Rumors of a mid-engined Corvette have been circulating for almost as long as the Corvette has been around. The beloved American sports car turns 63 years old tomorrow. The most recent round of spy photos appears to support other information pointing to a 2019 mid-engine ‘Vette, at long last.
The first test car for a mid-engine Chevy was seen in early 2015 at the General Motors Milford, Michigan proving grounds. Motor Authority’s spies believed the first prototypes for the Corvette were derived from modified Holden Commodore body. More mature mules with C7 Corvette body panels have now surfaced on the prototype vehicle in these new spy shots. The photos show a pronounced silhouette bearing a mid-engine car, particularly when compared with that of the C7 Corvette and Cadillac sedans running next to it.
The photographs support the idea that the engine in the prototype is just ahead of the rear axle. There is no glass panel, suggesting it was probably taken off before testing in an effort to keep the engine cool.
Although it is possible that the mid-engined test car could be a Cadillac, other evidence seems to dispel the theory. GM announced a $290 investment in technology at its Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette headquarters, which will do a bit more than just enhancing manufacturing of its current models.
Other pieces of evidence include GM’s $439 million investment in a paint shop at the Bowling Green facility, which also happened in 2015 when the first prototype was in testing. Although the coupe could lead to a Cadillac version, there is no intel that shows Cadillac is working on such a car.
Some analysts have predicted that the mid-engined Corvette will debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show, with a next generation evolution of the pushrod V8 engine. The V8 is rumored to have an output hovering between 450 and 500 horsepower. There will likely be more extreme versions later on, such as a ZR1. Hybrid technology versions could also appear.
The C8 is already expected to show up during the 2018 or 2019 model years, just five years after the C7.
Motor Authority also reported that the Corvette prototype has been testing almost exclusively after dark, for the express purpose of avoiding spies with long-distance camera lenses. This could be the first daytime running of the new Corvette. Nearly all of the employees at GM’s Tech Center have been protected from the new product, which is closed to everyone except a small need-to-know group of engineers and designers.
Last year some media outlets reported that the car will be offered in ZR1 trim and in base form as well.