than the previous generation, the new model makes significant strides over its predecessor in both the aerodynamic qualities of the exterior design and its significantly revised interior.

While the functional attributes of the exterior design are obvious, the additional air inlets and extractors don’t detract from the design, but reinforce its performance car intent. The proportions and form vocabulary maintain the Corvette’s historic sports car philosophy while becoming more contemporary — the hood appears shorter and the rear deck longer. The Corvette has evolved to become more mature, albeit 41kg heavier than the outgoing model. To counteract this weight gain, the hood and roof are made of carbon fiber.

The overall layout of the cabin has been reworked, with the Corvette design team paying specific attention to detail and materials to elevate perceived quality. And while the outgoing model was heavily criticized for the ergonomic shortcomings of its seats, the C7 addresses that issue by not only offering more supportive seating as standard equipment, but also a ‘Competition’ seat. Both seats have a composite shell and incorporate lightweight magnesium, while the Competition seats have larger side bolsters and firmer foam.

But this car is significant not only because of its new design and iconic status amongst automotive aficionado. The C7 also revives the Stingray nameplate, a badge that’s been dormant since 1976. Does it deserve it?

We caught up with Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of design, to hear why he thinks it does.


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