It's True - the Mid-Engine Corvette Arrives in 2019: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

There’s already plenty of evidence of a looming mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette variant, but multiple sources with knowledge of General Motors’ plans now say the near-mythical model will absolutely arrive in early 2019.

Insider sources told The Detroit News that not only will a mid-engine ‘Vette bow in 2019, it will soon be the only Corvette offered by GM.

The report confirms earlier whispers that the Corvette C8 (which carries the codename “Emperor”) will first appear in early 2018, likely during a splashy reveal at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Clues began piling up earlier this year that GM had a shakeup planned for the 63-year-old nameplate. A source in a Car & Driver report from May claimed exactly what the Detroit News report states. In June, spy photos showed an unusually proportioned C7 test mule on a track, alongside other GM vehicles. The rear buttresses and long deck pointed to an engine mounted amidships.

A slew of investments at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant also raised eyebrows. The new funding totaled about $800 million, including $439 million for a new paint shop, and just this past June, $290 million for assembly upgrades and modifications.

GM won’t comment on future products, but the sources say it’s a done deal. One source told The Detroit News, “It’s happening. (GM global product development chief) Mark Reuss wants it,” adding, “It’s the worst-kept secret in town.”

According to the same sources, the C7’s LT1 V8 engine will find a home in the C8 to keep costs down. An earlier report said GM planned to offer a twin-cam V8 as an upgrade sometime after the C8’s debut. They also said that the current C7 lineup will last until 2021, after which the C8 will take over as the only offering.

In the report, former Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace speculated that aging demographics forced GM to target different buyers — and competitors. “The median age of the Corvette buyer got three years older while I was there, which scared the hell out of us,” he said. Wallace held that post from 2006 to 2008.

Bob Lutz, former GM product development chief, added his two cents to the report. He claimed the recent investment into the Corvette plant almost equals the cash he asked for back in 2007, before his mid-engine Corvette plan bit the dust due to bankruptcy. Because of the long development period, he expects to see a plug-in version and a Cadillac variant.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • Sprocketboy Sprocketboy on Aug 05, 2016

    As a C6 Corvette owner (apparently unusual in lacking baldness, obesity and gold chains), I would be happy to have a C7 but have no interest in a mid-engined car. Mine is used for very long road trips rather than track workouts so while handling could improve utility (luggage space, serviceability) would suffer. In Bowling Green 150 C7s are built every day and every one built has been sold. Can a more expensive pseudo-Ferrari with a Chevy badge sell the same way? As to demographics, it is has been pointed out here that expensive cars are bought by older people but there is money out there. When driving into a car event a few weeks ago at a dealership I heard someone say: "Must be nice to have money" when I drove by, overlooking the fact that most of the new pickup trucks on the lot were more expensive than my car.

  • Redav Redav on Aug 08, 2016

    100+ comments and none addressing how the price of used C7s will be impacted? Supposedly, prices of the prior gen 'Vettes drop when the new one debuts, which is great since I'd love to pick up a C7 at a reasonable price. But if people prefer the front engine versions and expect supply to be constrained, prices may not drop enough. The Corvette is a surprisingly functional car. I doubt it will remain so as a mid-engine. I also doubt I'd ever own a mid-engine car, but if I did, and if I spent as much money as this 'Vette probably will cost, would I get it over an NSX? Obviously, I have no idea how desirable such a 'Vette would be, but am I confident that it will be more desirable/enjoyable than that NSX? Not really.

  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
  • John The awesome Infiniti G series saved this company 20 years ago, but they are right back on track to obsolescence. (yawn)
  • Teddyc73 White with black wheels, I'm so sick of. Or dull grey and black wheels. Just stop.