An Enthusiast's Views on 2014 Corvette Stingray Styling 11 Months Later
I was fortunate enough to be among the masses who attended the private debut of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in Detroit last January 13th and I was amazed with what I saw that night. I was instantly awe-struck with the revolutionary changes made to the fabled American performance car from front to back and under the hood as – while the C7 was a vast departure from the previous generation – this car was still clearly a Corvette. However, there were grumbles amongst the crowds as traditionalist Corvette fans complained about the new angular taillights and the simple fact that, in their opinion, this new Stingray looked nothing like the outgoing models. In the days and weeks following the Corvette debut, some of those negative sentiments spread across the Corvette forums and the various social media sites as the old school Corvette fans voiced their displeasure with the redesign of the 7th generation. Fortunately for General Motors, that unhappy minority was grossly outnumbered by the millions of people around the world who – like me – love the look of the C7 Stingray.
Now that the world has had a chance to process their thoughts on the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in the eleven months since the C7 was introduced, we wanted to find out what a serious Corvette enthusiast thinks about the new Stingray. The enthusiast with whom was were able to speak was Nick Jaquez and while Nick is a diehard Corvette lover like so many others, he took his passion for the car to the next level when he opened StingrayForums. I asked Nick two very simple – yet very poignant – questions about the 2014 Corvette to which he offered a pair of excellent answers with even better key points to support his views on the C7 Stingray.
TorqueNews: Now that you have had a chance to see the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray from every angle – both in images and in person – what do you think of the new look?
Nick Jaquez: I actually really like the new design of the Corvette. I think that the old design was starting to become dated. The silhouette of the Corvette is timeless, and the lines within that silhouette need to be updated so they do not become irrelevant. There has not been a major overhaul of the lines of the Corvette since the C4 Corvette in 1984. The flat rear ended wedge shape has been present since 1984. That is 30 years of design stagnation. The only real changes in the silhouette were that in the rear glass harkening to and from the split windows of the mid 60's.
When the original "Sting Ray Coupe" came out, it was a revolutionary redesign of the Corvette line, and the following generation, "C3 Stingray Coupe," was even bolder in the silhouette and body lines. The Stingray of the 70's and early 80's embodied the look of muscle and power with it's bold fender flaring, and low slung midsection. The malaise era affected the Corvette design as well. The hood and fenders were flattened out, and the car was made to be more approachable and useable.
The turn of the century saw that same shape streamlined and made more slick and slippery, but the shape was retained and became the requisite shape that people think of when they think Corvette. The lines were rounded and the muscular look came back to the Corvette line. The C6 did not venture far from this same design. To the uninitiated, they are hard pressed to say that the generation had changed. The body lines from the C5 were pressed into a hard crease, but retained their locations. In silhouette the cars don't venture from that "Corvette Shape."
Just as revolutionary as the first Stingray was in the early 60's, the new Stingray is a complete departure from the lines that Corvette has held for 30 years while still looking like a Corvette somehow. Retaining the lines that are so familiar to enthusiasts and John Q Public was the key to keeping the heritage alive.
Some do not like the new car, and so many others love it! This is a true statement for any change to things that people hold so near and dear to their heart.
TorqueNews: Many of the people who don’t like the 2014 Corvette Stingray hate the angular taillights. What are your thoughts on these new rectangular lenses?
Nick Jaquez: After 50 years of the round taillights that have "defined a Corvette," the designers of the C7 have been ridiculed for changing a feature that has been on the car since 1962. I say good on them! If my favorite band had made the same album every year for over a half a century I think I would get a little tired of them. While the Rolling Stones are timeless, I don't think they would be touring today if they never evolved past 1964's "12 X 5." A brand and vehicle design has to evolve to survive. While a 1965 Corvette is iconic, if it were released in today's marketplace, it would be beat outright by most minivans in virtually all of the performance figures.
So there you have it – a clear, defined explanation as to why it really is ok for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to not be identical to the models that came before it. That explanation doesn’t come from a journalist who makes a living talking about cars – that well thought out view on why the changes made to the C7 Corvette are so important come from a member of the faithful Corvette community and we couldn’t agree more.
While there will still be aging enthusiasts out there who insist that the 2014 model should have looked more like their ’88 Corvette, the 2014 Stingray is truly a rolling work of art and I believe that within the next year or so, the new Corvette will have made such an impact on the American performance car world that no one will worry about the shape of the taillights or the lack of pop-up headlights. Change is good and in this case – the changes are incredible.
A special thanks to Nick Jaquez, Administrator of StingrayForums.com for taking the time to answer our questions!