Vette Videos: 1973 4-Rotor, Mid-Engine AeroVette

Dateline: 8.13.11
Take a trip in the CorvetteReport Time Machine back to 1973 for a look-see at what could have been the first mid-engine production Corvette!



Chief of GM Design, Bill Mitchell had one order for designer Henry Haga, "Make it sleek!"

With all the chitter-chatter in the C7 Corvette rumor mill about a possible mid-engine Corvette, we thought it would be fun to take a trip back to 1973 for a look at what many thought would be the replacement for the C3 Mako Shark-styled Corvette. Corvette chief of engineering, Zora Arkus-Duntov had been pitching the mid-engine layout since the 1960 CERV I car. Not only was the AeroVette a mid-engine layout, it was to be powered by a 420-horsepower, 4-rotor Wankel rotor-motor engine. GM had licensing rights to develop the radical rotary engine that seemed to have a lot of potential.

The car's bi-fold gull wing doors made it fairly easy to step into the car.

In ‘73 there were two, rotary engine-powered Corvette prototypes. The XP-892 used a 2-rotor engine and had a body designed by Pininfarina. While it was a nice-looking car, it really didn’t shout, “CORVETTE!” The 4-rotor car was built on the chassis platform of a previous 1970 experimental Corvette that was simply known as the XP-882. The 4-rotor car definitely screamed, “CORVETTE!”

Styling was directed by Bill Mitchell with the simple orders, “Make it sleek!” Designer Henry Haga did the pen work that featured long tapers on the front and back and a unique bi-fold gull-wind door design. For its day, the design was very slick, measuring just 0.325 coefficient of drag. But alas, like every other proposed mid-engine Corvette, the design never came close to seriously moving into production. The AeroVette is alive an well and can be seen at the National Corvette Museum. – Scott

The AeroVette was not nearly as big as it looked. Designers under the direction of Bill Mitchell were masters at proportions. Cars, such as the AeroVette, the Mako Shark II, and the Buick Riviera only looked their small size when positioned next to a regular car.

PS – We just happen to have art prints of the 2-Rotor and the 4-Rotor AeroVette, HERE.

To check out our art porints of the 4-Rotor and 2-Rotor Corvette prototypes, just click one of the above images.
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