Cars from Future Past: 1973 AeroVette Concept

by Paul Strauss
Cars from Future Past: 1973 AeroVette Conceptzoom in

While rumors abound about a mid-engined version of today’s Corvette, Chevrolet had given thought to the idea over 40 years ago, with its 1973 AeroVette concept.

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Also known as the XP-895 concept, and the Experimental Four-Rotor Corvette, the AeroVette was the developed under GM designer Bill Mitchell and the brainchild of GM engineer/race car driver Zora Arkus-Duntov – the man responsible for bringing the small-block V8 and fuel injection to the Corvette back in the late 1950s, thus helping it become the iconic sports car it would evolve into.

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Visually, the AeroVette shared much similarity with Corvettes of the early and mid 1970s, what made this model truly unique were three things: 1) It featured an aluminum alloy chassis; 2) It offered falcon-wing doors (like the Tesla Model X) and 3) it had a mid-mounted transverse rotary engine. A pair of Chevy Vega 2-rotor engines were combined to create a 4-rotor engine with 420 horsepower. As you can see in the video below, the car was also loaded with futuristic features, like electrically adjustable pedals, computerized systems monitoring, and a digital instrument cluster.

In 1976, the rotary engine would be dumped and replaced with a 6.6-liter V8, with plans for a production run to begin in 1980 with a 5.7-liter V8. Sadly, Chevrolet management decided that it would be cheaper to build a front-engine Vette, and that sales projections for a mid-engined car would be too low to justify production.

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These days, the AeroVette concept takes up residence in the GM Heritage Center outside of Detroit. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be seeing another mid-engined Corvette.


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