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Final Gear Top 100 - 8th place - 10 votes


Forum Addict
Sep 7, 2004
Bradford, UK
here's another few:

Ford Mustang


The Ford Mustang is a popular American automobile. Originally based on the Falcon, the first production Mustang, a white convertible with black interior, rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964. Ford introduced it to the public at the New York World's Fair on April 17, 1964, and via all three American television networks on April 19. It was the most successful product launch in automotive history, setting off near-pandemonium at Ford dealers across the continent. The original Mustang inspired the term pony car and prompted many imitators. In the early years, a Mustang was a good value with a good balance of sportiness, price, and performance.

For all its style and well-marketed sportiness, the Mustang was based heavily on familiar components. Much of the chassis, suspension, and drivetrain was derived from the Ford Falcon and intermediate Ford Fairlane. The car had a unitized platform-type frame derived from that of the 1964 Falcon, with box-section side rails and five welded crossmembers. Although the majority of Mustangs were hardtop coupes, durability problems with the new frame led to the unusual step of engineering the (necessarily less rigid) convertible first, to ensure adequate stiffness. Overall length of the Mustang and Falcon was identical, at 181.6 in (4613 mm), although the Mustang's wheelbase at 108 in (2743 mm) was slightly shorter. With an overall width of 68.2 in (1732 mm), it was 3.4 in (86 mm) narrower, although wheel track was nearly identical. Shipping weight, about 2570 lb (1170 kg) with six-cylinder engine, was also similar; a full-equipped, V8 model weighed about 3000 lb (1360 kg).

Like the Falcon and Fairlane, the Mustang had independent suspension in front, using a short-long-arm (SLA) arrangement with coil springs mounted above the upper arm. Rear suspension was Hotchkiss drive, with a live axle on leaf springs. Standard brakes were 9 in (229 mm) Falcon drums with six-cylinder engines, 10 in (254 mm) with V8s. The brakes were considered a weak link, improved when front disc brakes became available. Manual steering, with a 27.0:1 overall ratio (five turns lock-to-lock), was light but slow; optional power steering improved that ratio to 21.7:1 (3.7 turns lock-to-lock.) Fast-ratio manual steering offered the power steering ratio without assistance, improving steering response at the cost of great steering effort.

In its first two years of production, three Ford Motor Company plants in San Jose, Dearborn and Metuchen, New Jersey produced nearly 1.5 million Mustangs, a sales record unequalled before or since. It was a success that left General Motors utterly flat-footed and the Chrysler Corporation only slightly less so. Chrysler had just introduced a car only a few weeks before that would be a competitor, the Plymouth Barracuda. Though the "'Cuda" would grow into one of the most revered muscle cars of all time, it started out at first, just Plymouth Valiant with a hastily grafted fastback rear window. As for GM, they were certain that they had a Mustang fighter in their rear-engined Corvair Monza, but sales figures didn't even come close. The Monza was a fine performer, but was only a six-cylinder compared to the Mustang's available eight-cylinder. It took GM until the 1967 model year to counter with the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. Even Lincoln-Mercury joined the fray in 1967 with the introduction of an "upmarket Mustang" (and subsequent Motor Trend Car of the Year), the Mercury Cougar, using the name originally given to the Mustang during the development phase. In 1968 American Motors (AMC) would introduce the Javelin and later, the 2-seater, high-performance AMX. This genre of small, sporty and often powerful automobiles was unofficially dubbed the "pony car" as a tribute to the car that started it all. The 1968 Mustang fastback gained pop culture status when it was used to great effect as Steve McQueen's car of choice in the crime thriller Bullitt. The Mustang was pitted against the Dodge Charger in the film's famous car chase through the streets of San Francisco.


The 1974 introduction of the short-lived Mustang II earned Ford Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year honors again and actually returned the car to more than a semblance of its 1964 predecessor in size, shape, and overall styling. Though Iacocca insisted that the Mustang II be finished to quality standards unheard of in the American auto industry, the Mustang II suffered from being not only smaller than the original car, but heavier and slower as well. Available as a hardtop or three-door hatchback, the new car's base engine was a 2.3 L SOHC I4, the first fully metric engine built in the U.S. for installation in an American car. A 2.8 L V6 was the sole optional engine, meaning the popular V8 option would disappear for the first and only time in 1974, and Ford was swamped by buyer mail and criticized in the automotive press for it.

Since the car was never meant to have a V8 in the first place, it became a mad scramble to reengineer the car in order to reinstate the 302 in? (4.9 L) V8 option in time for the 1975 model year. Like the car that preceded it, the Mustang II had its roots in another compact, the Ford Pinto, though less so than the original car was based on the Falcon. The car sold well, with sales of more than 400,000 units its first year. It is also worth noting that four of the five years of the Mustang II are on the top-ten list of most-sold Mustangs. Despite innovations such as rack-and-pinion steering and a separate engine subframe that greatly decreased noise, vibration, and harshness, the Mustang II never caught the public's fancy like the original had ten years prior.


In 1982, Ford reintroduced a high-performance Mustang GT which opened the door for an entirely new era of the muscle car. Wringing a then-respectable 157 hp (134 kW) from its "5.0" (actually 4.94 L, 302 in?) Windsor V8 and backed by a four-speed transmission, aggressive tires and stiff suspension, magazine ads of the period shouted, "The Boss Is Back." Over the years, power and torque gradually increased, peaking in 1987 at 225 hp (168 kW).

Also in 1982, the California Highway Patrol asked Ford to produce a capable and lightweight police car due to the bulkiness of current police cars like the Ford Fairmont and LTD/Crown Victoria and the problems incurred with Camaros with their camshafts at pursuit speeds. Taking the Fox 5.0 Mustangs in production at the time, Ford produced the Ford Mustang SSP (Special Service Package) and modified them to suit the needs of the police and law enforcement departments. Nearly 15,000 of these special units were made until their discontinuation in 1993.


For 1994, the Mustang underwent its first major redesign in 14 years. The new design, code named "SN-95" by Ford, was still based on the "Fox" platform but featured dramatically new styling that incorporated some stylistic throwbacks to earlier Mustangs. The car remained rear-wheel drive. It greatly revived the popularity of the brand. The base model came with a 3.8 L V6 engine while the GT featured the "5.0" 4.9 L V8. A high-performance 240 hp (179 kW) 5.0 L engine, larger brakes, and suspension modification were available on the Cobra models. The Mustang was named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for the third time in 1994.

In 1996, the 5.0 engine was replaced by a 215 hp (160 kW) 4.6 L SOHC "Modular" V8 engine. This engine had been introduced in Lincoln models and was part of Ford's plan to "modernize" its engine lineup. The engine has 2 valves per cylinder?one for intake and one for exhaust?and true dual exhaust. The Cobra version was updated that year with a 305 hp (227 kW) dual over head cam configuration of the 4.6 L V8. In 1998 the SOHC 4.6L V8 power was increased to 225 hp (168 kW) with a more aggressive computer and larger exhaust tail pipes. This was also the last year of the "Round Body Mustang".

A model refresh dubbed "New Edge" came in 1999. Gone were many of the soft lines of the early SN-95s. Moreover, bite was added to the Mustang's bark. Although it was still humbled by the Corvette-engined Camaro in performance, it was more practical and sold well. In 1999, Mustang GT's power increased to 260 hp (194 kW) at 5250 rpm and a healthy 302 ft?lbf (409 N?m) of torque at 400 rpm; redline was at 6000 rpm. While the Cobra claimed 320 hp (239 kW), dyno runs by Car and Driver magazine and numerous buyers contradicted this claim and Ford was later proved to have misstated the power gains. There were recalls for the 1999 model year Cobras, which were given intake and exhaust improvements, putting power at 320 hp to match the original claim. As a result, the Cobra was not produced in 2000, and the company developed new parts to replace the missing power. These changes were incorporated into the 2001 model year Cobra.

Power came from redesigned heads and cams. As a "modular" family, earlier 4.6 L SOHCs can swap out their heads with "Power Improved" heads as offered through the Ford Parts Catalog. The Cobras received similar improvements. A switch was made from "B" style heads as used in the early 32 valve DOHC Modulars to "C" heads, which added to the low end torque of the engine. Redline was set at 7000 rpm for the DOHC Cobra. The Cobra also received an independent rear suspension, which was also modular.


At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Ford introduced a completely redesigned Mustang (code named "S-197") on an all-new D2C platform for the 2005 model year. Exterior styling was designed by Sid Ramnarace, drawing inspiration from 1960s Mustangs. The car featured an aesthetic that Senior Vice President of Design J Mays referred to as "retro-futurism."

The base Mustang uses a 210 hp (156 kW) Ford Cologne V6 engine. The GT has a 300 hp (224 kW) 4.6 L 3-valve Modular V8 with variable valve timing. It retains the traditional but controversial live rear axle, and offers improved handling and ride. Modern production facilities and computer aided design have allowed the new Mustang to have 100% more structural rigidity over its predecessor, and have greatly increased build quality as well as fit and finish. One particularly interesting feature is the optional color-changing gauges.

Shortly after its launch at the North American International Auto Show in January, Ford started production of the Mustang convertible, available with either the V6 or V8 engine. The 2005 Mustang convertible was designed from the ground up to deliver a more rigid body structure without additional weight. Ford engineers designed a z-fold top that gives it a finished appearance with the top down.

Ford continues to sell about 150,000 Mustangs annually. Many view the 1964-1973 models as American automotive icons the equal of the 1955 to 1957 full-size Chevrolets and the Corvette. Thanks to continued interest in the marque, restoring Mustangs is a popular hobby. Mechanical parts are as close as the corner auto parts store, Ford dealer or wrecking yard with most out-of-production parts available as highly accurate reproductions.

Even the very first production Mustang is still around. Originally purchased new by Stanley Tucker, an airline pilot from St. John's, Newfoundland, Ford offered him Mustang number one million in exchange in 1966; he chose a new, made-to-order Mustang instead. Number one is currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and a photo of the car can be viewed at their website.

With the conversion of the River Rouge Plant to F-150 trucks in Dearborn, Michigan on May 10, 2004, a plant that built Mustangs from the very beginning, production has been moved to the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. The last car off the Dearborn line was a bright red 2004 Mustang GT convertible. On hand for the closing ceremonies was the aforementioned first production Mustang, also built at Dearborn.



Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Design Office), the first models were marketed with the names Austin Seven (often written as SE7EN) and Morris Mini-Minor in England. Until 1962, they appeared as the Austin 850 and Morris 850 in export markets. The production model differed from the original prototype (affectionately named "The Orange Box") due to the addition of a front subframe, on which the engine was mounted, and by the engine being mounted with the carburettor at the back, rather than at the front, as in the prototype, due to carburettor-icing. The proposed engine size was originally 950cc, however BMC though that the 90mph top speed was excessive and thus reduced the engine size to 848cc to gain a more manageable speed (for the time) of 72 mph. The cars suspension was also featured the use of rubber cones as springs ? a design adapted from Issigonis's home-built racer and built for the Mini by Alex Moulton.

Issigonis' friend John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and Formula 1 Champion and rally driver in 1959 and 1960, saw the potential of the little car, and after some experimentation and testing, the two men collaborated to create a nimble, economical, and inexpensive car. The Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini Cooper debuted in September 1961.

The original 848cc engine from the Morris Mini-Minor was increased to 997 cc, boosting power from 34 bhp to 55 bhp (25 to 41 kW). The car featured a racing-tuned engine, double SU carburetors, and disc brakes, uncommon at the time in a small car. 1,000 of this iteration were commissioned by management, intended for, and designed to meet the homologation rules of, Group 2 rally racing. The 997 engine was replaced by a shorter stroke 998 cc unit in 1964. By the time production of the Cooper model ended in 1967, 12,274 of these popular cars had been sold to the public. A more powerful Mini Cooper, dubbed the "S", was developed in tandem and released in 1963. Featuring a 1071 cc engine and larger disc brakes, 4,030 Cooper S's were produced and sold until the 1071 model was deleted in August, 1964. Cooper also produced two models specifically for circuit racing, rated at 970cc and a 1275cc, both of which were also offered to the public. The smaller engine model was not well received and only 961 were built with 970cc engines until the model was discontinued in April 1965.

From 1967 to 1970, Issigonis had been designing a replacement for the Mini in the form of an experimental model called the 9X. It was shorter and more powerful than the Mini, but due to politicking inside British Leyland (which had now been formed by the merger of BMC and Standard Triumph) the car was not built. It was an intriguing "might-have-been"; the car was technologically advanced and many believe it would have been competitive up until the 1980s.

Updated 998 cc and 1275 cc models were produced after the introduction of the Mk II body type in 1967. Production of the 998 cc variant ended in 1969, with over 55,000 cars sold. The 1275 cc variant soldiered on, adopting the slightly modified Mk III body type in 1969?70, until January 1972. The Cooper company was quick to develop and sell a conversion kit for export models, which registered steady sales until 1975.

Through the 1980s, the British market enjoyed numerous "special editions" of the Mini, which shifted the car from a mass-market item into a fashionable icon. It was this image that perhaps helped the Mini become such an asset for BMW, which later bought the remnants of BMC as the Rover Group. It was even more popular in Japan, where it was seen as a retro-cool icon, and inspired many imitators.

In 1994 under Bernd Pischetsrieder, a second cousin of Issigonis, BMW took control of the Rover Group, which included the Mini, fitting an airbag to comply with European legislation. By 2000, Rover was still suffering massive losses, and BMW decided to dispose of most of the company: MG and Rover went to Phoenix, a new British consortium; and Land Rover went to Ford. BMW kept the Mini brand name and now sells a completely new MINI, technically unrelated to the old car but retaining the classic transverse 4 cylinder, front wheel drive configuration.

Production of the original Mini outlasted its major competitors, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Citro?n 2CV, and the Austin Metro, at least in Europe. The final Mini rolled off the assembly line in October 2000. A total of 5.3 million cars had been manufactured.

Chevrolet Corvette


While the style of a car may be just as important to some as to how well the car runs, automobile manufacturers did not begin to pay attention to car designs until the 1920s. It was not until 1927, when General Motors hired designer Harley Earl, that automotive styling and design became important to American automobile manufacturers. What Henry Ford did for automobile manufacturing principles, Harley Earl did for car design. Most of GM's flamboyant "dream car" designs of the 1950s are directly attributable to Earl, leading one journalist to comment that the designs were "the American psyche made visible." Harley Earl loved sports cars, and GIs returning after serving overseas World War II were bringing home MGs, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos and the like. Earl convinced GM that they needed to build a two-seat sports car. The result was the 1953 Corvette, unveiled to the public at that year's Motorama car show. The original Corvette emblem incorporated an American flag into the design; this was later dropped, since associating the flag with a product was frowned upon.

Taking its name from the corvette, a small, maneuverable fighting frigate (the credit for the naming goes to Myron Scott), the first Corvettes were virtually handbuilt in Flint, Michigan in Chevrolet's Customer Delivery Center, now an academic building at Kettering University. The outer body was made out of a revolutionary new composite material called fiberglass, selected in part because of steel quotas left over from the war. Underneath that radical new body were standard Chevrolet components, including the "Blue Flame" inline six-cylinder truck engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and drum brakes from Chevrolet's regular car line. Though the engine's output was increased somewhat, thanks to a triple-carburetor intake exclusive to the Corvette, performance of the car was decidedly lackluster. Compared to the British and Italian sports cars of the day, the Corvette was underpowered, required a great deal of effort as well as clear roadway to bring to a stop, and even lacked a "proper" manual transmission. Up until that time, the Chevrolet division was GM's entry-level marque, known for excellent but no-nonsense cars. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Corvette. A Paxton supercharger became available in 1954 as a dealer-installed option, greatly improving the Corvette's straight-line performance, but sales continued to decline.
1957 Chevrolet Corvette roadster. Fuel-injected models were identified by badging on the side scalloping in the front fenders
1957 Chevrolet Corvette roadster. Fuel-injected models were identified by badging on the side scalloping in the front fenders

GM was seriously considering shelving the project, leaving the Corvette to be little more than a footnote in automotive history, and would have done so if not for two important events. The first was the introduction in 1955 of Chevrolet's first V8 engine (a 265 in? {4.3 L}) since 1919, and the second was the influence of a Soviet emigre in GM's engineering department, Zora Arkus-Duntov. Arkus-Duntov simply took the new V8 and backed it with a three-speed manual transmission. That modification, probably the single most important in the car's history, helped turn the Corvette from a two-seat curiosity into a genuine performer. It also earned Arkus-Duntov the rather inaccurate nickname "Father of the Corvette".

There have been six generations of the Corvette so far. The generations can be referred to as versions C1 through C6, but the first generation is more commonly referred to as a solid-axle, based on the fact that independent rear suspension (IRS) was not available until 1963. The first generation started in 1953 and ended in 1962, with the noteworthy addition of optional fuel injection in 1957. This new induction system first saw regular use on a gasoline engine two years prior on the Mercedes-Benz 300SL "Gullwing" roadster. Although the Corvette's GM-Rochester fuel injection system used a constant flow style fuel injection system as opposed to the diesel style nozzle metering system of the Mercedes' six cylinders, the system nevertheless produced about 290HP. The number was derated by Chevrolet's advertising agency for the 283HP/283 in? (4.6 L) one horsepower per cubic inch slogan, making it the first production engine in history to reach 1 hp/in?. In 1962, the GM Small-Block was enlarged to 327 in? (5.4 L) and produced a maximum of 360 hp (268 kW). Other early options included Power windows (1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), four speed manual transmission (mid 1957, and heavy duty brake and suspension option (1957). options


The second or mid-year generation, designed by Larry Shinoda under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell, started in 1963 and ended in 1967. 1963 would see the introduction of the new Corvette Sting Ray coupe with its distinctive split rear window and fake hood vents as well as an independent rear suspension. The split rear window was discontinued in 1964 due to safety concerns. Because they made the design too busy, the hood vents were also cut. Power for 1963 was at 365 hp (272 kW) hitting 375 hp (280 kW) in 1964.

Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as was a "big-block" engine option (the 396 in? (6.5 L) V8). Side exhaust pipes appeared on the 1965 Stingray and persisted through 1969. Chevrolet would up the ante in 1966 with the introduction of an even larger 427 in? (7 L) version, creating what would be one of the most collectable Corvettes ever. 1967 saw a L88 version of the 427 introduced which was rated at 430 hp (321 kW), but unofficial estimates place the actual output at 550 hp (410 kW) or more. Only twenty such engines were placed in the 1967 Corvette, and the cars can fetch US$600,000 or more in auction today. From 1967-1969, the 1282 cfm Holley triple two-barrel carbuetor, or Tri-Power, was available on the 427. The 1967 Corvette originally was going to be the first of the C3 generation; however, due to delays the C3 had to be put off until 1968. Other early options available on the C2 included AM-FM radio (mid 1963), air conditioning (1963), telescopic wheel (1965), head rests, presumably to prevent whiplash (1966).

The design of this generation had several inspirations. The first was the contemporary Jaguar E-Type, of which Mitchell owned one and enjoyed driving it frequently. Bill Mitchell also sponsored a car known as the "Mitchell Sting Ray" in 1959, because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and didn't give away what the coupe would look like. The third inspiration was a mako shark that Mitchell caught while deep-sea fishing.


The third generation, patterned after Chevrolet's "Mako Shark" (designed by Larry Shinoda), started in 1968 and ended in 1982. This generation has the distinction of being introduced to the motoring public in an unorthodox ? and unintended ? fashion. 1968 marked the introduction of Mattel's now-famous Hot Wheels line of 1/64-scale die cast toy cars. General Motors had tried their best to keep the appearance of the upcoming car a secret, but the release of the Hot Wheels line several weeks before the Corvette's unveiling had a certain version of particular interest to Corvette fans: the "Custom Corvette", a GM-authorized model of the 1968 Corvette.

In 1969, GM enlarged their small-block again to 350 in? (5.7 L), and in 1970 the 427 big-block was enlarged to 454 in? (7.4 L). Power peaked in the 1970 and 1971 models, with the 1970 LT-1 small-block putting out 370 hp (276 kW) and the 1971 454 big-block having its last year of big power with 425 hp (317 kW). In 1972, GM moved to the SAE Net measurement for power (away from the previous SAE Gross standard), which resulted in lower values expressed in horsepower. Along with the move to unleaded fuel, emission controls, and catalytic converters, power continued to decline and bottomed out in 1975 ? the base ZQ3 engine put out 165 hp (123 kW), and the optional L82 engine put out 205 hp (153 kW). Power remained fairly steady for the rest of the C3 generation, ending in 1982 with the 200 hp (149 kW) L83 engine.

Styling changed subtly over the generation. In 1973, the Corvette dropped the front chrome bumpers for a urethane-compound "5 mph" bumper but kept the rear chrome bumpers. In 1974, The rear chrome bumpers became urethane, too, making 1973 the last Corvette model year with any chrome bumpers. 1975 was the last year for the convertible, and 1978 saw the introduction of a glass bubble rear window. In 1980, the Corvette got an integrated aerodynamic redesign that resulted in a significant reduction in drag.


The fourth generation was introduced at the close of 1982 production as a 1984 model and ended in 1996, meaning that there's no such thing as a "1983 Corvette". The C4 Corvette is known for its sleek look. Instead of fiberglass, it was made from reaction injected molding plastics, a sheet molding compound. The C4 coupe also is the first Corvette to have a glass hatchback (except for the 1982 Collector's Edition) for better storage access. It also had all new brakes with aluminum calipers. The Corvette C4 came standard with an electronic dashboard with digital liquid crystal displays for speed and RPM. The C4 was a complete redesign of the previous generation, and the emphasis was on handling. The C4 Corvette was proclaimed the best handling car ever when it was released. This handling came with the benefit of a solid, uncompromising ride. The unit-body frame used in the C4 was prone to rattles and squeaks due to minimal sound deadening. Also due to the external unit-body frame, the door sills were quite deep and entry and exit have been likened to a "fall in and climb out" experience. The emergency brake was relocated in 1988 for easier entry and exit.

From 1984 through 1988, the Corvette was available with a "4+3" transmission - a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears. This unusual transmission was a synergy that allowed corvette to keep a stout 4 speed, but add an overdrive. As technology progressed, it was replaced by a modern 6-speed manual. However, the C4 performance was hampered by its L98 250HP tractor motor until 1992, when the wonderful LT1 was installed, markedly improving the C4s performance. 1996 was the Zenith of small block Chevrolet development and the 330HP LT4 was installed in all manual transmission cars.


The fifth generation started in 1997 and ended with the 2004 model year. The C5 was a radical change from the previous generation. The car now had a hydroformed box frame, the transmission was moved to the rear of the car to form an integrated rear-mounted transaxle assembly and is connected to the engine via a torque tube. Gone were the squeaks and rattles of the C4, and in replacement was an incredibly strong frame that would last for at least two more generations. The new C5 was better in every aspect than the C4 it replaced.

The Corvette's 50th Anniversary was celebrated June 20th and 21st, 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee. The venue provided a bonanza of flawlessly restored Corvettes, a chronological display set up by the National Corvette Museum with every model year of the Corvette along with engineering and restoration seminars. The anniversary also brought some Chevrolet Concept Vehicles into focus including the approved-for-production Chevrolet SSR. Also on hand were several Corvette race cars, including the Corvette SS built by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the C5-R that won at Le Mans. Among the many displays were examples of the 2003 50th Anniversary Edition as well as a few 2004 "Commemorative Edition" Corvettes.

Recently, the factory has expanded to build the Cadillac XLR roadster, which shares its platform with the sixth-generation Corvette. Bowling Green is also home to the Corvette Museum, which celebrates this American automotive icon by displaying in chronological order the various regular production models as well as some unique one-off versions created by Chevrolet. The building in Flint in which the first cars were assembled was spun off with GM's Delphi Electronics division and later donated to GMI/Kettering University in the late 1990s. The building has since been remodeled and is now the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center, housing the Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry programs. In the garage housing the school's Pontiac Firebird club is a plaque commemorating it as the place where the first Corvette was built.


The sixth generation Corvette has not changed as much as the previous generation Corvette did. The design engineers tried to perfect, not reinvent.

The new C6 gets an overhaul of the suspension geometry, all new bodywork with exposed headlamps (for the first time since 1962), a larger passenger compartment, a larger 6.0 liter engine, and a much higher level of refinement. Overall, it is 5.1 inches (13 cm) shorter than the C5, but its wheelbase has increased by 1.2 inches (3 cm). It is also one inch (2.5 cm) narrower, making for a smaller, sportier Corvette. The reduced dimensions were in response to criticism that the C5 Corvette looked too wide?the new body gives the impression of a much sleeker, faster car. Chevrolet hopes the new design will attract buyers of comparable European sports cars like the Porsche 911, but some purists dislike the new styling. The new 6.0 liter LS2 V8 produces 400 hp (298 kW) at 6000 rpm and 400 lbf.ft (542 Nm) of torque at 4400 rpm. Its red-line is increased to 6500 rpm like the C5 Z06.

The C6 retains its relatively high fuel economy, in part by upshifting to higher gears as soon as possible and in part by its relatively low drag coefficient. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the C6 achieves 18/26 mpg (city/highway), and the manual transmission is slightly better at 18/28. However, some prospective Corvette buyers are surprised to find that the C6's manual transmission is fitted with Computer Aided Gear Shifting (CAGS), obligating the driver to shift from 1st directly to 4th when operating at lower RPMs. While this boosts the EPA's derived fuel economy, thus allowing the buyer to avoid paying the "gas guzzler" tax, it is an open secret that more than a few C6 owners with manual transmissions simply have a $20 aftermarket part (CAGS eliminator) fitted to their vehicle to re-enable a normal 1-2-3-4-5-6 sequence at any RPM.

so, just to reiterate, seeing as I included quite a lot of pics there (damned American cars :p) the cars tied for 8th place are Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and the Mini.
Wow, thanks for the detailed history. You are the best Overheat! I voted for the Corvette :blush:
Hooray! The Corvette's not number one. :p

Nice to see the Mini up there so highly, it wasn't the first car to come to mind in this vote. But a great'un it is.

Mustang, I really like the looks of the most recent one, but since I rarely see one...
Good choices, though I am not a big 'Stang fan. The '80s notchback was horrid looking to me.

Love the mini!
All very deserving choices, though I'm surprised the Mini didn't place higher.

Once again, good work Overheat. :cheers:
Ah yes, the Mini. One of my votes! Can't say I voted for the Mustang or Corvette though...
Of course, I was one of the Corvette voters. Neat to see the Mustang and Mini up here as well...
Nooooo - not the Mini already! Now there are only two of my votes left. And to all that ranked the Corvette No.1 in earlier threads: :p

The Mustang deserves its rank for introducing a completely new type of car - well done!
All cars deserved to be this high up. In fact the mini should have been even higher..
So, there go two of my votes: the Corvette and the Mustang. Another two of my votes left, then.
The Mustang and Corvette tied, I find that somehow fitting. :D

(Too bad the Shelby mustangs didn't get mentioned, since they were actually what I voted for,)

Thanks again, Overheat!