It’s a history lesson that introduces a new protagonist
Chevrolet put out a 29-second video on April 30 teasing the 2020 Corvette. Tucked in the middle eight seconds of that video, we got a few blink-and-miss-it frames of historical Corvettes showing off mid-engined silhouettes. As if wanting us to have a fair chance to study the lesson, Chevrolet’sput out a new 53-second video that breaks down the earlier clip. It takes longer looks at, and adds subtitles to, the historical Corvettes that will complete their mid-engine relay with the C8 generation debuting July 19.
After some logo morphing we get Zora-Arkus Duntov, father of the Corvette and Dreamer-in-Chief of a mid-engined Corvette, asking if we’ve fastened our seatbelts. Then come the mid-engined bridesmaids, starting with the 1964 XP 817 GS-II Corvette looking straight out of Hanna-Barbera’s “Wacky Races” — check out those high-rise Plexiglass carb trumpets. Then come the 1976 XP 882 Aerovette; Duntov driving the first mid-engine Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle (CERV) from 1960; the 1963 CERV II; the 1986 Indy Corvette — which GM should put a battery pack in and sell right now — and the 1990 CERV III.
For further reading, Super Chevy published an multi-part series on Corvette prototypes that’s fascinating reading. It covers gems Chevrolet left out of the video, like the 1970 XP 882 that would have out-Pantera’ed the De Tomaso Pantera. There was the first 1973 variation on the XP 882 that put a four-rotor Wankel-engine in the middle. Even Duntov didn’t want it, partly because the same engine was slated to go in the Chevy Vega. And there was another 1973 variant, the XP 892 with a two-rotor Wankel engine in the middle. Yet another 1973 concept, the XP 895, wore aluminum body panels and could have been designed in Italy. Dig the 1967 Astro I that limboed under the Ford GT40 by being just 35.5 inches high. The 1965 XP 819 had to be built in secret and never saw the light before being destroyed. And on a side note, if you ever wanted to know what a Corvette station wagon would look like, well, GM did that in 1953.
Back to the present, check this out for meta: Chevrolet slipped a bunch of Easter eggs into a video created to explain Easter eggs slipped into a previous video. Among the footage of those coupes with mid-ship engines, there are cuts of Corvette racers like the C7.R’s scoring a 1-2 finish at the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Duntov behind wheel of the magnesium-bodied 1957 SS Race Car, and Bill Mitchell’s 1959 Stingray Racer.
We’re guessing they have something to do with the footage of a camouflaged C8 Corvette that opens the teaser vid. For some reason, the footage runs in reverse. But if you pause the video and use the </> keys (comma and period) to move frame-by-frame, you’ll get eyes on a C8 that isn’t like anything we’ve seen so far. A wide, muscular bulge defines the hood, the front intakes are different to the prototypes caught in spy shots, the lights look different, and the mirrors are mounted on the doors like on the C7. After the opening, a shot shows the prototype we have seen taking a curb. That second car has no bulging hood, and mirrors on trim lintels mounted at the leading edges of the side windows. All of that happens before the time stamp’s moved off of 0:00.
Keep going frame-by-frame, there’s the first Corvette again in profile. Notice the elongated flat section above and behind the rear wheels. At 0:01, a wide shot shows huge side scoops and enormous front intakes that mark this as a clearly different animal. Skip ahead to 0:32, and there’s a Corvette sketch matching the lines of the mid-engined foreigner. It’s like Chevrolet’s been showing us Speed Racer, and now Racer X shows up to make the party even better.
We’ll be on the lookout for another teaser vid to explain all of this. And GM, we’re serious about that Indy Corvette. Call Rimac, get a battery, make that happen.