In the late 1960s, General Motors began looking for ways to showcase its newly developed rotary engine technology. The automaker’s lead designer at the time, Bill Mitchell, set to work on a mid-engine Corvette prototype called the Aerovette (itself a continuation of the canceled XP-882 mid-engine Corvette prototype) which hit the auto show circuit in 1973 with a four-rotor Wankel engine sitting amidships.
Now, YouTube’s resident Wankel expert, Rob Dahm, is looking to re-create the famed four-rotor Corvette. Dahm has spent the past five years or so building a billet four-rotor powered Mazda RX-7, but he made the decision to switch to a billet block after already acquiring a custom, non-billet four-rotor engine. That means the other four-rotor engine has been sitting in his shop waiting to be used, so he’s now decided to drop it in a mid-engine Corvette C8.
GM fans may already be jumping to comment on how this build is sacrilege, but in our opinion, we think it’s rather cool to see the original four-rotor Corvette prototype being recreated using the first production mid-engine Corvette. It’s worth noting that Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of the Corvette, did not like the idea, as the GM two-rotor engine was to be used in the mass market Chevrolet Vega – a car he did not want to be associated with his beloved Corvette in any way. There’s no denying the rotary engine is an interesting engine and a part of GM’s past, though, so we still think Dahm’s build is a neat idea. That’s not to take away from the great motor that is the 490 horsepower 6.2L LT2 V8 engine that comes stock in the Corvette C8, though.
Hear what Rob has to say about this ambitious undertaking in his announcement video embedded below. We’ll definitely be following Dahm’s Wankel-powered Corvette C8 build in the months (or likely years to come) so stay tuned for more coverage.