Few automotive rumors have remained as persistent as those suggesting a mid-engine Corvette is on its way. Zora Arkus Duntov, who is widely recognized as the father of the Corvette, pushed Chevy to produce concepts like the mid-engine CERV I and CERV II, as he didn’t want to see the Corvette fall into the shadows of mid-engine performance cars from Europe.
Duntov is finally getting his wish. We first heard the next Corvette ZR1 and the C8-generation Corvette would be mid-engined in August of last year, but we remained partly skeptical, as word about a mid-engine Corvette has been swirling for decades. But now Car and Driver finally has concrete proof the next Corvette will place the engine behind the driver after spy photographers caught an early test mule out and about somewhere in Michigan.
This is one of the more interesting test mules we’ve seen, but unfortunately for General Motors, it’s pretty obvious what we’re looking at. The whole thing appears to borrow heavily from the Holden Ute, wearing the Australian pickup’s front and rear clip and sporting a similar bed section. Meanwhile, the cabin, roof and exterior mirrors appear to be taken from the C7 Corvette Stingray. There’s also a B-pillar mounted gas filler cap, cooling intakes along the rocker panels and a large rear wing.
According to C&D, this test mule has an approximate wheelbase of 98.9 inches, about eight inches shorter than the C7 Corvette’s. The shorter wheelbase, enabled by sticking the transmission behind the rear axle, will sharpen turn-in response and allow for a tighter turning radius. They also estimate nearly 60 percent of its mass will be carried over the rear wheels, providing additional traction under heavy acceleration and braking.
We know the engine will be stuffed behind the driver’s head, but we don’t know what kind of engine it will be. A V8 is a must in any Corvette, but there are apparently whispers of a smaller 3.5- or 4.0-liter DOHC V8 being employed in America’s next sports car. It seems like a possibility, and it wouldn’t be the first time a high-performance ‘Vette traded in its pushrod setup for a twin-cam one.
The mid-engine Corvette, which may be referred to as the C8 Zora, is rumored to hit Chevy showrooms as a 2017 model. The front-engine Corvette is expected to stick around upon its arrival, offering fans of America’s sportscar a choice of two completely different models for the first time ever.
Check out the spy shots here, and let us know what you think in the comments below.