I’ts taken a while, but there will be a mid-engined 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette

Talk of a making mid-engined Corvette has been constant since the 1970s, but the idea never really fully materialized and if you want to know why GM only is just now testing one with plans to release in 2020, then do read on.

Former Corvette Engineers Look at Why It Took So Long for GM to Build a Mid-Engine Vette Exterior Spyshots
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There were several factors that hindered the project, but the primary ones cited were buyers and GM management. This is the belief of three former GM engineers who worked on Corvettes in the past, all of which are finally happy to see the mid-engined C8 take shape on its way to launch.

Firstly, let’s address the two main reasons why it took this long for GM to finally make a mid-engined Vette.

Apparently, its buyers were always reluctant to support a move from the traditional front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout - the only layout ever used in a series Corvette.

One of the engineers interviewed, 82-year-old Dave McLellan, who actually replaced the famous Zora Arkus-Duntov as the chief engineer for the Corvette in 1975, explained that “when you consider that the move beyond chrome bumpers was initially a tough sell, it’s clear how conservative Corvette owners can be.”

He went on to say that GM’s current decision to finally go mid-engined with the Corvette suggests the company has financial stability, further emphasized by its new state of the art Bowling Green facility.

Former Corvette Engineers Look at Why It Took So Long for GM to Build a Mid-Engine Vette
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Interestingly, McLellan suggests that once the C8 debuts, the C7 could (and should) still be sold alongside - the C8 could be a lower volume, more expensive type of Corvette.

He adds that with the C8, “Chevrolet needs to show potential buyers what it’s capable of delivering with a potent V-8, a hybrid-electric powertrain, and all-wheel drive. In other words, GM’s version of a Porsche 918 Spyder.”

McLellan was succeeded as the Corvette’s chief engineer by Dave Hill, now 75, and he infers that while he supports the mid-engined C8 program, “If there will be only one Corvette, I feel the layout of the fifth, sixth, and seventh-generation cars is best. Versatility is what made Corvette a segment leader... The beauty of today’s Corvette is that you can take it on a two-week vacation without arguing with your spouse about how much stuff she can take.”

Next Corvette chief engineer after Hill, who retired in 2006, was Tom Wallace, now 70, who confirmed that immediately after he got the position, in 2006 - 2007, there was already talk on the project about “What’s next?” and that’s when the possibility to make the mid-engined Corvette started to be analyzed.

Former Corvette Engineers Look at Why It Took So Long for GM to Build a Mid-Engine Vette Exterior Spyshots
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He remembers he and his team “took secret test trips studying the Ferrari F430 and various Porsches. GM design studios around the world provided 1/8th scale models to study proportions. Then full-size clays were created to compare a front-engine and a mid-engine design side-by-side. Both were gorgeous. We never reached the point of constructing a running mid-engine prototype.”

It was the 2008 credit crunch that put an end to the project, and Wallace stepped down from his position just as GM had filed for Chapter 11. Now, though, the project has been picked up by the current Corvette engineering boss, Tadge Juechter, and while GM has remained tight-lipped about it, the scene is already well aware that the mid-engined C8 is real and it’s going to debut by 2019.

Further reading

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1 Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Zora.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Source: Hagerty

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