It seems like more and more C8 Corvette news that was so hard to come by earlier this year is finally starting to make its way out to the public. This latest report on the next generation Corvette comes from the Detroit News who cited unnamed sources as saying the mid-engine Corvette will debut in 2019 while the front-engine C7 Corvette will stay around until 2021.
This all appears to follow the C8 timeline that we’ve been hearing about including the possibility of the C7 and C8 programs overlapping.
According to recent reports, the C8 – known internally at GM as “Emperor” – will make its public reveal in early 2018. We assume that debut will come during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. When production of the mid-engine C8 Corvette starts, it will be as a 2019 model year.
Now this is where things get interesting.
Switching the architecture of the Corvette from front-engine to a mid-engine design would be the most radical change in the Corvettes since the 1963 first came in Coupe body design. And while that change was done 10 years into the program, getting current Corvette enthusiasts on board for the C8’s radical makeover may be a lot harder than explaining the benefits of putting the engine behind the driver.
Think of hubbub surrounding the C7’s controversial tail light design and then multiply that by 1000.
So to keep Corvette’s lunatic fringe at bay as the mid-engine Corvette begins production, Chevrolet will continue to offer the current front-engine C7 Grand Sport and Z06 models through 2021.
This allows both models to be sold side-by-side and allows the mid-engine Corvette three years to grow and gain acceptance before the front-engine model official is retired.
Although not said in this report, we do expect that the mid-engine Corvette will morph into multiple models following its inaugural year based on performance and price as Chevrolet has offered previously.
The Detroit News report goes on to say that the mid-engine Corvette program, once signed off by Bob Lutz and former Corvette Chief Engineer Tom Wallace in 2007 before being shelved during 2009’s bankruptcy is now being championed by Mark Reuss, GM’s Global Product Development chief. “It’s happening. Mark Reuss wants it,” says an unnamed former GM employee and he adds, “It’s the worst-kept secret in town.”