Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Mid-Engine Corvette Whispers Won't Die Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
wild ass rumor of the day mid engine corvette whispers won t die edition

Along with flying cars and hydrogen fuel cells, the mid-engined Corvette occupies the most spurious level of automotive rumor-mongery. GM has a deep, rich history of flirtation with the idea of a mid-engine ‘vette (too deep and rich for us not to commission a forthcoming brief history from Paul Niedermeyer), but even in the last three years the engine configuration of the C8 Corvette has attracted intense speculation. In October of 2007, Motor Trend kicked off the modern era of mid-engine ‘vette rumors with a lengthy piece which “revealed” that

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz reportedly has been pushing for a mid-engine C7… We hear Lutz is backing down from his support of a mid-engine C7, though other powerful GM execs reportedly still favor it. Those at GM who prefer an evolutionary, front-engine C7 are facing a tough battle.

Almost exactly a year later, MT took it all back. With GM facing bankruptcy and bailouts, plans for a new Corvette were put on hold and the RenCen pendulum was swinging back towards an evolution of the front-engined C7. And yet now, with bankruptcy still less than a year in GM’s past, the mid-engine Corvette rumors are bubbling back up again.

With rumors circulating that 10 GM studios from around the world were submitting designs for a new Corvette, AutoWeek spoke to some unnamed GM execs about ‘vette’s future, and unwittingly (or not) resurrected the oldest running line of speculation in auto-dom. AW’s scoop: the forthcoming C7 “will be the last of the traditional, old-style Corvettes,” according to a “senior GM insider.” In 2016, the C8 will launch with

a radical re-engineering, centered on a more fuel-efficient, [Ed: wait for it] mid-engined V6 powertrain, a lightweight alloy body and a more compact footprint.

Other rumored changes? GM Design boss Ed Wellburn has hinted that the Stingray concept‘s split rear windscreen could make it to the next Corvette design, reviving a long-lost signature design cue. We’re guessing that this particular rumor applies to the last front-engined ‘vette, the C7. After all, why put a heritage design cue on a car that has nothing to do with the Corvette’s mechanical heritage? Which in turn raises another question: is a mid-engined, V6 Corvette really a Corvette at all? Should the Corvette be left to die alone after all?With the C7 rumored to be just another evolution of the long-soldiering ‘vette internals, it’s a question that we (and GM) won’t have to answer today. And frankly, it may be a question that will never have to be seriously addressed: after all, we’ve been hearing mid-engined Corvette rumors for over 30 years now. Who really thinks it’s finally going to happen now?

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  • Autojunkie Autojunkie on Mar 18, 2010

    I see no reason it couldn't be a front-mid engined vehicle and have a near 50/50 balance. A rear-mid engined setup (and a V6? Ughhh...) would just be another sports car, but it wouldn't be a Vette...

    • Eric Bryant Eric Bryant on Mar 18, 2010

      The Vette already has 50/50 balance. The problem is that this isn't necessarily sufficient when trying to deliver 500-650 HP through only two wheels. To improve upon the ZR1 likely requires AWD or a greater shift in weight towards the drive wheels; cars like the 911 Turbo, GT-R, and R8 validate this thinking (although it should be obvious that they provide performance at a typically higher price point than the Vette).

  • Chaparral66 Chaparral66 on Mar 18, 2010

    The mid-engine corvette will not happen, well maybe if it goes electric or fuel cell. The packaging of the current front engine car is great. Most of the weight is in the wheel base and you get great luggage space, now compare that with something like a cayman. Not to mention other things like how easy it is lift the hood and have a look at the engine. This is not just for maintenance, because even the ZR1 spark plugs are supposed to last 100k miles, but even people that know nothing about cars or even what they are looking at will want to have a look at the engine of the corvette or an owner would want to show it off. Of course with how bad the current corvette engine looks, although better than many engines, they might as well hide it like in 911, but I do not think owners would like that. Just look at the 599 or even the LFA, Lexus could start from a clean sheet of paper and went with a front engine two seater. Of the abandoned Honda supercar was front engine, even with their NSX heritage. People forget that one of the main reasons Zora wanted a mid engine corvette was because of carburetors. Back then in order to get equal fuel to each cylinder, the intake manifold had to be very high. So the hood had to be higher. So the driver had to sit higher to see over it. This raised drag and raised the center of gravity. Look at the early mid-engine concepts, the intake manifolds are at driver eye level, even if the engine is as the same height as the front engine vette. So designers of the front engine corvette had to compromise by making a less than ideal intake. Now modern fuel injection allows for very tight and low intakes that can evenly distribute air and fuel to the cylinders, one of the main pushes is gone.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.