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Mid-engined Corvette rumours return – and this time, there are spyshots

Published: 02 August 2017

► Corvette to go mid-engined in 2019?
► Spyshots show mysterious test mule
► ZR-1 and Zora names rumoured

This mysterious prototype sneakily snapped from above is thought to be an experimental mule for a mid-engined Corvette – a car that’s been rumoured for decades but has never quite made the jump into production.

Now that could be set to change – it’s thought that the C8 replacement for the current (and excellent) C7 Corvette is being engineered with its powerplant behind the seats.

Another mid-engined Corvette rumour – we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

The notion of a mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette has been around since the early ’60s, but while there have been Corvette-branded racing cars with mid-mounted engines there hasn’t yet been an official middie ’Vette road car.

Projects and prototypes have come and gone, but never made it as far as showrooms. Most notably, there was the curvaceous Corvette Indy concept car in 1986, subsequently developed into the high-tech CERV III in 1990.

Mid-engined Corvette?

Give me more gossip, please

In 2016, Chevrolet re-applied to trademark the ZR-1 nameplate – previously applied to highest-performance Corvette derivatives.

The name ‘Zora’ – a homage to long-time Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov – may also be applied. GM-owned engineering firm Katech is reported to have briefly published a landing page on its website for the ‘2018+ Corvette ZR1/Zora LT5’ – which has since been taken down.

GM has recently heavily invested in its Bowling Green plant in Kentucky, which currently produces just one car – the C7 Corvette.

Production of the C8 is expected to get underway at the Bowling Green site early in 2019.

Mid-engined Corvette?

Details are about as blurry as the pictures right now, but industry rumour suggests there could be three different powertrain options – two being regular combustion engine drivetrains, and one being a hybrid.

Multiple roof options may be offered, too – from a fixed-head coupe to an open targa top, via an intriguing-sounding full glass roof option – a jetfighter-esque canopy would be quite something, wouldn’t it?

What about the good ol’ front-engined Corvette?

The C7 is expected to continue in production until 2021, by which time all body and powertrain variants of the C8 are expected to have been rolled out.

As to whether a front-engined ’Vette derivative will continue alongside the mid-engined C8 post-2021, we’ll have to wait and see.

Ditto as to what will power the mid-engined car – smart money’s on a twin-turbo V6, but to some, the thought of a Corvette without a V8 will be even more sacrilegious than where that engine's mounted…

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ