According to the UK car site Autocar, the mid-engine Corvette project is back online. That is if you believe an unnamed source from Saab engineering. Talk of mid-engined Corvettes have been around since 1960’s CERV-I so its no surprise that the rumor is back now that General Motors has moved beyond last year’s financial difficulties. As easy as it would be to discount the story, and some blogs have, there may be some truth based on what we know from the GM-UAW Strike of 2007.
Autocar says that a unnamed engineer from Saab revealed in a trade publication that they had developed a double-clutch transmission for a “mid-engined version of the Corvette”. Saab, according to Autocar, was General Motors’s center of competence for those systems and the Saab-designed DCT was built to handle up to 590 lb-ft of torque, slightly less than the Corvette ZR1’s 604 lb-ft.
But there is a back story to the Dual Clutch Transmission rumor and having covered future Corvette news for five years, we pulled these nuggets from our archives.
Back in October 2007 following a nationwide strike, GM and the UAW released the terms of their agreement to return to work. That document detailed GM’s lineup, factories and target dates for products were listed. It confirmed in writing that the C7 was greenlighted for 2012 as a 2013 model. (which would also coincide with Corvette’s 60th anniversary).
An entry in the agreement on page 69 under the Toledo Transmission plant plants lists the “RWD DCT for NG Corvette will be allocated (2012)” Many have believed that the DCT stands for Dual Clutch Transmission. As Saab was the technical experts on those systems, it’s likely that their engineers would have put pen to paper to create a dual-clutch transmission that can handle the torque and horsepower of the Corvette. I’m no engineer, but it seems to me that the engineers developing a dual clutch transmission would need to know the engine layout.
Yet, Autocar doesn’t say is that the mid-engine will come as a C7. Instead, they cite rumors from the US that the mid-engine Corvette will come as a C8 model, arriving five years after the introduction of the C7. Further discussion is given to the anticipation of GM downsizing the engine from a V8 to a turbocharged V6. Yada yada yada…
While these rumors are fun to analyse and discuss, you can’t put too much into them as Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter discussed at the Corvette Bash this year.