Former Corvette Engineers Say Mid-Engined C8 Is “Once-In-A-Lifetime” Opportunity

Forty years after the first plans laid out by Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Corvette will launch with a mid-engine layout, fulfilling the legendary engineer’s dream.

But why did it take GM so long to bring the mid-ship Corvette to the market? There are many causes, but upper management and conservative Corvette buyers are the most important.

Hagerty talked to three former Corvette engineers, Dave McLellan, Dave Hill and Tom Wallace, and they all agreed those were the main reasons. So if GM corporate management wasn’t on board with the idea and the customers were deemed too traditionalist for such a radical transformation, what changed now?

Well, it all comes to the financial part, as always. Market conditions now offer GM something new: the chance to build a mid-engined Corvette and price it accordingly. The consensus between the three engineers is that the C8 Corvette will carry a relatively high price tag — certainly higher than what Vette customers are accustomed to.

They are skeptical that GM will manage to offer the C8 Corvette with a starting MSRP of $70,000 and believe a base mid-engine Vette will cost anywhere between $70,000 and $100,000. For reference, the C7 Corvette Stingray now starts at $56,445, and the high-performance Z06 kicks off at $80,445. And let’s not even bring up the ZR1 and its $121,000 MSRP.

So while the C8 generation won’t be cheap, the engineers agree it will still be a value proposition as well as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the brand. They also believe continuing C7 production after C8’s introduction makes the most sense.

We’re sure you’re as excited as Dave McLellan, Dave Hill and Tom Wallace about the 2020 Corvette C8. We know you’re anxious to see it in the metal, so here are some fresh renderings to sweeten the wait. The ones showing the exterior design are from Corvette Forum, while the interior CGIs come from Corvette Blogger.

The exterior renderings are obviously inspired by spied C8 Corvette prototypes while the interior images are purely speculative. They are based on a sketch from a user called ZERV02 who claims to have seen the C8’s interior. The mid-engine Corvette, which could also carry the Zora name, is likely to debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

more photos...
  • Christian

    “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity / To seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment / Would you capture it let it go?

    • Honda NSX-R

      Oh, and I’m just playing Diddy, you know I love you.

    • DMax

      Did you just say something about mom’s spaghetti?

  • john1168

    Well, now I know why the new Camaro has the tail lights it has… These renderings are better but the rear end is still a bit weird looking. And I doubt the interior will look like that as these renderings are just modified C7 interiors with extra LCD displays in them. I think it’s a great idea to continue the C7 alongside the C8. At least to see how things go. The C8 might not sell well and then GM can always go back to status quo. And I agree with the engineers when they say, this won’t be a cheap car. I’d say starting price will be north of $90k. I’m hoping it will be less like earlier rumors stated but I just don’t see it happening.

    • donald seymour

      The rear end has that gawd awful 90s’ vibe to it.

  • Ryan50

    Oh look, another crappy render!

    • db

      Lighten up.

  • Lyle L

    Why would anyone want to buy the c7 variant after the c8 variant is out? Corvette guys want the best, that’s why they always trade up for the next new shiny thing.

    • Matt

      Didn’t you read that the reason GM has never made a mid-engined ‘Vette is because ‘Corvette guys’ are so conservative. There’s a chance they won’t take to the C8, and even GM’s engineers think offering the C7 in parallel is a good idea.


    • eb110americana

      Because it would be cheaper.

    • db

      As a C7 owner, I have my limits that I must abide by. Translated, my wife won’t let me spend that much on a car.


  • bhambadboy1

    It’s important to remember there is currently about 6 month wait to get your $100,000+ ZR1. Current Corvette enthusiasts are more than willing to pay for kick-ass products!

  • Scott Teeters

    The interior rendering looks nice. But I hope the exterior renderings are WAY OFF! They are disjointed and elements stuck together. Bill Mitchell would heave at the “design”. It looks like engineers styled the car.

    But no matter how you slice it, the C8 will be a toy. With ZERO storage space, no one will be taking long trip in the car, unless that have a backup car behind them to carry their overnight bag. Since the corvette got a real hatch back on the 1982 Collector Edition, the Corvette has been a GT (Grand Touring) car. A car that you could take a “grand” “tour” ie, a big trip with. Like say, to the National Corvette Museum!

  • Craig

    It’s just not pretty. And that’s too bad.

    • performante

      You’re judging a random rendering.

      • Craig

        I am indeed. But most renderings of the mid-engined Corvette look about the same.

      • StrangerGP

        I haven’t seen a single rendering of the C8 in which it would look good or at least decent. It’s not like people who design them lack skill, they’re basing their designs on the camo’d car and on Chevy’s current design.

  • Karl

    If this is even close to what the final product looks like then GM please don’t even bother! They had a lifetime to get it right and this is what they came up with? Really sad,pathetic and ugly!


    None of the renders (so far) are giving me the tingles. But I bet that real deal will be a lust-worthy object of desire. Oh…and it would appear to me (imo) that the new layout would better accommodate a hybrid electric.Or…(ideally) an all electric drivetrain.

  • Reading this can’t help me to think that they should made two different line of Corvette, the front engine one and mid engine ones, They could have compliment each other.

    • performante

      Rumors suggest Corvette will branch out and become its own brand. Just rumors, of course.

      • Emoto

        How about “Stingray” and “Mantaray”?

        • john1168

          I was thinking that as well. Stingray for the front engine and Mantaray for the midengine.

        • Good idea.

    • john1168

      They’re going to build both the C7 and C8 at the same time at least for the first couple of years the C8 is out. About a month or so ago there was a picture of an SUV racing around a proving ground track and it was rumored to be a Corvette SUV. Personally I thought it was a new Cadillac suv but if it was a Corvette suv then the rumors of Corvette becoming a brand, as Performante stated, may very well happen. We’ll see…

      • Yes I heard about that, I was thinking more of a permanent move, it would be great for Corvette and GM in general, also make that in RHD as well and it would be perfect.

        • john1168

          I agree, it should be permanent.

    • Bash

      Nice idea. what worries me, is that if -for any reason- this mid engine doesn’t work as planned, they are going to cut it and go back to front engine, and this will leave a big scar on Corvette history; as I see it. The front engine has enough legacy and its still recognizable as a true icon. i don’t see why they should kill it.

      • Very good point indeed, we are talking a brand that once care enough to make a Corvair only to return with Nova.

  • Bash

    Nice dash, only if.

  • Rob Randazzo

    Those who’ve raced mid engine know. Can do a lot mere with a lot less engine. Neutral handling, more forgiving, easier to drive at the limit, less stressful. And maybe best of all, a cool cockpit. Good move Chevrolet.

  • ksegg

    LOL that interior. It looks like something GM Designers would create if on the phone with McLaren.

    “Uh huh, so put vents here. Got it.”

    “Put infotainment screen there. Yep. We got it.”

    “Dash should flow like this. Fantastic.”

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