2019 Chevrolet Corvette (C8) spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
The mid-engine C8 Chevrolet Corvette is coming.
Prototypes for what’s clearly a mid-engine car with Corvette styling cues have been spotted at a General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] test facility.
There have also been substantial upgrades made to the Corvette’s plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The first was a $439 million upgrade in 2015. It was followed by a $290 million upgrade in 2016.
And only a couple of weeks ago a company that builds high-performance engines for GM, Katech, briefly had a section on its website making mention of C8 Corvette ZR1 and Zora models as well as an LT5. That section was quickly removed once news of it broke.
Zora is a name GM has trademarked and refers to Zora Arkus-Duntov, the father of performance Corvettes and a strong proponent of the mid-engine layout. LT5 meanwhile is likely to be a new V-8 positioned above the 650-horsepower V-8 known as the LT4 and found in the C7 Corvette Z06 as well as the Cadillac CTS-V and upcoming Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
The Detroit News, based on its sources, now reports that the mid-engine C8 Corvette will go on sale in early 2019, following a debut sometime in early 2018. We’ve previously heard that the car will debut at 2018’s Detroit auto show, scheduled for January of that year.
Interestingly, the sources said the current C7 Corvette could stick around until 2021, after which all Corvettes would feature a mid-engine layout. It’s also rumored Cadillac may get a high-performance model based on the C8 Corvette platform to help spread investment and provide GM’s luxury brand with its own halo car.
When contacted by The Detroit News, former GM exec Bob Lutz suggested the early development could foreshadow a plug-in hybrid model in the C8 Corvette family. It’s something current GM product chief Mark Reuss has previously hinted at.
Lutz also reaffirmed the well-known fact that GM had started work on a mid-engine layout for the C7 Corvette. Unfortunately those plans ended up being scrapped in the tumult prior to the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy.
But before the arrival of the C8 Corvette, GM is expected to give the C7 Corvette one last hurrah. That hurrah is expected to come in the form of a new Corvette ZR1 at the 2017 Detroit auto show.