Top 10 Moments in Chevrolet Performance History

In 2013, Chevrolet earned the title of the most successful name in professional motorsports in the United States, sweeping a total of 12 manufacturer’s, driver, and team championships in NASCAR, IndyCar and ALMS, GRAND-AM, and Pirelli World Challenge series.

Chevrolet will kick off the 2014 season with the debut of the all-new Corvette Racing C7.R at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new Corvette, wearing an updated “Jake” mascot, will make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 25-26.

To celebrate this significant year, here’s a look at the “Top 10 Moments” that contributed to the legacy of Chevrolet racing which dates all the way back to co-founder Louis Chevrolet’s passion for racing automobiles.


1955-SmallBlock

Chevrolet’s performance reputation was virtually non-existent in the early 1950s, but when the first of the brand’s legendary small-block V-8 engines appeared in the all-new 1955 models, perceptions quickly changed. Soon, word spread through the racing world that the new V-8 developed by Chevrolet’s Ed Cole and his engineers fairly bristled with performance potential.

The Chevrolet small-block V-8 was a racer’s dream. Light in weight and compact in size, it readily fit into diminutive engine bays. It was also powerful, inexpensive, durable, easy to maintain and openly available.


1958 - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Chevrolet won its first Manufacturers’ Cup award in 1958. Further research indicates that drivers of Chevrolet cars took 25 of 51 races in the 1958 NASCAR Grand National Series beginning with the very first race of the season at Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, North Carolina by Rex White. Fireball Roberts led the way for Chevrolet with six victories. Bob Wellborn earned five more. Speedy Thompson had four and Buck Baker contributed three wins.


1956 Sebring

The 1956 Corvette established the two-seater as a performance machine and American icon. With a new body styling, bucket seats and a removable hardtop that was offered for the first time, the ‘56 was one of the most iconic Corvettes of all time.

Taking a risk, Zora Arkus-Duntov and Ed Cole sent four Corvettes to the Sebring 12-hour endurance race in 1956. While coming in 9th overall, their efforts had a monumental effect in not only establishing the Corvette as a racecar but also in establishing Chevrolet as a racing institution.


1961- Impala SS

The Super Sport name dates back to 1957 when it was first used on the Corvette SS racecar that debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring. In 1961, Chevrolet offered its first production Super Sport option on the Impala. The package included Super Sport trim for the interior and exterior, chassis reinforcements, stronger springs and shocks, power brakes, spinner wheel covers and narrow-band whitewall tires. A number of mandatory options were necessary to order the SS Equipment option, not the least of which was the purchase of either a 348 cid or 409 cid big-block V-8 engine.


1963 Corvette Sting Ray

By 1962, the Chevy Corvette had earned global respect for its performance prowess and was on its way to becoming the favorite, if never official, car of America’s astronauts. Then came the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. Based on a one-off sports racer penned by GM design chief Bill Mitchell, the Corvette Sting Ray “Split-Window” Coupe was quite possibly the most exciting production car America had yet experienced. Beyond its superbly tailored form, the Sting Ray had a new and effective independent rear suspension, offered extra-potent, fuel-injected small-block V8 power, and, best of all, was surprisingly affordable.


1968-CamaroZ28

Beginning in 1967, race driver Mark Donohue began piloting a Roger Penske-owned Chevrolet Camaro Z28 to much success in the SCCA Trans Am Series. He won three races that first year but his true dominance did not begin until 1968 when he won 10 of 13 races he entered. This record stood for 30 years.


1970-ChevelleSS

In 1970, GM first permitted engines larger than 400 cid in its intermediate-sized cars. One result was perhaps the most legendary of all Chevy Super Sports, the SS 454 Chevelle. The available 450-horsepower LS-6 big-block could launch the SS 454 to 100 mph in about 13 seconds.

The muscle car era peaked that same year, and leading the way to the summit was the SS 454 Chevelle. Chevrolet’s 454-cid big-block, the largest displacement production Chevy V-8 ever, was new for 1970.


1993 Indy Car Engine

The Chevrolet 265 cid V8 was built in collaboration with Ilmor in Great Britain. The engine made its debut at the 1986 Indianapolis 500 for Team Penske driver Al Unser. Its first IndyCar victory came in 1987 and a year later, it powered a car piloted by Rick Mears to victory at the Indianapolis 500. From 1987-1993, it powered 11 drivers to a total of 86 victories.


2009-Corvette-ZR1

In 2009, Chevrolet resurrected the ZR1 designation (sans hyphen) for a new supercharged Corvette model that surpassed the 1990-1995 ZR-1 in performance. The new ZR1 did more than reach 200 mph; it kept going to a top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

The Corvette ZR1 also received the 638-horsepower LS9 engine making it the most powerful production-car engine ever built by GM.


2001 Corvette LeMans

Developed by General Motors in collaboration with Pratt & Miller, the C5-R was a purpose-built racecar based on the fifth generation Corvette that kicked off a modern era of racing. The Corvette Racing team first introduced the C5-R to the grand touring circuit in 1999. In 2001, the C5-R won the first of its three class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car’s successor, the C6-R based on the sixth generation Corvette, continued class dominance at Le Mans adding another four victories.

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Fear of Night Driving? 2014 Chevrolet Impala Can Help

DETROIT – With Daylight Saving Time ending, many people will drive in the dark more often. For those uneasy with night driving, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala can help brighten the task.

ChevroletImpalaHeadlamps041-mediumThe enhanced visibility provided by Impala’s headlamps can help drivers avoid crashes after dark, the riskiest time of day. According to a study cited by the Federal Highway Administration, the risk of a fatality at night among drivers not impaired by alcohol is more than two times higher than in daytime due to less visibility.

According to a 2009 study conducted by the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, high-intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps like those on the new Impala can help drivers see objects in the road sooner than other types of headlamps, allowing for greater stopping distance.

Impala’s new headlamps are a key to one of the most comprehensive collections of standard and available safety features in the segment. Impala received the highest possible 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for safety as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program.

All 2014 Impala models are equipped with projector beam headlamp technology, a first for the redesigned flagship sedan. The LS and LT models use halogen projectors, while the up-level LTZ uses HID bi-functional xenon projectors that offer crisper and brighter illumination.

Both types of projector distribute light evenly across the front of the car, providing a wider range of visibility than other headlamps. Impala’s new headlamps use curved reflectors and “prescription” lenses designed to project brighter light farther and with more directional accuracy. They also feature a light shield designed to reduce glare for oncoming traffic.

“Safety and customer satisfaction drove design and development of Impala’s new headlamps,” said Todd Pawlik, Impala chief engineer. “We benchmarked them against the best in the industry.”

Impala’s low-profile black-and-chrome headlamps highlight the new model’s exterior, giving it a slightly sinister appearance. Impala’s designers were able to narrow the headlamp opening by eliminating the reflector-optic cavity in favor of a smaller lamp with bi-functional high/low-beam operation controlled in the projector by the light shield.

The all new 2014 Chevrolet Impala set to make a statement at New

Extra chrome trim with metallized Chevrolet “bowtie” accents over the side marker reflector stretch horizontally to the corner of the car, emphasizing the sleek appearance of the lamp and the width of the car.

To further enhance the appearance, the headlamp designers placed an inner lens over the turn-signal cavity, helping to obscure the bulb while dispersing its light, giving a dramatic “fire-in-the-hole” appearance when lit.

The LTZ model accents the HID bulb with a light-emitting diode, or LED, halo ring designed to give an expensive appearance while functioning as a parking lamp. The model’s LED daytime running lamps improve visibility at any time of day.

“Impala’s new-look headlamps required a significant amount of attention to detail,” said Steve McCabe, lead creative designer for Impala. “As a result they help give the car a premium appearance.”

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About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

New Impala’s Have Arrived!

15199x250The first round of 2014 Impala’s arrived at Bowman Chevrolet! The brand new 2014 Chevy Impala hit our pavement on March 28th, delivering Red, White and Blue models to our new car inventory. Currently, six models decorate our inventory and they are attracting a lot of attention! We are totally amazed at our newest addition to our available line up. This vehicle has state of the art safety features including:  adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert and 10 standard air bags! Production of the 2.5L, 4 cylinder version of this vehicle will begin at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in May, bringing new jobs and commerce to the Metro Detroit Area.

The new Impala is so cool that it has become the official vehicle of the 2013 Detroit Tigers and will be on display at Comerica Park all season! Why Impala? After decades of being just like every other midsize sedan, the Impala has taken a giant leap to become a desirable and lavish vehicle. The Chevy MyLink Infotainment system sets off the Impala interior, and this thing rocks. Featuring Pandora, XM, easy Bluetooth and Iphone/Ipod/Ipad hook-up, touch screen display and hands-free connection, the infotainment system makes playing with all of your toys and connections when driving safe and easy. If you have not ridden in this vehicle, you are sure to be blown away!

The 2014 Impala is a luxury vehicle at an affordable American price. Looking to lease? GM is offering amazing lease prices to launch this new vehicle in dealerships, and Bowman will work with each customer individually to make sure they are getting exactly what they want at a price that they can afford. Stop into Bowman Chevrolet today and test drive one of the Impalas we have on our lot – they are driving away quickly!

Chevy Technology Series Part 6: Interior Design

CHEVYBRND198According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average motorist drives 13,476 miles a year. Designers who style the outside of Chevrolet cars and trucks get a great deal of the credit for a vehicle’s image and personality, but a key to long-term customer satisfaction is how much you enjoy the time you spend inside your Chevrolet.

DESIGNING WORLD-CLASS INTERIOR

And it’s up to professionals like Crystal Windham and Dr. Tim Roggenkamp to make sure all those miles you travel are spent in comfort, safety and style. There’s no denying that Chevrolet has moved the needle with the designs of Corvette, Camaro, Malibu and the all-new Impala, but the package isn’t complete unless there’s a world-class interior packaged beneath the stylish skin. For Windham, who directs the design for Chevrolet passenger car interiors including the new Malibu and Impala, and Dr. Roggenkamp, an engineer who conquers noise, vibration and harshness issues, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Interior designers and engineers are quick to make a convincing argument that many of the most significant advancements in automotive technology in the past quarter century are the result of interior refinements — improvements that have been made with increasing demands to serve multiple masters. Style, comfort and durability have long been issues, but add safety enhancements, including the need to place multiple air bags inside those stylish confines, as well as connectivity and infotainment systems, and you have a new set of challenges.

These challenges must be met across the board. Customers for the Spark mini car deserve an interior that is no less satisfying than the one in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, which “reestablishes what a Chevrolet flagship is, by drawing on a rich heritage of bold and expressive design,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America.

Untitled-1The Further Refined 2014 Impala

Indeed, the 2014 Impala — available early 2013 — takes interior refinement to the next level. The priority for Impala’s success: “Attention to detail,” said Windham. The obvious boxes were checked: premium materials, such as carefully selected wood accents; a color palette that is contemporary and handsome; carpet and headliner materials that benchmarked properly against premium competition; unique, soft ambient lighting that shines through chrome accents — all that plus user-friendly gauges, switches and controls, and front and rear seats that are as comfortable at the end of a long journey as they are for a trip to the corner store.

With every new vehicle, Windham said interior designers have a specific set of goals — the amount of leg room, for instance, as well as shoulder space, head room and cargo space. With the Impala instrument panel, she was able to give it a pleasing curve that accentuates the Impala trademark dual-cockpit personality, but she was also able to move it forward slightly and “nestle” it into the door pockets, giving the driver and front passenger more room for ingress and egress. “We talk to the exterior designers from day one,” she said. “Constant communication has helped us both raise the bar on what we accomplish.”

Perhaps, though, it’s the little triumphs that make Windham and her staff the proudest. Example: The available 8-inch display screen in the Impala center instrument stack is motorized, allowing access to a compartment behind the screen that has a light, a USB port and some generous, unexpected storage space.

Taking Silence Seriously

On a model like the new Impala, silence is golden — a goal that was met beyond targets. Dr. Roggenkamp said it has long been possible to make a car almost entirely quiet, so long as you didn’t mind the fact that it would weigh as much as a tank. Making a vehicle quiet and light has been a challenge largely addressed by new materials that either block sound or absorb it.

Among the tools in his kit is acoustic-laminated glass, used in the 2013 Malibu, the quietest Malibu yet. Typical laminated glass is two sheets of glass, with a laminate in the middle. In acoustic-laminated glass, that laminate is special, and it is “amazingly effective in cutting wind noise and high-frequency road noise,” Dr. Roggenkamp said. Chevrolet is also near the forefront of active noise cancellation — generating a low-frequency sound from speakers, in response to engine noise detected by in-cockpit microphones, that cancels out the offending frequencies — a technology already available on the Chevrolet Equinox.

Cruze Seals the Deal

Similarly important is simply sealing the car. “You know how you can be in a room, and you barely open the door, and a surprising amount of noise comes through? It’s that way with a car — sealing it properly keeps the noise out,” Dr. Roggenkamp said. The doors in the Chevrolet Cruze, for instance, have triple seals and feature fiberglass “blankets” that serve as water, airflow and noise barriers. Doors close with a solid, precise sound, and no resonance. There are, in fact, 30 distinct acoustical treatments in Cruze — including that acoustic-laminated windshield. Noise-reducing technologies are applied across the lineup, making every vehicle as quiet as possible. 

Spark has seals installed along the hood lines and between the rear edge of the hood and air induction panel that are designed to eliminate potential sources of noise. Nylon baffles and expanding foam in hollow sections of the body structure close out the passages to eliminate transfer paths of noise. An acoustic headliner isolates and dampens interior noise, and damping patches on the interior body structure, as well as extensive sealing throughout the vehicle, reduce sound by putting acoustic treatments in strategic locations.

Dr. Roggenkamp, a self-professed “sound geek,” has worked on noise and vibration issues since 1985, and he said the progress made in his specialty is dramatic. “I know we’ve come through with a really good product when I take a new Chevrolet home and my wife says, unsolicited, ‘This is really quiet.’ Then I know we’ve done a good job.”

Windham said one of the biggest changes she has seen in her 18-year career is how much computer-aided design and analysis have helped her do her job. “For example, they can help guide the location and placement of the gauges and controls, and provide a great foundation for seat comfort.” But, she said, “They are not a complete substitute for the final human interface and verification. The human factor is important — and I think anyone who sits down in the new Impala will see that we’ve done our homework, and then some.”

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