The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

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Thread: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    The Detroit Free Press
    February 8, 2020


    A picture of the Aerovette featuring bi-fold gulping doors in the sports car that was never made. It is one of many photographs, drawings and sketches on display on all things Corvette design inside the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

    From an acclaimed concept car John DeLorean reportedly dismissed because he wanted something “smaller and more European,” to the design that ended a feud between a pair of GM giants — but may have set the Corvette back decades — a trove of unique documents, sketches and models tells a secret history of the 60-year quest to build a midengine Chevrolet Corvette.

    The story begins in the late 1950s with legendary Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and came to fruition when the first midengine 2020 Corvette Stingray sold for $3 million at auction in January.

    Titled “The Vision Realized: 60 Years of Midengine Corvette Design” and created by GM Design Archive & Collections, the exhibit included 19 original sketches by designers including Larry Shinoda and Tom Peters, the massive 4-Rotor rotary engine from the 1973 Aerovette engineering, a wood wind-tunnel model, even letters from Arkus-Duntov’s personal files.

    “The story of the midengine Corvette is incredibly complicated, full of fits and starts,” said Christo Datini, manager of the GM Design Archive & Collections.

    A midengine Corvette was a dream shared by GM designers and engineers. The layout, in which the engine is behind the passenger compartment and immediately over the rear wheels, improves acceleration and handling. It’s been a mainstay at Ferrari for decades, and inspired repeated design and engineering projects at GM. None of them made it to production till now, largely because the Corvette’s original front-engine layout was so successful.

    “Why would we change the Corvette?” GM chairman and CEO Richard Gerstenberg said to Arkus-Duntov before both men retired in the mid-1970s. “We sell every one we can make.”

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    “Why would we change the Corvette?” GM chairman and CEO Richard Gerstenberg said to Arkus-Duntov before both men retired in the mid-1970s. “We sell every one we can make.”
    And that, in a nutshell, represents all that was wrong with General Motors until the present management came onto the scene. Mary Barra is leading a revolution within the ranks. The future of the Corvette, and General Motors - for the first time in years - looks very bright.











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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Mary Barra is leading a revolution within the ranks.
    Thank you for making me stop and think for a bit.

    I don't feel Mary is truly "Throwing Her Opinions/Decisions" at anything. You know like Mullaly. Who's reply when he heard "Well this is how We always do it" was "Well maybe that's the problem."

    I often though that Mary, was cast as CEO, so the Real players could have their ways. (you know like Hillary). But really Her only Major Point was revealing "GM is a Tech Company" I am still trying to comprehend that statement, as to where it's going.

    Auto Industry is at a Turning Point. Not only do they ALL have to Change, but they ALL have to determine the correct direction. I don't see any of May's "Direction or Correction" changing steps.

    It's still, "Well here it is, let's do it" "You know doing this will save $4/vehicle." "Ok let's do that" Philosophy.

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    And that, in a nutshell, represents all that was wrong with General Motors until the present management came onto the scene. Mary Barra is leading a revolution within the ranks. The future of the Corvette, and General Motors - for the first time in years - looks very bright.











    .

    I am always amused by people that take snippets of quotes from decades ago, and then try to paint of picture of “what was wrong” with a company. This is a classic example.

    From a business standpoint - selling every Corvette you can make is phenomenal.

    From a car-enthusiast’s standpoint - we always want more and better and faster and more features.

    Full disclosure: I owned Corvettes for 47 years, starting with my first one, a 1965 Corvette convertible.

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    And that, in a nutshell, represents all that was wrong with General Motors until the present management came onto the scene. Mary Barra is leading a revolution within the ranks. The future of the Corvette, and General Motors - for the first time in years - looks very bright.











    .

    One other observation - the UAW forced a strike on GM, coasting them billions of dollars in lost revenue, and a lot of ill-will generated towards their customers (me included - as I couldn’t get my GM car fixed due to lack of parts).

    The UAW strike forced the delay in the production of the new Corvette model.

    Is any blame going to be placed on the UAW?

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Is any blame going to be placed on the UAW?
    No time to put blame on the UAW.

    New crisis to deal with:

    The United Auto Workers gave workers promotional pens to commemorate President Rory Gamble that appear to betray a central tenet of the UAW's contracting process and of the union itself: They're made in China. UAW members received the blue-and-gold pens emblazoned with the union logo, Gamble's name and the word "China" during the union's National CAP Conference this week in Washington, D.C. The annual event, which gathers members to discuss the union's legislative and political priorities while lobbying congressional leaders, drew more than 1,000 attendees and was intended to serve as a coming-out party for Gamble, but he did not attend due to unspecified health issues.
    -Detroit News 02-06-2020









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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    No time to put blame on the UAW.

    New crisis to deal with:


    -Detroit News 02-06-2020









    .
    The 12 felony convictions of current or former UAW high-ranking officials, with an indictment issued for another, and active criminal investigations ongoing - the pens are probably just a distraction.

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Though I love the new C8 Stingray, my favorite will always be the CERV III.

    *Another causality of the bean-counters.

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    I am happy with how the Corvette has changed over the years and staying with front engine until now. I like the fact that staying with front engine put limits as it allowed the Corvette to measurably improve with each generation. Had they gone with a mid-engine early on, they'd already have a 200 mph vehicle with a 0-60 of 2.9 seconds in the 1960's, which wouldn't leave much room for improvement from then to now. I think seeing those generation to generation improvements added to the excitement of each generation's launch. I do think now was the time to go mid-engine as the true limits of the front engine had been met.

    Plus I think all of the front engine Vette's look a lot better than any of the mid-engine concept cars.

    I see a definite resemblance between the front-on shot of the Aerovette and the C4 - anyone else see that?

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    No time to put blame on the UAW.

    New crisis to deal with:


    -Detroit News 02-06-2020
    .
    Holy crap... I think that is concurrently funny an sad. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose, guy probably thought it was a nice gesture that ended up blowing up in his face, and deservedly so!

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    And that, in a nutshell, represents all that was wrong with General Motors until the present management came onto the scene. Mary Barra is leading a revolution within the ranks. The future of the Corvette, and General Motors - for the first time in years - looks very bright.
    .
    It does seem like many on GMI point their fingers at MB when something isn't the way people want, but no one gives her props when GM does something well. Cheap piece of door trim is MB's fault, but we see the beautiful new interiors on the Vette and Escalade and her name is never mentioned.

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    It does seem like many on GMI point their fingers at MB when something isn't the way people want, but no one gives her props when GM does something well. Cheap piece of door trim is MB's fault, but we see the beautiful new interiors on the Vette and Escalade and her name is never mentioned.
    To give her credit or blame for plastic door trim is as stupid as blaming the POTUS for high gas prices.
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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by EJD1984 View Post
    Though I love the new C8 Stingray, my favorite will always be the CERV III.

    *Another causality of the bean-counters.
    reminds me of this


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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    Quote Originally Posted by InCogKneeToe View Post
    Thank you for making me stop and think for a bit.

    I don't feel Mary is truly "Throwing Her Opinions/Decisions" at anything. You know like Mullaly. Who's reply when he heard "Well this is how We always do it" was "Well maybe that's the problem."

    I often though that Mary, was cast as CEO, so the Real players could have their ways. (you know like Hillary). But really Her only Major Point was revealing "GM is a Tech Company" I am still trying to comprehend that statement, as to where it's going.

    Auto Industry is at a Turning Point. Not only do they ALL have to Change, but they ALL have to determine the correct direction. I don't see any of May's "Direction or Correction" changing steps.

    It's still, "Well here it is, let's do it" "You know doing this will save $4/vehicle." "Ok let's do that" Philosophy.
    I worked with her when I was still at GM. These aren't HER ideas. Guaranteed. But she is letting the sun shine on more ideas than many of her predecessors did - out of necessity. Things are changing faster now. That's a plus

    Choosing what goes forward is still hit and miss at GM, and I don't think they are necessarily focused on the right things. One of those is simple survival, Jump into BEV completely and you could be back in bankruptcy in short order as your Cruze, Malibu or HHR customers go to other companies because you just doubled your entry price tag and they are turned off by the Trax. They are losing a lot of customers right now, and I am not sure they get it. This is a minus that outweighs the above plus...

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    Re: The Story Of The Midengine Corvette

    The mid-engine Corvette has been simmering for years, and years....Odd that it finally surfaced now, but seems the Ferrari and Maserati are selling like hot-cakes.....ergo....GM finally decided to get some of those big dollars (lire)........Nice car though!

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