1959 XP-719 Concept: Mysterious Mid-Engine Corvette
Most mid-engine Corvette concepts are very well known. But that isn’t the case with the XP-719!
For years now, the hottest rumor in the automotive world has surrounded the existence of a new mid-engine Corvette. Enthusiasts find themselves wiping away a little drool every time new spy shots are posted, excited at the prospects of this newly imagined sports car platform. But in reality, true Corvette fans know that this idea is nothing new. In fact, GM was toying around with building a mid-engine Corvette decades ago.
It all started with the XP-719 prototype, built back in 1959. Like most Corvette concepts, this one accurately predicted many future styling changes, this time the coming C2. But unlike most of its prototype brethren, the XP-719 isn’t quite as famous or well-known. So we were pleased to see MSN do a little digging on the car recently. And the information they found was pretty darn fascinating.
GM provided a handful of historic images of the car, but not much info. But we do know it was built around the same time as the much more famous CERV 1 prototype, another mid-engine Corvette. They were joined by a host of other cars with similar layouts, including the XP-880, XP-882, and XP-892. The XP-719 was designed by Ron Hill and Carl Renner, the latter of whom is credited for many iconic Corvette styling cues.
The XP-719 was tweaked a bit from 1959 to 1960. Over time, it sported different variations of rear fender air ducts and tail fins. GM even went so far as to design and build a mockup stowable hardtop for the car. But sadly, we don’t know much else about this mysterious ride, as GM scrapped its mid-engine Corvette dreams for a conventional engine layout. But now that the idea is alive once again, it’s fascinating to take a look back and remember that it all started decades ago!