Museum Show Highlights Corvette’s Mid-Engined History
After a three-month hiatus for quarantine, plus time spent under renovation since last November, the National Corvette Museum, located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, finally opened its doors again this week. There’s now some fresh new features and exhibits, including one dedicated to Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and a simulation of the famous sinkhole that swallowed eight Corvettes in the museum’s Skydome in 2014.
One exhibit, however, reminds us that the mid-engine design of the new C8 isn’t all that new. Hosted in the museum’s remodeled Design and Engineering Gallery, ‘The Vision Realized: 60 Years of Mid-Engine Corvette Design’, looks back at early efforts GM made at moving the car’s engine mid-ship. On the floor is a new 2020 C8, but there’s also a Corvette Indy from 1986 and the experimental two-rotor XP-987 GT from 1973, which the museum recently acquired for its own collection.
The exhibit also features photographs, artifacts and other design studies from both the GM Design Archive & Special Collections and GM Heritage Center. Later this summer, the aforementioned cars will be joined by more early mid-engine Corvette prototypes: the CERV-1 (1959), CERV-II (1964), XP-819 (1964), Astro II (1968), and the XP-895 Reynolds Aluminum Corvette (1973).
That’s not the only reason Corvette has been in the news this week though. GMAuthority recently reported that General Motors has trademarked the ‘Zora’ name in various countries around the world. The name refers to Zora Arkus-Duntov, the first chief engineer for the Corvette who was also vocal proponent of making the car mid-engined back in the 1960s. The Belgian-born American was such a revered figure in the Corvette’s history that his ashes were entombed on the museum grounds after his death in 1996.
It’s not much of a stretch to postulate that the name will be used for a high-performance version of the C8 in deference to the vision of Arkus-Duntov.
*Images courtesy of General Motors and National Corvette Museum