There has never been a mid-engine Corvette and, most people believe, Chevrolet will never build one.
A Corvette with power coming from behind the driver just isn’t American. We like our cars with ferocious small block V8 engines taking up the space between our feet and the horizon and we like those engines covered by hoods long enough to land a Boeing 747.
That’s why news of a potential mid-engine C8 Corvette, currently dubbed the “Zora,” is staggering.
Little is known about this car, and given that the Z06 chucks out 650 bhp and costs just south of $80,000; anything turned up to 11 should cause quite a scene. The revisions to the chassis will not be updates to the C7, but major changes to be realized in the C8. For this highly tuned version, the price may start around $150,000 and production numbers will be limited to C6 ZR1 levels, somewhere around 1,500 copies.
If this is true, Chevy isn’t building a Corvette, it’s building a Ferrari.
But I don’t want to talk about the details of this car or get too worked up about an idea that may or may not ever make it to market. (I learned my lesson after rumors of the C7 ‘Vette having a split window proved false.)
Instead, I want to talk about mid-engine cars that have been sold in the U.S.
We have to go back to the 2006 Ford GT for the last (and arguably only) American mid-engine supercar. Those don’t come cheap either, with prices on the CarGurus listings between $200,000 and $300,000.
So what cars can you buy in the U.S. today that have power coming from behind the seats and are relatively affordable? Here are some options:
I can hear you laughing from here, but this wasn’t a bad car. They are cheap to obtain and offer a great introduction to the world of amidships motoring.
Quite elusive on the used market these days, the MR2 is an appreciating classic. The last generation (2000-07) used a 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine to make 138 hp.
A 240-hp version of Toyota’s 1.8-liter engine motivated the 2,000-pound Exige. There are a few out there priced right around $50,000.
If you have a budget closer to the range of the Corvette Zora but a taste for something slightly more exotic, the R8 could be your ticket.
These are the staples of the mid-engine class in the U.S. today, and it’s hard to beat either car in availability, price (depending on model year) and performance.
Some people really love these cars, others have forgotten they ever existed. Regardless, the 914 remains an inexpensive way to get into the mid-engine family.
What mid-engine car would you buy?