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Pictures of the Silver Corvette SS Have Been Faked?

Rob

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According to Winding Road magazine, all of the photos of the silver Corvette SS that we've been seeing are fake!
 
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Rob

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I find this kind of interesting. Admittedly, I was a little suspicious of some of the photos we've seen of this "test mule." Why?

The white contact paper on the driver's side door. It's quite apparent that there are no body modifications under that contact paper.

Below is a picture of an early C6 test mule caught in action. Take a close look at the driver's side door - near the side gill behind the wheel. You can easily see that Corvette Engineers were hiding a design element.

1IMG_0289.jpg


Now look at that SS test mule...that contact paper is skin tight against the door. It's quite apparent there are no body modifications under that paper. So if there are no body modifications, what is the purpose of the contact paper?

The other photo that made my eyebrows raise, was one of the last ones we saw. The one with the enormous shoe box on top of the hood. There's no doubt that a supercharger takes up some extra space under the hood....but that much??? If I was trying to hide the existence of a hood scoop, I would have padded the entire hood to the same level as the hood scoop, and covered the whole front end with a bra, similar to what GM Engineers did above with the front and rear bumpers on the C6 prototype.

The picture of the SS prototype was too obvious. It's kind of like putting a giant tumor on the butt of the Statue of David. It sticks out like a sore thumb.
 
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IMHO the fact that a mule hasn't yet been seen means one of two things:

1. Chevy has figured out how to outsmart the spy photographers.
2. The SS/Stingray/Blue Devil looks a whole lot like a C6 Z06 so camo isn't needed.

They could probably pull off the whole thing just changing out the Z06 hood with something a little lumpier, so why play with a design mule?

That's my guess, anyway.
 
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Rob

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IMHO the fact that a mule hasn't yet been seen means one of two things:

1. Chevy has figured out how to outsmart the spy photographers.
2. The SS/Stingray/Blue Devil looks a whole lot like a C6 Z06 so camo isn't needed.

They could probably pull off the whole thing just changing out the Z06 hood with something a little lumpier, so why play with a design mule?

That's my guess, anyway.
Actually, a mule has been seen, but it wasn't the silver one of late...
 
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Dirtfarmer

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I can't believe you all fell for that. I knew it was a fake all along. :eyerole
 

Evolution1980

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Oh sure...sure! Everyone here is now going to say, "I knew it was fake all along blah blah blah." :L :L

I only believed the pics because I had no solid reasons not to believe them. The only thing that really stuck out to me was the lack of a MANUFACTURER branded license plate. I figured any test mule was going to have the usual plate as seen on the white test mule above posted by Rob.
 

Rob

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Oh sure...sure! Everyone here is now going to say, "I knew it was fake all along blah blah blah." :L :L

I only believed the pics because I had no solid reasons not to believe them. The only thing that really stuck out to me was the lack of a MANUFACTURER branded license plate. I figured any test mule was going to have the usual plate as seen on the white test mule above posted by Rob.

I didn't believe at the time that the photos were fake, but as I stated above, a few things didn't make sense to me.

1. the obviousness of body modifications as seen with the hood-scoop
2. the contact paper on the side of the door....covering what?
3. lack of manufacturer plates

I'm not an attorney for the big three, but I'll stick my neck out on a limb, and say that I highly doubt an automotive manufacturer here in the States is allowed to drive a test mule, pre-production prototype, etc., on the streets without manufacturer plates.

If you really stop and think about it, GM can take a Corvette off the line any time they want to use for testing. Why would they take a privately owned Corvette (as evidenced by the license plates seen in those photos) and modify it for testing? What Corvette owner would allow them to do that regardless of whether or not he/she is a GM employee??
 

Evolution1980

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I'm not an attorney for the big three, but I'll stick my neck out on a limb, and say that I highly doubt an automotive manufacturer here in the States is allowed to drive a test mule, pre-production prototype, etc., on the streets without manufacturer plates.

If you really stop and think about it, GM can take a Corvette off the line any time they want to use for testing. Why would they take a privately owned Corvette (as evidenced by the license plates seen in those photos) and modify it for testing? What Corvette owner would allow them to do that regardless of whether or not he/she is a GM employee??
Simply for the sake of friendly discussion... I'd answer your first question by saying that as long as the met the minimum requirements for being road-worthy, it would require MFG plates. I'm using the same reasoning that is used for people that build their own car from scratch, such as my mechanic, or any other 'shop' that builds one or two specialty cars.

As for GM taking a 'civilians' car, I agree. But that's essentially what the supertuners need to do. They buy a car, register it, and go to work on it. Or they find a customer that's willing to let their car be the mule. If Lingenfelter said, "I think we can do it if you want us to try," I'd likely let them have my car to do as they please. As I'd expect that they'd likely stand behind anything they do, so...

But, yes, obviously there are differences between what may be required by MFGs versus individual shops and what's available to each.
:upthumbs
 

Rob

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Response from Chris Doane, Spy Photographer:

It is not uncommon for the prototypes we see in spy photos to be deceiving. Some cars may be comprised of fake body panels, others may be covered in rolls of tape that appear to be inspired by a zebra. Sometimes even the entire shell of a current model car is shoehorned over a chassis that's still in development.

On Friday afternoon, word started getting around on several automotive websites that something was awry with a few current spy photos of a silver corvette purported to be the Blue Devil "super vette." When these photos first hit the web some weeks ago, I knew something wasn't quite right with them. The most glaring issue was the lack of a manufacturer license plate. To me, something also didn't look quite right with the camouflage material. As it turns out, an online automotive magazine, Winding Road, fabricated a mock-up of a test car and drove it around the metro Detroit area.

I'm struggling to see the point of this stunt. I'm sure I will get responses like "Lighten up, it was a joke," but hear me out. If you read the story in the Jan 2007 edition of Winding Road that tells the tale of the fake prototype, the point of the ruse was to deceive other publications into running the photos. The story also chides "Irresponsible speculation has been put forth by Corvette fanatics, magazine editors and competing manufacturers."

If I had to guess, Autoweek, Motor Trend and The Car Connection aren't laughing. All of these outlets published the photos of the fake car on their websites believing it to be an authentic GM prototype. It was, after all, a fairly convincing forgery. Needless to say, this obviously doesn't make those outlets look good in the credibility department. Some of you may think these media outlets don't have any credibility to begin with. That's fine if you think that, but we're talking solely about this particular incident.

I know competition gets fiercer by the day among the various automotive publications, but purposely tricking your competitors borders on something that is less-than-professional journalism. It's certainly not a trend I want to see continue to the point where we have magazines warring with each other much like election time, TV attack ads. In the end, however, whether this stunt is equally or more "irresponsible" than printing speculation is up to all of you to decide.

The bigger issue for me, however, is that the fake corvette hurts the credibility of people like myself, Brenda and others who make their living shooting prototypes for everyone's enjoyment. It didn't take long after the fabrication was revealed for people to start asking if the photos of the black powertrain mule that I photographed back in October were fake as well. Let's answer that right now. No, they are not fake. We have very credible information that this black prototype I shot is a development car for the "super vette" program. For all those worrying that the program is a pipe dream, rest easy. It's very real and it's very loud. The black car I shot wore a typical blue "Michigan Manufacturer," license plate, was with a large group of other GM test cars and was driven by a person I know to be a GM engineer.

Needless to say, we certainly don't want people in the automotive world getting the idea that we fake our spy photos because that is something we NEVER do. If our clients thought we were giving them fabricated photos, we obviously wouldn't be in business very long. We were even offered photos of the fake silver corvette test car by someone via email, but we passed knowing something wasn't quite right with the car. I'm sure it may sound a little funny to hear someone who spies on large corporations for a living talking about his ethical business practices, but we do play by the rules. That is something even the OEMs themselves would tell you.

On a lighter note, the Winding Road crew did a pretty good job making a convincing mock-up. If I'd seen it go past me on the road, I would've turned around to shoot it. I just wouldn't have sent the images out after I got a good look at it on my computer screen. The spy photography business puts me in the unique position of being able to shoot first and ask questions later.

Overall was this meant as a joke? Yes, I think so. I hope so. Were there some unforeseen negative effects? Unfortunately, yes. Hopefully Winding Road and I can agree to disagree on the staging of this prank. I'd hate to lose them as a client. Especially since I'm selling a kidney tomorrow... how else can I afford the plane ticket to Australia to photograph those Camaro prototypes?

-- Chris

chris_doane_auto@yahoo.com


 

Tman08

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Well if you think about it...normally any prototype driver that saw a camera would instantly downshift and get out of there...instantly...the pictures i saw of this, the drivers face looked like he welcomed the picture.....that threw me into believing it was not something gm would do.

At one time or another i thought that, but then began to think it wasnt.

For those who cant wait for the super vette....theres something coming from vette that might peak your interest... ;)
 

NORTY

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No more credibility

From now on, anything from Winding Road should be viewed with skepticism. (If, ever viewed at all.) They just sacrificed their credibility. Credibilty is what print media relies upon.
 

skips1

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From now on, anything from Winding Road should be viewed with skepticism. (If, ever viewed at all.) They just sacrificed their credibility. Credibilty is what print media relies upon.

I couldn't agree more!! I felt that all this was was a new twist on the shouting used car salesman to get attention (i.e. to get us all to view Winding Road's website). I won't view their website nor will I take anything quoted from their web site as genuine. SKIP
 

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