GM Design Chief Michael Simcoe Feeling The Pressure Surrounding C8 Corvette Design14
General Motors Vice President of Global Design, Michael Simcoe, has a difficult task in the future of the Chevrolet Corvette. Although recently appointed to the highest position inside GM Design, Simcoe will be responsible for the final design we see when the C8 Corvette eventually does show face.
Speaking to Wheels, Simcoe said there is immense “emotional pressure” surrounding the design of the next-generation Corvette, though he was careful not to give away any specifics.
“You’re dealing with an icon that’s been successful, consistently successful, and you don’t want to be the one who blew that,” said Simcoe.
“Being part of a Corvette design is very exciting for everyone involved and there certainly will be a next generation Corvette at some point.”
Simcoe, who has deep roots with Holden, likened the pressure to one of his most well-known design projects: the top secret, reborn Holden Monaro from the early 2000s.
The C8 Corvette is largely expected to make the switch to a mid-engine configuration, marking a revolutionary change in the Corvette’s lifetime. And for Simcoe, that’s likely no easy task to carry on a legend’s name.
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The C8 design must return to WORLD CLASS again and not the teenage Japanese and Cad Art & Science folded and creased look. The single, most important element of the C8 design will be a completely new rear that gets rid of what is probably the ugliest design ever placed on a GM car. Busy, confused, the rear is 40%+ black plasticy, four vents, gansta tears, Camaro-like taillights, two strips of Pepboy’s reflector tape, a dropped frame around the exhaust (really stupid), about 8 different angles/plains of surface. It’s like they couldn’t decide what to do on the rear, so they included suggestions from everyone in the design building, including the janitor. Look at the C7 rear next to any Euro Exotic….just sad. After driving Vettes daily for decades, I skipped the well performing but overweight and ugly C7. If the C8 follows the C7 pattern, I’ll spend my $$ on older Vettes and maybe build a resto-mod C2.
Couldn’t agree more on the rear design, vents, angles, planes, colours, I’ll never forget the first C7 I saw in person, a white convertible coming up Clifton Hill in Niigata Falls, all good until the back bumper… I’ll keep my black C6 ZO6 and skip the 7 gen thx
Why is Corvette looking to move to a mid rear engine platform when most other performance car manufacturers are developing mid front engine cars?
What in God’s name is a mid front engine car?
Corvette has been a Front-Mid engine car since 1963 with all or nearly all of the block is behind the front Axle Line, but in front of the passenger compartment. This is why vettes have been so close to a 50% / 50% weight distribution since ’63. A Rear-mid is behind the passengers and ahead of the rear axle and is still well balanced but usually has more weight on the rear tires, improving traction and performance. A rear engine is behind the rear axle (Porsche) and a Front engine is either over the front axle or in rare cases (many Audis) ahead of the front axle. Duntov proved the physics of the rear mid layout decades ago, but GM, until now was afraid to try it. The C7, using the heavy electronic differential, has pushed the front mid layout to it’s limits. The next Gen would have to be either all wheel drive (GT-R) or rear mid (McClaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi R8, Fi race cars, Indy race cars, etc.) in order to improve performance.
AWD gets my vote!
Traditional AWD adds considerable weight. By going with a rear mid engine, the possibility of using light weight motors and small batteries or capacitors for brief front drive assistance when needed, is a future possibility and not practical for a front mid chassis.
Due diligence, teamwork and a take no prisoners philosophy!
Exactly. Diligence. The C7 was the first Corvette new generation design that did NOT have any owner group styling feedback testing. Every generation since C3 has had “viewing” feedback from elite, “vested,” public sector Corvette owners (some dealers, some Vette Club Presidents, etc). Welburn stopped this for the C7. That rear-end is the result. They need to return to soliciting feedback rather than design it in an Ivory Tower. The “you’ll get used to it” smugness from the design team is unacceptable for a Corvette design.
This is the type of decision that can cause Michael Simcoe his job if the C8 Corvette is considered as being a failure. The C8 Corvette would be considered as a failure if it is no longer affordable or if the the C8 Corvette’s styling doesn’t cause teenage boys to hang posters of it. There’s no doubt that the C8 Corvette will be fast.. as the old adage goes, if you put a big enough engine you can make a brick fly; thus, Michael Simcoe needs to make sure that C8 Corvette captures the imagination of everyone who sees it and is still affordable (meaning a starting price under $100K).
Been driving Vettes for decades and “worshiping” them since I was a pre-teen. But Teens don’t buy $60-70k sports cars and designing it to appeal to them is a mistake that was made on the C7 IMO. Regardless, a very close look at the C5, C6, and C7 bill of materials and you realize that other than the Infotainment system, the engine and the trans components, every other part on the car is unique to Corvette. The fact that the engine is in the front (where it limits the amount of traction / hook up of drive tires), the parts are all “only for Corvette.” Move the engine to a rear mid and the only NEW unique component is likely to be the transaxle. There is no reason to think that a rear mid engine Corvette should cost anymore than a normal new release generation of Corvette. Historically, (other than the C3 to C4 prices) this is usually within a few hundred dollars of the prior Gen.
BTW, check out the C8 section of DigitalCorvettes dot com and you will see and learn about Zora’s 1959 CERV I experimental mid engine test car along with ALL of the many rear mid engine Corvettes over the past 6 decades.
I’m not convinced that a mid engine is the way to go for anything other than high end prestige. Ive put over 450,000 miles in Corvettes for the last 35 years. I like being able to have the usable rear space. The Ford GT didn’t even have room for one suitcase. Mid engine is great if you only want a toy. Keep the present configuration but add the mid engine Ferrari killer for the people who want a $150,000 toy.
I get you Mark. We have similar experience with Vettes. If you look at the Digital Corvettes section I refer to above, you will see that some of the rear mid concepts … the ones that came closest to production, had multiple storage pods/spaces. The utility of the C5.6,&7 cannot be dismissed completely by the Vette team or the C8 will fail. That said, the ability to store at least one set of golf clubs has been a Vette standard since the C4 and will be a challenge for the C8. Guess we will find out how good these guys are. BTW, the Ford GT IS a toy and not intended to be a real daily driver like Corvettes. AND, IMO a two model Corvette line does remain a good possibility. It worked well for Porsche for a long time.