The mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette has been teased, spied, leaked, and promised for decades now. Time and time again we have been assured a mid-engine Corvette is just around the corner, only to have it never materialize. But the truth is, we’re closer now than ever before, with rumours flying and spy shots constantly surfacing of the next-generation C8 Corvette — and it appears to be mid-engined.
That said, this isn’t new. When did this all start and how many times has this happened? Well, we’re going right back to the very genesis of the mid-engine Corvette myth.
1964 CERV II
What was it? As Ferrari and Ford developed the mid-engined 248 SP and the GT40, respectively, GM realized they’d have to go to the mid-engine formula if they wanted to compete on the world’s stage. Thus, the impetus was born for the radical CERV II, the genesis of the mid-engine Corvette legend.
CERV simply stands for Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle, a purposely dull name to slide it by the bean counters without them knowing. The CERV II was obviously preceded by the CERV I, but the first was a cigar-shaped, single-seater designed to compete in Indy races. And while it was mid-engined, it had no planned crossover with the Corvette.
The CERV II, however, was intended to be a separate, limited production run of Corvette designed to dominate racing. It was powered by two engines during its two-year development — initially by an advanced, all-aluminum 377 cubic-inch SOHC V8 making 490 horsepower and eventually, a hulking 427 cubic-inch V8 making 550 horsepower. That furious power was sent to the ground via an advanced all-wheel-drive system and wide racing tires.