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CERV II MID-ENGINE CORVETTE CONCEPT: PHOTO GALLERY

The Vehicle Was Built In 1964, And Auctioned For $1.1 Million In 2013

Photos by and for MuscleCarsandTrucks.com

Even as far back as the 1960’s, there were rumors that the “next” Corvette would be mid-engined, in keeping with the developments at Ferrari, and what Ford was doing with the GT40. It, like so many other times, almost happened. Zora Arkus Duntov may not have gotten his brainchild into production, but was able to create a second iteration of the mid-engined Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle,  or CERV II for short, in 1964.

Not many people are aware, but Duntov’s CERV II was four-wheel-drive, but even that was unconventional. An 11-inch Powerglide torque converter and clutchless two-speed manual gearbox can be found at the rear of the car, while a driveshaft extends to a second 10-inch Powerglide torque converter at the front of the car, with a second semi-automatic transmission. Over the course of its development, Chevrolet tried numerous torque split ratios and gears, with Duntov aiming for 35% of the power delivered to the front end at low speed and 40% at high speed.

Duvtov and company began to target the Ford GT40 in 1963 and 1964 as a direct racing competitor. But as fate would have it, the higher-ups at General Motors at the time declared that the company would not participate in racing. That didn’t stop the bootleg motorsports program of the original Corvette Grand Sport, but that’s a story for another day.

It is said that the CERV II could achieve speeds as high as 212 mph on the track, thanks to its 377 cubic-inch V8 engine pushing out a “conservatively rated” 550 horsepower. When the car was set up for a drag race, its 0-60 time was said to be as quick as 2.8 seconds.

The CERV II then received a 427 ZL-1 V8 engine in 1969, which was capable of 700 horsepower, and was believed to get the development vehicle to crest and incredible 221 mph and a 0-60 sprint of 2.5 seconds. It weighed just 1,848 pounds.

In 1970, GM mothballed the CERV II, and donated the vehicle to the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum in Costa Mesa, California shortly after. The museum closed in 1986, and the CERV II then found itself in the hands of private collectors.

The CERV II was then sold at an RM Sotheby’s auction in 2013 for $1.1 million. The buyer? Officially unclear, but as we see the vehicle proudly on display from Chevrolet during the 2019 Woodward Dream Cruise, it was likely General Motors itself.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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