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The History of the Mid-Engine Corvette

motor1 Logo By Simón Gómez of motor1 | Slide 1 of 12: The idea of a mid-engined mid-engined Corvette is not new. In fact it was 60 years ago this year when the first functioning prototype based on that very idea was put together. Known as 1959 CERV I (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle), this open wheel single seater rocket was the brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov, a Belgian engineer of Russian descent who joined Chevrolet in 1953, just after the birth of the first Corvette. 

   
Zora Arkus-Duntov and the 1959 CERV-I.

   
Zora Arkus-Duntov behind the wheel of the 1959 CERV-I.


Duntov, who was also a very competent race driver, fell in love with the idea of the Corvette, but was appalled by the crude mechanics and incompetent behavior of its first iteration. Duntov thought that the mid-engine layout he would spent his entire career championing, was the perfect cure to the little roadster maladies. His 23-year career with General Motors is intimately intertwined with the Corvette’s history, and his failure to finally switch the Corvette to a mid-engine platform, was a lifelong source of frustration for him.

   
The 1964 CERV II could have competed with the Ford GT-40 in Le Mans.

   
The 1968 Chevrolet Astro II was conceived as a personal sports car capable of transporting two passengers and their luggage in comfort.


But Duntov planted the seed of a mid-engined Corvette in the heart of Chevrolet, where many more prototypes based on that idea were produced during the next 6 decades, some of them directed by Duntov himself, and many of them mader after his time with the automaker. Today, 66 years after the arrival of both the Corvette and Duntov in Chevy’s history, and on the eve of the unveiling of the very first mid-engined Corvette, we saw fit to take a look at the mid-engined Corvette prototypes of the last 60 years. Enjoy
The Latest Official Corvette C8 News:Mid-Engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette To Debut At Event In CaliforniaSee The 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 At The Concours d'Elegance of AmericaThe 2020 C8 Corvette Will Debut As A StingrayC8 Corvette Steering Wheel, Engine Sound Unveiled Ahead Of Debut

1973 Reynolds Aluminum Corvette

The idea of a mid-engined mid-engined Corvette is not new. In fact it was 60 years ago this year when the first functioning prototype based on that very idea was put together. Known as 1959 CERV I (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle), this open wheel single seater rocket was the brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov, a Belgian engineer of Russian descent who joined Chevrolet in 1953, just after the birth of the first Corvette. 

Zora Arkus-Duntov and the 1959 CERV-I. Zora Arkus-Duntov behind the wheel of the 1959 CERV-I.

Duntov, who was also a very competent race driver, fell in love with the idea of the Corvette, but was appalled by the crude mechanics and incompetent behavior of its first iteration. Duntov thought that the mid-engine layout he would spent his entire career championing, was the perfect cure to the little roadster maladies. His 23-year career with General Motors is intimately intertwined with the Corvette’s history, and his failure to finally switch the Corvette to a mid-engine platform, was a lifelong source of frustration for him.

The 1964 CERV II could have competed with the Ford GT-40 in Le Mans. The 1968 Chevrolet Astro II was conceived as a personal sports car capable of transporting two passengers and their luggage in comfort.

But Duntov planted the seed of a mid-engined Corvette in the heart of Chevrolet, where many more prototypes based on that idea were produced during the next 6 decades, some of them directed by Duntov himself, and many of them mader after his time with the automaker. Today, 66 years after the arrival of both the Corvette and Duntov in Chevy’s history, and on the eve of the unveiling of the very first mid-engined Corvette, we saw fit to take a look at the mid-engined Corvette prototypes of the last 60 years. Enjoy

The Latest Official Corvette C8 News:


Mid-Engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette To Debut At Event In California
See The 2020 Chevy Corvette C8 At The Concours d'Elegance of America
The 2020 C8 Corvette Will Debut As A Stingray
C8 Corvette Steering Wheel, Engine Sound Unveiled Ahead Of Debut
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