For the better part of four decades, the automotive world has been lousy with chatter about a world-beating, more exotic, more "European," version of Chevrolet's iconic sports car that's just around the corner. The mid-engine Corvette is the zombie of automotive rumors, in that no matter how many times it's put down, death never comes—because you can't exactly shoot a rumor in the head.
But that didn't stop Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter from trying recently.
As World Car Fans reported, when asked about renewed mid-engined Corvette speculation on John McElroy's Autoline After Hours, Juechter denied knowledge, stating: "I'll have to check that out, because I know no such car exists."
He also cited an at-this-point familiar script—which CorvetteForum transcribed—as to why the Corvette shouldn't go mid-engine:
"Mid-engine requires a lot of compromises. You look at the elite race programs around the world; they’re all mid-engine. So... if all you care [about] is purely performance, then it makes sense to put the engine in the back. If you’re still talking about a car that can be used as a daily driver, long-distance tourer as well, handle benignly on the track, and have accessible performance, there’s a whole lot of other things that come into what is the optimum."
Now, it's worth noting that the latest round of rumors is more robust than we've previously seen, due mostly to spy shots—which circulated early this year—of General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] testing a mid-engine platform, and GM's June 2014 filing to trademark the name "Zora."
Zora Arkus-Duntov, as enthusiasts surely remember, is known as the "father of the Corvette," and was a leading proponent of moving America's Sports Car motor amidships.
Couple those two developments? And it starts to smell like Chevrolet is actually up to something—though it might not actually be a Corvette. While GM has historically resisted the idea of releasing a car which can outshine the Corvette, it's happened before—see the Buick GNX—so a project akin to Ford's spotlight-stealing GT could be in the cards. And Zora would be a natural name for the vehicle, Corvette or not.
That said, misdirection is part of the game, and Juechter is hardly obligated to reveal everything he knows about future product simply because a veteran journalist asked him about it.
So in our eyes, the rumor of a mid-engine Corvette is currently as alive—and dead—as ever. Stay tuned.