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After weeks of circling the rumor mill, General Motors has made it official: the Corvette Stingray will be offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission for 2015. Designed and built by GM in-house, the automaker says the new transmission will deliver world-class shift times that will rival some of the best dual-clutch systems on the market, all while delivering better fuel efficiency.

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I have to admit, I’ve always been partial to any story about a U.S. veteran’s love for his or her American automobile. To me, these two things represent a lot of the stuff that makes America great. Over the years, I’ve come across some pretty emotional stories about veterans and their cars, but the one I stumbled on of a former Marine staff sergeant named Mike Kimmons probably tops the list.