Wait until you find out what's under the hood.
The 2020 Beijing Motor Show is in full swing, and it just wouldn't be complete without some new Chinese copycat cars that have an uncanny resemblance to their Western counterparts. At the show, China's Songsan Motors showcased its latest model, called the "SS Dolphin", which very clearly takes some inspiration from the original Chevrolet Corvette C1.
Okay, it's the Corvette's out-and-out doppelganger, with exactly the same styling cues - double headlights, chrome accents, white bodyside coves, rounded rear arches, and so on - as cars built between 1958 and 1960. About the only thing that's significantly different design-wise are the proportions; the SS Dolphin measures 189 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 54.7 inches tall. That makes it 11.8 inches longer and 3.7 inches taller than the original sports car. That explains why the proportions don't look quite right.
Granted, there are some other small changes on the exterior, like LED headlights and a chrome dolphin emblem that replaces the original Corvette badging. But while the body is clearly designed to shamelessly mimic the original Corvette, the retro-inspired, wood-trimmed interior is equipped with modern technology you wouldn't find in the original 1950s sports car, such as a digital dashboard, a floating infotainment system, and a multi-functional steering wheel.
And here's something else not on the C1: under the hood, there's a plug-in hybrid powertrain combining a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and an electric motor. Yes, China has already built a hybrid Corvette before the rumored electrified C8 Corvette has arrived.
According to local media, a 16-kWh battery pack enables the Chinese not-a-Corvette to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds and run on electric power for about 60 miles. Power is also sent to the front wheels, which seems sacrilegious in a Corvette. Customer deliveries of the SS Dolphin will start in early 2021.
Pricing for the coupe starts at ¥590,000 ($86,613), making it considerably more expensive than a brand new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in the US. Inevitably, the convertible will be more expensive, but pricing details haven't been announced for the open-top SS Dolphin yet.
Incensed? You shouldn't be; mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery. And besides, this isn't even the first time the classic Corvette has inspired copycat cars. Remember Japan's Mitsuoka Rock Star based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata?