General Motors is not in the business of buying classic cars, so this one caught us off guard. In order to test the idea of a mid-engine Corvette, Chief Engineer Zora Duntov built the CERV in 1959. The Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle was his notion of the perfect Corvette. He built it to validate the independent rear suspension of the upcoming 1963 Stingray, and to see how hard a lightweight mid-engine car could be pushed. Weight was a major priority, so the 283 small block was cast of aluminum with a bellhousing of magnesium. Later on it was replaced by a fuel injected aluminum 377 ci small block rated at 500 hp. His goal was to offer a racing version of the Corvette, but the bean counters killed the program.
Chevrolet confirmed the Corvette ZR1 will be unveiled this fall, but something wicked has been spotting testing alongside it. The heavily camouflaged body has the right proportions to offer a mid-engine design, or it could just be a test mule for a new Cadillac halo car. Our friends at Motor Trend have the best images so far. GM has been guilty of building decoys to keep the media away from the real project, but something unprecedented happened at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. GM paid $1.3 million to bring the CERV back home. Zora was reprimanded for wasting money on such futuristic concepts, so when the order came down to crush it he gave the car to Briggs Cunningham to be hidden away for years. If a mid-engine Corvette is truly on the horizon, the CERV would be the perfect marketing piece. Corvette fans are deeply divided on this topic so tell us if its time for something new, or a disgrace to such an American classic.