Time Machine: Prelude to a C8

Just a few weeks ago General Motors made international news announcing that the new Corvette C8 would be their first production mid-engine Corvette ever. There have been several prototypes teasing this direction over the decades, but nothing from the company ever made it from the prototype to the assembly line. Powered by GM’s venerable LS V8 engine based on their tried and true small-block architecture, the new Corvette represents a performance bargain. It also quickly became a challenge to the other manufacturers making pure performance automobiles. As mentioned earlier there were many examples of American mid-engine prototype muscle cars over the years, instantly becoming inspiration for the then future automotive designers.

One such prototype wasn’t constructed by GM, but ended up in their show booth in the early 90’s. That car was the AREX (short for American Roadster Experimental), designed by David Stollery. He presented his concept to General Motors believing that the mid-engine vehicle represented the future of American performance, and felt that it needed to be GM-powered. While the top brass at GM didn’t take on the project, but they did turn Stollery on to performance guru Gale Banks. This started a friendship that would have Banks building a highly modified 6.0 liter LT1 small-block that churned out +800 HP for the prototype. David Stollery, whose past design credits included the 1968-72 Toyota Celica and Supra, along with a then Subaru Advanced Vehicle Engineer Jack Brown, built the 2,500 lb. 200 mph capable prototype… which ended up being showcased at the ’91 Detroit Auto Show in the GM exhibit.