Dreams Do Come True: Mid-Engined “Emperor” Corvette Mule Confirms It’s Real

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emperor

Guys. GUYS. THIS IS IT. We finally have solid, legit visual proof that General Motors is working on a mid-engined supercar that is likely a ground-breaking variation of the legendary Chevrolet Corvette.

These brand-new images are something fans have been yearning for literally for years, decades even. Numerous concepts have played with the mid-to-rear-engine design dating back to the ’70s. There were even two (now infamous) clay models, one of a Corvette and one of a Cadillac XLR constructed in the early ’00s, according to Bob Lutz himself, but budget and financial issues quickly shut down any chance of those making it to production. GM execs literally have been talking about this for longer than I’ve been alive, and multiple parties have believed it’s the natural next progression for continued development of the American superstar. That’s only compounded as the blog era has reached its gossipy stride.

emperor_side

The rumors have hotly intensified the past two years with the sightings of a few strange-looking mules. Car and Driver saw this insane wide-body Holden-ute concoction last year, and most recently, a heavily-layered car was captured from an extremely far, heat-riddled distance. GM’s head of global product development, Mark Reuss, also reportedly confirmed the project and called it “revolutionary.” Digital artists got all up in their feelings after all of this and multiple renderings have been posted, including our own, which you see below:

vette_render  vette_render2

 

And now, thanks to relentless attempts, there are finally closer images that somewhat give us an idea of the shape of a car that most certainly has a mid-engined setup. This comes straight from our spy photogs:

“These shots are five months in the making, since the first time we spotted a new, low-slung shape driving on a patch of heat-distorted Proving Grounds tarmac. That first sighting of the mythical mid-engine prototype was more than a mile away from our vantage point. Since that moment, the car has haunted us, being accessible only from a great, great distance, with other vantage points blocked by walls, fences, trees, and guardrails. Frankly, this thing has been a constant source of distraction—how do we pin it down for some properly revealing shots?

We saw signs that a prototype for the mid-engine C8 was actively out testing on a course heavily blocked by thick trees, but we kept after it, looking for the slightest sliver of space to see the car that—the Detroit News says—is referred to as Emperor, by GM insiders. There must be at least a small gap through those trees through which to catch a new view of the long-rumored, eagerly-awaited mid-engine Corvette. Well, it turns out there was a tiny gap, and we found it. And now we can present these new shots to you. Finally.”

So let’s take a closer look at these images and sort out what we see, and judge just how close our rendering might be.

emperor_front

Admittedly, at first glance, it looks a little closer to Car and Driver‘s render, which has been spread all over the interwebs. The most obvious change is that the long hood that’s necessary for a front-engined car is no longer there. It’s much shorter, and that elongated space has been shoved back behind the B-pillar. That creates a much flatter-looking rear deck, and the car’s canopy looks like it dives into the rear platform, rather than smoothly flowing to its end.

emperor_rear

From behind, the car looks like it has the same trapezoidal rear window and a similar pillar shape. In general, the rear looks pretty standard C7. If anything, the taillights might be a slightly different shape. It’s difficult to tell, but maybe they’re thinking about bringing the iconic circular Corvette rear lamps back.

Technically, this is all still speculation, because shapes of mules change all the time, but this is the first real suggestion of a Corvette shape melded with a mid setup, so what the hell, right? Expectations for the car sit around 700-plus horsepower and $150,000. The value Corvette wouldn’t immediately be cut, but there have also been rumors that the Emperor would eventually be the sole model offered. If so, that’s pretty idiotic, but hey, we’re not in charge of billion-dollar car companies.

 

via [KGP Photography / Autoblog]

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