GM Says The C8 Corvette’s Interior Was Inspired By Fighter Jets

Was the 2020 Corvette Stingray one of the most eagerly awaited debuts of the year? Well, is the Pope Catholic? Of course it was, mainly because it was the first-ever to adopt a mid-engined layout, which was a radical departure and a rather brave decision on GM’s part.

The fact that, in Coupe form, it starts at under $60k makes it a bargain and has fans salivating – plus, customers most likely lining up to get their hands on one. Its styling, however, has been the subject of some debate; and while we can’t talk about the exterior, we now have a very good idea about why the cabin was designed that way.

Sure, the digital instrument cluster is pretty much a given these days, as is the big infotainment screen. That huge central divider, though, with its array of controls lined up, did seem a bit strange, as everything was aimed at the driver, leaving the passenger a bit disconnected. As it turns out, this was intentional and, in a form follows function kind of way, dictated by the engine layout!

Also Read: 2020 Corvette Stingray Delivers Unbelievable Numbers On The Dyno

Interior design manager Tristan Murphy told Gear Patrol that, right from the start, they wanted the C8 Corvette to have a very low dashboard.

“The whole point of [getting] that engine behind you is it allows you to have a much lower cowl…you no longer have to sit above the engine, and you can get these really great sightlines”, Murphy explained. “And that’s what a mid-engine car does. The last thing we want to do was have this amazing downvision, then have this typical tall instrument panel. It was about, how do we change the game and how do we reconstruct a dashboard here to be as low and as thin as possible? That was the mission statement of the whole car.”

Thus, Murphy and his team discussed how they could keep the dashboard as low as they could and in which way they should arrange all the controls. Keeping them in the center console was not an option; in a car like the 2020 Toyota Supra, for example, the HVAC controls are about 30 mm tall, the audio ones add an extra 15-20 mm, and then of course there’s the infotainment.

One option was to integrate them into the touchscreen, a solution used by a number of other manufacturers, but according to Murphy, that works because most have portrait-oriented displays, which are tall, and that wouldn’t do. They had to find some other way to make it work.

“How do we remove off the center line and still have some hard controls? And that’s when we went to looking back at jet cockpits. These guys literally have controls wrapping around them.”

So, now we know why the 2020 Corvette Stingray’s cabin looks the way it does: fighter jets. Not a bad inspiration for a supercar, if you ask us.

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  • pcurve

    bless these fine people and their bosses for designing and signing off on the design.

    • Six_Tymes

      and apparently they stay with the theme. why not.


        • Six_Tymes


  • Six_Tymes

    and it looks it.

  • john1168

    I still am not crazy about the big line of buttons and the big wall between the driver and the passenger but I do think that interior looks fantastic!

    • wait a minute

      does look great, i think the ‘big wall’ could have a cut-out. If this is possible it would give reduce the blockiness.

      • john1168

        I think making it smaller would allow for a lot more passenger involvement as well instead of isolating them.

        • Emoto

          What I’m wondering (having not sat in one myself) is whether that control surface would prevent a passenger from leaning over and… um… well… you know what I mean? Half-joking, but kind of a serious question.

  • emjayay
  • emjayay

    In the 1950’s several car models had dashboards with obvious airplane inspired controls. Commercial air travel was the new big glamorous thing, and of course a lot of buyers were WWII and Korean War veterans who had been pilots or had seen inside cockpits of various Air Corp/Force planes. And the military was heroes from beating Hitler etc.

    1957 Lincoln and 1955 Kaiser

    • Enter Ranting

      Car interiors used to be so much more interesting. It’s would be so much more satisfying to use those levers and knobs than poking at a glass rectangle like today’s controls.

  • Plutonium

    Dash design idea from billion dollar fighter.
    Steering wheel design idea from Flinstones?

    • db

      Hmmm, I wonder which one will last longer…

  • Bash

    I mean the design is good, the style is cool, performance wise -on paper- it looks fantastic, can’t wait to see it in the track going against Porsche and the rest. The claiming a fighter jet inspired interior is BS.

    • Six_Tymes

      I agree with everything you said except the BS part. I mean it’s fine if it was inspired by a pilots cockpit, that’s fine. People that are complaining about that, just like to complain, they are negative thinkers, first thing they see is negative in anything, then they complain like spoiled brats.

      Regarding Recebba’s point, at least he or she supposedly had experience in sitting in one and didn’t like it. Although, that’s not the same as driving, and getting used to its layout, any car that is new takes a few drives to get used to.

  • Recebba

    The fact of the matter is that the HVAC controls in the C8 are too far back for the driver to reach. Jet fighters still have the crucial controls in front of the pilot – it’s just that they have so many buttons that they run out of space so have to jam a lot of switches around the sides of the cockpit. I have sat in a C8 and found the row of buttons absolutely horrible to use. It’s a classic case where swoopy lines became the priority over usability.

  • Craig

    When you are inspired by a design to design something new that doesn’t mean your goal is to end up with a carbon copy of what inspired you. It’s just a FEELING that you’re ‘going after’. And those who designed the interior of the C8 accomplished that.

    • db

      That would explain why I’ve been going to the gym for my whole life and I still don’t have an Olympian body.

      • Craig

        A perfect example.

  • FunctionForm

    So, I wish I didn’t know that. I would hope the the design would have been to create a unique, modern car with excellent ergonomics. The form would follow the function. The days of designing cars to look like jet airplanes and rockets died in the 50s.

  • lagunas3ca

    Always has been…

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