Car & Driver: 10 Cars That Paved The Way For A Mid-Engined C8 Corvette

Car Driver C8 Matick Chevy
A mid-engined Corvette was closer to production reality than you might think.

It May Become A Reality As The 2017 Corvette ZR1

By Don Sherman from the October 2014 issue of Car and Driver

Two hours into the 1957 12-hour Sebring Grand Prix, driver John Fitch dove into the pits to abandon his Corvette Super Sport. Officials were told a failed rear-suspension bushing prompted the DNF, but the real reason behind the early retirement was that Fitch couldn’t take the heat. Literally. Exhaust pipes snaking through the experimental sports racer’s magnesium body had cooked his feet.

Pondering the demise of his Sebring project, Corvette patron saint Zora Arkus-Duntov concluded, “The heat source must be behind the driver.” From then on, Arkus-Duntov’s pursuit of a mid-engined Corvette never wavered. His legacy is this family album of experiments, prototypes, concepts, and stillborn production proposals.

To test his theories, Arkus-Duntov built the single-seat Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle with a 353-hp aluminum-block V-8 driving the rear wheels through a four-speed transaxle. CERV I served as a test bed for the production C2 Corvette’s independent rear suspension. After attacking Pikes Peak, Arkus-Duntov lapped GM’s Milford proving grounds at 206 mph in this car.

To read the rest of Don's Car And Driver blog and to see these special 10 cars, click here.

Photography by Michael Furman and the manufacturer

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