Bertone Imagined What a Mid-Engine Corvette Would Look Like Back in 1990

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Corvette Nivola Concept Car Packed a Twin-Turbo V8 Right in the Middle of Its Wedge-Shaped Body

As popular as the “regular” Corvette is, there’s been talk of and a desire for a mid-engine Corvette for decades. It’s taken the form of daydreams, sketches, renderings, and concept cars, such as the 1990 Corvette Nivola from Bertone.

According to Car Design News, the concept first shown at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show was “named after one of Bertone’s favourite race drivers, Tazio Nuvolari, whose nickname was Nivola. Bertone would further honour the storied racer by painting the rakish new concept a yellow-gold in remembrance of the Nuvolari’s favourite colour.”

That goldenrod covered a 43-inch-tall wedge-shaped body with a front end laid back at a dramatic angle and a squared-off rear end. The not-quite-round wheel arches bring to mind the openings on the Lamborghini Countach – fitting because the lines of that mid-engine Italian were also a product of the Bertone design house.

Unlike the Countach, the Nivola packed a twin-turbo LT5 with 650 horsepower right between its blocky back and swoopy greenhouse, which was topped by a removable roof. The engine’s placement enabled a 40/60 front/rear weight distribution. Lotus’ involvement led to the Nivola getting four-wheel steering.

Although the exterior didn’t look especially Corvette-like, the garish black-and-aqua interior color scheme leaves no doubt as to when this concept was produced. Instead of frames, the seats had their bottom cushions attached to the floorpan. The Nivola’s hydropneumatic suspension allowed for 2.4 inches of extra ground clearance.

As you can tell, the Nivola never made it into production, although Car Design News says it was liked by those who saw it at shows and events. It may be an odd design, but it’s hard to say it’s ugly. It’s believable at least as a starting point for a ’90s Alfa or Maserati supercar, just not a Corvette. “America’s sports car” just wouldn’t sound the same in Italian.

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via [Car Design News]

Derek Shiekhi contributes to J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series, among other auto sites. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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