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Autoblog on the "Zora"

catbert

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Call me crazy, but I'm not convinced the mid-engine Corvette is the next Corvette. The rumor is strong, yes. And, contrary to some of the comments on our site, Car and Driver - leader of the mid-engine Corvette speculation brigade - has a pretty good record predicting future models. But it's another comment that got me thinking: or maybe it's a Cadillac.

There is clearly something mid-engine going on at GM, and I think it makes sense for the car to be a Cadillac. First off, check out how sweet the 2002 Cadillac Cien concept car still looks in the photo above. Second, there are too many holes in the mid-engine Corvette theory.

There are too many holes in the mid-engine Corvette theory.

The C7 is relatively young in Corvette years, starting production almost three years ago as a 2014 model. Showing a 2019 model at the 2018 North American International Auto Show would kill sales of a strong-selling car before its time. Not to mention it would only mean a short run for the Grand Sport, which was the best-selling version of the previous generation.

More stuff doesn't add up. Mid-engine cars are, in general, more expensive. Moving the Vette upmarket leaves a void that the Camaro does not fill. There's not much overlap between Camaro and Corvette customers. Corvette owners are older and enjoy features like a big trunk that holds golf clubs. Mid-engine means less trunk space and alienating a happy, loyal buyer. Also, more than 60 years of history. The Corvette is an icon along the likes of the Porsche 911 and Ford Mustang. I'm not sure the car-buying public wants a Corvette that abandons all previous conventions. And big changes bring uncertainty - I don't think GM would make such a risky bet.

Chevrolet could build a mid-engine ZR1, you might say, and keep the other Corvettes front-engine. Yes they could, and it would cost a ton of money. And they still need to fund development of that front-engine car. I highly doubt the corporate accountants would go for that.

But a Cadillac? Totally. Cadillac is in the middle of a brand repositioning. GM is throwing money at this effort. A mid-engine halo car is the just the splash the brand needs to shake off the ghosts of Fleetwoods past. And it's already in Cadillac President Johan De Nysschen's playbook. He was in charge of Audi's North America arm when the R8 came out. A Caddy sports car priced above $100,000 isn't that unreasonable when you can already price a CTS-V in that range.
A mid-engine halo car is the just the splash Cadillac needs to shake off the ghosts of Fleetwoods past.
Switch the NAIAS debut rumor to Cadillac, maybe even make it for 2017. Remove the conflict of abandoning Corvette history or running two costly model developments for one car. Heck, a mid-engine Cadillac could even act as a Trojan horse if the rumored demise of the current small-block engine is true. Launch a high-powered overhead-cam V8 in the Caddy and after a few years Corvette fans will be begging for an engine swap instead of grabbing their pitchforks and demanding more pushrods.

I wouldn't be surprised if Corvette engineers, or former Corvette engineers, are working on a mid-engine car. There's a lot of talent working on GM's performance vehicles, and people move between teams on a regular basis. And the Corvette's Bowling Green, Kentucky plant is a great place to make a low-volume sports car with advanced materials. But it's not clear that GM plus mid-engine equals Corvette. While we're still making random guesses, my money is on Cadillac.
 
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Mac

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1973 coupe L82 (gone as casualty of divorce)
Although I recognize the designers usually mask/disguise these prototypes, one look at the tail lights confirms my pet theory... GM finally got around to building a modern El Camino. The model went out of production in 1987 in North America but those clever Aussies still have the Holden Ute. It only makes sense to bring it back for 2018, doncha think? :D

Mac

holden-ute-ss-v.2000x1500.Feb-19-2013_13.43.19.301587.jpg
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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Based on intel I've been gathering for the last 18 months or so, a mid-engine Corvette is coming fairly soon. The car is well into development.

What I don't know is whether or not it's replacing the rear-drive platform or will be offered as a (very) up-level Corvette. My gut feeling is the latter.

I will agree that the possibility of this car being a Cadillac is there, but my wild-assed-guess is that the chances of a Cadillac mid-engine are pretty slim, but if it is a Caddy, it will be complimented by a Corvette version.

Cadillac chickened out on doing a competitor to the Mercedes S-class. That they did that, has me really skeptical that Cadillac would spend the money to develop a mid-engine sports car as a "halo vehicle".

But...never say, "Never." Right now Cadillac's "halo vehicle" is an SUV. When you look back at Cadillac's golden era (say 1930 to about the mid-60s) it's just a travesty that the best selling Cadillac, by far, is the Escalade...nothing more than a gussied-up Chevy Tahoe.

Some of Cadillac's other really good stuff–like the ATS-V, for example–just is not selling. In fact, a month or so ago, Cadillac but 3500 bucks on the hood of ATS-Vs making that car even more a bargain than it already was. That's astonishing considering the car was new for 2016.
 
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