Before the mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette arrived in 2019, an ultra-sleek concept car from the 1990s shows us what could’ve been. It’s called the CERV III, and it’s a production-oriented version of a 1980s Corvette concept car known as the Indy. Aside from having its engine in the middle, this concept featured two turbos, scissor doors, and a body composed mainly of carbon fiber.
While these features seem extremely appealing for a production vehicle, this concept had one fatal flaw, its price. According to Automobile, if the CERV III had gone into production, it would’ve carried a Ferrari-like price tag, leaving its core fan base behind.
What engine does this mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette have?
The CERV III is much more than just a mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette concept. In its center lives a Lotus-engineered 5.7-liter V8, says Automobile. Chevy then added two Garret T3 turbocharges to create a total output of 650 hp and 650 lb-ft. If those figures are still impressive today, imagine how radical that would’ve been back in the 1990s. Automobile reports that this concept could hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.
As you might imagine, this mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette concept offered more than just raw power. The CERV III also featured four-wheel steering and a computer-controlled active suspension system, says Automobile. All of the available power reached the road via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Look at most modern supercars sold today, and you’ll see that the CERV III was truly ahead of its time. However, despite these advancements, this concept had one major flaw.
Why did Chevy stop the development of this concept car?
GM made this mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette concept’s bodywork largely out of carbon fiber, Kevlar, and Nomex to save weight. Additionally, aluminum reportedly reinforced these parts. Oddly enough, Automobile report that the concept’s suspension components featured Titanium construction.
This is where the CERV III’s major flaw comes into place. That’s because if GM pushed this vehicle into production, it would’ve been wildly expensive. According to Automobile, this would’ve likely resulted in a base price between $300,000 to $400,000. In contrast, Automobile reports that the standard model at the time started around $32,000.
However, this mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette concept lived on in the ZR-1. That’s because a variation of its small-block V8 made it under the hood of the special variant, albeit without any turbos.
What other concept cars did the Chevrolet Corvette have?
While the CERV III was the mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette concept that almost made it into production, GM also built the CERV I and II. The CERV I came out of the 1960s, and it’s essentially a mid-engined race car with a 4.6-liter V8 bolted directly behind the driver, says Car and Driver. The CERV II also came out of the 1960s. However, this second concept featured larger bodywork, four-wheel drive, and a sleek aerodynamic design.
According to Car and Driver, the CERV II was supposed to be a Ford GT40 fighter. However, like the other CERV concepts, it never went into production.