This work focuses on how the automobile giant GM reinvented the Corvette, a car which became legendary soon after its original release in 1953. It explains how dedicated designers, engineers and executives, eventually managed to produce the fifth-generation Corvette, which was originally meant to be released in 1993, but was delayed due to GM experiencing extreme financial problems. It is also a revealing account of the inner workings of the automobile industry.
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Another fly-on-the-wall peek at General Motors (after Michael Shnayerson's The Car That Could, p. 956), this time from a former West Coast editor for Popular Science. Schefter is allowed to prowl around the hallways of GM, focusing on the design and launching of the 1997 Corvette. Schefter begins with the image of a Hindenburg-esque GM in 1992, fighting a staggering loss of $10 billion. In desperation, the carmaker turned to its classy jewel, the Corvette, to solve its financial woes. Released in 1953, the Corvette hadn't had a redesign since 1984, and an underground lair called ``The Corvette Skunk Works'' had been intermittently working to update the car since 1988. Faced with company-wide losses, the Corvette project was buried and unearthed again by a succession of GM honchos, until at last the new car was set to be launched in 1995. Schefter specializes in minutiae: He gives a compelling description of how artists painstakingly carve out models from 800-pound blocks of clay, and he elegantly describes how the project's engineers solved a gas-tank design problem. The entire corporate world of GM takes on elements of the archetypal Old West: There's the Corvette itself, seen as a beautiful and reliable show horse; executives who pledge their word with a handshake; and heroes who are taciturn but proud of their teams, prone to pronouncements like ``If we lose the summer of '95, we lose the program.'' While the elevation of the business book to drama is increasingly common, Schefter seems to have a little fun with it, though he tends to relentlessly cheerlead for GM. (And it looks like they missed '95 after all: The book will be released on the same day as the newly redesigned Corvette.) Overly dramatic but always readable, it's the attention to insider details that make this account interesting for Corvette enthusiasts and pedestrians alike. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Radio satellite tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
The Corvette is America's best-loved and longest-lived sports car. For this work, Schefter was granted unprecedented access to board meetings, designers' studios, and engineers' workshops to document the conception and development of the 1997 Corvette, newly redesigned for only the fourth time in the car's 40-year history. A revealing tale of intrigue and the inner workings of corporate America is the result. Had the book (and the car) been released in 1993 as originally planned, this work might have been unique. However, so far in 1996 "insider" books on GM's electric car (Michael Schnayerson, The Car That Could: The Inside Story of GM's Revolutionary Vehicle, LJ 8/96) and Chrysler's redesigned minivans (Brock Yates, The Critical Path, LJ 7/96) have already focused on the development and/or redesign of important vehicles to the extent that little is left for Schefter to say on the subject of "new and different." On the other hand, this is a book about the Corvette, an American legend and icon. The car has a following, and one expects that the book will have a following as well.?Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0684808544 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0261993
Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0684808544