The car replaces a steel frame with an aluminum frame that's 99 pounds lighter but 57% stiffer. The removable roof panel and hood were made of carbon fiber, which always reduces weight.
"When you drive this car, the car feels so rock solid. It's a completely different driving experience," Juechter said. "The car feels very light, just flies away."
GM cut about 37 pounds out of the car by switching materials, but added back about the same weight in fuel-efficient systems, transmission and safety technology. Owners can choose between five driving modes, such as a bad-weather mode to navigate precipitation or a sport mode for fast driving.
Chevrolet leaders intend for it to compete against luxury sports cars like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911.
About 1,000 people worked on the C7 in some capacity over the last 3-1/2 years, but the vehicle almost didn't happen. GM delayed its development for a stretch in 2007 due to financial concerns and again in 2009 a few months before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of the U.S. Treasury's rescue package.
But the delays didn't last long.
"In the Treasury, there's Corvette geeks," Juechter said with a smile.
GM's leadership is full of Corvette geeks too.
"It's a halo product for the company," said Mary Barra, GM head of global product development, in an interview. "It continues to show the technical capability that General Motors has."
CEO Dan Akerson gushed over the vehicle last week, calling it "the most beautiful car ever made" and saying it would be a "statement car" even though it won't be sold in high volumes.
GM wouldn't reveal pricing on the vehicle, which will be made in Bowling Green, Ky. The 2013 model ranges from about $50,000 for the basic version to more than $100,000 for a loaded ZR1 version.
"If you can afford today's Corvette, you'll be able to afford this one," Juechter said.
Still, there are risks when you're tinkering with a memorable vehicle like the Corvette, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
"Everybody's got their own Corvette story," said Cornett, the blogger. "Their dad, their uncle, their brother--somebody's owned a Corvette or someone close to them. You go back to the '60s and '70s, when those cars were king. That really started it for a lot of people. We have an emotional attachment to the car. That's one of the hallmarks of the Corvette."
Contact Nathan Bomey: 313-223-4743 or email@example.com
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