C7-1So I’ve finally seen the new 2014 Corvette “Stingray” in real life. It was on display at the Niagara Corvette Club show recently, giving me (and many others) the chance to compare what I’d seen in pictures with the real thing.

My first impressions of the 2014 were very favorable. GM has obviously put a lot into restyling the car to bring it bang up to date in terms of looks, while still retaining at least some vestigial features to remind you it’s a Corvette. The new design is meant to “appeal to the younger buyer”, something that I think GM has said about every new generation of ‘vette.

The front of the car is a visual treat with lots of features to keep you interested and looks very much like a Ferrari 599. Apparently GM has heavily borrowed from the 599 under the skin too, which isn’t a bad place to start, and it looks like it’s created one of the best chassis in ‘vette history.

Okay they’re missing a few of my personal favorite features – like flip-up lights (GM claimed they killed these for aerodynamic reasons but much more likely due fixed lights being cheaper  – an extra $100 profit per car is very important to the GM bean counters). They also got rid of the glass rear hatch and added in some very big pillars which don’t really improve the car in my opinion and look very restrictive from a rear vision perspective.

Almost all the initial shots were of the front of the car and when the back view was finally displayed it became obvious just why GM had wanted to keep it hidden as long as possible. First it looks very similar to the Camaro tail lights. Second it looked like it was designed by an eight year-old with a large “Hot Wheels” fetish. We’re talking seriously fugly here.

I really like the front of the car (despite those silly LED eyebrows that everyone is copying from Audi). Even losing some key ‘vette features, I could understand that the designers wanted to shift the car’s appeal and modernize it, but that rear-end? Slap me hard with a wet kipper! That is seriously bad. It looks like they spent a few million dollars on the front 90% of the car and then ran out of money and spent 10 bucks on the tail.

Actually better make that five bucks…

It seemed that a lot of people felt the same way judging by the comments on a lot of the online forums; and even before the car is released a company is offering a rear tail conversion to install round lights like the C6!

After the initial photos, the car turned up and made an appearance at various shows. Several people I know through the ZR-1 forum said, “Wait, don’t judge it until you’ve seen it in person.” Good advice. So I tried to ignore the photographic evidence.

So last weekend I saw for myself. My final opinion? It’s even worse than I thought.

The light lenses are prisms but concave? Why? That just makes them dust traps and can’t be good aerodynamically (which makes you wonder if those vents that run through to the back panel to “improve aerodynamic flow” are only necessary because of the bizarre tail lenses). It looks even more like some “Hot Wheels” fetishists had a hand in it. Seriously GM, stick some regular lights on the poor thing – round, square, oblong – even bloody triangular! It deserves that at least.