While it may be old news now, the existence of a mid-engined Corvette took over four decades to come to fruition. The brainchildren of Zora Arkus Duntov, the mid-engined Corvette concepts of yore underwent a number of transformations in development. The most extreme of these concept vehicles was the XP-895 Aerovette, which carried a four-rotor Wankel rotary engine. Now, Michigan-based YouTuber Rob Dahm plans to recreate this rotary-powered sports car with an all new C8 Corvette.
Dahm is no stranger to rotary powered vehicles, having built one of the most extreme RX7’s the world has ever seen, complete with a turbocharged four-rotor setup and all-wheel drive. More recently, Dahm pulled the small-block V8 out of a C5 Corvette and replaced it with a two-rotor setup of its own. It is fair to say then that he is the perfect candidate to build a modern interpretation of the XP-895 Aerovette.
First shown to the world during 1973, the XP-895 Aerovette was an evolution of Duntov’s earlier XP-882 concept from the late 1960’s. While the earlier prototype carried a mid-mounted V8, the XP-895 utilized two of the Chevrolet Vega’s two-rotor engines stuck together. The end result was a 420 horsepower four-rotor engine wrapped in some rather incredible sheet metal. The project was eventually cancelled as the oil crisis of the 1970’s intensified, due in no small part to the inefficiency of rotary engines.
The idea of a rotary powered Corvette is clearly not a new one, but that is all the more reason for Dahm to complete this wild project. A combination of his love for the Wankel engine and Chevrolet’s own history, this C8 Aerovette project is sure to be a good one. The one thing that Dahm seems to be missing right now is a C8 Corvette to tear apart, which is no surprise considering the mess of a year that the C8 had from a production standpoint.
A rotary engine swap otherwise stands as the least believable ambition of any aftermarket C8 Corvette venture.
It might be able to physically happen, like how Hennessey bolted a few turbos onto a completely untuned LT2 V8 engine just to call it the “world’s first,” but any reality of it being fit for sale is just not the case. The cybersecurity and software programming of the C8 is simply too fortified for tuners to do much of anything to it. Removing the engine simply won’t remove this problem.
We’re sure Dahm will discover a few things along the way while tearing out the LT2 from the back of a C8, but we will continue to do what we’ve done for the past year when we hear about people wanting to tune the C8. We’re calling the bluff.