The 2014 C7 Corvette StingRay Reveal
January 13, 2013
The long- and eagerly-awaited next generation Corvette was unveiled at Detroit's Cobo Center during the North American International Auto Show. The public would first get to see it on Saturday Jan 19. The 5 days before featured a Charity Preview day, an Industry Preview day, and kicked off on Monday 1/14 with the Press Preview.
However, Sunday evening January 13 there was a much more exclusive event, termed the Reveal: an invitation only event for select journalists and industry insiders. The National Corvette Museum was granted 150 admissions, and put together a 2 day package, including lodging at the Somerset Inn, and bus transportation to the Reveal Sunday evening, to the Press Preview at Cobo Monday morning, a reception and lunch courtesy of Michelin at the GM Renaissance Center, the afternoon at the GM Heritage Center, and a banquet that evening.
I almost didn't go...
The moment registration opened in late October I jumped on line to the Museum website only to find, to my horror, that it was already SOLD OUT! I called Karen to be informed that the 150 spots had sold out in 7 minutes! Boo!!
I agreed to put my name on the wait list in the (unlikely) event of a cancellation, and pretty much forgot about it.
An early Christmas present
A few days before Christmas I got a call from Karen at the Museum - they had a single cancellation, and decided that it would only be proper to offer it to a Lifetime Member... I was the first Lifetime Member waiting for a single spot!!! Needless to say, I instantly took it, and opted to include an extra night to arrive on Saturday. Then, figuring that driving to Detroit in January was probably not a reliable plan, I checked out flights and was able to get direct flights both ways, in the middle of the day Saturday and Tuesday.
I was also able to find a couple who had similar flight schedules to share the cost of the rental car: Thanks, Bruce and Marilyn Phipps, that worked out great!
Sure made my Christmas!!!
Saturday, Jan 12
Direct flight to Detroit, pick up RAV 4 rental from Hertz, pick up Bruce & Marilyn arriving from Philly, and drive about 40 miles to the Somerset Inn in Troy. All without any hitches or delays. Lots of excitement around the bar that evening!
Sunday, Jan 13
As our bus arrived at the old GM parts factory building in downtown Detroit shortly after 6 pm, we were treated to the C7 flag logo projected on the side of the building, partly seen here through the bus window.
Inside: a mob scene!
3 of the notables in attendance.
View from the back: red curtain at the far end of the hall is where the C7 StingRay will appear.
After the presentation by Mark Reuss, (GM North America President), Tadge Juechter (Corvette Chief Engineer) and Ed Welburn (GM VP of Global Design), the press was released to get close to the car. It was at least 1/2 hour before the rest of us could even SEE the car, much less get close to it!
While I was checking out the StingRay up close, I was approached by Guillaume Meyer, Video Reporter for Agence France-Presse (AFP), a French news agency. He asked if he could film an interview with me to get my impressions of the new car. Here is the piece that is on line, what remains of about 5 minutes of interview, right after Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter. Note Dave McLellan, former Corvette Chief Engineer, squeezing between me and the car, looking over my shoulder!
(OK, so they spelled my name wrong)
In the next room were displays of components with engineers to talk to, a Cyber Gray coupe, and food & drink.
In my not-so-humble opinion, it looks MUCH better in this color than the Torch Red!
Interesting little detail: the C7 flags etched into the headlight lens.
As we left to catch the bus back to the hotel, we each received one of the 2014 individually numbered Press Kits.
Click image to see the kit.
Monday, January 14
The first bus trip of the day, to the Cobo Center, site of the North American International Auto Show.
Another mob scene for the official press conference, introducing the C7 StingRay to the general press.
In addition to the Torch Red and Cyber Gray C7s, Chevrolet also had an example of each of the preceding 6 generations on display, all in white.
I finally got a good look at the interior and the all-important (to me) luggage area (which appears similar to the C6 - but missing the right well).
Back on the bus, to the nearby GM Renaissance Center.
Looking up from the above scene: the GM Towers through the glass roof!
John Fitzpatrick, GM Performance Car Marketing Mgr, hosted our reception upstairs. Q&A session featured, among others, Art Spong (blue shirt; Group Mgr: GM Service Operations, Performance Car Group) and Lee Willard (holding mike; Michelin Race Tire Engineer). Michelin provided a great lunch! I also had the pleasure of meeting my new Michelin contact, Carrie Woodward, who just last month provided me with a new set of PS2s; the old set had 56k miles!
Back on the bus, this time to the GM Heritage Center.
As we left, this was the view from the bus window of the Ren Center from the outside.
Along the way I spotted the GM Technical Center, where lots of cool things happen!
This is it: The GM Heritage Center. Click image for the inside tour.
Last time on the bus, back to the Somerset Inn for the closing banquet.
After dinner, we were treated to an always entertaining informal talk by
Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and Product Manager Harlan Charles.
Monday, January 15
Pack up, drive back to the airport with Bruce & Marilyn Phipps, return the rental, catch the
shuttle to the terminal, and was home by 3:30! TGFDF! (thank god for direct flights!)
Then: start to unwind from sensory overload...
What an incredible event!