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June 2015 Corvette Sales (new)

It's the first of the month (July 2015) and that means it's time for the monthly Corvette sales report from General Motors. In June 2015, a total of 2,807 Corvettes were sold for a 3.1% increase over the 2,723 Corvettes sold in June 2014. For the Calendar Year to Day (CYTD), a total of 18,307 Corvettes have been delivered and we are running 3.2% ahead of the 17,744 Corvettes sold during the same time period in 2014.

Taking a look at the 2,807 Corvettes sold last month vs the 3,514 Corvettes sold in May 2015, there was a month to month decline of nearly 700 cars for a total decrease of 20.1%.

The 2015 Model Year ended in the middle of June (Wednesday, June 17th to be precise) and so the decline in sales is mostly like due to the end of the model year and the interruption of normal deliveries to dealers who are now waiting for their 2016 Corvettes to come in. We will probably see a surge in delivers in July as those early bird Corvette buyers take deliveries of the first 2013 models. Here's the GM Sales Report for Corvettes in June 2015:

For the month of June, GM delivered 259,353 vehicles in the United States which was up 7% over sales in June 2014.

Source: Keith Cornett - Corvette Blogger

Submitted by Phil Ellison

20 Facts About The 2015 Corvette

We had the opportunity to meet with Kirk Bennion, Corvette Exterior Design Manager, and his team as well as Jordan Lee, Chief Engineer and Program Manager for the Gen 5 Small-Block V-8 program, and also Ryan Vaughn and Kathy Sirvio who spearheaded the interior design and color palate on the 2015 Corvette Z06. This group of C7 Z06 who's who helped shed some light on several of its unique features and ask the questions you've been dying to ask.

1. First off, the correct nomenclature is "Corvette Z06." The name Stingray is reserved for the Z06's 460hp little brother.

2. The fenders and fender vents (used to reduce lift), front spoiler, rocker panels, and quarter panels are the body parts that are unique to the Z06.

3. The quarter panels were designed to widen the Z by 40mm per side, and help make it the widest production Corvette ever.

4. The body was carefully designed and tweaked in the wind tunnel, fabricating parts on the spot including the adjustable rear spoiler. They even contemplated uses canards on the front spoiler like the C7.R, but it was not feasible for a production car.

5. Weight was a huge concern, and a factor in the wheel design as well as the powertrain.

6. The LT4 is a lightweight, small, and compact engine - only 1-inch taller at the back than the LT1 (thanks to the supercharger).

7. The compact 1.7L supercharger uses smaller rotors that spin faster than the 2.3L LS9, while using an intercooler that is 23% smaller and 10% better at cooling.

8. The LT4 uses the stout LT1 architecture and enhances it with a stronger crank and (steel) rods, coated and forged pistons, DLC coated wrist pins, titanium intake valves (needed for higher RPM), stronger rotocast 356 alloy cylinder heads, larger oil cooler, bigger fuel pump, and an optimized camshaft.

9. When testing with the stock LT1 camshaft, the LT4 was too torquey. By making an LT4 specific cam, the team was able to optimize top end power.

10. The LT4 boasts a smoother idles than the LS9, thanks to direct injection.

11. Both Active Noise Cancellation and Enhancement is used to reject the bad sounds, and keep the bass-ey engine sounds that are music to our ears.

12. Various heights of people tested the initial interior design, which was based around the 95th percentile. Certain tweaks were made that couldn't be predicted in modeling, such as the bar behind the head that became a nuisance when wearing a helmet.

13. Two unique interior colors (blue and Dark Steel Grey) are offered, while nearly the same 10 exterior colors are used.

14. While the steering wheel is the same diameter as the Stingray, it has a flat-bottom and uses higher-grade leather with Euro stitching (suede is available).

15. Three different trim levels will be available as well as three levels of aero parts (including the Z07 package).

16. The reason GM chose a 6.2L supercharged combination rather than going the same route as the outgoing Z06 (big cube, naturally aspirated) is that it would have been difficult to achieve a performance goal of over 600hp.

17. With no chassis tuning, the C7 Z06 is already faster than the C6 ZR1 around GM's Milford road course.

18. An 8-speed transmission was selected to equal a DCT (dual clutch transmission) with lightning fast shifts, while being very robust. The Z has not had to rely so heavily on Torque Management, as with other models, to preserve the internals. "This thing is a beast." Fear not, manual lovers as the 7-speed (in the Stingray) is still the standard transmission.

19. A fixed roof was not offered because the C7 chassis is stiffer with the roof panel removed than the C6 Z06.

20. Pricing is said to be close to the C6 Z06, making it faster and cheaper than the C6 ZR1.

Source: Scott Parker / Super Chevy

Submitted by Phil Ellison

Wrecked Cars Rev Up Visits To NCM

The car-swallowing hole has been fixed but not forgotten at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky. Yellow tape now marks the boundaries of the cavity that became a sensation and put the museum on the map. And instead of a gaping sinkhole driving tourism, now it's the vintage sports cars crunched by rocks and dirt.

Work ended recently to fill in the pit that consumed eight prized sports cars in early 2014. The repaired exhibit area has become a magnet for visitors, and the dirt-caked remains of the mangled cars are the stars.

Where the 60-foot-long, 45-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep sinkhole once drew gasps from visitors, now it's the remains of the worst-damaged cars that get astonished looks.

"It's just horrifying," said Corvette owner Doug Kidd, of Canton, Ohio. "Nature's a pretty big thing to deal with. They look like they went through a tornado."

Seven of the eight cars are back on display in about the same spot where they plunged to fame. Five were too beaten up for repairs. One is fixed, another will return Sept. 3 after being repaired in Michigan and another will be restored by the museum. The eight cars carried a total value believed to exceed $1 million.

The museum's Facebook followers now exceed 200,000, compared to about 50,000 before the sinkhole opened. On social media, photos showcasing the damaged cars outpace those of the shiny, sleek models on display, said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli.

"People just really enjoy hearing the story and like seeing the damage," she said. "I guess it's the rubberneck effect. These cars definitely appeal to a wider audience."

In the gift shop, jars of sinkhole dirt and rocks fetch $10 apiece. Nearly 2,400 jars had sold through July.

Wanda Cohen of Roswell, Georgia, had just posted a photo of a wrecked car on her Facebook page.

"It's like looking at the worst wrecks you've ever seen," she said.

For museum officials, the trick is to keep the site's popularity from going in reverse now that visitors can't gawk at the sinkhole. The museum cashed in on the giant chasm with record attendance and revenue in 2014.

Last year, the museum just off the interstate drew 251,258 visitors, easily topping the 150, 462 visitors in 2013. The museum's prior record attendance was 200,900 in 1999. Through last month, attendance for 2015 was off just 2.5 percent compared to the first seven months of 2014, the museum said.

"We just want to try to do our best to make sure the decrease is as little as possible," museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said.

Maintaining that momentum will be challenging, said Jason Swanson, a University of Kentucky assistant professor in hospitality management and tourism. Even if the sinkhole had been left open, the publicity that helped spark the attendance bump would have eventually waned, he said.

"The museum is better off since more people now know of the museum because of the sinkhole's publicity," Swanson said. "However, 10 years down the road, 2014 and 2015 will likely be seen as an anomaly."

The museum is doing its part to keep the sinkhole etched as a curiosity.

A temporary exhibit shows the now-famous security camera footage of the floor's collapse and cars toppling like toys into the pit. That footage has been viewed about 8.5 million times on YouTube, the museum said. The hole opened up when the museum was closed, and no one was injured.

There's also video of the damaged Corvettes being pulled from the hole. Also featured are condolence cards to the museum. One card-sender wrote of being "devastated to hear of your loss."

A new sinkhole-themed exhibit is scheduled to open this fall.

Kidd said he wished at least part of the sinkhole had gone unplugged. It was an option discussed by museum leaders before they opted to fill it in.

"It's human nature to come and see," Kidd said.

Terry Jorgensen of Deland, Florida, said it would have been impractical to keep the hole open. Getting to see the crunched cars was more than enough, he said.

"I'm in awe of finally being here and seeing it," he said.

The repairs began last fall and cost about $5 million, Frassinelli said. Insurance covered everything but the museum's deductible. Donations picked up the deductible, she said.

Museum officials at first devastated by the chasm now have a much different attitude.

"We decided to embrace it," Frassinelli said. "And what could have been a really big negative for the museum turned out to be a positive."

Source: Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press

Submitted by Phil Ellison

Meet The 1969 Corvette

By the end of the 1968 Corvette model year, it became clear that the public was enamored with America's only sports car. While sales increased by a whopping 25 percent, all was not well with the new design. An enormous number of quality issues plagued the first-year C3. On the plus side, customers loved the coke-bottle design and neck-snapping performance but the quality problems sent an overwhelming number of vehicles back to the dealership. Chevrolet put in place a detailed plan to improve correct many of the issues for 1969. The new Corvette, while not perfect, was definitely a better automobile in its second year.

Several key changes were made to distinguish it from the 1968 model. The Stingray name became one word. The Stingray emblem was placed above the air vents on the front fenders. Backup lights were moved from below the rear bumper and integrated into the inner tail lamp. Outside door handles were redesigned, eliminating the need for the additional push button used in the previous year. Chrome-plated front grille bars were replaced with black painted bars. The front fender vents now included a chrome edge surrounding them.

Inside, the Corvette received subtle yet important changes. The ignition lock was moved from the dash panel to the steering column, and for the first time included a steering column lock. Door panels were redesigned to increase much-needed shoulder room. The steering wheel diameter was reduced to 15 inches, making it slightly easier to enter and exit the vehicle. The passenger side of the dash provided pockets for maps and other items. Another improvement was the use of an inertia locking seat belt system that allowed the occupant to move forward without the seat belt locking in place.

A plethora of powertrains was available. The 327 cubic-inch engine, used since 1962, was history. Replacing it was Chevrolet's 350 cubic-inch small-block. Horsepower in the 327 was advertised at 300, but it actually produced more. Next up in the small-block option list was the 350 cubic-inch, 350-horsepower V-8. For those who wanted more, a slew of 427 big-blocks were available. First on the option list was the single four-barrel, 390-horse version. It was considered the docile powertrain of big-blocks, using a mild cam and low compression. For added punch, buyers could drop a Tri-power setup on top of it, upping horsepower to 400. And those wanting pavement-melting performance could order the RPO L71, solid lifter, high compression, 435-horsepower big-block. An optional aluminum head (L89) big-block was also available. Racing fans that wanted more had two additional choices, the L-88 and ZL1. With its ultra-high-lift camshaft and a 12:1 compression ratio, the L-88 was not a powertrain to be driven on the street. While Chevrolet listed the horsepower at 430, in truth it was believed to have over 500 horsepower. But Chevrolet wasn't finished providing lightning-fast performance for Corvette fans. The all-aluminum ZL1 engine was last on the option list. Light in weight and high in power, this combination was king of the road. This engine was also rated at 430 horsepower but produced much more. However, only two ZL1 Corvettes were built and today command an incredible price on the collector car market.

By the end of the model year and in spite of a strike that stopped production for almost two months, Corvette once again increased sales from the previous year. Today, the second-year C3 Corvette stands out as one of the most sought-after sports cars. The combination of improved quality, great performance, and continued appreciation makes it an outstanding investment.

Source: Jim Heasley

Submitted by Phil Ellison

More stories can be viewed using the "News & Stories" link

NMCA, PO Box 91355, Albuquerque, NM 87199 :: info@nmcorvette.org