Unveiled in 2019, the eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette represented the biggest shift in the nameplate's decades-long history. Stylists and engineers walked a fine line as they reshaped America's sports car into a wallet-friendly exotic with a mid-mounted V8, and the firm released a video series that documents the process.
"Revolution: The Mid-Engine Corvette Development Story" is a multi-part documentary hosted on YouTube. Chevrolet released the first part, which focuses on the Corvette's interior and exterior design, in December 2020. It's a fascinating nine-minute video that's jam-packed with insight from the people who took the model into mid-engined territory for the first time. The roster of stylists who appear in it includes Tom Peters, the former exterior design director of GM's Performance Car Studio, Brett Golliff, Chevrolet's design and trim manager, Vlad Kapitonov, the Corvette's lead exterior designer, and Kirk Bennion, the model's exterior design manager.
"Obviously it's a shift in where we've placed the motor, but the reality is what caused that shift is what you saw grow from four to five to six to seven. We peaked out where we were at, and it was time to move on," Golliff said.
Development work quietly started in 2011, but the idea of putting the engine behind the passenger compartment isn't new, and Chevrolet has experimented with this configuration many times since the 1960s. One prototype, the 1973 XP-897GT, was even powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Putting a rotary engine in the eighth-generation Corvette was out of the question, of course, but early prototypes influenced the design team.
Peters, Golliff, and others explained inspiration for the eighth-generation Corvette also came from fighter jets and race cars, among other sources. Jets are quick and purpose-driven, so the design team naturally looked at what members of the Air Force fly as they sketched the car's finer details, like vents. Racing has been an official part of the Corvette's history since Chevrolet entered five cars in the 1956 edition of the 24 Hours of Sebring.
We've embedded the first video above; alternatively, you can watch it on YouTube. While you won't get a juicy bit of information about what's next for the Corvette, Peters hinted the upcoming variants will be worth waiting for.
"Finally, this was the right time to introduce a mid-engined Corvette. I'm here to tell you that it's just the tip of the iceberg. Just imagine where it can go from this point. This is just the beginning," he summed up.