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Is this the next generation of Chevrolet Corvette?

 Is this the next generation of Chevrolet Corvette?

There’s no American sports car that ignites more passions than the Chevrolet Corvette. Here’s Exhibit A: the most detailed renderings yet of the next-generation Vette, caught and released by Jalopnik today, which says they’ve been verified as resembling the top-of-the-line ZR1 not due to hit the streets until 2014.

No vehicle carries the banner of American sports cars quite like the Vette. General Motors has only produced six full redesigns of the Corvette since its introduction in 1953, and every model since 1955 has held true to the long-established template of a two-seat, fiberglass-bodied speedster powered by a Chevrolet V8. In recent years, the Corvette has become a road racing champion, even as sales have faltered due to an aging platform.

While some Vette fans hearken for a return to the split-window Stingray years or a mid-engine layout that would truly punch Ferrari in the schnoz, GM often plays conservative with the Corvette. This design of the so-called C7 update caught in the Jalopnik renderings seems safely in the mold of the current model — until you start examining the details, from the brace of scoops around the car to the rear featuring Camaro-style taillights and quad exhausts that wouldn’t look out of place on a Pagani.

Already the drawings have boiled up a debate about whether the new Vette is borrowing too many cues from too many other sports cars, arguments that won’t be truly settled until GM debuts the actual car at the 2012 Detroit auto show.