2020 C8 Corvette Started Out As A Holden Ute With A Porsche PDK Box

In early 2015, Car and Driver published exclusive images of a curious Holden Commodore ute which it claimed was an early prototype for the mid-engine Chevrolet C8 Corvette. At the time, such an assertion seemed a little bold but, as it turns out, the publication was right on the money.

Prior to last week’s launch of the C8 Corvette with its mid-engined layout, Popular Mechanics was invited by Chevrolet to GM’s proving grounds and had the exclusive opportunity to see the Commodore prototype in the flesh.

Dubbed Blackjack by Chevy’s engineers, it was first put together in 2013. The car manufacturer wanted to test the mid-engined layout for the C8 Corvette in secret and, according to executive chief engineer Tadge Juecther, that meant thinking outside the box.

“Before, we could disguise development work by tweaking a current car. You can’t do that with mid-engine proportions, so we decided to make it look like a ute,” he explained.

Blackjack was a mismatch of GM parts, with lights and grilles from a Commodore and others, including some interior elements, from the C7 Corvette. Chevrolet even fitted a wing on the back of the prototype, albeit upside down, to produce lift over the rear wheels and to help with suspension development. Incredibly, the frankencar also features an (adapted) PDK transmission from a Porsche!

Once the development of Blackjack had run its course, Chevrolet built a number of other prototypes. One of these was built in 2016 and fitted with the company’s 6.2-liter V8 and the correct, GM-developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission which is found in the finished item.

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  • Kannag Don Amenra

    Was neutral about the EXTERIOR but slowly but SURELY, it’s growing on me…

    • Ermal Morina

      so i’m not the only one huh, it has definitively grown alot on me these recent days

  • Ray
  • Bob

    Strange. I had a dumb conversation with someone regarding this aspect of mid-engined cars. Now to get an old Nissan 1400 and turn that into a mid-engined beast.

  • Six_Tymes

    its weird, when I saw the C8 in the many spy photos and the initial reveal I really didn’t like the exterior design, it has since gown on me quickly. I do wonder how ill feel about it in person. I wonder when these will be in show rooms?

    • Porkopolis

      I was the same way. I thought it looked horrendous in camo. Without camo it looks pretty good. I suspect it will look great in person. We shall see.

  • nastinupe

    I looooove the new Corvette. It looks amazing both inside and out. I almost feel like I’m dreaming. I can’t wait to see one in person. The only thing that’s holding me back from ordering one now is knowing that better versions are on the horizon and I don’t want to get stuck in the basic one. I need to see what the Z06 and Grand Sport look like before pulling the trigger. If I don’t like them I can always take advantage of good old American depreciation.

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