Chevrolet Experimented With A Mid-Engine Corvette In 19592
The mid-engine Corvette cometh, and over the years, we’ve highlighted many times where a mid-engine Corvette nearly came to exist. But, we didn’t know the thought first came to light way back in 1959.
Feast your eyes upon Experimental Project 719, or XP-719 for short. SuperChevy discovered the photos buried in the Petersen Photo Archive, which depict the first mid-engine Corvette. In fact, a handwritten note on the back of the photo confirms this reading, “the first mid-engined Corvette proposal, 1959.”
The GM Heritage Center was able to shed more light on XP-719 and provided additional photos of the experimental Corvette, which clearly took many cues from the Corvair. According to GM, the project began in 1959 as a rear-engine V8-powered car and designers went through a series of mockups before XP-719 was smoothed over to the photo above. One design included an air scoop design that (thankfully) never saw the light of day. For all its function, it lacked form.
It’s unclear what became of XP-719, but it wasn’t the last time engineers and designers flirted with a mid-engine Corvette. Decades later, the C8 Corvette will finally realize the dreams of many.
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Every time I hear of someone bemoaning the Corvette for going mid-engine as if it were sacrilege, I simply point to any of the mid-engine Corvette concepts GM has built as evidence that it was never a foreign idea, nor was it ever something that GM did without extensive study and experimentation.
In a sense, GM has been preparing us for a mid-engine Corvette for almost 60 years, so we can’t say we weren’t aware of their intent.
Quick glance and it looks like the C2.