The Mysterious Mid-Engine Corvette Makes an Appearance, On Ice…

It has been talked about in dark Detroit bars for years, many wrote the rumors off as mere myth–or at least the product of bad medicine– a dream haunting some of the industry’s best minds. 

Until yesterday.

The mythical mid-engine Corvette finally made an appearance as Chevrolet engineers worked to dial in traction and stability control alongside a pair of ZR1 prototypes. It’s thought the pictures were shot at GM’s cold weather facility in Kapuskasing, Ontario, the car had been there earlier in January, but engineers would only play with it when the sun went down.

Profile shots show the hard-to-miss contrast between the Stingray’s traditional long hood and cab-rearward proportions versus the prototype’s snub-nose mid-rear layout. The profile shots also raise a whole new batch of maddening questions about what’s hiding under the snug fitting black leather.

The greenhouses of both the ZR1 and the mid-engine prototype are similar enough to likely be identical. For the last several weeks a rumor has persisted that the mid-engine car could share part of its platform architecture with the current C7– not a shared platform, but one that’s related. Considering the Corvette’s frame is now multiple pieces of aluminum brought together it’s possible the front and rear frame sections could be lengthened or shortened which would give the two cars a degree of parts commonality.

The biggest curiosity surrounds what engine will provide power.

It’s always possible GM continues with the absurdly excellent Gen V small-block architecture, but it’s also possible this will be the first application of GM’s rumored dual overhead cam LT5 V8. Internal documents listed the LT5 with a displacement of 6.2-liters and was scheduled for use in Y-platform cars, the Y-platform has always been the Corvette, and if GM is in fact rejigging the C7 for mid-engine duty the confirmation has cleverly been hidden in plain sight.

Could this be the motivation behind Bowling Green Assembly’s $290 million summer upgrade for new assembly technologies and processes? If GM could introduce the mid-engine car while still using a significant chunk of C7 resources, be it tooling or components, would represent significant cost savings.

Also worthy of query is the significant front wheel gap exhibited on the mid-engine prototype compared to the ZR1. Another popular rumor has been the addition of electric assistance at the front wheels, similar to what Acura has done with the new NSX. It’s also possible the ultra track focused ZR1 is a bad benchmark for ride height.

I just really hope that when GM does eventually get around to unveiling the Motor City’s most famous femme fatale, it at least names it Zora, after the man who laid the ground work more than 50 years ago.

 

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