GM highlights Corvette’s lightweight legacy

In 1953, the Corvette was only supposed to be part of General Motor’s Motorama exhibit at the New York Auto Show. To say that it was well-received is an obvious understatement, because it has become one of the most recognized cars from GM’s Chevy division.

If you can improve the technology, you can improve results. An article on GM’s website features a story how technology has influenced the beauty behind the Corvette since the very first one from the 50s.

Harlan Charles, Corvette’s marketing manager, says horsepower isn’t the only measure of performance. “Balance and low weight are just as important, and that’s where the Corvette excels. It has a heritage of employing cutting-edge technologies and materials to help optimize performance.”

Using those “cutting-edge technologies and materials” started in 1953 when the body of a Corvette was made out of fiberglass, and since then, GM says every Corvette has featured a composite-material body.

The idea of using fiberglass came from Harley Early. According to GM, it was lightweight, rust-proof and provided an economical way to create the Corvette.

By the late 60s, starting with the third generation of Corvettes, body parts were manufactured with a press mold process, GM says. SMC, or sheet-molded composite, can be molded into complex shapes without wasting material. The fiberglass material and resin were shaped in a die-like tool that produced smoother parts more quickly, and according to GM, this helped lay the groundwork for a change in the body panel’s material by 1973.

Fast forward to 1997, the first year of the C5. GM says the ‘97 Corvette was larger, longer and wider than the previous year’s model; however, it weight nearly 100 pounds less, thanks to the technology of advanced materials.

SMC body panels were made with more plastic and was composed of 40% resin, 33% calcium-carbonate filler, and 20% chopped fiberglass, with the last 7% being resin and hardeners to improve the out-of-mold surface, GM says. For the C6 Corvettes, the same material is also used.

This was just a brief summary of GM’s story, but if you want to read more about it, check out the article here.

Photo Credit: General Motors



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GM says self-driving car in Cadillac’s future

A car that drives itself may not sound too exciting. Who doesn’t like to feel the power of a classic American muscle car in the palms of your hands?

It may not sound too exciting at first, but it’s always interesting to see where technology is going.

Google is already testing their version of a self-driving vehicle, and GM says they’re not far from having one of their own.

Thanks to GPS, smart phone technology and superior radar intelligence, GM says they’re able to produce the first self-driving Cadillac in five years.

James Bell, head of Consumer Affairs for General Motors said, “We think it’s something that can really help people, especially on long drives where you might get tired or find things are distracting you. If you just set it up into what we call ‘super-cruise mode’ you’ll be in much better shape.”

According to GM’s website, the vehicle is going to offer crash risk detection and enhanced driver assistant features, such as:

• Rear Automatic Braking
• Full-Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control
• Intelligent Brake Assist
• Forward Collision Alert
• Safety Alert Seat
• Automatic Collision Preparation
• Lane Departure Warning
• Side Blind Zone Alert
• Rear Cross Traffic Alert
• Adaptive Forward Lighting
• Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines
• Head Up Display

John Capp, General Motors director of Global Active Safety Electronics and Innovation, said, “The primary goal of GM’s autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle development is safety. In the coming years, autonomous driving systems paired with advanced safety systems could help eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation. More than ever, consumers will be able to trust their car to do the right thing.”

Photo Credit: © General Motors

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Assembly of GM’s new Ecotech engine promises more jobs

With the Ecotec 2.5-liter engine debuting in the 2013 Chevy Malibu, about 450 jobs will be added to the 188 employees currently working there.

Spring Hill Complex Manager Ken Knight said in the press release that the fuel efficiency and power of the Ecotec 2.5-liter engine in the 2013 Malibu make it a great value for consumers. “The Ecotec 2.5-liter direct injection engine is more fuel efficient than the previous 2.4L, has 16% more horsepower, and then engine’s noise intensity has been reduced by 40%.”

So, even if the power in 2013 Chevy Malibu doesn’t get you excited, at least this is a step towards keeping jobs in the U.S.

Photo Credit: GM

Chevy releases photos of 2013 SS 1LE package

Chevy has released photos of the 2013 Camaro SS 1LE package.

What gearheads may want to know right away is whether or not the 1LE gets more horsepower than the Camaro SS. Actually, just like the SS, it produces 426 horses from a 6.2 liter V-8 engine; however, the 1LE’s engine is mated to a six-speed Tremec manual transmission for better “road-racing performance,” according to Chevy.

If you’re looking to tear up the road, you’ll appreciate the suspension hardware borrowed from the ZL1, as well as majority of the fuel system, its flat-bottom steering wheel and a short-throw shifter.

Take note of the larger front and rear stabilizer bars, higher-capacity rear-axle half shafts, mono tube rear dampers and a strut tower brace.

Oh, and if you don’t want your significant other to make you get out and ask for directions, there’s a seven-inch touchscreen with a GPS navigation system that will come standard with the 1LE package.
It’s estimated that the price will come under $40K.

Who slipped in new-car quality rankings?

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford’s score declined in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey for the second year in a row.

Many customers said its MyFord Touch entertainment and information system was difficult to use. Ford’s Lincoln brand also scored below average, according to the report.

Others who scored below average were Chrysler’s Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands. However, Chrysler’s Ram truck scored above average.

So, who came out on top? Three of four GM brands had fewer problems than average. Cadillac reached 4th place in the annual survey of customers, and it was the only brand in Detroit to make it in the top 10. Chevrolet and GMC scored above average, though Buick was just below the average score.

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Ford, Chevy come out on top for International Engine of the Year competition

The International Engine of the Year competition brought awards for Ford and Chevy engines.

GM’s Voltec powertrain scored Best Green Engine, while the 999cc Ford EcoBoost three-cylinder earned the overall Engine of the Year, among others.

GM’s Voltec power train combines a 1.4-liter range-extender gas engine, two AC electric motors and a 288-cell lithium-ion battery pack. In the past, the Best Green engine has gone to Toyota.

At this time, the EcoBoost engine appears in Euro-spec Ford Focuses right now. It has two different power levels, 99 horsepower and 123 horsepower, but it can make up to 177 HPs. It was given praise for having no turbo lag. The 1.0-liter EcoBoost was given the best new engine, best sub-1-liter and best overall engine.

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GM announces plans for 2014 Chevy SS

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GM recently announced that it will showcase the 2014 Chevy SS sports sedan February 21, 2013, just before the Daytona 500, when the NASCAR version makes its debut.

Rumor has it that the Chevy SS will see improvements to fuel efficiency with innovations to lightweight construction.

Consumers can definitely expect to see a V8 option, and possibly a V6 option if demand is high enough.

Other updates include improved suspension, electric power steering and a keyless engine start.

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