The Society for Automotive Pedantry (SAP), a Louisville, Kentucky-based group of car collectors and enthusiasts, announced Wednesday morning that they will be hosting a celebration in February for the 55thanniversary of the Mid-Engined Chevrolet Corvette, the classic American sports car that has helped define the domestic auto industry and cultural landscape for generations. The celebration is scheduled to take place at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on February 17th.
SAP President Mike Schultz, in an online announcement posted to the group’s website, states “In the late 1950s, people were clamoring for a mid-engined Corvette. The C1 was a fine car, but it wasn’t until model year 1963 that our prayers were answered with a true FMR [front-mid engine, rear wheel drive] version of the car. And the rest is history – 55 years of it, to be exact!”
Critics were quick to jump on the announcement, claiming that front-engined cars cannot, by definition, also be mid-engined.
“I guess you could technically say the engine’s center of mass has been behind the front axles since the C2,” says GM’s Director of Performance Development, Jim Sloan. “But I mean, just look at it. The engine is in the front. And the upcoming C8 will be the first ever mid-engined Corvette. General Motors is extremely excited about the competitiveness this will bring to the Corvette name.”
Even though racing versions of the traditional FMR Corvette have claimed podium finishes in countless recent sports car and endurance races, Sloan stands by his believe that the Corvette can still be improved.
“If you look at what the Italians have done with RMR [rear mid-engine, rear wheel drive] layouts, we want to draw from that inspiration and basically do exactly what they’re doing. But more American,” Sloan continued. “So we’ll add unique touches like angry badging and less vacation time for assembly workers.”
Mike Schultz is undeterred by such comments, quipping “People who say things like ‘technically’ are really just saying ‘truthfully.’ And our research shows that moving the engine to behind the driver will have zero effect on everyday handling, as the average Corvette owner’s body weight is the biggest factor in the car’s balance.”
He also notes that the SAP celebration will not be limited to Corvettes, but will also welcome other famous FMR-layout cars such as the Mazda RX-7 and RX-8, the Toyota Previa, and the Porsche 928. The gathering is scheduled as a “Rain or Shine or Sinkhole” event.