Corvette Museum’s 1962 Displayed on U.S.S. Lexington

Support for the National Corvette Museum comes in many forms, and for one Corvette enthusiast that support was to provide event registration for the Museum to participate in America: The Car Show.

“We are honoring Bill Thomas, who has been part of our shows for the 11 years that we have been hosting them,” said Island Tom, Director of American Road Crew. “He volunteered for the first show as leader of our snowball cruise and has been involved ever since. He was recently diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer so this year we wanted to honor him and his involvement, and he, in turn, wanted to involve the car he loves so much.”

Saturday, October 5 through Sunday, October 6, 2019 the U.S.S. Lexington will play host to up to 350 collector cars on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier in Corpus Christi, Texas. America: The Car Show will be the final show of its kind on an aircraft carrier. At Bill’s invitation, the National Corvette Museum will display a 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette, donated to the Museum by David Donoho. This particular Corvette was made famous on February 12, 2014 when it, along with seven other Corvettes, fell victim to a 30-foot-deep sinkhole inside the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome. The car underwent a one-year restoration and was revealed on the fourth anniversary of the sinkhole in 2018.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Is The Model No One Is Talking About


As soon as the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was unveiled to the world a couple of months ago, the world started to speculate what future Z06 and ZR1 variants will be like. One future Corvette which hasn’t really been discussed is a potential new Grand Sport.
The C7-generation Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport slotted above the Stingray and below the supercharged Z06 in the sports car family and if the American car manufacturer launches another Grand Sport, it will likely fill the same position within the Corvette family. These two renderings from Abimelecdesign show how such a car could look.

Immediately distinguishing the Corvette Grand Sport presented from the Corvette Stingray is the fitment of a distinctive white and red graphics package similar to what’s found the on the C7 Grand Sport. In addition, the sports car features new gold wheels and a largely rear wing which we think suits the overall character of the car better than the weird split-wing the C8 was presented with.

The final visual alteration is the fitment of four centrally-mounted tailpipes just like the C7. We’ve always liked the central exhaust layout of the C5, C6, and C7-generation Corvettes and think it would have been nice if Chevrolet retained them for the C8. Nonetheless, there is a chance a future Grand Sport model could adopt them, although we think it is rather unlikely.

If the mid-engined Corvette does get a Grand Sport variant, it could feature an uprated version of the Stingray’s 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engine with a touch over 500 hp. A plethora of suspension and braking upgrades would also be present.

Later this month, a significant piece of Porsche history goes up for auction

 We have the rare chance to drive the legendary 1939 Type 64 in “Ground Zero.” Editor Rob Sass drives the highly anticipated, normally aspirated, six-cylinder 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Spyder, due to go on sale in spring 2020. Read about them in “Top of the Line.” Dr. Arthur Ashman helped save the life of a member of the Porsche family in early 1962, which led to a meeting with Butzi Porsche and later a 1964 356 SC sunroof coupe, “Butzi’s Car,” which he still drives. Excellence was Expected is considered the definitive history of Porsche. On the release of its third edition, we profile author Karl Ludvigsen in “Excellence: Expected and Delivered.” Ceileidh Siegel is a director at Hasbro, but she was playing for keeps when she found her dream Porsche and drove it across the country in 72 hours in “MINE-11.”

All that, plus a new chapter in “The Spy Collector,” and Porsche’s new 911 RSR is revealed at Goodwood.

1939 Porsche Type 64 Fails to Sell After Bidding Mix-Up

$17 million or $70 million? Even RM Sotheby’s wasn’t sur

The 1939 Porsche Type 64 was one of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s early experimental vehicles, and yesterday, it was one of the star auction cars during 2019 Monterey Car Week. Projected to sell in the neighborhood of $20 million by auction house RM Sotheby’s, the one-off prototype was the victim of mistaken bids during the third and final evening of the sale, ultimately failing to sell at a high bid of $17 million.

 

The Porsche Type 64 entered the auction room at Portola Hotel and Spa in Monterey, California, in mid-evening following a video presentation of the car amidst much anticipation. The auctioneer, Dutch born Maarten ten Holder, seemed to open bidding at $30 million dollars and that’s when things got strange. Quickly, $30 million appeared as the current bid on the large information screens at the sale and it began climbing from there. Bids came in rapidly, the screen showing $40 million, then $50 million in quick succession. Finally, with bids having reached $70 million on the screen to an astonished crowd, ten Holder realized the error and confirmed that the actual bid was at $17 million. Several minutes later, amidst jeers from the assembled audience, the car was hammered not sold with an undisclosed reserve price not having been met.

It appears what happened was a simple misunderstanding of what the auctioneer was saying, with those running the bidding information screen hearing bids incorrectly. To their credit, it was difficult for this author to discern whether the auctioneer was saying, for example, “fifty five” or “fifteen, five” (as in $15 million, five hundred thousand). With the screens in agreement with the higher amount, much of the crowd was fooled and understandably disappointed when the real amount was determined. At $17 million, had the reserve been met and the car sold, it still would have set a new record for most valuable Porsche sold at auction.

The car itself, while built some nine years before the Porsche brand was established in 1948 and therefore arguably not technically a “Porsche,” was an engineering exercise by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche that closely resembled a primitive 356 and was the first vehicle to bear the “PORSCHE” script across its nose. The car wears riveted alloy bodywork and has a Volkswagen-based engine (as is well known, Dr. Porsche was the brand’s consulting engineer). It was in fact commissioned by Volkswagen to explore the possibilities of a superior performing sports car. It is the only survivor of three such cars built, the other two being completely destroyed during World War II. Dr. Porsche had the car as his personal transport during wartime and later used it to lure investors to support the fledgling Porsche brand, nearly 10 years after Type 64’s construction.

RM Sotheby’s issued a statement about the blunder, saying: “We take pride in conducting our world-class auctions with integrity and we take our responsibility to our clients very seriously. This was in no way intentional on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby’s, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding amplified by the excitement in the room.”

GM Engineers Talk About Transformations from C7 Corvette to C8 Mid-Engine Corvette and Driver Modes

At the C8 Corvette debut on July 18, 2019, I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to speak with the engineers and designers of the all new 2020 Corvette. The C8 is a huge transformation from the front-engine, seventh-generation Corvette. Read about how the engineers describe this awesome transformation.

General Motors did an excellent job with the seventh-generation Corvette. They were not only able to excite and entice their loyal customer base but the highly sought after younger consumer market as well. With the C7 Corvette being as popular as it was, this easily made the C8 Corvette something to look forward to.

The eighth-generation Corvette has been in the making for 6 decades and was originally brought up by Zora​ ​Arkus-Duntov, said to be the inventor of Corvette​, likely why Chevrolet dedicated its masterpiece to him. Being a C7 Corvette owner and having had the opportunity to see the C8 Corvette in person multiple times, I can tell you that the C7 and C8 are definitely more different than alike. One of the most exciting differences between the seventh- and eighth-generation Corvettes is the new “Z Mode”.

Until this release, driver modes have only included weather, eco, tour, sport, and track modes. The C8 Corvette comes with a new “Z Mode” which is actually ​two additional modes. These modes further optimize the performance of the C8 Corvette.

According to the engineers at Chevrolet, Z Mode allows the driver to choose between using steering and suspension together or separate. The driver can even start the car in this preset mode,so they can have the Z Mode turned on every time they turn on their car. While the Z Mode is not available in the seventh-generation Corvette, C7 drivers are still able to preset weather, eco, tour, sport, and track modes to their liking.

Why C8 Corvette Makes The Hype

Now let’s get into some of the information that the engineers said makes the C8 Corvette worth the hype. I had the exclusive opportunity to interview both Tadge Juechter, ​lead engineer of Corvette​, and one of his peers about the C8 Mid-Engine Corvette. I was able to dig into some of the questions lots of the followers of the channel wanted to ask. Another engineer who explained in-depth information on the C8 Corvette worked alongside Tadge for 5 years, which means he is the resident expert about the next-generation Corvette. In interviewing him I could see his passion for the Corvette and the brand all together. I started off by asking him what makes the new Corvette so special. He stated this entire car was just a huge transformation – not just from front-engine to mid-engine, but the entire car.

Clarence Garner of Torque News with Tadge of GM at the 2020 C8 Corvette unveling event

General Motors has had such a huge departure from their comfort zone. That’s something we all can agree on, especially since many of us never thought we would see the day a Mid-Engine Corvette would be released. Tadge mentioned their goal was to not alienate their current Corvette customers, but to pick up the younger generation on their way to creating a better car. One thing that lots of current Corvette customers complained about was trunk space. He stated that General Motors wanted to make sure the Corvette was still a car you could travel cross-country with. They ensured this by making space for two full-size golf bags in the trunk of the car and a duffle bag in the front where the engine normally would be.

Tadge went on to say they offer the same performance of their competitors as well.When you look at the new 2020 C8 Corvette it goes to show that you can keep the Corvette as your weekend car ​and
​ keep up at the track. One of Chevrolet’s goals was to make sure you can unpack from your trip and head straight to the track. The engineers go on to say they wanted to make sure this car was at the right price point for its current and new customer base. They worked with Bowling Green vendors and their supplies to keep the price affordable for their customers, landing the all new 2020 C8 Mid-Engine Corvette under $60,000 – a shock to the world and the car industry.

Corvette chief engineer: No manual transmission for C8, it’s a dying business

Corvette fans still holding out hope for a manual transmission in the C8 generation of the Chevrolet Corvette, abandon hope. Not only does the Corvette’s chief engineer and vehicle line director say the Corvette won’t get a manual, but building manual transmissions is a dying industry.

When I asked Corvette lead engineer Tadge Juechter at the reveal of the 2020 Corvette on Thursday if there is any chance the manual will come back, he replied simply: “No.”

Juechter said a manual-equipped Corvette wouldn’t sell well enough to make it worth a supplier’s effort to develop.

“We couldn’t find anybody honestly who’d be willing to do it. Because just like the automatic, the DCT, it would have to be a bespoke manual,” Juechter said. “It’s low volume, very expensive. The reason is it’s a low-volume industry. That industry is dying—building manual transmissions.”

Apparently, the take-rate for manuals in the Corvette has plummeted to about 15 percent now, according to Juechter.

“Every year it goes down, down, down, down,” he said.

Porsche experimented with dropping the manual from its track-focused 911 GT3 and found it had upset buyers, who have since bought the manual in that car in large volumes. In fact, according to Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer, two out of three buyers opt for the manual.

Juechter said the same wouldn’t hold for the Corvette.

“It’s 15 percent on cars like the Z06, which historically have been only a manual. And as soon as we offer the automatic, everybody buys the automatic,” Juechter said.

The future doesn’t look bright for the manual in the ‘Vette or the industry, Juechter said.

“It’s a dying business. The people who make a living building manual transmissions, they see that it’s not a bright future for them,” he explained.

Instead of a manual or a traditional automatic transmission, the 2020 Corvette will feature a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. Its development challenged for the Corvette engineering team, and Chevrolet worked with Tremec to develop the transmission, which will be built in Wixom, Michigan.

Juechter said the DCT had to be developed specially for the Corvette.

“We don’t just find a DCT, an 8-speed DCT that plugs into this architecture with the right dimensions,” he noted.

Beyond making a transaxle-style transmission fit in the Corvette, the engineering team faced other challenges. The low placement of the dry sump-fed LT2 6.2-liter V-8 in its midship placement also affected the transmission.

“That puts huge burden on the transmission, too, because it can’t have a deep sump either, so all the oil management, everything is super slammed. The belting, the transmission, figuring out how to cool it, there’s a ton of complexity around that. That’s one of the equations we had to solve,” Juechter said.

Unfortunately for enthusiasts, the Corvette team solved that equation without allowing for another variable: the manual. While the mid-engine design looks promising from a performance standpoint, a big piece of Corvette history just died.

Guess What? The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Is Almost Sold Out

Guess What? The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Is Almost Sold Out

You snooze you lose.

In what will likely be music to the ears of management parked high up in the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, the 2020 Chevy Corvette appears to already be a smashing success. Switching from a front- to a mid-engine setup was a bold but necessary decision, but there could have been some serious backlash from the Corvette’s most loyal fans. Turns out that’s not the case. Speaking with Michael Simcoe, GM design chief, at the Concours d’Elegance of America, Autoblog has learned the 2020 Corvette is nearly sold out.

“I think the orders have already hit the first year of production numbers,” Simcoe told a large crowd. Asked to further elaborate privately a few minutes later, Simcoe confirmed the C8 is very close to being sold out for the upcoming model year, but there’s still availability. “It’s nearly sold out. It’s so close that it’s bound to be sold out soon,” he clarified.

Unfortunately, Simcoe refused to provide specific production figures, but Chevy has made it fairly easy for those who want a C8 to reserve one, specifically through online registration. Buyers were also able to place an order at this Concours event. We don’t know how many C8s are planned for 2020, so therefore it’s impossible to know how many registrations have been taken so far. We can, however, do our best to provide an estimate.

For example, the outgoing C7, which went on sale for 2014, sold 34,839 units that year. It dropped slightly to 33,329 units in 2015. Based on these figures, a pretty good guess of around 30,000 C8s can be expected for 2020.
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The Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky is not exactly a boutique facility, but rather one fully capable of high production output. But at the same time, the Corvette, mid-engined or not, is still a niche sports car. Given its radical change for 2020, we could see GM taking a somewhat more conservative production approach. We won’t know exactly until production numbers are released. Until then, anyone who wants a first model year C8 Corvette, you’d better hurry. Time is not on your side.

What’s going on with the Porsche 997.2 market?

Photos courtesy Porsche

In April of 2018, I wrote that the 997.2 base Carrera was a Porsche that we should all be shopping for. Shortly thereafter, I took my own advice and bought a Guards Red six-speed manual base coupe for $36,000. It was advertised in The Mart and it had 62,000 miles on it. It wasn’t necessarily the color that I wanted, but the choices were relatively limited at the time, just two other cars on the East Coast— There was a white/sand ’09 (same spec as my car) at a dealer in New Jersey with 44,000 miles on it. They wouldn’t come off their ambitious $46,000 asking price, and as a result, they had the car throughout the entire winter. A more aggressive BMW dealer in Richmond, VA had a 28,000-mile car (also a manual base Carrera) and was willing to sell it for about $40,000, but I was out of town at the time, and the car was Seal Grey, the same color as the 996 Turbo I had been driving. In hindsight, this car was a screaming deal.

Fast forward about nine months and the meager supply of 997.2 manual coupes has turned into an almost complete drought. GT3s and Turbos for sale outnumber base Carreras (and even S coupes). PDK cabriolets are a bit more numerous, but the asking prices on those seem to have gone up a little as well. Asking prices are certainly not the same as sale prices, but an uptick in asks, combined with scarcity can imply that something is up in a market. The point is, it is getting more and more difficult to find a 997.2 coupe with a manual for under $40,000. Friends who are looking are reporting the same thing, noting that late 997.2 values are in some cases eclipsing those of early 991s.

Any 911 from 2009 through 2011 is going to be a bit harder to find — the economy was in free-fall and a new Porsche was a tough sale in the face of a 401k whose valued had been halved. But still, the shear dearth of manual transmission coupes on the market is a bit eerie. It’s possible that people are holding on to them thinking that the cars have reached the bottom of their depreciation curve and are on a gentle upswing. But that would be highly unusual for a barely ten-year-old car. The 996 has only recently bottomed-out. But as I mentioned in the earlier article, we may be gaining a bit of perspective — combustion engines have just about run their course. The current 911 is a wildly different car from the very pretty 997, a relative featherweight at just over 3,000 pounds with feedback-rich hydraulic power steering. It seems obvious even with the limited context that we have at this point that these are special cars.

So the jury is out at this point on what precisely is going on in the 997 market. It seems a relatively safe bet, though, that any manual transmission 997 coupe, particularly a DFI car in an unusual color is highly unlikely to experience any significant depreciation at this point. It’s something we’ll continue to watch with interest.

Porsche joins battle of SUV coupes with Cayenne

Above: Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupé (left) and Cayenne Coupé.

Porsche’s had a badly kept secret for some time now: It has been developing a coupe body style for the Cayenne SUV, so it came as no surprise when the automaker officially unveiled it today. The new Cayenne Coupé and Cayenne Turbo Coupé will be arriving in dealership showrooms in fall 2019.


Above: Profile of Cayenne Coupé.

The new body style is exactly as it sounds, a slightly lower Cayenne with a more steeply raked roofline, particularly at the rear, where it slopes downward more aggressively and is adorned by an adaptive roof spoiler. Porsche also says the windshield and A-pillars are “shallower” due to a roof edge that’s been lowered by 0.78 inches, which also contributes to a sleeker profile. To tie the changes together, Porsche redesigned the rear doors and rear quarter panels and made the license plate bracket part of the rear bumper.

The new, standard roof is a panoramic glass piece with an integrated sunshade, while buyers may also choose an optional carbon-fiber roof. Choosing the latter also nets you several other sporty features, including new, lightweight 22-inch GT Design wheels, pepita fabric seat centers, carbon-fiber and Alcantara interior accents, and, for the Turbo Coupé, a sport exhaust.


Above, clockwise from top left: Cayenne Turbo Coupé with the standard glass panoramic roof. The optional carbon-fiber roof as seen on a Cayenne Coupé. Interior seating with pepita inserts in a Cayenne Coupé with the carbon-fober roof option.

Though there’s no mention of S, GTS, or E-Hybrid versions yet, Porsche will launch the base and Turbo Coupés together. The Coupé gets the 3.0-liter 335-horsepower V6, allowing it a 0-60-miles-per-hour time of 5.7 seconds, or 5.6 seconds with the carbon roof. Top speed is 151 mph. The Turbo Coupé is equipped with the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 541 hp, and it’s much quicker: 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Top speed is 178 mph.


Above: Cayenne Turbo Coupé with its rear spoiler deployed.

People who opt for a Cayenne Coupé over the standard body style also receive some other standard goodies that are otherwise options. They include Porsche’s adaptive suspension (PASM, or Porsche Active Suspension Management), Sport Chrono Package, and 20-inch wheels. New eight-way sport seats in front are also standard, though comfort seats are a no-cost option. The back seat bench is shaped to mimic individual seats, with room for two.

The lower roofline shouldn’t affect rear-seat headroom too much, as the seats also have been lowered by 1.18 inches to accommodate the exterior styling without affecting comfort. Luggage space in the Coupé is 22 cubic-feet with the rear seats up, 53.3 cu-ft with them folded down. The Turbo Coupé’s storage area is a slightly smaller 21.2 cu-ft with the seats up and the same as the base model folded down.

The Cayenne Coupé is offered at $75,300, while the Turbo Coupé starts at $130,100, not including the $1,250 destination fee. Look for the Cayenne Coupé in showrooms starting in fall 2019.

Porsche’s “Mr. 911” on the Future of the Iconic Sports Car

All-electric model “is not impossible,” he says


Following the successful launch of the third new Porsche 911 developed during his 18-year stint as product director of the iconic sports car, “Mr. 911” August Achleitner is transitioning to retirement. The Austrian-born mechanical engineer who started at Porsche in the chassis development department in 1983 will spend the first quarter of 2019 attending media launches of various 992-generation models and handing the reins to Porsche’s current head of motorsports, Frank-Steffen Walliser. We caught up with Achleitner at the official introduction of the 911 Cabriolet (and 718 Boxster/Cayman T models he also had responsibility for) at the Geneva motor show to chat about the challenge of reengineering an icon and his hopes for the 911’s future.

Is developing the next 911 the world’s easiest or hardest job?

What we are presenting today has involved decisions made over the past three years, and the Porsche engineer is always creative. There are of course new ideas. We get results out of pre-development activities. We get results of feedback from the customer and from the press of course, and we have to fulfill requirements from all over the world. We mix it together, and define the next sports car after this one—which is obviously better than the old one.

Your predecessor introduced water-cooling. What was your biggest change?

The change from the normally aspirated engines to the turbocharged Carreras. This was not an easy decision for us because our normally aspirated engines had a characteristic sound and the ability to rev to almost 8,000 rpm. We decided, okay let’s change to the turbocharged engine, but we want to keep the behavior and the characteristic of the normally aspirated engines, and I think it worked quite well. The feedback is good from all customers and we still rev to 7,500. This, in combination with high torque at low revs, makes the engine better than the old one.

 August Achleitner with a camouflaged 2020 911

What about plans to electrify the 911?

With the new 992 vehicle we wanted to make the car suitable for the future, and that includes the possibility to integrate an electric-drive. The new four-shaft PDK is more compact, so we could offer more space between these shafts and the engine itself where we can integrate an electric motor. Together with this hardware solution we also have the software solution because the electronic platform of this car is the same system as in the Panamera.

Why not offer hybridization from the start?

We are also developing the Taycan, the new electrically driven Macan, and a new platform with Audi. We have no engineers left to deliver such technology also for the 911, and the Taycan and the next Macan can fulfill all CO2 requirements for the company. Now if there are limitations on going into big cities we can react—that is the most important thing.