In May, GM filed a trademark application for the word "STINGRAY" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use on "Motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles." Is Chevy transforming the Corvette into a real split-window Stingray for the seventh generation?
The original Corvette may have introduced the idea of an American sports car to the world, but the second-generation split-rear-window Corvette Sting Ray that debuted in 1963 convinced everyone America could build a world-beating sports car. Since then, Sting Ray's been an important name in the Corvette world. Even when the name transformed into Stingray for the third-generation C3 and then promptly disappeared until the Chevy Stingray Concept and Stingray convertible in Transformers 3, it maintained its mystique.
So why did GM randomly decide to trademark the name at the beginning of this summer? Is GM hoping to capitalize on the film, are they just attempting to avoid embarrassing copies, or is this the rumored mid-engine, split-window seventh-generation 'Vette we've been hearing rumors about?
According to GM: No, no, and no.
"It's not really indicative of any specific naming or branding decisions." Corvette PR man Dave Caldwell told us via email. "When we did the semi-recent design concept, we discovered that we did not control the Stingray name to the extent we thought we should."
It's true. The perennial best-selling car in Japan, the Suzuki Wagon R, has a Stingray trim level. It's mostly just badging and aesthetics, but apparently Corvette's concerned enough about the threat the 64 hp Japanese mini-minivan poses, at least to the image of the Stingray name.
"We greatly value Stingray as a piece of Corvette's legacy....and we want to protect that," said Caldwell.
Although this doesn't mean we'll be seeing a split-window Stingray-badged Corvette in the future it also doesn't mean we won't. Either way, GM has the rights to the name.