Recap 2016 – What We Know So Far About The Future Of Corvette

Static photo Colour: Ara Blue

Photo/render CorvetteForum/Colour: Ara Blue

Corvette news is the holy grail of automotive journalism. It’s guaranteed to peg the needle traffic-wise and never fails to get tongues wagging. Historically, Corvette is also the repository of every high tech tidbit GM can muster, so any Chevy two-seater news effects not just the ‘Vette but other models in The General’s stable as well.

As we close out 2016, we saw a flurry of Corvette rumblings, not just hinting at what we can expect in future iterations of the C7, but what the crystal ball holds for the next-gen C8

Here’s the pieces to the puzzle, assemble them correctly and we might see the whole picture.

C7 ZR1

For those paying attention, the Detroit Auto Show draws nigh.  Held in the freezing, second week of January in The Motor City, the show is the big kahuna of OEM car events. If you haven’t been to the show, you must add it to your bucket list. It’s that big of an shindig.

That’s all well and good, but the question is, will we see the 2018 ZR1 debut in Detroit in 2017? Usually, GM “rings the bell” as a siren call to tip off auto scribes, making sure the event goes off with a bang, but at the end of 2016, all is suspiciously quiet.


Side nostrils clearly shown here in spy shot. Photo: MotorAuthority

The ZR1 will have increased air flow management.  Spy shots show added air vent nostrils on either side of the main grille opening.  The Z06 has a reputation for running hot and this update should cool off concerns from prospective buyers.


Corvette Z06 concept of few years ago might hint at the wing thing in spy shots.

Big wing ding spoiler. The ZR1 might be a Club Sport type car similar to the 6th Gen Z06x concept Chevy showed a few years ago. Spy shots show rear wing proposals in several heights and fairing designs and we’re betting they will make it to production. We can’t help but wonder if this is a measure to lower the age demographics of the Corvette. Only problem is, most Corvette guys we know aren’t into this kinda stuff. Time will tell.

Corvette Hybrid

Hmmm, what’s going on back there? Photo: AutoGuide

Is this thing a hybrid?  GM trademarked E-Ray recently and spy shots clearly show a bundle of wires visible in the rear hatch area. We think adding instant torque to an LT motor would be a marriage made in heaven but after “The Great Tailight Fiasco” of 2014, we think this might trigger a revolt among Corvette purists. We’ll have to wait and see, but as electrification of the automobile and fuel economy regulations loom, it’s probably unrealistic to assume the Corvette would not inherit or lead with new technology.


Eaton showed off it’s big new blowers at SEMA 2016

What will be under the hood? We made the rounds at SEMA 2016 and saw big displacement, supercharger prototypes showed off to the whole wide world under the high wattage lights of Las Vegas. We think the first stop for a big blower will be an OEM. Will the 2018 ZR1 have a large displacement blower crammed under the bonnet?

Mid-engine C8/Zora/Mid-Engine Cadillac.  

We’ve all seen the grainy spy shots. GM is definitely building a supercar, but we still don’t know what badge it be wearing. Many details are cloudy, but we’ll put them out there and you can piece together as you see fit.


Much change going on at Bowling Green Assembly.

GM just invested almost 2/3 of a billion dollars in Bowling Green Final Assembly.  The factory floor space was increased by 50% and a brand new state-of-the-art paint facility was added. The aforementioned details are commensurate with an additional model and this event more than anything cements a coming revolution.


Yeah, yeah this is the 2017 Grand Sport. We don’t care because we’re head over heels in love with this thing. Dig the big brakes.

Chevrolet sold over 40k Corvettes in 2016. Whoever has to get in front of GM CEO Mary Barra and associated brass and pitch completely changing the Corvette’s blueprint, after a barn burning sales year, all we can say is “Good luck!”  If anything, we think a mid-engine car will initially augment the C7 to test the waters and see how purists respond.


What the hell is going on at GM? Corvette or Cadillac? Photo: GMAuthority

Is this mid-engine thing a Cadillac? A $150k Corvette will be a brave new world for Chevrolet.  Chevy’s loyal customer base has responded to the C7 and it’s pricing structure by opening their wallets in droves. As previously intimated, if it ain’t broke, dont fix it.

A supercar might be an easier sell with a Cadillac badge and if you think about it, it’s not too crazy of an idea. Cadillac has quietly become a purveyor of world beating, high performance machines with it’s V-Series line of cars. If you don’t agree, visit any local dragstrip and you’re likely to see CTS-V Wagons and other Caddys throwing down 11-second passes.

What was once a divison of wire wheel discs and landau tops, is now a carmaker with a range of track terrors, making mince meat of any road course here or abroad. Cadillac’s head honcho even intimated that it’s next range topping car will NOT be a sedan. They already have the Escalade and the CT6, so it’s hard not to wonder what’s cooking over there at Cadillac’s New York headquarters.

Screen Shot 2016-12-30 at 2.12.55 PM

Last DOHC motor in the ‘Vette was LT5 from the Nineties.

There’s a DOHC V8 Coming.  A Redditor recently found an obscure GM document that told of a 6.2L DOHC V8 slated for the Y-Body. This news might torpedo the notion that the mid-engine GM car is a Cadillac but who knows? Maybe all anything that comes out of Bowling Green will have a Y-body designation.

Another notion might be the new ZR1 will pay homage to the old C4 version and we’ll see a mutli-valve V8 debut as a true successor to Dave McLellan’s 1990’s DOHC “King of The Hill” Corvette. That would make sense and continue the lineage of the marque as well.

LS/LT fans are not amused. And maybe they’re on to something. The LS/LT family shows that a good ol’ OHV small block is as just as ferocious without relying on the added complexity to put out monstrous power. We suspect that a DOHC motor needs to be between the frame rails of a mid-engine car to satisfy a new demographic that GM is aiming for. You know, Ferrari, Lambo, Porsche and Audi clowns, er I mean buyers. If this car is going to be player, might as well not have an Achilles heel.


This isn’t the next best thing to a ‘Vette, it’s a four-seat Corvette.

Is the the Camaro ZL1 being groomed to supersede the front engine, RWD Corvette?  In the old days, the pony couldn’t outrun the horse. But when Chevy shoehorned the exact same, 650hp, blown LT4 V8 under the hood of the new top of the line, Sixth Gen Camaro, that old game plan was thrown out the window. Both the Z06 and the ZL1 share the same motors now. Hmmmm, what’s up with that? We can picture in our heads an ad showing the mid-engine C8 with the ZL1…

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below.


Look carefully at the deft chop here. Front side scoop flipped around for rear engine intake.


About the author

Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an Editor at Power Automedia. A zealous car geek since birth, he digs lead sleds, curvy fiberglass, kustoms and street rods. He currently owns a '95 Corvette, '76 Cadillac Seville, '99 LS1 Trans Am and big old Ford Van.
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