The Corvette once almost received a V12! In the 90s, a unique prototype was built to compete with the Viper that had just been released.
Everyone knows the Corvette! A rear-wheel drive American sports car with a big V8 under the front hood ! But if a significant change has taken place when switching to the last generation with the V8 which moved to the rear center position, another, just as important, could have taken place in the 1990s.
Competitor for the Dodge Viper
Indeed, at that time, Chevrolet wanted to compete with the Dodge Viper released in 1992. The latter causing a sensation with its enormous atmospheric V10 of 8.0 displacement and developing 364 hp. The idea then germinated among the leaders of the Detroit firm, to install a larger block in the Corvette (C4) of the time, then marketed since 1984. And even if it means doing things, you might as well do them well by surpassing the Viper thanks to a V12!
The project has gone so far that a prototype of this Corvette V12 has even been built! The block was designed by Ryan Falconner Industrie who used to manufacture marine engines based on GM. The V12 had a displacement of 10 liters and did not fit in the Corvette. To slide it to the front of the sports car, the engineers had to lengthen the frame by about twenty centimeters.
The V12 developed 686 hp and 920 Nm of torque. Figures that are not ridiculous today but were absolutely mind-boggling In the 90s !
But an engine is not everything. The few testers who had the privilege of taking the wheel noted that his behavior was not optimal. The reason probably comes from its extended wheelbase. In addition, the lack of space under the hood caused significant overheating of the block that was difficult to resolve.
Another drawback, and not the least: its price! If Chevrolet had decided to market this « super Corvette », known as ZR-12, it would have been displayed at an indecent price. Its price was estimated at $ 70,000. It was $ 10,000 more than the most successful and already very capable ZR-1, and downright $ 40,000 more from the base Corvette. It was simply not economically profitable.
A rare release of the unique prototype
The only prototype of this ZR-12 is now kept at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky in the United States. She recently had the opportunity to do a few turns of the wheels which gives us the opportunity to hear the sound of this famous unique 10-liter V12.
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