Following is a transcript of the video.
Aj Caldwell: This is the new Corvette, the latest installment of America’s longest-running sports car. And this is Kirk Bennion.
Kirk Bennion: Hi, my name is Kirk Bennion. I’m an exterior design manager at Chevrolet, and we’re gonna do a design breakdown of the new 2020 C8 Corvette.
Aj: He’s gonna take us through crucial design elements that helped evolve the C8 into a wildly different car while remaining true to traditional Corvette design. And we’re gonna start where every other Corvette starts: the wheels. In fact, the entire design is what Kirk describes as “wheel oriented.”
Kirk: That means that when you look at the profile of the fenders, we’re basically, we’re drawing them right over the wheels. It’s almost like you’ve taken the wheels and pushed them up into the body. And this gives us the muscular fenders and the muscular quarter panel.
Aj: With most sports cars, design elements often help improve the overall performance of the car. This is true with the C8. Its wheel-oriented design allows the car to remain agile at high speeds by keeping the car low to the ground for a low center of gravity. Once the placement of the wheels has been determined, the design team can move on to the stance of the car.
Kirk: What’s key to the car is what we call rake. Rake is basically designing the side of the vehicle to where it’s at an angle. You’ll notice that the rear fascia has kind of gotten taller as the years progress. And that’s because within our aerodynamic package, the car wants to have a bit of a wedge to it. It wants this high deck lid to alleviate any turbulence or drag back there.
Aj: Rake is more of a design tool than a design element. It’s used on different design elements to give the C8 that aggressive look and improved performance. The rake of the belt line or the bottom of the windshield is responsible for the raised rear of the Corvette. It makes the car look like it’s leaping forward or like a cheetah about to pounce on its prey. As you look at the C8, you’ll notice other design elements with some degree of rake, like the waterline.
Kirk: The waterline really came off of the 1959 Stingray. And what that does for you is it creates a section of the car. In doing so, it throws the lower half of the car into shadow, and then it gives you the room to work with your sculpture on the top of the car.
Aj: The rake of the belt line and waterline are great for looks and performance, but it causes an issue in the rear of the vehicle. It tends to make it look tall and thick, where Corvettes of the past are thin and sleek, or what Kirk refers to as lighter. So the design team decided to trick the eye into making the back look thinner by using a technique found on the C7.
Kirk: So, when we got into the back of the car, we created this lower rear fascia that’s always black. And that’s real important to make the car look lighter.
Aj: By unifying all the components at the rear with a uniform color, it draws your attention to the top, making the car look thinner than it actually is. It even draws most of your attention to Corvette’s signature double-digit tail lamps.
Kirk: Double-digit means that you’ll have two on either side. These are more impactful. You know, they’re just not a shape, but they’re, they have a lot of gesture, a lot of direction to them. So when you’re, like, a half a block away or whatever, you know that this is the new 2020 C8, just by the footprint of those tail lamps.
Aj: The C8 is all about being distinctive while remaining unmistakably Corvette. The biggest change was the move to a mid-engine layout, where the engine sits behind the driver instead of in front.
Kirk: Having the new mid-engine layout, it’s really good from a performance standpoint. I would tell you impactfully, though, it’s even better for the design. I mean, this is clearly the biggest change we’ve done within Corvette’s architecture. So it gives us an all-new proportion and an all-new vehicle. We’ve also taken the occupant from where they were in the previous generation and moved them forward 16 1/2 inches. But the mid-engine layout, here again, it gives you the performance attributes, but it gives you a very unique proportion to Corvette.
Aj: The new C8 Corvette marks a new direction for the brand. Its mid-engine layout and aggressive detailing help give it the look of an exotic supercar, while its wheel-oriented design, waterline, and double-digit tail lamps help tie it back into its long heritage as America’s longest-running sports car. It’s guided by the same principles as every generation before it: an affordable sports car that refuses to compromise on performance and driving experience.