Monday, November 25, 2019


I will happily join the herd heaping accolades on the new mid-engined Chevy Corvette C8.

It’s a dramatic re-imagining of the Corvette lineage, and according to GM’s VP of Design, Michael Simcoe, represents a tribute to the man called the ‘Father of the Corvette’ Zora Arkus-Duntov.

It was Arkus-Duntov who was messing around with mid-engined sports cars back in the early 60s. He was responsible for developing the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicles, codenamed CERV1, CERV2 and CERV3. CERV3 (bottom) bears more than a passing resemblance to the C8.

In fact the links between Zora Arkus-Duntov and the C8 are a fascinating sidebar to  Corvette history. Arkus-Duntov pushed GM to allow him to develop the concept of a mid-engined Corvette, and in addition to the CERVs, he finally got his way with a mid-engined concept, powered by, of all things, a 4-rotor Wankel engine.

Chev 4-rotor concept (top); Aerovette (centre and bottom)

Zora hated the Wankel powerplant, but later on in the late 60s, GM design chief Bill Mitchell used the 4-rotor design concept to create a concept called the Aerovette, powered by a standard small-block Chevy V8.

Many auto historians credit Zora with bringing a lot of European thinking to General Motors, especially where the lines of engineering and design crossed. He competed four times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning his class in 1954 in a Porsche.

He was a fixture at Le Mans, making friends with the famous and fabulous, such as Stirling Moss. He was also a big supporter of the Corvette racing team, with its thundering V8s competing alongside many more sophisticated racecars, such as Ferrari.
Looks like the familiar yellow Corvettes which thunder around the Le Mans circuit will be followed by this beauty - The C8.R

Now that GM has finally produced a stylish, and very competitively-priced mid-engined Corvette, it is set to reap big rewards in the market. GM is also hoping to lower its demographic, confident the new C8 will appeal to younger buyers. There’s even hope we may see it on sale in Australia, as a halo car, sitting above the Chevrolet Camaro.

The last words go to Michael Simcoe: “There’s more to come.” I, for one, can’t wait.


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