You Can Already Buy a Mid-Engined Corvette for $120,000…But There’s a Catch
It’s called the Mysterro, and it’s a mid-engined C4 in disguise.
Questions about the upcoming mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette are flying thick and fast right now, with the biggest potential change in the model's 65-year history setting the rumor mill into overdrive. But here's a little secret for those who'd rather avoid all that speculation: you can actually buy a mid-engined 'Vette right now for the same price as the Corvette ZR1. It's just...well, it's a little complicated, as anything called the Mysterro is bound to be.
There have been other experimental mid-engined Corvettes before, most notably the beautiful late-Sixties Aerovette concept car that sadly never made it out of the planning stages. But it was always Corvette designer Zora Arkus-Duntov's dream to put the engine behind the driver, and though he left the company long before it came anywhere close to reality, the thought endured with a strange force. Chevrolet toyed with the idea again in the 1980s with the mid-engined Corvette Indy and CERV III concepts, but it wasn't until a Czech auto designer named Vaclav Kral took it upon himself to make one in 1993 that the mid-engined 'Vette finally came to life.
If you're thinking that this car doesn't look a whole lot like a C4 Corvette, you are correct. Kral actually set out to build a boutique supercar he dubbed the "Mysterro" using the 'Vette as a base, adding a custom tube frame, a 5-speed transaxle, and that bubbly Nineties bodywork. Obviously the monochromatic interior is a new addition as well—but the 5.7-liter pushrod V8, the suspension, the brakes, and the steering are all sourced from the 1993 Corvette. The changes help cut a few hundred pounds off the Chevy's stock curb weight and should enliven those 300 horses under the hood nicely.
Other interesting touches include side-mounted luggage compartments "for golf clubs," Recaro seats and a Momo steering wheel, and the complete and utter lack of a roof. It's all very red, and very of that era. Kral originally intended to produce 25 Mysterros, but the project mysteriously ended after just this single model was built and Kral himself passed away in 2006. Its incomplete history certainly raises a few eyebrows, but Kral was a well-respected designer who worked with Skoda, Tatra, and Porsche. He knew his stuff, and this (probably) isn't held together with paper clips and bubble gum. And remember: with less than 70 miles on the odometer, this is essentially a new car.
But is it essentially a mid-engined Corvette? The Mysterro's tube frame would make it a unique experience compared to the C4, though there's probably no mistaking that pushrod engine or the early-90s General Motors suspension and steering. It's definitely not as sleek as the upcoming C8 mid-engined model looks in spy photos. But if you've got $120,000 burning a hole in your pocket, here's one you can take home today.