Well that didn't take long.
It's been less than a month since Chevrolet revealed the 2014 Corvette Stingray, and already one has turned up wrecked. Since the new Corvette isn't on sale yet, chances are someone at General Motors will have a sizable expense report to fill out.
Caught by a poster at Digital Corvettes, the photo was supposedly snapped recently in Arizona, with the original shooter's commentary: "Cop had just arrived. Car is in worse shape than looks. Hit guardrail on left and bounced back to rocks." Automakers often run hot-weather and handling tests in Arizona, and this copy wears the Michigan manufacturer license plates that a GM-owned prototype would carry on public roads.
While at first glance the Vette looks OK, a closer look reveals serious damage; the front wheel looks too far askew, and there's long scrapes on the side of the body and the wheels. There may have been a side air bag deployed as well, but it's hard to tell under the tinted rear glass.
It's rare but not unheard of for a factory pre-production test drive to end in a crash; at this stage of Corvette development, the engineers would be tweaking software settings or chasing down some final production issues before the launch later this year. We asked Chevy for comment, and until we hear back we're struck by what GM always warns media test drivers: "Keep it shiny side up."
UPDATE: According to Chevy spokesman Monte Doran, this was a GM test drive gone wrong: "During evaluation, the driver caught the inside tire caught the edge of the pavement during a tight corner, leading to the accident. Thankfully, no one was hurt, the car received only minor damage, and no citations were issued."