Classics: The Two-Rotor, Wankel-Powered Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette that Never Was - PressFrom - US
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ClassicsThe Two-Rotor, Wankel-Powered Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette that Never Was

14:00  11 february  2019
14:00  11 february  2019 Source:   automobilemag.com

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Though a mid - engine Chevrolet Corvette is now headed for production, the idea of a Corvette with such an exotic engine location is nothing new. Several such concepts were created, and at the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance this March

The transverse, mid - engine , 180hp two - rotor Wankel engine was mated to a three-speed automatic. Engineers said that the engine could have been The 2 - Rotor debuted to GM brass, presented as “ Chevrolet GT” in June 1972, wearing silver paint and interior. The project wasn’t killed, but went

The Two-Rotor, Wankel-Powered Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette that Never Was© Automobile Magazine Staff 1973 general motors xp 987gt front three quarter

Though a mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette is now headed for production, the idea of a Corvette with such an exotic engine location is nothing new. Several such concepts were created, and at the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance this March, showgoers will be treated to the display of General Motors' 1973 XP-987 GT—a Corvette concept with not just a mid-mounted engine, but a rotary one to boot.

The XP-987 GT concept car was the final vehicle to come from a short line of mid-engine concepts in the late 1960s and early '70s. It was created to showcase GM's experimental twin-rotor engine and automatic transaxle, and it joined the others as being decidedly different in direction for the company. Using a shortened mid-engine Porsche 914 chassis as a basis and Pininfarina-designed steel bodywork, the show car debuted at the 1978 Frankfurt auto show, where it got more than its fair share of attention.

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1973 4-Rotor Corvette Prototype: “The ‘Almost’ Mid - Engine Production Corvette ”. The layout consisted of two separate Wankel engines, one on each side of a shaft that ran back to the Both the 2 - Rotor and 4-Rotor Corvettes were shown at the Paris Salon Show in October 1973, with The 4-Rotor was never developed and didn’t run well. Full out, it was a bear, anything else, not so good.

The Chevrolet Aerovette was a concept car created by Chevrolet , beginning life as Experimental Project 882 (XP-882) in the late 1960s. It had a mid - engine configuration using a transverse mounting of its V8 engine.

The Two-Rotor, Wankel-Powered Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette that Never Was© Automobile Magazine Staff

Rotary power was investigated by GM for many of the same reasons Mazda was interested in the same engine design. Rotary engines are more compact and have fewer moving parts than typical piston-driven internal-combustion engines and are able to produce big power from relatively small displacement. By the mid-'70s, GM decided to abandon the rotary development program, citing difficulty meeting fuel economy and emissions standards—which remain the rotary engine's two big drawbacks.

It seemed that XP-987 GT was destined for the scrap heap, when a last-ditch effort was made by Tom Falconer, an English Corvette enthusiast, to purchase the car. Although XP-987 GT had no engine or transaxle installed, Falconer was successful with his bid to GM chief designer Chuck Jordan and he brought the car home to Kent, England. There, Falconer first installed a Vauxhall four-cylinder engine, then later replaced it with a Mazda 13B rotary engine, in keeping with the car's original intent. A front-wheel-drive Cadillac was the transmission donor. The car was kept on display in Kent for many years, until recently.

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Industry rumors of a mid - engine Corvette have swirled since the ’60s, fueled, at least originally, by the Vette’s godfather himself, Zora Arkus-Duntov. It was small for a Corvette , about the size of a Ferrari Dino, with a body designed by Pininfarina and powered by a transverse-mounted two - rotor Wankel

Two GMRCE Wankel engines , originally put in Vega testbeds, were joined at the crank, forming a monstrous 8.4 liter quad- rotor engine So where is the Aerovette now? Well, as the story goes, GM was about to scrap the leftover concept car, but at the last minute, a British Corvette shop owner by

The Two-Rotor, Wankel-Powered Mid-Engine Chevrolet Corvette that Never Was© Automobile Magazine Staff

XP-987 GT will be displayed at the Amelia Island Concours as part of a special mid-engine sports-car class, with other featured cars including models from DeTomaso, Ferrari, and Lamborghini, according to a press release. Of course, rounding out a must-see event, we'll also be announcing our 2019 Automobile Magazine All-Stars picks at the concours this year. The Amelia Island Concours d'Élégance weekend of events will take place March 7-10, 2019 at the Ritz-Carlton of Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach, FL.

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