GM’s’ assistant chief engineer for Small Block engines, Mike Kociba, told Automotive News in a recent interview that because the 6.2-liter Small Block LT2 V8 engine would be exposed to passersby under a glass window, his team had to work with designers to ensure the engine looked as good as it sounded and performed, which wasn’t something they were used to.
“Engineers, we’re very functional,” he explained. “Every feature, facet you see of course is purposeful, but generally in our mindset, it’s just purposeful. Now you want to take that extra step and say it not just has a function, it has a style. That really takes us out of our comfort zone.”
One area they struggled to see eye to eye over was with regard to the colors used. When designers would explain why a certain shade of black used in the engine bay wasn’t “warm” enough, or said that other colors used were too eye-grabbing, they didn’t understand where they were coming from at first.
“The first time I tried to explain beautification [to the engineers], they looked at me like I had three eyes,” explained Paul Arnone, lead creative designer for performance interiors.
But the engineering and design teams didn’t take the job lightly. They wanted the C8 Corvette engine bay to be on par with that of a Ferrari’s or a Lamborghini’s, despite the Corvette coming in at a much lower price point. They even worked together to design a new bolt specifically for the Corvette that wasn’t previously in the GM parts bin, as designers didn’t like the way any of the automaker’s existing bolts looked. They ended up taking inspiration from Ducati for the new bolt, which uses internal drive bolts only that “don’t scratch or mark,” Arnone explained. The Corvette bolt is similar, though it’s actually a dual-drive bolt, as GM engineering guidelines prohibit the use of internal drive bolts.
So the next time you see a C8 Corvette in person – stop to appreciate the harmonization of design and engineering that went into making the engine bay look the way it does. Everything from the bolts used, to the color of the engine cover, to the red-painted valve covers was hashed out by a team of designers and engineers. We can’t imagine these two teams, who each a different side of their brains when they come to work, always got along during the process, either.