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A Dozen Dazzling Cutting-Edge Corvettes Over The Decades

<p><em>1960 CERV I, 1990 CERV III and 1964 CERV II (left to right). Image source: General Motors Co.</em></p><p> </p><p>While <a href="https://www.plasticstoday.com/content/mold-decoration-creates-durable-badge-chevrolet/62487014818510">Chevrolet</a> launched the Corvette in 1953 using an assemblage of uninspiring off-the-shelf parts, including the old standby Stovebolt Six engine (rebranded with sidedraft carburetors as the Blue Flame Six), the car quickly became <a href="https://www.designnews.com/electronics-test/general-motors-sees-future-zero-crashes-zero-emissions-zero-congestion/22298198459010">General Motors</a>’ technology leader.</p><p>Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette’s first true chief engineer, pushed the application of the original small block V8 in 1955 and added Rochester Ramjet mechanical fuel injection in 1957. He developed the production Corvette into a legitimate Le Mans racer while GM design boss Bill Mitchell created the one-off Sting Ray Racer prototype in 1959.</p><p>Under Duntov, Chevy engineers produced testbeds like the mid-engine, open-wheel 1960 Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle (CERV) I, which looked like a mid-engine Indy Car a year before such a car debuted at The Brickyard. Duntov described CERV I as “a design without limit” and an “admirable tool” to instruct Chevy on “what to put in Corvette.”</p><p>The closed-wheel, open-cockpit CERV II of 1964 featured front and rear torque converters in a patented mid-engine all-wheel drive layout.</p><p>The 1990 CERV III was designed as more of a high-performance road car than as a racer, with the aim of developing mid-engine structures for a production model that never arrived. The twin-turbocharged double-overhead cam V8 in CERV III produced 650 horsepower, forecasting the muscle of forced-induction Corvettes like the supercharged 638-hp 2009 Corvette ZR1.</p><p>Finally, with the eighth-generation <a href="https://www.designnews.com/automotive-0/10-videos-break-down-engineering-2020-chevrolet-corvette/36531768361697">2020 Corvette Stingray</a>, Corvette fulfills Duntov’s dream of a mid-engine layout. Just as importantly, Corvette reclaims its mantle as a contemporary technology leader.</p>
Before it become a nostalgia model, the Chevrolet Corvette was a technical pioneer.

Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.

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