In the late 1950s, General Motors‘ engineering department became enticed by mid-engine vehicles and developed the CERV I experimental vehicle. The automaker continued toying with the idea through the 1960s and ’70s, developing a number of mid-rear layout prototype vehicles with different engines, from four-cylinders to V8s and even rotary engines.
One of these experimental mid engine prototypes was the 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT Concept. Designed by Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine, the Corvair Monza GT’s body was born out of a wind tunnel test program conducted by GM and was inspired by the Bertone-designed Chevrolet Testudo concept. Like the Testudo, it featured a hinged canopy section that opened upward rather than traditional doors. The engine cover was also hinged from the rear, exposing the mid-mounted engine when lifted up.
Speaking of the engine, the Corvair Monza GT was powered by Chevy’s ‘Turbo-Air 6’ six-cylinder boxer engine, which was good for a rather meek 102 horsepower in the concept. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transaxle.
As impressive as its styling and innovative mid-engine layout were, the Corvair Monza GT was also notable for its four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and lightweight alloy wheels – fairly impressive equipment for the early 1960s. While the Corvair Monza itself never officially made it to production, features like this eventually found their way to production via other GM vehicles and helped the automaker develop such technologies.
The Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT now sits in the GM Heritage Center, so unless you manage to coerce your way into the exclusive collection (which isn’t open to the public) it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to see it in person. For some additional photos of the vehicle, check out the GM Heritage Center’s dedicated landing page for the unique concept at this link.
Source: GM Heritage Center