Given Juechter's staunch defense of the C6 Corvette's engineering during the years that he and I have debated the merits of a mid-engine layout, a transmission moved behind the rear axle, and alternatives to fiberglass leaf springs, here's what we see in our C7 crystal ball:
Smaller engines: The goal is power comparable to today's Corvette V-8s with significantly better fuel efficiency. Plan on direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and active fuel management (cylinder shutdown) to keep the pushrod V-8s in play. A larger version of the turbocharged DOHC V-6 powering the Cadillac SRX crossover could serve as the C7's base engine.
Fewer pounds: Without resorting to expensive carbon fiber or an aluminum frame for all Corvettes, Juechter's diet plan should enable the base coupe to drop below 3000 pounds by implementing narrower wheels and tires, smaller brakes, and smarter structural designs.
Lower aerodynamic drag: The wind tunnel never sleeps. Lessons learned in the lab and on the racetrack will help a new, smaller-looking Corvette slip through the air with the greatest of ease.
The return of the split rear window: GM design boss Ed Welburn has confirmed that the prominent exo-vertebra of the 2009 Stingray concept (above and on the opposite page) is one feature he intends to transfer to the C7.