By on June 24, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

A $290 million investment in General Motors’ Bowling Green, Kentuky Corvette plant could herald the arrival of a long-rumored beast.

The cash infusion, announced today by GM and reported by Automotive News, is meant for assembly upgrades and modifications, though it also supercharges speculation that a mid-engine Corvette is finally on the way.

GM said the money will go towards “technology upgrades and manufacturing process improvements,” but didn’t give out any product details. Last year’s $439 million investment went towards a new paint shop at the plant, which only produces the one model.

The C7 ‘Vette is still relatively young — at three years of age, the generation should still have several years of life in it. But that isn’t the timeline GM has in mind, according to a supposedly reputable source who leaked information to Car & Driver last month.

The source told the publication that the eighth generation will bow in 2018 as a 2019 model, with a production version ready for display at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The mid-engined Corvette will allegedly use the C7’s pushrod engine at first, with a new twin-cam V8 engine boosting the ‘Vette’s output in early 2019.

Base price for a C8 would be about $80,000, with the new engine bumping prices into the six figure range, the source claimed.

GM has long ignored calls to offer a mid-engine Corvette, but marketplaces evolve. Despite chief engineer Tadge Juechter’s 2015 claim that “no such car exists,” evidence is piling up that deep-pocketed enthusiasts will get their way.

[Image: General Motors]

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43 Comments on “GM Could be Gearing Up For a Mid-Engine ‘Vette in Bowling Green...”


  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    This time they are super serial.

    • 0 avatar
      jonnyanalog

      I’m guessing the decision came down after the Ford GT whooped the ‘Vette’s a$$ at LeMans.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        I’m kind of ambivalent about that… here’s a $450k car that beat a $60k car.

        Yeah. Throw enough money at the wall and some of it will transfer to the track.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I agree. That’s a Top Gear style comparison of two things which don’t match up. Just like V8 Camaro vs. E63 AMG.

          “This Camaro isn’t as nice on the inside. It doesn’t have rear doors.”

          Yeah, no sh!t.

        • 0 avatar
          LBJs Love Child

          Well, if you can find a Pratt & Miller C7.R like the Le Mans GTE-Pro car for $60K, let me in on the deal!

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        Sorry jonny but that is pretty inaccurate.

        Ford only had the extra pace due to the stupid Balance of Performance or BoP. Do 20 seconds of Google searching to see what I’m talking about, but right before Le Mans this year there was a huge negative BoP adjustment for them and Porsche with only a minor change before the race, the result was a severely hampered pace making it impossible for anything but Ford vs. Ferrari.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Thanks for rubbing salt in my wounds TTAC. We’re releasing Final Edition Viper while GM expands the Corvette empire.

    Then again, this is the second time we’ve released “Final” editions in my memory…so there’s hope.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Will they call it the Corvair?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Hasn’t this been a rumor “on the verge of production” since about 1963? I will believe it when I see some credible evidence!

    Also, the current Corvette is such a looker, it puts everything between it and the C4 to shame. I saw two on my way to work today, and they caught my eye both times. Such nice lines. Really has grown on me since they brought it to shows in the wrong color and (aggressive) trim.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So they’re destroying the whole point of the Corvette, the every mans sports car. I mean really a $25,000 price jump and destroying the engine that made the corvette the legend it is today? I mean really, a twin-cam V8? What is this 1992?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Why’s a twin-cam necessary? Smaller size?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Twin cam i.e. overhead cam? In theory overhead cam engines are able to survive sustained high rpm much more easily that a pushrod V8. Is this some sort of answer to the Ford GT?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’d be surprised if they got a twin cam engine is weigh less than a similar displacement OHV, and physically it would be impossible to make the OHC engine smaller than the OHV so that’s a step back as well.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          All-new flat H-8 Boxer engine, to keep the center of gravity low…

          • 0 avatar
            truecarhipsterdouche

            It’s a collab with Subaru? I wonder if they’ll call their version the CrossVette? OutVette? Or my favorite, especially for the Mexican market, the VetteBack.

            OMG…WARNING!!! INSENSITIVE JOKE CONTAINED HEREIN. RETREAT TO SAFE SPACE IF YOU FEEL YOU MIGHT BE TRIGGERED.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      It seems like Mustang GT is doing fine with the new DOHC V8 engine, doesn’t it?

  • avatar
    John R

    This again? I think i was a freshman in high school when this rumor first came around. Wu-tang had released their first album then I think…

  • avatar
    mcs

    They trademarked Corvette E-Ray, so that could be part of the picture. Maybe we’ll see an i8-like plug-in variant?

    http://blog.caranddriver.com/corvette-e-ray-trademarked-is-an-electrified-vette-coming-plus-our-don-sherman-weighs-in/

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Maybe they make Corvette a whole brand, and sell several models, to take on Porsche? That’d be interesting.

    Sell the front engined model as their Boxster, and the mid-engined one to compete with the 911?

    (Yes, I know…Boxsters are mid engined…)

    Not the worst idea of all time, y’know…as long as SUVs aren’t involved…

    • 0 avatar
      dig

      “Maybe they make Corvette a whole brand, and sell several models, to take on Porsche? That’d be interesting.”

      What Mr. F. Mike says here is good thinking. Why not have a nosebleed ‘Murican super car and a aspiring for average joe version. Call the original the “Corvette/Stingray” and the mid-engined over 100K version the “Destroyer/Shark” or something. GM already has the C7 line paid for.

      Might even get GM more cred than the Cadillac investment for shyte load less money.

      • 0 avatar

        Peter De Lorenzo of Autoextremist.com has always advocated for Corvette to become a brand of cars rather than a single model. This could be the beginning of that. Corvette Sting Ray, Corvette Manta Ray, perhaps even a 4 door Panamera competitor. Then of course they will have to do a couple of SUV’s to compete against the Cayenne and Macan. And I say why the hell not?

  • avatar
    NeilM

    The trouble with mid-engine cars is that they tend to cross over to the wrong side of the usable every day line due to limited cargo space. The closest exception I know of is the Cayman, whose trunk and ‘frunk’ combo is almost useful. But with an engine and firewall right behind you, there’s still nowhere inside the cabin for so much as a jacket, much less a backpack or briefcase, unless the driver is alone.

    Adoption of the mid-engine layout pretty much relegates a car to weekend exotica status, and while not that there’s no market for that, I don’t think the bow tie badge can quite carry that weight.

    Of late the Corvette has been doing a pretty good job in its traditional role — does it really need to seek a new one?

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Oh my god, I have been transported back to 1966! I have to warn the president not to escalate the war in Southeast Asia!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The Corvette was engineered for the showroom, then tuned for the track. Something has to be done at this point, with Camaros and Mustangs knocking on its performance doors.

    A mid-engine ZR1 Corvette could justify $100,000+ at the showroom, and maybe tame its snap oversteer as a bonus.

    I’m not sure why I’ve never considered a Corvette, while spending a small fortune on compact sporty cars and pony cars. Now I’d be all over a mid-engine Corvette.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The whole idea of a mid-engine ‘Vette seems like its designed to make the Traditional Autojournos (frequent target of J.B.s teasing) have spontaneous orgasms when their invitations show up to GMs first drive.

    None of the Baby Boomers who can actually afford the Corvette will be able to exploit the full performance of the car regardless of where the engine is located.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I file these rumors along with the reports of Alfa Romeo’s revival and Saabs rebirth. Been reading about the mid-engined Corvette for 30 years.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Why would GM want to screw up a success story like the Vette ? Aren’t they selling a lot of Corvettes ? Yes.
    Are Vette buyers happy with their purchases ? By most accounts, overwhelmingly so. Isn’t GM making tons of money on it ? I think so. But maybe the Big Executives at the Ren Cen want to up the ante dramatically for Vette admission. Maybe GM is so strapped for cash that they are planning to squeeze every last buck out of their most popular products and cheapen the shit out of their high-volume low-rent offerings.
    In order to raise the Corvette’s MSRP to say $100-125K, they will attempt a Hail Mary- (pardon the pun) redesign the Vette with AWD, a twin-turbo all-unobtainium 4 cyl HYBRID that runs on helium.
    Or maybe ‘Merry Berry’ has dictated that all Chevics be powered by 4-bangers, and Caddies by sixes, in which case the Vette must still outperform everything else, so it will be a two-seater Indy Car, or as near as the budget will allow.
    I know this sounds crazy, but GM has done some crazy shit before, and will do so again.

  • avatar
    shaker

    GM increased the performance of the ‘Vette to stratospheric levels with the present setup, and it still looks damn good as well. However, going DOHC V8 probably means a mid-engine layout, and a big bump in MSRP (maybe a near doubling from 56k).

    I predict that there will be a small increase in white-collar crimes (likely embezzlement) because of this price increase, because $100,000 is just out of reach of the old-school “Corvette Dream”, and the stock market can’t keep up with that dream, either.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    With the horsepower that’s available , GM’s Corvette in its current form should have AWD at the very least available.

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