Mid-Engine C8 Corvette | Why Did It Take SO LONG? | WheelHouse


– After decades of rumors,
the mid-engine Corvette is finally actually happening. So what took GM and Chevy
so long to build it? And is it gonna be successful? Let’s talk about it. The Chevrolet Corvette
has always sat in its own weird little niche in the market. It’s pricier than the Ford Mustang, so GM invented the Camaro
to compete with that car. It’s well known that the
father of the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Dontov, was a racer and a big proponent of
the mid-engine layout. And it’s fairly common knowledge that mid-engine is better for performance than the typical front engine format. So if the Vette has
always been GM’s halo car and wasn’t in any direct competition with other cars any way, why didn’t they go
whole-hog a long time ago? Well, the history of
the mid-engine Corvette is one of bad timing and
conservative decisions. It all started with the
1960 CERV, which stood for either Corporate
Engineering Research Vehicle or Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle. It was a single seater race car that was never intended to be a Corvette. Arkus-Duntov used it as a testbed for the mid-engine layout
and suspension design. But GM was against any
actual racing involvement. Its independent rear suspension did end up in the 1963 Stingray Corvette though. When the Ford GT40 took
the racing world by storm a few years later, Zora
kicked back into gear and developed the mid-engine CERV II. His team came up with some
very interesting ideas. They moved the transmission
behind the differential and added a second transmission that was driven off the
front of the crankshaft. That’s right. This thing was all-wheel drive. Despite how cool this thing was, GM decided to quietly support
Chaparral race cars at Can-Am instead of openly going
over Ford at Le Mans. That meant no production
mid-engine Corvette either. Next came the experimental XP-880, also called the Astro II in 1968. This was the first time
anything actually resembling a mid-engine Corvette would show up, and it looked pretty badass. But the two-speed transaxle borrowed from the Pontiac
Tempest couldn’t handle the huge V8 they put in it. The 1970 New York Auto Show was the debut of the first official
mid-engine Corvette concept, the XP-882. It had a transversely
mounted small-block V8 and used an Oldsmobile Toronado transaxle to make it all-wheel drive. What’s with this all-wheel drive stuff? Zora Arkus-Duntov rushed it to the shows so Chevy could have a competitor to three other mid-engine
cars that were rumored to be going into production, the AMC AMX3, the Mercedes Benz C111, and the De Tomaso Pantera. It’s not totally clear what happened after the XP-882’s auto show debut. One story is that John DeLorean, who was the boss of Chevy back then, wanted the Corvette to
go a lower cost route. He killed the program, and
Arkus-Duntov threatened to quit. Another story is that there
was such a positive response to the XP-882 that GM
authorized more money for the further development, but the team changed
tactics and tried to develop a lighter, rotary version instead. In the quest for progress, the mid-engine V8 plans were scrapped. There’s evidence that both
of these things happened. Just two years later,
GM built the V8-powered XP-895 prototype on the
same chassis as the 882. It also ended up being too heavy, so DeLorean got one of GM’s
suppliers, Reynolds Metals, to make an aluminum body
that was 500 pounds lighter than the steel one. But the cost of mass producing
aluminum body Corvettes would have been too high, and the fiberglass C3 was
selling really well anyway, so the XP-895 was yet another dead end. One year later, a couple of mid-engine rotary prototypes appeared. The first one was the XP-897 GT, which debuted in Frankfurt in 1973. It was built on a Porsche
914 chassis, oddly enough. The engine was a two rotor
Wankel, making only 180 horses. Zora thought it was
underpowered, no kidding, and didn’t like the idea. So Arkus-Duntov pulled one
of the older prototypes out of storage and
reworked it into, get this, a four rotor concept
for the Paris Auto Show. It had gull wing doors, for some reason. You know, like all concept cars. The interior looked pretty complete, which made people think
that the mid-engine Corvette was finally gonna happen this time. But it wasn’t the four rotor of your glorious sounding dreams, like the Mazda 787. It was two of the two rotor
Wankels connected together with a V-belt to make 360 horsepower. As you might expect,
that didn’t work at all, and I’m kinda glad because
that sounds like a nightmare. On top of that, it was 1973, which was when a little
thing called the Oil Crisis started freaking everyone out. It just wasn’t a good time
to build thirsty engines. So GM didn’t make any rotaries
or the mid-engine Vette. While the rotary idea was good and dead, Zora pulled the Wankels
out, threw another V8 in, and renamed the concept the Aerovette. And this was his personal favorite of all the mid-engine Corvette prototypes. Zora retired in 1975, and in ’76, the Aerovette was considered the possible future C4. The Datsun 280Z was eating into
the aging C3 Corvette sales, and it seemed like it was the
right time to finally do it. But the best that we can tell
is that GM simply wussed out and kept going with the C3 until 1982. When Zora retired, he told
his successor, Dave McLellan, that he just had to make a
mid-engine Corvette someday. Another 10 years later went by before they built another
mid-engine concept with help from Lotus,
the 1986 Corvette Indy. It was a super advanced prototype with all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and hydraulic active suspension. It was powered by a twin
turbo charged 2.65 liter V8, making over 600 horses. That’s crazy. Its interior were stocked too with an early navigation
system and a rear view camera. But the Indy was far too
complex and expensive to be a viable option in the
80s, and it didn’t get built. The Indy was toned down into a more production viable concept called CERV III for the 1990 Detroit Auto Show. This one had a twin turbo charged 5.7 LT5, making 650 horses, but
it was estimated to cost $400,000 to produce, which was Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40 money. That wasn’t going to
fly at Chevy, obviously. CERV III ended up being the final mid-engine Corvette
concept we would see. McLellan’s replacement, Dave Hill, was another front engine guy. But he did hire an
assistant who was into it, a guy named Tadge Jeuchter. I’m doing my best to pronounce it. He got GM’s design department
to make up a bunch of mid-engine models for wind tunnel testing. The closest thing to it was
the Cadillac Cien concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2002. This thing was in Midnight
Club 3, you might remember it. With a huge 7.5 liter Northstar
V12 behind the driver, it’s sick. After Hill retired, Jeuchter proposed the mid-engine Corvette with
chief engineer Tom Wallace. He loved it. Then the bottom fell out of the economy, hitting the automotive
industry really hard. GM was in especially bad shape, and you probably know
they had to be bailed out by the government. Corvette development money
was canceled completely. It was a terrible time
to make a radical change. We’re probably lucky the Vette
wasn’t killed altogether. The fact that it’s been
a historically profitable and popular car probably saved its life. Thankfully, the markets
bounced back a little bit from the financial crisis,
and the C7 was a huge hit. The latest Corvette has
incredible performance, but it’s held back by
its front engine layout. It seems like the time for
the mid-engine Corvette was finally right, and Chevy
debuted the long awaited car on July 18th and it looks
absolutely wild, I love it. Power comes from a 6.2 liter
mid-mounted V8 called the LT2 and makes 495 horsepower and 470 torques with a performance exhaust option. There’s no word yet on
power without that exhaust, but I’m sure it’s gonna be super quick. All trims, including the base, come with a dry sump oil system
so the engine won’t run dry, even under continued loads over one G. And they say that the base model can pull over a G on its
standard all-season tires. That’s sick. It’s got 19-inch wheels on
the front, 20s on the back, with four piston Brembo
brakes on both ends. So far, it’s only gonna
come with an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. And while I’m frankly
a little disappointed there’s no manual, a dual
clutch is still really sick. Maybe they’ll give us
a clutch pedal later, but some people don’t think it’s possible. Test mules were spotted running
with Porsche 911 turbos, so it looks like Chevy aimed
this Corvette super high with their performance benchmarking. The mid-engine C8 should
be super impressive. I for one am super stoked for the C8. It’s gonna come out next year. The current age of a Corvette owner is 64, so GM has to be staking their
hopes on this brand new layout attracting new, younger buyers. And I think price is gonna be a big factor in the C8 Corvette’s success. The new base Stingray model
is gonna start under $60,000. That’s only a couple grand
more than the base C7 right now and about the same as a Porsche Cayman and a lot less than the Audi R8. Faster trim levels are definitely coming, and I can’t wait to see how they stack up against McLarens and Ferraris and Lambos. I can’t believe that I’m
excited for a new Corvette. But it kinda has the stigma of being like your grandpa’s car. But with this new mid-engine car, I’m so excited for it. Big thanks to this week’s sponsor, Petal. Credit is really important, especially if you want to buy
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they’ll go up to 1.5% cash back after 12 on time monthly payments. Pretty easy. Head over to petalcard.com/wheelhouse
for more info, and rev up your credit today. Support us by supporting the companies that support our shows. Now, how do I get off this thing? This is brake, right,
or is this the clutch? Thanks for watching Wheelhouse. Chevy, please give us one to review. Everyone at Donut is super stoked. Check out this episode of Wheelhouse on Corvette versus the Thunderbird, one of our earlier
episodes, still really good. Check out this episode of
Up to Speed on the Corvette to get another history of the car so far. Hit me up on Instagram @NolanJSykes. Follow Donut @DonutMedia. You like these shirts? We got ’em, go to shop.donut.media. Be nice, see you next time.

100 comments

So I really like the new C8, obviously. I think it will have the same effect the GTR did back in 2007: sending the big boy exotics back to the drawing board by making them all look foolish at half the cost. But beyond that I'm just really stoked for Chevy & GM, showing that the US CAN produce a true European style sports car. Hopefully the racing version kicks some serious butt!

"C7 had incredible performance but is front-engine layout held it back" Really? I don't think so, is more about dedication than physics, ask the engineers at Porsche that are being doing one of the fastest sports car on earth with the engine hanging from the ass, basically a crane on wheels. Don't come with that excuse. I don't hate the new corvette, but is more trend than anything else.

Mid engine Corvette,i still thing Americans dont know how a make cars:)
9:00 And who buy this if you can have better Porshe…

A big reason is that the Camaro isn't far behind in overall performance, Chevrolet didn't want 1982 happening again. Also wanted to better compete with higher priced more exotic cars.

They shoulda made a mid-engine corvette all those years ago, so im not interested in this corvette at all, they wasted all those chances that they had before, so why get it, its not even worth my time thinking about this "upcoming" mid-engine corvette

Once there are a handful of preowned C8's around for sale I have a feeling I'll be selling my Infiniti and adding some extra cash and picking one up. I've wanted a Vette for a while, but have been waiting soooooo long for these to finally go on sale.

Dammit. I'm a Dodge guy and cars in my garage are all Dodge. But I'm not gonna lie, I kinda want the new c8 Vette. That thing is freaking sick. It's gorgeous and it's fast for a car with only 465hp

this is so much better than up to speed. No screaming and saying stupid shit. This is the kind of video that people were attracted Donut Media to begin with. Just informational videos about topics nobody talked about. Love this series WAY more

You know what is really sad? We'll never get to see the three pillocks from Grand Tour talk about it on conversation street. We won't get to hear Hammond say "I've wet myself just looking at it', or hear May call it ridiculous, or watch Clarkson spin it round the eboladrome 🙁

Pontiac beat them by 35 years and GM wouldn't allow the Fiero to have more power as it would be too competitive to their flagship Corvette.

THE REASON THEY WENT MID ENGINE WAS DUE TO CORVETTE SALES PLUMMETING FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS. THEY COULDN'T GIVE THESE CORVETTES AWAY. ON GM'S PART GOING MID ENGINE IS A GREAT MOVE HOPEFULLY IT IS SUCCESSFUL.

you're excited about a corvette. lol, that means your getting old. pretty soon you will be pissed at the younger crown for doing stupid crap like stance. GET OFF MY LAWN!

lol the new corvette absolutely smashed the new supra… 500hp, amazing interior, mind blowing looks, and much much more just for a few bucks more than the supra!!! but i guess the supra is from toyota so reliability can be a concern for some people buying the corvette, but i think its reliable enough, chevy did an amazing job on this thing, its absolutely amazing.. only costs 55k!!!i hope i can get one after i graduate..

No one talks about how ugly this thing looks. Every previous mid engine corvette concept looks great and the world gets this!

They finally made the Corvette I always wanted.

Too bad now I'm looking at a Tesla or other EV as my next car and not investing in a gas car again.

They have already said what performance is without the exhaust option… it's 490hp without.. 495 with it

Seems pretty nice BUT it is an American car. It needs a bit of a more muscular stance. From certain angles, the tires appear inside the wheel wells which makes the stance kind of weak and narrow. Should look wider.

Let's get real! The true reason Chevy was so challenged is because that 6.2 V8 makes heat and lots of it. Only now with modern engineering can a huge mid mounted engine be cooled reliably even for racing. Hell even front mounted 'Vettes had serious cooling problems road racing. Because this platform has to be boost ready not just N/A. So there's that. Prove me wrong. 🔥🔥

BECAUSE AMERICA IS ALWAYS BEHIND DECADES TO EUROPEANS. GERMANY HAD FUEL INJECTION IN THE 1930S, ANTI LOCK BRAKES IN THE 70S, SEAT BELTS IN THE 1920S, AIRBAGS IN THE 1980S!!!!

why do all Mid-Engined cars look the same ? Ok not the same but idk how to say this .Any way the new Mid-Engined Corvette is not just a new generation it a evolution! Also will old guys and girls know how to driver this new Mid-Engined Corvette ?if they been driveing front Engined Corvette all there life .mid-engine cars are the best for handling but if you ever lose control of a mid-engine vehicle and start to spin, it will be harder to overcome and stop the spin due to its low center of gravity. also thank you to this page for info https://www.leithcars.com/blogs/1421/lifestyle/front-vs-mid-vs-rear-engines/.

Heyy,, Come join the "C8 Corvette Owners (And Friends)" Facebook group! It's blowing up right now! You'll like it!! ========
🙂
https://www.facebook.com/groups/C8.Corvette.Owners/

If a rear mid engine is the best layout, why does GTR or Supra go front engine? How about Benz GT or Aston Martin, or Ferrari?
Don't get me wrong Chevy's new sports car is dam nice- but it's not a Corvette. Call it what it is: an Astro!!!!

Jesus Christ this car is going to appreciate in price sooooooooo much ;(

If you have the money to buy it now. BUY IT NOW

So what you're saying is Chevy is just a lazy as ford…. No originality and skimping out on opportunity

You’ll want to get in here.. The C8 Corvette Owners group on Facebook. Lookers welcome too 🙂 –
https://www.facebook.com/groups/C8.Corvette.Owners/

If you are a younger person who can afford a Corvette… Please tell me what you do for a living.. I barely can afford a used car lol 😁😭😭

If the current price of the car keeps buyers at an average 64 years of age, how the fuck is $5000 on top of that gonna get them younger buyers? -_-

Car is siiiiiick tho ^^

Oh there’s gonna be so many none chevy people driving the basic ass stingray now🤦‍♂️ get ready for a crap ton of totaled c8

The results of a Fiero gt & Camaro's late night rendezvous. 🤣🇺🇸

New car, new design, first year production, no Realistic testing, some early pre-production accidents means only 1 thing…..wait until they work out all the bugs in it & make any improved changes for 2nd model year.😎👍

Didn't knew that Ferrari retrofitted their 430 now with a boxy looking body-kit. Dead car by a dead company and the car isn't even available yet.

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