What a shame... They folded to the success of others and created a car based on a rumor from 1959. Couldn’t we stick with the tried and true front engine layout? I want my meat and potatoes back! Get rid of this sous vide lamb shank and no-GMO red spuds! The new Corvette just isn’t the same anymore.
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, nothing here is rooted in numbers or common sentiment. The arguments made are supported by witchcraft, stereotypes, and those topics that can be best described as ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ with a light demi-glace on top of automotive-mental-illness.
I’m serious. I do not like the new mid-engine Corvette C8. What was wrong with what we had? The Corvette has always been a front engine sports car. That’s what made it a Corvette. Now we’ve got the American version of the R8, NSX, or 488. It is too much of a departure from what we know, and too close to what you can get from others.
It is much cheaper! Starting in the $60,000 range is amazing and on par with pricing we’re used to seeing. This is before dealer markups. I predict they’ll sell a lot of them. There is also going to be some serious depreciation for C7, and C6 owners, if it hasn’t already occurred. Anyone who is driving a C7 might as well be showing up in a covered wagon to a car show. It is now a dinosaur...
Or is it? Hasn’t the Corvette been the most famous push-rod sports car the world over? It uses a technology that was made obsolete in the 1960s. The overhead cam is just better. Less parts, it spins faster, easier to service, and more reliability. Some how GM has defeated the reliability part of that - just ask any LS owner.
Why now choose to retain an ‘obsolete’ engine in the best possible layout for a sports car? If we’re changing the chassis why not change the engine? If the push rod engine is our apple pie, shouldn’t the FR be the ice cream on the side? Now we’ve got apple pie with a side of dippin’ dots... or a doughnut with bacon on it?!
Keeping Up With the MR Jones’
The fact we still produced a FR layout Corvette was familiar. You knew what you were getting. It was the American Methuselah of sports cars. I do have a theory about why GM decided on the mid-engine Corvette. I do not believe it finally folded to rumors since the 1950s, or the FR was completely obsolete, or even a consumer driven demand for a MR chassis. It was because of the Ford GT.
The new Ford GT is a darling. An expensive darling, but one of the best sports cars available for sale today. GM has always been playing catch up to Ford, especially when it comes to road racing. By creating a MR Corvette, they’ve got the proper formula to compete with the GT on the track and utterly embarrass it on pricing. Granted, the base Corvette is simple machine compared to the GT. We’re going to see far more expensive and complicated Corvette’s that will be more comparable to the GT... soon, very soon.
By creating a MR Corvette, the sky is the limit. It can compete on a track with the GT, and on the street with every other super car - some costing twice as much. For a super car, the MR chassis is an excellent choice and it destroys any future complaints about ‘Murican cars not being good in the twisties. Is the Corvette a super car? I’d argue it hasn’t ever been one, except in the most expensive trim levels. Part of the allure of the Corvette has been it’s blue collar roots and abilities to harass the super cars.
If I was a designer at GM, I’d have kept the FR Corvette, and made the MR Corvette, but with a different name. Give the consumers the front engine, and mid engine! Use the MR layout and call the new car the ZR1. Use the ZR1 the same way Ford is using the GT. A true halo car. You can’t have a halo car if it is based on a much cheaper car. The halo car is something special, not a parts bin special, or a trim level spec of the base model.
Maybe I’m being too hard on the ‘Vette. It is American and therefore I’m proud of what we’ve made. I’m not disappointed at what we have, I’m disappointed at what we lost to get here. The C8 is the end of an era of traditional muscle car Corvettes. We traded in the tri-tip, for a filet mignon. It is the same type of meat in a different cut. It is sophisticated, relatively compared to its predecessor.
I, for one, enjoyed the car that followed a familiar formula for the last 60+ years. If you disagree, I’ll throw out this - look at the Porsche 911; you think the 911 fanboys would be upset if they change that formula? You’d have people trying to invade Stuttgart via C47 again and destroy the factory.