The Corvette has been redesigned only six times since its debut 50 years ago, so for the seventh version that it unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this week, GM brought to bear some of its most advanced car technologies. A notable one: the addition of carbon fiber into the construction of the sports car.
By using carbon fiber and replacing its steel frame with aluminum, the 2014 Corvette managed to shave 100 pounds off its weight, says Tadge Juechter, the executive chief engineer in charge of Corvette. The car is also 60% stiffer, he says.
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Carbon fiber makes up both the car's hood and roof panel, but composite materials also reduce the weight of the fenders, doors, rear quarter and underbody.
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The interior design is treated with carbon fiber as well. Some of the paneling on the dashboard and doors has the telltale dual-tone gray markings, and running your fingers across it -- feeling the smooth, stiff lines -- is a dead giveaway.
The seventh-generation Corvette isn't the first to have carbon fiber built into its design. The sixth-generation Corvette, which debuted in 2005, was upgraded with carbon-fiber fenders and front wheel houses in 2006. In 2009, carbon fiber spread to the roof panel as well.
The new Corvette has a new LT1 V-8 engine capable of delivering 450 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque. At the same time, GM says it's the most fuel-efficient Corvette ever made, rated at 26 miles per gallon (highway). Redesigning the car for its 50th anniversary cost GM a cool $131 million, the company claims.
Homepage photo by Pete Pachal, Mashable
2014 Corvette Stingray
The new Corvette features a top-to-bottom redesign of the iconic sports car. Now built out of aluminum and carbon fiber instead of steel, it's lighter and has more horsepower -- 450 to the 2013 model's 430. No price yet, but Chevy says it'll be in the neighborhood of current Corvettes with start around $50,000.
This story originally published on Mashable here.