This isn't your daddy's Corvette, but it will stir emotional memories.
And that's how General Motors wants it. The automaker revealed a completely redesigned version of the iconic American sports car -- and, in a surprise, tagged it with the Stingray moniker.
"I love this car. That's why I'm here," said GM North America President Mark Reuss. "Honestly, I joined the company because of this car. This business is supposed to be fun, right? This is fun."
In homage to the 1963 Sting Ray, considered by many to be the most legendary 'Vette, Chevrolet is betting that the seventh-generation Corvette will leave just as indelible an impression.
The C7 Corvette was shown Sunday night at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. This is GM's first major redesign of its most enduring sportscar in nine years. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray shares only two parts with the 2013 Corvette.
GM Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn approved the name when he saw the finished product.
"He said, 'I'm not going to sign up to call this a Stingray until I see how it turns out,'" said Tadge Juechter, chief engineer for the C7. "What he meant by that was the Stingray was a hallowed name in the auto industry."
Designers delivered a few hundred renderings before Welburn and team settled on the final version, complete with Stingray badges on the front fenders.
-- MORE: A Corvette lover speaks: 'I joined the company because of this car,' GM exec Mark Reuss reveals
"It wasn't a question at the end," Juechter said. "We felt that we could call this car a Stingray. Once you get in the car and drive it and experience it, you'll believe us then."
The new Stingray is powered by an all-new 6.2-liter V8 engine with direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation technology, which allows the car to operate in four-cylinder mode while coasting and eight-cylinder mode while accelerating. The vehicle arrives in showrooms in the third quarter.
The two-door hatchback, which has a removable roof panel, gets 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque with estimated fuel economy of more than 26 miles per gallon, making it the most fuel-efficient Corvette ever. The car goes 0 to 60 mph in fewer than 4 seconds, and comes with either a seven-speed manual or six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.
"The car's been dramatically upgraded in every aspect," Juechter said. "The faster the car goes, the better it feels."
Buzz has been building for months among Corvette fans, a particularly enthusiastic base.
"It's really reached a frenzied level in the last few days," said Keith Cornett, founder of CorvetteBlogger.com. "Designing the new Corvette is probably one of the most unenviable jobs out there because you've got the 60-year history, you've got to pay homage to the past, but you've got to reach out and do something new."
GM designers said they wanted to stay faithful to the long swooping front-to-back feel of the Corvette and tight-cornering agility.
The vehicle features two options for the jet-cockpit-like driver's seat. It boasts a smaller steering wheel to make it feel more like a race car and adds an eight-inch high-definition Chevy MyLink infotainment screen.
"The interior is probably the single most upgraded area of the car," Juechter said. "It's all premium materials."
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