Is GM Retooling its Bowling Green Assembly Plant for the Mid-Engined Corvette ZR1?
Corvette expert Mike Furman says maybe, but there could be more!by Robert Moore, on
As reported by National Corvette Museum and the Bowling Green Daily News, GM is set to shut down tours of it’s Corvette assembly plant for 18 months starting June 16 of this year. But, what’s the reason behind this massive tour blackout date? Well, there could be any number of reasons. According to Corvette expert, Mike Furman of Criswell Chevrolet in Maryland, it could be that GM is planning to retool the production line for the mid-engined Corvette ZR1 "Zora" and doesn’t want the tours to interfere with the setup or serve as a basis for leaked information prior the car’s official debut.
In his e-mail announcement, he also touched base on another big possibility. It could be that GM is retooling the factory and installing a new production line so that it can begin building DOHC engines instead of the traditional and aging pushrod engines that have soldiered on in the Corvette for decades. So, truth be told, GM could be trying to hide the upcoming ZR1 from the public eye, but it could be planning a big change in engine design as well. Of course, the fact the ZR1 will be based on the C7 and not the upcoming C8 points to the fact that GM may be preparing to get the C8 production rolling in the near future as well.
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It’s A Lot of Time and a Big Mystery
A lot can happen in 18 months, and lord knows we’ve been itching to see the upcoming ZR1 in the metal, so it wouldn’t be surprising if GM really was preparing to put the ZR1 into production (finally.) But, according to Mike Furman, there’s also a good reason to believe that the Corvette will eventually switch over to a DOHC V-8 instead of that pushrod V-8 that GM has quite literally worked miracles for just to keep in compliance with all regulations set forth for fuel economy and emissions. The two possibilities could also go hand-in-hand, as the ZR1 could very well be the Corvette that ushers in a new generation for free-revving overhead cam engines for the Corvette lineup. It’s still way too soon to tell, but one thing is for sure: GM doesn’t want anyone in its factory starting June 16th. So, if you really want to tour that plant this year, you better hurry up. If not, it will likely be a whole new place by the time the open the doors to the public once again.
What do you think? Is GM’s shady and excessively long blackout a hint that the ZR1 is coming sooner than later? Or, is the brand about to set up a new engine production line? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the upcoming Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 here.