Death of the Corvette

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted DuPuis, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    As many of you may have seen, the C8 (8th generation) Corvette was announced in the past week. I don't follow much with new cars, but I did read up on a bit.

    I will give GM a lot of credit with what they're delivering, especially at the price point. Performance wise, the new Corvette seems like it will compete well against current offerings from Ferrari and Lamborghini. The mid engine arrangement, with a few economical exceptions, is a layout that you only end up seeing on supercars.

    Then there's the transmission. The dual-clutch automatic transmission. From a technological perspective, it's what you find on the supercars these days. Some argue they're not automatics because they don't use a torque converter and it's more or less the guts of a manual transmission, but specifically designed such that it's actuated by the computer rather than a human rowing gears in a traditional gearbox.

    Manual transmissions have been dropping out of cars as available options one by one. Of course, the Corvette has offered an automatic transmission for decades - there's nothing new there. And while I will get on the case of anyone who purchases a car like that with an automatic, I don't bemoan the companies for offering them. So long as they also offer a manual.

    Once a car or a company stops offering manual transmission, it becomes dead to me. When I was in high school, the beautiful gated shifters that Ferrari and Lamborghini offered in their cars were hallmarks of the beautiful Italian interiors. No shift boot required on these. And while some said the gate made shifting harder, it was so beautiful to look at. Now neither company offers a proper manual transmission. BMW, a long term holdout with "The Ultimate Driving Machine" has ceased to offer a manual transmission option.

    When the C7 came out, I felt like GM was trying to make the Corvette look too much like an Italian supercar. It was losing its identity as the American supercar. The C8 pushes that moreso. The Corvette has always supposed to have been the highest performing vehicle in the GM lineup. Because of that, I can forgive the departure from the front engine rear drive layout, and I can commend them offering a dual-clutch transmission as an option. But to eliminate the manual transmission entirely removes the option for the person who wishes to own one for the driving experience and not just the 0-60 times.

    I'm sure it's fast. The technology is neat. But the man-machine interaction has now been replaced by man-computer interaction essentially fully, and the computer is the machine.

    With the Dodge Viper production ending in 2017 and the 2020 Viper set to have a V8 instead of the previous V10, I am wondering if they will do similarly. The Viper was never available with anything but a manual transmission from its inception in 1990, but it was also never available with anything other than a V10.

    I also wonder how long before Ford stops offering manual transmission in Mustangs.

    For now, old curmudgeons like me can still build manual transmission cars, as Tremec has a good business selling TKO (5-speed) and Magnum (T-56 6-speed) transmissions available brand new, shipped to your door, and we can keep manual transmission vehicles driving with the cottage industry of a few small vendors producing replacement parts. But building a car is not for everyone, and achieving the sort of interior fit and finish that one gets with a production car on a homebuilt is not something that is generally achievable.

    RIP, Corvette.
     
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  2. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Ban automatics in F1. The Europeans were converted by the "shift like Schuey" rally cry.
     
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  3. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Next thing you know someone will come up with auto-pilots for airplanes. No more flying with your hands and feet.

    When that happens, aviation is dead to me.

    Oh, wait....
     
  4. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I was a die hard manual guy, never owned an automatic until about 2000. I’ve evolved. There’s very little practical need for a manual auto these days. The technology now just makes it unnecessary. It’s nothing but nostalgia at this point. I miss it, but one day I’ll buy a vintage with a stick and then I won’t miss it Even a little.
     
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  5. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    The problem is the cars are to fast and manual shifting is too slow.
    Not just 0-60; but the ability to downshift, before or through a corner which needs two hands... Driving now with these cars on a track like Nuremberg or even on old country roads a manual is going to get you killed because you cannot do not have two hands on the wheel or you will be left in the dust. Manual shifting is just too slow for these cars.

    Tim
     
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  6. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    They have even started to put electric starters on some planes so no one has to hand prop them the ol’ manual way. Who wants that?
     
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  7. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    My 19 jeep has an 8 speed auto, Far out preforms the manual. It's always in the power band, and gives the 2.0 better torque than the 3.8 In the 07.
    I'd never go back to shifting. no-one is as good as the computer.
     
  8. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    I don't think I've ever seen a post-1980 Corvette with a manual transmission. It just seems like everytime you see one it has an automatic. I've never understood it for a fun weekend car, but I can't imagine they've been making much money on the manual transmission.

    That being said, for a daily commuter I can't see ever buying a car with a manual transmission. It's just a pain that I don't want to deal with in traffic.

    I just want to add the C8 doesn't scream "Corvette" to me, but it's a nice looking car. And the price is very good for what you're getting.
     
  9. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    I opted for a manual in my daily commuter Mk7 GTI. Granted, it was because an automatic was $1200 more and I wanted to avoid the couple hundred dollars MX every few years on the DSG. But I prefer it for cut&thrust maneuvers. There's a touch of turbo lag that preselecting a lower gear helps.
     
  10. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    6 speed manual in my C5. It's always fun downshifting when there is a tailgater on your ass. ( I can't go anywhere with this other car in front of me why are you riding my ass?) How am I supposed to do that in an automatic?

    I was kicking around the idea of the C8, but with no manual available, I'm with Ted.
     
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  11. Old97

    Old97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had to give up my 6-speed Challenger for a 4-door daycare hauler. I miss it terribly. I almost bought a used chevy SS (imported holden commodore) with a 6-speed but they are soooo expensive.

    Ed Bolian (youtube vinwiki) explains the economics of manual transmission supercars in on of their videos. There are plenty of young enthusiasts who want those cars second or third-hand. But they are not being made.

    As far as the corvette is concerned, I wonder if it is the natural product progression. They want to compete with ferrari and such as a supercar, as far as i can tell. Are they fighting their image as well? Median buyer age went up 8 years in a 10 year time span not too long ago. In that sense its really 2 cars: a high-spec track mule and an old man’s low spec Sunday car.
     
  12. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've always thought Corvettes were neat looking cars, and as wide and as low to the ground they are, and with the fiberglass chassis, they shouldn't take second place to anyone. My wife doesn't like them, because your bottom is nearly dragging on the road.

    However, the Gen 2 Firebirds ate the Corvettes' lunch in performance and handling. Pontiac engineers built better handling chassises and they got more out of the Pontiac Engines than GM could get out of theirs. Case in point. My 81 T/A's 4.9 outperforms GM's 5.0 in the same car. (Only anecdotal reports.) My contention is GM killed the Firebird so it wouldn't suck sales from their flagship - the Corvette - when times got tough.
     
  13. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe all the old timers here don't know just how true this is. My GT-R cannot be optimally shifted in the manual mode with the dual clutch. Its revs far to fast to keep your eyes on the road and the tach at the same time. You will either short shift it by a large margin or you will hit the redline and put it into limp mode. Shifting today's high performance forced induction cars feels like a carnival game. It can't be done by humans well enough to justify it. I hated the fact that I had to get a GTR in auto trans because that's all they have ever offered in the R35. Now I recognize I wouldn't even be able to drive it if it had a manual.
     
  14. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    In the past I would never have considered getting a Corvette. I have shopped around for R8s and F430s and landed on the GTR in the end. A Corvette wasn't even in the realm of possibilities. However the C8 has changed all that. I certainly will have a look again at them when they release a high performance version in a couple years time. I think Chevrolet has accomplished their mission. Get new buyers interested in their product instead of selling just to an aging demographic. I'm actually excited for American cars for the first time in my millennial lifetime.
     
  15. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    C8 looks good to me. It’s not overpowered @ 495hp and should have great handling with the mid-engine layout. The <$60,000 base price can be shot up to $80,000 I’m sure. I’m looking fwd to driving one.
     
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  16. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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  17. jsstevens

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    I bought a 2017 370Z last year. It’s the last year you can buy a convertible 370Z with a stick shift (which is what I bought). I’d be interested in the C8 with a stick and a convertible top. :(
     
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  18. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Ted: The Corvette died when they stopped making it with round taillights. ;):(
     
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  19. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Back in '95 I was at the Ferrari Club of America's national meet at the old Texas World Speedway. They were using turns 3 and 4 and the front straight of the speedway and the infield road course. The new Ferrari F-50s (a purposely built race car that was street legal) were hitting 198 on the front straight, while the new Corvette's were hitting 196. A whole lot of money difference for 2 MPH speed difference.
     
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  20. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    The C8 like most cars has paddle shifters. Just no manual clutch

    Sent from my SM-J737T using Tapatalk
     
  21. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is where a dash mounted tach with bright shift light does its thing. Without it, you shift like a noob. I had one on my 95 mustang which was lowered and leveled and handled much better than the stock GT with more power. Much more fun to drive after all that.
     
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  22. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    I have a big tach with a light on the car and It gets to redline faster than most people will imagine. If I launch it in 1st, the moment the car starts moving you have to be ready to shift it. It takes a brief period of time for it to get to about 4.5k rpm then since it turbo charged and its its not a linear power curve it goes from 4.7->7.5k before you can really think about shifting. 2nd-6th gears aren't as difficult to shift because you get a little more time in the longer gears but those gears dont set your 0-60mph time. If the Corvette came in a manual it would be shooting their numbers down the toilet and and numbers sell cars. 0-60 and MSRP seem to be valuable numbers to the new generation of auto buyers. I love manual transmissions in anything sub 450 HP but where that Corvette will go in a ZR1 variety it's going to be insane with a DCT.
     
  23. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    All ICE cars are, or will be dead soon. They are anachronisms.
     
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  24. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    DCT is still an auto all the way IMO. If you're in 7th gear and you want to drop down to 2nd or 3rd, you'll have to go through all the gears to get there. That's the real issue with the DCTs IMO. They are great inventions thought.
     
  25. Salty

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    Who looks at the tach to know when to shift after the first hour or two of driving the car?
     
  26. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Pre-takeoff checklist

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    .
    Drag racers

    I wouldn't say I looked at my dash tach, but I could see that big orange needle on the 5" face in my peripheral vision and anticipate the light. You can't drive a road course and look at the tach.
     
  27. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Between this thread and Ted's Cobra build, y'all got me itching for a fast car again. I don't have the disposable income to go down that road again. Damn adulting!
     
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  28. Old97

    Old97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Are they even being sold in decreasing numbers? You may need to break out the dictionary.
     
  29. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Wait till they stop burning gas.....
     
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  30. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We recently bought a ‘19 Civic Si sedan. It’s not the fastest thing around, but it’s damned fun with the 6-sp manual. We fight over who gets to drive the car.

    Whether on my bike or in the car, there’s something very satisfying about shifting on your own.
     
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  31. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don En-Route

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    Thanks for alerting me to this thread. The C8 looks great and I am sure it will be an excellent performer.

    All the Corvettes I have owned have been sticks. I don’t care if it is slower, I want to bang through the gears.
     
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  32. Old97

    Old97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thats the thing. You dont buy a stick because its the fastest. You buy it because you love driving and a stick is the most fun for you.
     
  33. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don En-Route

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    Bingo!
     
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  34. kayoh190

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    Exactly. All the talk of tech is irrelevant to those who feel that driving stick is part of the enjoyment of driving. If all I wanted to do is mash on a pedal and hold on, I’d buy a Tesla.

    That said, I think GM hit this out of the park and will sell a ton of them.
     
  35. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    Downshift. It's all about the downshift. Manual trannies do it right, paddle shifters, not so much. JMHO.
     
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  36. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I love a bang box as much as anyone, but you want to try an launch the 2009 ZR1 with 638hp and the six speed with any consistency? Not easy.
     
  37. 1RTK1

    1RTK1 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I hope the newer corvettes are put together better than the earlier versions. The last one I was in 30+ years ago was a fiberglass rattle trap.
     
  38. pmanton

    pmanton Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    When they did away with the manual choke and spark advance they turned drivers into sissies :rolleyes:
     
  39. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've owned a C5, C6 and now a C7 convertible. All have had the Z51 with a manual. All started as daily drivers, the C5 and C6 got traded when they approached 100K miles. The C7 and I quit going to an office regularly about two years ago so it only has about 45k miles or so. I hate the torque converter in traffic, I tried driving a C7 auto. It's slightly faster in a straight line but doesn't help you fit into that gap in the next lane.

    I love the C8 as is, except so far no convertible. Each of my Corvettes was better than the previous one. GM says the technology on the C7 just won't go much further and I believe them. I've never been a Corvette junkie, I went to the C5 when Mazda didn't replace the RX7 with a new model. I actually think the RX7 was a better car than the C5 (unless you sat in the passenger seat). The C6 was better than the C5 and RX7.

    I do think the C7 may possibly become a cult car, especially with a manual, so I won't be in a hurry to sell mine.
     
  40. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    LOL. Like round engine piston airplanes?
     
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