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1,000-HP C8 Corvette Prototypes Are Bending Their Own Frames

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One of three reasons for the C8's six-month delay.

Not long ago we learned that General Motors decided to delay the launch of its next-generation Chevrolet Corvette by at least six months. Many, us included, speculated a reveal would happen last January at Detroit. It obviously didn't, and we soon found out C8 prototypes were experiencing electrical problems that forced the delay. Turns out there were more issues, one of them being quite serious.

Hagerty learned these details through well-placed but unnamed sources within the automaker and yes, electrical issues were indeed happening. The C8's new electrical architecture, which includes more than 100 computer modules, was making engineers earn their paychecks due to several bugs. It's an extremely complex system that required additional time to refine.

The second problem is vaguer but it involves disagreements between the car's designers and development engineers. Possible examples could be ergonomic issues, general cockpit design, or even visibility.

But it's the third problem that's particularly troublesome. The C8's new aluminum spaceframe actually bent during test runs with prototypes powered by the 900-1,000 hp twin-turbo V8. Described as a "structural distortion," the rear frame twist was strong enough to fracture the glass hatch covering the engine. The frame couldn't handle that amount of power. Imagine if that flaw was not discovered prior to launch. Owners could have gotten into serious trouble if they were going all-out on a track. GM would have had major lawsuits to contend with.

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Given all that, it's clear GM needed extra development time. No word yet regarding GM's progress to get everything fixed, but Hagerty also predicts a new launch date could be this August when the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky celebrates its 25th anniversary. A debut there would give the C8 far more attention from the press and public than it would at a traditional auto show. We'll bring you more details as they come.