With the crisis the Big Three experienced a few years ago, all signs seemed to point to the end of the over-the-top cars they used to produce. Now was a time for rational thinking and efficiency. Gone were the Vipers and Corvettes and in came the Volts and Focuses. It was all becoming very sensible.
And then the companies started being profitable again.
Now, in 2012, two of the most iconic American sports cars were announced and needless to say, I am very excited!
The first one is the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette. 59 years ago, it was launched and ever since then, it has stood as the symbol of American excess. It was also a good attempt at trying to mix American muscle car and European sports car. Though a lot of generations of Corvettes usually failed in that area, those being more muscle than brains, the latest ones were promising. And now, the latest version (still not officially revealed yet) looks to hit the mark.
Yes, we do not know what it looks like, but we know how it will be powered. The engine will be a next generation LT1 6.2 litre direct injection V8. I think you’ll agree, we can all live with that. Combine that with 450 horsepower and cylinder deactivation and you even have a Corvette that could do well around town! With such an engine, performance will be impressive, with a 0-60mph time promised in under 4 seconds.
Again, details are scarce regarding anything else, but all will be revealed in Detroit next year, but expect a lighter car with improved handling and build quality. And if you really want to know what it looks like, check out Jalopnik.
The second surprise was the 2013 SRT Viper. Yup, the big snake is back! Things were not looking good at first, at one point Chrysler said the Viper was finished as it was too Neanderthal for today’s world and then Sergio Marchionne took control, which could only make things worse. But a few years later, behold the new Viper and it looks amazing!
Known for being basically a big truck-engine with wheels, the Viper was always a tough car to drive. If the current reviews are to be believed, this is no longer the case. Yes, that massive V10 is still there, now at an unbelievable 8.4 litres, developing 640 horsepower. 0-60 mph is expected to be below 3 seconds. Yup, it’s fast.
However that power is now tamed through a much better chassis (including wider track at the front and improved torsional stiffness) and a big improvement in terms of comfort. Whereas the old car was a bit like trying to hitch a ride on a deranged hippopotamus, this new one has a superb interior (with awesome geeky touches, like a hidden Nurburgring map embossed in a phone tray) and an overall feel of being made from more than pure plastic. Seriously, those seats come from the same supplier as Ferrari!
And for the purists amongst us, it comes in two trims: The base model comes pretty much stripped out for those hardcore racers, and the GTS model is much more refined with added insulation and toys.
Needless to say, I am happy to be on the other side of the Atlantic at the moment, so I can get a close view of these statements on wheels up close! The Americans are definitely back in the race!