The 2020 Corvette has been a very hot topic for many enthusiasts since the car’s official reveal earlier this year. Much has been learned, but there is still so much more we’d like to know about this new, exciting Corvette. One of the best ways to find out the truth about many aspects of the car is by going directly to the people who created it. Autoline did just that and brought a 2020 Corvette and its Chief Engineer, Tadge Juechter, into the studio for a not-so-quick Q&A session.
Tadge has been working on the Corvette brand since around 1993. As such, he has seen many changes and advancements in the car’s progression. His humble and amicable personality could easily be overshadowed by the immense depth of knowledge he has about all things Corvette. In this interview, Autoline’s John McElroy joins Greg Migliore and Gary Vasilash in a tag-team Q&A about all things C8.
Tadge not only knows a lot about the new C8 (obviously), but he also has a way of explaining that information devoid of marketing catch-phrases and scientific, engineer-speak. Tadge connects with the typical car guy because he is a typical car guy! This fact becomes all the more evident throughout the video as Tadge gives his explanation as to why various decisions were made throughout the car’s gestation.
The video is much more valuable than simply design cues and decision-making, as Tadge goes into what it was like, trying to bring up the idea of a mid-engine Corvette when those in tall buildings didn’t see the need for one. The parallels between today and Zora’s era are surprisingly similar. Interestingly, Tadge reports that GM’s head “car guy” at the time, Bob Lutz, said, “If anybody starts work on a mid-engine car, they’re fired!” Clearly, the class between passion and corporate dictates is not relegated only to Zora’s tenure.
Tadge now admits that they were working on the C8 back when the C7 was first revealed, a fact that he gets grilled on by John McElroy, as he asked Tadge about a mid-engine car back then. Of course, Tadge gave a slippery answer that dodged the question, a tactic he used a couple of times in this video as well. When John asked about an all-electric Corvette and an all-wheel variant of the C8.
What Tadge DID share was well worth watching the video though! He not only went into what it took to get management on-board with the idea of a mid-engine Corvette but also what it took from an engineering standpoint to make it all happen. He explains why the C8 coupes rear glass is so thick, and also why the C8 now has adjustable ride-height, even though they’ve wanted to have it on Corvette for generations.
Tadge goes on to explain his personal fears by making the mid-engine Corvette and also gives some idea how much faster the new platform is over the C7 generation. He explains the car’s handling dynamics devoid of only the most necessary physics and informs the panel (and us) how this new platform actually puts less strain on the car’s tires than the out-going model.
Why No Manual?
Of course, Tadge also addresses the question of why the C8 isn’t offered in a manual variant. His blunt reply was, “Because no one is willing to make one at a loss!” For the low numbers necessary, it would be cost-prohibitive to create one for C8. To ease everyone’s mind, Tadge does explain that the thought of no third pedal was a hard one to accept for the entire Corvette team. He even explains that “I’ve NEVER purchased a car in my entire life that wasn’t a manual!” More than just a numbers game, he goes on to explain the various reasons why a manual would wind up bringing more compromises to Corvette than benefits.
Audiophiles will appreciate the conversation where Tadge explains that the Bose system in the C8 Corvette is the loudest one ever installed by GM or Bose. He even tells how the folks at Bose truncated the system as they felt it was too loud. To which Tadge replied, “Don’t do that! Let the customer truncate it! Some people like it at 11!”
I’ve NEVER purchased a car in my entire life that wasn’t a manual! – Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer
All in all, the interview goes on to show not only the vast knowledge that Tadge has about this remarkable new car, but also why he is so sought-after for interviews. He communicates in such a down-to-earth, and interesting way, that you can easily get caught up in the conversation and forget that this video is over an hour long. Even so, it is a great watch and for those interested in the next-generation Corvette, it brings a vast knowledge of what it took to get to this point, and also what to expect once we start seeing them on showroom floors and on the road. You would do well to invest the time to watch this video. You’ll be glad you did!