The C8 Corvette was big news when it dropped last year. THE American sports car going from the beefy front-engined tire-eater to a European-looking mid-engined supercar almost broke the poor old Corvette folks. Grown men and women were tripping over themselves to buy the last front-engined Corvette for 10 times more than MSRP – It was wild – but there was something a bit bigger bubbling underneath the surface of the C8 Corvette that many of us hadn’t considered yet.
I hadn’t thought much about it myself until I saw the article on MotorTrend, but Chevy just let loose a mid-engined supercar chassis out into the world for $60,000. Do y’all know what this means?
It’s like the mid-’60s muscle-car madness all over again. Custom builders are about to start acting the fool with C8 Corvettes by building one-off monster cars as far as the eye can see. These cars are begging to be ripped apart and made anew, and that’s exactly what Ares Design is up to.
Come through, Ares Design
The Italian custom car builder captained by Dany Bahar, who used to run Lotus, recently let us into his world with some photos of the S1 Project Spyder. Although Ares built it on the C8 Corvette’s chassis, you might find it hard to see much evidence of its past life at first glance. The no-windshield, no-roof roadster feels closer to the track-only Aston Martin V12 Speedster than it does Corvette.
According to MotorTrend, as per usual, the coachbuilders made sure to rework and reseason every inch of the once C8 Corvette until the S1 Project Spyder was positively dripping in Ares Design’s flavor. Ares utilizes its big dreams and flowing style to continue part of the hood into the cabin by integrating it into the center console. This strip of hood/center console/trunk follows the entire length of the car, giving it a sort of cohesive oneness.
The goal of S1 Project Spyder is soul
Ares Design says the S1 Project Spyder was covered in vents and scoops to give the car a feeling of “pure emotion.” You can see that dedication to soul and emotion in other places as well. The massive wheel arches, deeply sunken seats, and wheels that match the interior all show some fun moments of playfulness on an otherwise serious car.
It still has some C8 Corvette left in there – somewhere
Ares Design says that the S1 Project Spyder is home to a naturally aspirated V8 making 715 hp. Assuming it’s the C8 Corvette’s 6.2-liter LT2 V8, Ares has squeezed that lemon pretty hard to get all that juice. According to MotorTrend, Ares achieved that power jump from a custom exhaust and ECU tune. There’s not much more to know at this point, but Ares will likely release more information soon.
The C8 Corvette has paved the way
We are sure to see many, many other coachbuilders taking the C8 Corvette and turn it into something completely new. The platform is perfectly ripe for the picking.
The 2020 C8 Corvette is the first model of the over 60-year history to move the engine to the middle. Moving to a mid-engined platform is the most notable feature that makes the C8 out-perform the older models, but new engineering across the board certainly plays a part, too.
There’s more going on than just the engine placement; the engines themselves have been highly upgraded since the last model. It would make a lot of sense if the S1 Project Spyder was built using the LT2 as the base. The LT2 was largely designed and refigured, making it a far more efficient and powerful motor than the C7’s LT1. Chevy redesigned the air intake, high-flow exhaust, new cam profile, and a new flywheel.
Keep an eye out for supercars built on this perfectly-malleable, mid-engined monster. Ares Design has opened Pandora’s Box, and now we have C8 chaos.