Wednesday Rewind: What We Thought We Knew About The Next-Gen Corvette

The world is preparing itself for the magical date when this mythical beast will be released to the ever-prying eyes of the press and devout enthusiasts. While we’re waiting, we thought it would be fun to look back at what we surmised the next-gen Corvette would be. Hindsight is 20/20, and as the saying goes, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

Production Predictions

What We Thought We Knew: We imagined, as many had hoped, that the mid-engine car could co-exist with current production. We even agreed with Detroit numbers-cruncher, Don Sherman, that relying only on an entirely new design and architecture would be a huge risk. Not one that we’d want to bring to GM.

What We Know Now: As we now know, the C7 generation does have an expiration date, so building two entirely different cars doesn’t look promising. There are apparently, insanely-capable sales folks within GM, who can put together a sales pitch that sways even the tops of those “silver silos” in Detroit. As GM is all-in on the new mid-engine platform, they also seem to be holding onto Chevrolet’s mantra of keeping Corvette’s performance at the forefront while also sticking to a value-laden price tag, comparatively speaking. A good move in our opinion, as why would they wish to alienate their long-standing customer base?

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and Chevrolet Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter Thursday, April 11, 2019 with a camouflaged next generation Chevrolet Corvette in New York, New York. The next generation Corvette will be unveiled on July 18. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)

Engine Options

What We Thought We Knew: There had been so much talk about varying levels of performance and propulsion that this one didn’t take much crystal ball time. Folks have been surmising that electric hybrid technology would work its way under the body of the mid-engine car in some manner. We heard rumors ranging from “never gonna happen” to full-on, battery-powered Corvettes. We took the safe bet and stated batteries would come into play at some point, but not within the first production year, or introductory model.

What We Know Now: There’s been enough debate about what if a six-cylinder were to wind up in the C8, that we hate to think of the throngs of enthusiasts that would show up at GM’s door, pitchforks and torches in hand, if a battery-powered version were introduced. Down the road, a hybrid does make a lot of sense, but battery only? We drive our Corvettes too much and too far for that to be viable in today’s market.

Thanks to various videos of wide-open blasts and track time, we’re pretty secure in stating that a flat-plane crank was issued for the next-gen’s powertrain. Where do superchargers, turbos and other go-fast goodies work into the build? Many surmised that Cadillac’s Blackwing engine was a solid contender for C8 power. Many, except Cadillac President, Steve Carlisle, who emphatically stated, “Over my dead body.”

The Blackwing V8 is produced in GM's Performance Build Center, which is now part of Bowling Green Assembly, where the Corvette is produced. Coincidence?

With GM’s penchant for sharing among brands, it makes sense to utilize technologies across several markets to help with engineering costs. You could change the name, change displacement or even swap cams and give it a different name. The fact that it’s being built in the new Performance Build Center in Bowling Green makes a hard case that somehow, that twin-turbo goodness is going to find its way into C8.

Production Timelines

What We Thought We Knew: Toward the end of the story, we stated, “The delicious dilemma due in 18 months is what Corvette shoppers with $70,000 burning a hole in their wallet will choose.”

What We Know Now: Thanks to what was accredited as “electrical issues” by GM, a year and a half later, enthusiasts still only had a choice of the full line of C7 Corvettes. In fact, Dave’s original diatribe on the next-gen Corvette was six days long of two years before the official, scheduled release of the car, which we now know will be on July 18, 2019.

There appear to be different versions in these two images. The one on the left is from GM's recent reveal in New York, while the right photo was reported by Car & Driver as a photo of a C8 driving around the Milford Proving Grounds recently. There appears to be significantly different overhang in the front of the vehicle.

How long will it take for the entire scope of mid-engine goodness to reach our dealer’s showrooms? Only time will tell, but if history is any indicator, the car that we’ve all been frothing at the mouth to experience will continue to get better and better as the generation matures. Each generation of production has improved upon performance, drivability and sophistication with each model year. While GM is taking a big step from the beaten path with a mid-engine platform, there’s no way we’d ever wish that the first car down the assembly line would be the fastest one ever!

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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