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Tuesday, 15 January 2013


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Mike, I think you are right. Looks like there was a front team, side team, back team, roof team and someone whose job was to put in little features from all prior models.
This one's too edgy for me.

Taking their cue from Pontiac's, uh, forward-thinking design team of the 90s...
"Glue-on plastic ridged panels = supercool modern design!!!"

It looks like a toyota or similar, not a distinctly styled 'vette from history.

It seems Chevrolet hired a cartoonist to guide them.

The only view of a Corvette that counts is the one seen from the driver's seat.

[Here's what that will look like. --Mike]

Wow. Looks like a Hot Wheel.

It looks better than previous Corvettes, but it's no DB9. To me it looks rather Japanese. If you'd said it was a Toyota I would have totally bought it.

I don't know the source of Corvette body-design, but while I am a lover of sports cars, I have not liked the looks of the Corvette since the first Sting Ray design. They have aspirations to be grouped among the great cars of Europe. Not even close.
This recent design is a bad example of out-dated American design. They just keep adding a doo-dad here, a superfluous crease there, black wheels....just junk, just stuff...for what? It's an amalgamation of "this-will-be-cool-if-we-add-this" ideas.
You know, as in photography, what you choose to exclude can be as important as what you choose to include. Simplify, Chevy, simplify.

Joe Boris +1. When I saw it I thought Pontiac, and then I thought ugly.

All those gratuitous strakes/creases/vents in the service of 'looking fast' make it look juvenile instead. Too much 'batman', not enough substance.

Ghastly. It's the Pontiac Aztek of Corvettes. Imagine going from a '62 Split Window to this.

GM should have sent the design brief to Giugiaro.

- just too much going on. I bit of Vette here. A dab of Vette there. In the end, too styled.

What, no tail fins?

The styling is very similar to the latest front engined Ferraris. Not saying that makes it any better but GM is simply following the money with this one.

I like it.

I just heard an interview on NPR with the chief engineer who said "We don't want to do retro. We don't want to go back and do like some manufacturers [and] go relive the glory days."

Uh, maybe you should guys, you'd sell more cars.

You can tell a lot about aesthetics just by looking.


Another macho kiddie kar that will appeal to recent divorcee middle age crisis men. Ugly.
Put up a shot of a Jaguar XKE from the '60s and early '70s for design contrast. The E-type was one sexy vehicle. Only a few Italian cars have ever come close to that.

C'mon, it's made in a pudding mold. Your design choices change when your final process involves Play-Doh!

For me the a good car design looks as if the designer(s) focused on what they could do without.

This looks more like trying to add as much as possible. It reminds me of something else depending on which bit I look at.

There's some nice details, but it just doesn't form a coherent whole.


Maybe the design was contracted out to Pentax?

It does seem to lack unity doesn't it? I wish they had gone more over the top with vents and wings and ports and greebles and wiggets and nurnies. Really, they should have given the design spec to Industrial Light and Magic and at least had some fun with it. Clearly it is lacking a sense of fun, or a sense of humor, which would have redeemed the design.

I think we all wish they had given the design to someone who loves the classic car aesthetic - heck, Pixar, for all their faults, probably has some pretty 3d renders on disk somewhere that would fit that goal.

I bring up movie design shops purposely; there's a wealthy neighborhood I drive through every few days, dotted with large, expensive homes that have slowly been added on to over the course of 40 years. In their midst, is a brand new mansion, clearly designed for someone who has a business need to impress people. Which I totally buy as a motivation - if your job is to make multi-billion dollar deals, having an appropriate 'stage' to perform on seems efficient.* But it doesn't look right. Among other things, it suffers from decorative stick-on stone facade mixed with decorative stick-on fake stucco, as well as windows that don't quite look to be the right scale. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't nestled in a neighborhood that was filled with examples of houses built from actual field-stone, or at least incorporating it as a structural element with actual brick.** I think about the money spent on this thing, and I wonder what the designers at Disney would have done with a design goal of looking plausible and impressive.

Its still a step up from the selfconsciously ugly manly-man aesthetic, such as found in recent Camaros. (Of course, the Camaros I remember from the eighties and nineties were also ugly manly-man cars, so maybe that's the design brief. If so, more power to them, they know what they are doing.)


*and indicative of how broken our society is, but that's another story.
**It's actually not far from the Hampton Mansion National Historic Site, so if they wanted to copy a real 18th century mansion, they had an excellent reference at hand.

Maybe they should have made it look like a pickup truck.

"What do you think of the styling?" - well there's a lot of it....

Too many cooks indeed. I imagine this will be quickly restyled as it cheapens the Corvette appeal.

Non-circular tail lights?
A hood scoop?
Camaro-derived rear?
How many character lines on that hood?

It's ugly. It looks like it was designed by the guys who did the "Transformers" cartoons and line of kids toys.

Re MarkB "Of course, everyone with two eyes and a mouth has to 'help.'"
Eyes optional...

Um, The Homer?

Maybe it's because I'm not american, but I kinda like this car. However, I must also say American sportscar designers seem to be lacking in inspiration these days, either riding the retro wave (Mustang, Camaro, Challenger) or producing merely evolutionary designs (SRT Viper). This Corvette hits a balance between these two trends. American car design lost originality by trying to please prospective japanese and european cars' buyers and, as a result, now the USA makes cars severely lacking in character. The worst example of this trend is possibly the new Lincoln MKZ, which looks like the kind of cars Renault did until last decade.
...And now this. The american automotive industry needs a new Bill Mitchell.
The C7 has nothing new about it: its shape and volume are reminiscent of the Aston Martins and the Ferrari 612, while it takes styling cues from the '63 Stingray and the underpowered Corvettes of the 70s. And yes, it is overstyled in places. If you look at the rear you'll find four round exhaust tips that are completely at odds with the overall design. Not nice.
Still it looks good. Somehow it complies to european tastes, maybe because its proportions are so heavily influenced by Ferrari and Aston Martin; and it will please those with nostalgic feelings for the Nissan Fairlady Z, too. Is it ravishing? No, it isn't. Is it ugly or grotesque? Not at all. The word that would best describe its design is, probably, 'bland'. A car designed to please everyone, technically promising and supposedly well built that ends up leaving everyone with a feeling that something's missing. Too quirky to be considered beautiful, yet too safe and conservative in style to be inspiring. There's a difference between a spectacular car and a thoroughbred which Chevrolet failed to realize.
Still I wouldn't say 'no, thanks' if someone let me drive it...

I thought the C6 Corvette was (finally!) a decent looking car, but the C7 does nothing for me. Well, nothing positive...

Hitler, on the other hand, seems to be quite concerned about it it competing with Porsche's 911:


(Hey, somebody has to link to it, right?)

[I guess. Although I loved that line "No one even knows what 'Jalopnik' means." --Mike]

I look forward to Top Gear taking it around the track. Should be fun ("Looks like a fish. Moves like a fish. Steers like a cow.").

It is a weird mix of design styles.

I agree overall (especially the top of the cab and overall shape) it looks sort of Japanese (but a Japanese car would be cleaner than this).

They're trying to ape the Euro supercars in the side with the vents and creases. The problem is the engine is at the front not in the middle so the vents end up in the wrong places. On Euro supercars the vents and crease are functional aero features with some design (not the other way around).

They have the American "lizard brain" ideas of G. Clotaire Rapaille with sharp lines on the front end (e.g. headlights and radiator "mouth") and high door sill to add that Batman touch. Ugh.

They also have a Hot Wheels inspired vent on the hood.

And on that bombshell ...

One cannot forget that a lot of stuff is designed in the wind-tunnel, which is why a lot of cars end up looking the same way...

I have an early version Scion xB, which I've adored since day one: back sits like an English cab, you can stuff it with a ton of photography equipment, front is spacious. But, it is driving a square box down the street. They redesigned it to make it more streamlined, and the back now sits like a Tercel, and the front seems cramped and too wrap around, like a jet cockpit.

My older sis went with Hyundai, after years of Corolla driving, because the "wind tunnel" design just makes it look bland. Lets get back to design over function!

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the supermarket on our sleepy little island, and what did I see but an E type, red, convertible, in beautiful condition. Had to go over and admire it for a bit. The kids had a look, but weren't all that impressed.

Came out of the store, and there was a Caterham 7/260, in bright screaming yellow. They were a little more impressed with it, since it looks like a race car. (and goes like one, 2.5x the power, 3/4 the weight of my little Miata).

That was a good day to shop.

Reminded me of a great line from a 70's issue of Car and Driver. Talking about some Subaru, they said, "It looks like the styling was done by putting a chalkboard on the sidewalk in front of the plant and taking suggestions."

Goodness me, what a lot of grumpies.

It does look like a Batmobile, but I like the Batmobile! And it's red!

I thought Corvettes were supposed to look a bit mad. I think it looks great even if it was designed by a commitee.

When will American car manufacturers learn how to make a proper looking interior and back end?

I love the new American muscle car revival and all, but after sitting inside a mustang and Camaro, the interiors just scream "amateur hour" to me.
Heck the interior of my little 2010 Jetta blows them all away in terms of quality of materials, ergonomics, and fit and finish.

And none of them (Ford Chevy or Chrysler) can ever seem to get tail lights to look attractive (I'm especially looking at you Chevy Camaro and Dodge Charger!).

Take some cues from the Germans in these regards guys, it'll make great cars even better.

Long gone are the '60s, when the Corvette was a trendsetter in design. At this rate, that period ain't coming back either.

As one who still thinks the pinnacle of car styling is a 1967 Karmann Ghia I have no basis to comment yea or nay.

Come to think of it '67 was a good year, just look a the Ford GT40 Mk.1

Compare to:


Not a single bump, crease or opening that doesn't actually DO something.

>You can tell a lot about aesthetics just by looking.

A shout-out to the great Yogi Berra "You can observe a lot, just by watching".

Although you shouldn't judge a car's looks from a photograph. You need the actual physical object in front of you (or in your rear-view mirror) to judge.


Looks a lot better than the Hondas in our driveway.

when i was a furniture restoration cabinetmaker in the 1980s i went one day to the dealer in American Furniture Israel Sack on 5th avenue in Manhattan. Albert Sack, one of the octogenarian brothers who ran the firm in the late 20th century was very helpful when i asked him if i could take some pictures to guide me in making a reproduction. He said that i needed to be careful as many of the reproductions of Newport chairs made in the late 19th century have a compressed or flattened back that are that way because the craftsmen were given photographs to work from. Wallace Nutting was one of the perpetrators of the "compressed chairs, tho his chairs are late in this adventure. http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodnews/august_2006/readercont_aug06.html

[Very interesting, Vincent, thanks for that. --Mike]

Looks way too American. More like a hammer than a scalpel. A big boy Camaro.

Looks at least part Renault, with a Citroen-like grille in the hood (yes, I'm from Europe). Stated differently, like many cars from the last couple of years it seems to have taken so many things from cars from other brands that you have to look at the model name/number to know what car it actually is. Luckily we now have enough megapixels to zoom in and read those (to get back to photography :-)

I'm trying to be objective, but i have long had an anti-american car bias. I'm wondering if I'd like it significantly more if it did not have that hood grill/scoop, and if there was a Ferrari logo on it, and some chrome Ferrari-ish 5-spoke wheels. From this one viewpoint, I don't think it would be so horrible. It does get more Vette-ish from other angles, of course. I'd really like to know if i hate it more because of the design or because it's a Corvette that's trying to hard to be something Italian-ish.

It doesn't have a Ferrari's 'lyric.' It almost seems 'desperate.'

Not a split window but not bad either. Take headlights from a Ferrari, the tail end of a GTR and the hood from a Viper and at least you have a well informed miss mash.
So it may be a little cobbled up looking but I still like it.

there's a stupid joke among musicians that the clarinet was invented by 3 people, and none of them ever met. this seems to be the case with the new vette. needless to say I won't be buying one.

It's a sports car, it's ugly, it has lots of slashes and folds, All of which makes it the same a every other sports car. I can't remember the last time I saw a new car which was truly coherent, elegant or beautiful.

I can't help wondering if the image you posted is a photograph of an actual car that has been processed to the point of looking synthetic, or a computer generated rendering that has been processed to look 'realistic'...

The likelihood of it being an actual photograph seems very low, and I wonder how much the processing of the image impacts our initial response to the overall aesthetics.

Will's post about pixar is interesting because the car looks like it was rendered for an animated movie, or maybe a video game. At least that was my first reaction to the image.

[Here are a few actual photographs. --Mike]

I miss my MGB GT...

I look forward to Top Gear taking it around the track.

Clarkson's comments on the 2009 ZR1: "This is made by two fat blokes in Kentucky." "I'm starting to like this Corvette...it isn't the power, it's the surprise of the power. When you're driving a Ferrari Enzo, you're expecting it. This though, it's quiet, it's comfortable, it's beautifully air-conditioned...so you're simply not ready for the savagery when you put your foot down. I've got a heads-up display with your lateral G...and the best stereo in the world...!" "Man, this is great. " "How can a car as docile as this one be as exciting when the road gets this twisty." "A proper manual gearbox." "Are you listening Ferrari? Well done fat man from Kentucky!"

I agree with Brian S' comment that GM is aping Ferrari. They've been trying to separate the Corvette from it's muscle car roots and make it into America's exotic/super car. And exotic cars are, by their nature, polarizing and impractical.

Oh yeah... here's the camera that should come with the pictured Corvette:

[Zach already beat you to that.... --Mike]

...resulting in little more than a tacky knockoff of the Ford GT, ca. 1967. Tsk tsk.

Is this really OT? Aren't too many cameras also designed this way?

I share your feeling that paintings made from photographs look different, though I couldn't begin to describe how. But the fact that the problems of spatial, volumetric and perspective rendering have been largely solved (or at least suggested) by the camera makes it a different process than painting from life or from imagination/memory.

It's like the difference between digital and film photography, which, again, I'm hard pressed to articulate what it is, but there are certain mental processes required for one process that are not necessary for the other.

I'm a 40-something that's always been drawn to lithe and nimble two-seaters like the Miata and Honda S2000. Corvettes have never really interested me, until now. My kidney is for sale on eBay.

BTW, rear-engine or not, I believe that the vents on the C7 are all functional. The hood vent is for hot air to escape from the downward-tilted front radiator, the side vents are to pull hot air away from the front brakes, and the rear shoulder vents are likely to feed cool air to the rear differential.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.


those aint running boards. (The movie Running Man sucked.)

I love it. It's bold, it's audacious, it's fast as a mother f'er, and it's leagues cheaper than cars it'll beat the pants off of. So what could be wrong with that?

Oh, and as to the rear, those four tailipipes are bad arse, man, bad arse.

Yup, looks vaguely Ferrarish without succeeding. Strip away the geegaws and the basic shape ain't bad and foremost, I suspect, wind tunnel necessitated. Bet you dollars to krullers some high-performance variant will become the first legitimate 200 mph American assembly-line car from the "big" three--no small task

Sadly, it's become the ultimate Geezermobile in the N. American market. Very derivative if you look at the Nissan GT-R or way cheaper Scion FR-S. Nice to Shelby's ghost in the SRT Viper which overshadows the 'Vette in the badass dept.

First thought here was `Pontiac' too. I used to like the looks of one of them - back in 1995.

Here's hoping all the wiggly bits are for sound aerodynamic reasons, otherwise you'll be right -aesthetically it tries too hard.

Most sport motorcycles look just as stupid, but at least I can afford them (theoretically). High performance cars used to be more fun to follow back when there were less around, and less of the super-rich to buy them.

Here's what I want in a vehicle: 1993 Toyota pickup (same size and shape made new), airbags and anti-skid, 50 mpg or better. I tend to get more excited about utility and mileage these days.

To my European eyes it looks 'American' as it is. Also it means to me unreliable and indifferent assembly. Sorry.

Count me as one that also likes the way new Corvette looks. While I have no plans to buy one now or in the past, I think GM has a hit on it's update. But, the proof will be in actually seeing one, as you all know, great commercial photography just makes things better than they really are. For those serious buyers that want a performance car for performance getting behind the wheel is obviously the key. For those other possible buyers, probably does not matter as much as a hair transplant and some cosmetic surgery. :)


I hope they didn't do the same thing to the other side of the car ....

The "process" you describe is currently in play big time at Lexus, a marque that has occasionally produced some innovative, very well-styled cars, but now seems committed to making sure THAT never happens again. Some time back top management decided to follow their German competition and build S-M-L-XL of an essentially standardized design centered on what they call a "spindle grill." With occasional exceptions this approach is virtually guaranteed to make nobody happy with the overall result.

My wife has a 2010 Lexus IS, which I think is a very pretty car, especially in darker colors. Smooth overall form, no fussy detailing, looks smaller than it is, etc. The upcoming replacement is...just horrible, with big, flashy features from the bigger cars in the line crammed into the design. The "spindle grill," which works pretty well on the larger GS, looks like the front wheel of the Batcycle bursting out of the car's front end à la Alien. There's just no way any individual designer can love that car, just no way.

I'm a 911 kind of guy, but this is actually the first Corvette that looks halfway interesting to me. I don't particularly like the black vents all over the thing, but at least they're all functional, and I'd get a black car, anyways, so it wouldn't be nearly as loud looking.

Corvette has always prided themselves on being the poor man's Ferrari. As far as looks go, it's another success!!!

Actually, the Vette is an amazing car. The only thing GM builds that is even worth mentioning. The people who build it take it seriously and really care about their work. It's astonishingly fast, and amazingly inexpensive considering it's performance. Stylewise, this car has some good parts to it and some not so great parts but on balance I think it rocks. It will assuredly kick huge ass on track, which is where cars like this shine. Anyone who hasn't driven a car like this all wrung out at 9/10ths on a racetrack, really hasn't driven it at all.

There's too much going on. It's as if they had brought in a bunch of art-college students to inject some .. er ... 'hip' thinking into the project. Seeing it on TV the other night it struck me that the attempt to give the front end an 'aggressive', 'mean', human-like facial expression is so transparently obvious as to be seriously uncool. The whole thing is too literal-minded.

The aerodynamic box necessary to allow the performance that a Corvette, Ferrari ... Etc are capable of pretty much sets what the car will look like. That hood vent actually allows air off the radiator to exit in such a way that it creates downforce on the front axle instead of the usual lift that a car like the pictured Ferrari would have. I certainly think that would be much appreciated at the speeds this car is capable of. In short a modern sports car by necessity has many different inputs into its design to achieve all the goals that such a car is expected to for fill. I guess I'm saying is the criticism just isn't fair, not that I'm a big fan of GM, but cars are not designed on table napkins anymore, Avanti may have been the last American car that was. PS I've never seen a "pretty" German car, ever.

The running boards are for the target market - overweight 70 year-old men with limited mobility but lots of cash.

Your comment that you can tell a lot about aesthetics by looking reminds of something my father once said, explaining why he was removing packages from the back seat and putting them in the trunk: "Anything in view can be seen." His logic was faultless.

About the 'Vette: I tend to look at car styling in terms of shape, surfacing and detail. The shape of this one is actually pretty good, the surface control way over the top, and the detail too fussy. Alas. I keep hoping that one day an American manufacturer will build a car so beautiful it creates desire. The new iteration of the Dodge Viper is a much better looking car. Silly levels of testosterone, but from a styling standpoint, at least it's of a piece, with much less of a committee fingerprint all over it.

There's this problem with all Corvettes. Notice how much space between the body and the street? Like to speculate how many times the car bottoms out on anything less than perfect roadways?

Like, for example, any road within 100 miles of your house?


I think the Vette might look pretty good if you saw it on the street. The scale of the image -- looking at a photo that's four inches wide -- emphasizes the busyness of the design. And IMHO, it's prettier than an Audi R8, and probably handles better, too.

To the guy who says he's never seen a pretty German car -- have you looked at the Audi A5 convertible? I think it's one of the prettiest cars ever made.

Seems to me also that there might be a little class disdain floating around the pool here. What's wrong with a seriously fast, hot car that an average working man could hope to buy? You see any of those being turned out by the Germans, Italians or Japanese?

I heard rumors few months back that GM was working on a new Stingray. I was excited however I was disappointed when I saw the pictures. It looks like a toy. The interiors are better though.

However...Kudos to Ford for doing a great job on the 2013 GT500 and the Boss. I love the GT500 :)

It lacks design unity and any sense of simplicity. Not to my taste, but I'm sure someone will enjoy it.

The more I look at these hot wheels zoomy lookalike things, the more I pine for that glorious Ferrari 250SWB from 1962. And the more I appreciate the understated simplicity of my own little Mercedes SLK 230 Kompressor.

I used to work for what was once the largest independent travel publisher in the world (maybe they still are). We put together a huge pictorial project — a coffee table book of travel photography spanning every country in the globe. It was spectacular, but we (in design) couldn't get the publishers to agree on a single image to go on the cover. No one image could represent 'the world' in a way that didn't create a distance from the intimacy of travel we were known for.

So we settled on a typographic cover. No photos! Great! Problem solved. But it's a photography book! Ok, we'll put a row of photos, small ones, between some of the type so that 'people know it's a book of photos'.

After the book hit the shelves we interviewed people in stores about a range of covers, what people thought they meant and what caught their attention. Our final interviewee was another publisher from another (non-competing) firm.

When he got to our big pictorial he looked at the cover and said 'Ahhh, let me guess: It's a book of photos from the whole world, but you couldn't agree on a single photo, so decided not to have a photo on the cover. Only you couldn't bear to do a pictorial without a picture on the cover and added a row of tiny photos to keep the publishing and marketing happy, thus losing any power you might've hoped to get from the photography in the first place.'

'Is it that obvious?'

'I'm afraid so.'

Welcome to a new era of cars designed by folks who grew up with Grand Theft Auto. When I was a boy I thought I'd like to own a Corvette someday. Perhaps the point here is it is meant to appeal to the child in us.

Meanwhile, I'm fascinated by how many recent new car releases have made me appreciate Audi even more.

After reading through the comments, I can't decide if it looks American, Japanese, or European.

"Seems to me also that there might be a little class disdain floating around the pool here. What's wrong with a seriously fast, hot car that an average working man could hope to buy?"

I think you've got that twisted on both sides, John. I think that four out of five of us commenting couldn't afford a Corvette--we're looking up at it (a.k.a. "sour grapes") rather than looking down on it (disdain). Furthermore, I'm quite sure the Corvette is no longer affordable by "the average working man." The price will run roughly $55k to $105k, give or take. For a second car that's impractical for daily year-round family use? You have to be doing a lot better than today's working class is doing to afford something like that. Corvettes are not working class, they're middle management and above.


It looks good, like the result of a one night stand between a Nissan GTR a Chevrolet Camaro. So yeah, it's kind of a "me too" design, but it's still good and cartoonish like a proper 'Vet.

Wow, that’s ugly – and a sad addition to the Corvette legacy.

I had been pinning my hopes on the new Acura NSX, but it too seems to be getting more junked up the closer it gets to production.

Well ...... the real cracker of course was the

E Type Jaguar .....

Heaven on the eyes ..... Hell on the wallet after initial purchase ....

But it reminds me of what Marianne Faithful said as a much older woman about the younger 60's Marianne. " When she walked in to a room the worls stopped " ... same with the E Type. she may have lacked substance but despite all your best instincts it was love ( or was that lust?) at first sight.

It might look good in black.

Just saw one of the new vettes on the Today Show. On camera it really works for me. I take back the miss mash crack.
I would love one and there are only about seventy thousand reasons why that isn't going to happen.

...and yet the Caddilac ELR is gorgeous (on the outside, though the inside isn't quite as strong):


It's all about the strength of the concept. The ELR has a strong, fresh concept to work from. The Corvette is stale and stuck in a moment in time. The ELR will too look dated, but of its time. The Corvette looks like what someone in the 80s imagined the Corvette would looks like in 2013.

I like it. Not absolutely great but awful nice and as usual for a 'Vette, a lot of bang for the buck.

I know some don't like the geegaws but if the height of sporty car performace is F1 than the more geegaws the better. Asian kids are drooling over all the F1 cars so i suspect they willbe drooling over this.

Corvette V2 ??

The 2014 Corvette is already a unique statement in design, and it's a great one. Why your design sense has moved so off the mark is a bit of a personal problem. :)

It reminds me of the Pentax K-30 and I have similar feelings towards it: I don't like it for sure but I don't manage to dislike it either.

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