What’s the biggest surprise (or annoyance, or outrage) on the American car scene in recent years? Ford dropping a four-cylinder Mustang certainly got some people
talking grumbling, but mostly there have just been improvements in everything from the latest Corvette — a home run by any standard — to Dodge’s new musclebound lineup. But now, with a mid-engine Corvette prototype reportedly spotted on the road, we now have a contender for Most Talked About Car of 2015 so early in the year.
What spy shots show
Car and Driver magazine got exclusive spy photos from an intrepid photographer who caught the test “Corvette” in motion from a high angle (perhaps a piloted drone). At first glance, it appears someone dissected a Holden Ute and slapped a Corvette windshield on it while jamming an engine behind the back seat. Sure, it’s no Porsche just yet, but the mere idea of a mid-engine Corvette (even one in disguise) is a bit of a landmark event.
According to Car and Driver, the driver made haste to throw a cover over the rigged-up ride once he knew he had been made by a car paparazzo. Whatever was going down on that lonely test track, GM’s people wanted it hushed up in the fastest way possible.
Why a new Corvette already?
With the C7 Stingray still receiving heaps of praise to go along with its countless awards, you might wonder why Chevy would continue sinking so much development cash into a newer, more freakishly exquisite Corvette. Now that the Corvette has taken its place among the world’s top cars, only the most exotic sports cars stand taller than it in the world of dream machines. Why wouldn’t GM want to ascend to the next level?
In its original, extensive treatise on the proposed mid-engine “C8″ Corvette, Car and Driver suggested the American legend could take its place among the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the world with its mid-mounted powertrain in place. (Remember how much of the car’s looks could adjust with the shorter wheelbase.) Reports also indicated that a mid-engine ‘Vette wouldn’t be overwhelmingly expensive because R&D went down in the pre-bankruptcy days.
Since “if” is no longer a question in the minds of many, the next logical step is wondering when the future will arrive. Bet on the 2017 model year, says Car and Driver, which would make it less than two years away. This estimate might be optimistic.
The countdown notwithstanding, there is every reason to expect increased acceleration, better stopping power, and looks that make you wonder whether your sports car is European-made or hand-crafted in Detroit. Expect the price to keep that guessing game going.