From “home run” to “Aztek styling,” new Corvette Stingray draws fast reaction
There's few greater challenges in the automotive realm than redesigning an iconic car with a devoted following. Play it too safe, and only the die-hards keep buying; go too far, and the enthusiasts can feel alienated without a new audience developing. There's no more iconic American car than the Corvette, and the 2014 Corvette Stingray unveiled Sunday has already sharply divided fans around the world. One person's affordable supercar is another's reminder of the Pontiac Aztek.
That Corvette fans themselves would raise the name of the Aztek, the ugliest vehicle ever developed by General Motors, demonstrates the passions involved with the Corvette. In 60 years, the car has only been redesigned seven times, and the 196os editions ranks as the most beautiful American sports car ever created. Chevy designers knew this going in; GM design chief Ed Wellburn commissioned 300 potential designs for the car, and vowed that he wouldn't let it use the historic Stingray name if it wasn't worthy.
Every new generation of the Corvette sparks a debate among the faithful, and the so-called C7 has done so more than ever before. On the most popular Corvette Forum, the debate over the direction chosen by GM began as soon as the first photos appeared, and hasn't stopped since. One fan summed up the case for the new car thusly:
The new Corvette is awesome, in looks and performance. The exterior is nicely evolved, and the interior is revolutionary, especially the Lamborghini inspired optional track seats. Love the extreme chopped rear end and hood scoop. Side profile is nicely carved...All parameters have been incrementally and necessarily increased to maintain the car's promise of supercar performance at a Chevy price. Resurrection of the Stingray moniker is a nice touch. This car delivers.
But the critics emerged quickly. While the front-end treatment received some mild criticism, the rework of the rear which removed the traditional Corvette round taillamps in favor of vent-surrounded polygons, sharp creases and four exhaust pipes led some Vette owners to consider pitchfork and fire, accusing GM designers of slighting its heritage by making the Corvette look like a lowly Camaro:
Not feeling the looks at all. To many body lines, too square in the back, it looks like it morphed itself from God knows what! The car lost its heritage and iconic features including the tail end and lack of roundness!
Another brought up the Aztek, the Godwin's Law of vehicle styling: