Wishing Doesn’t Make It True: Reasons Why the Zora Might Not Happen
There are several constants in the universe. The sun will rise in the east. You’ll have to pay income taxes. The Corvette Zora is coming. But unlike the sunrise and the taxes, the Zora — or any mid-engine Corvette — seems to be “just around the corner.”
Mid-engine Corvette rumors started before I was even born, and they just don’t seem to die. I even reported recently that Car and Driver is for sure really this time that a mid-engined Zora is coming for 2019. They are like, really serious this time.
Whether or not they are right about the Zora’s arrival, there are many factors and reasons why a Zora might never happen. Just because there’s a slew of enthusiasts out there that say they want the car, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. If wishes were horses, right?
The main reason why a Zora doesn’t make sense is that it’d be an entirely new platform. While the next-generation Corvette will surely have new underpinnings, those underpinnings might not be designed for a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive setup. Unless Chevrolet was going to make all of the new Corvettes mid-engined, which seems unlikely, then they’d have to make pretty extensive modifications for the Zora to work.
Chevrolet also won’t benefit from the quantities of scale by building the Zora in limited numbers. While I admit I’m not an automotive engineer, nor a C-Suite executive at General Motors, I do know enough about the industry to realize that a Zora doesn’t seem like it’d be too profitable. That is, of course, they build it alongside the normal Corvettes in Bowling Green.
The could go the Ford GT route with production. That means they hire a third-party builder to actually make the cars. It’s a fairly common practice, and even the next Toyota and BMW sports car will come from a third-party.
Assuming that all of the signs point to a Zora still happening, you have to ask yourself if Chevrolet needs a mid-engine Corvette? It’s not like the current Z06 is a terrible performance car. Heck, there’s a ZR1 coming that’ll surely raise the performance envelope even higher. While the Corvette isn’t necessarily a supercar by many definitions, it can outperform many of those more-expensive exotics with technology and power.
Lastly, would the overall fan base — the ones who actually go out and buy Corvettes — support a mid-engined car? When the 7th-generation Corvette hit the streets, fans cried bloody murder over the changes. Never before had I seen so much backlash from enthusiasts over the design of a set of rear taillights. Imagine taking the engine that’s always been in the front and suddenly shoving it behind the driver.
Here’s the deal, I’m a big fan of the Corvette. I’d buy one today if I had the extra cash. I also like the idea of seeing Chevrolet get into the mid-engine, high-performance car game. But there’s a lot of things that need to happen for a car like the Zora to become a reality, and I’m not sure if those stars are aligned the way they need to be.
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