In 1977 GM came out with another version of the Four-Rotor Car and dubbed it the Aerovette. The Aerovette had the same lines as the original design and this time GM pulled out all the stops when making the prototype.
That’s because for all intensive purposes, GM fully intended on producing the Aerovette beginning in 1980. However due to a myriad of complications, the idea never made it past the prototype stage.
The Areovette was shaped in a rectangular way so it would slice through the air with little wind resistance as the name “aero” might suggest. The Aerovette was beautifully detailed both inside and out and the interior was fully engineered which was more proof that the car was intended for production.
The doors of the Areovette opened out and up and were the same “Gullwing” design as the famed Mercedes 300SL Coupe. But the Aerovette doors actually more articulated versus the Mercedes design and that allowed for greater function in tighter parking spots which was a major drawback of the design in the past.
If the Aerovette would have made it to the public it would have had a steel frame that made for extra durability. The suspension was due to come off of the actual Shark Corvette as Zora Duntov suggested that this would be an extreme cost savings measure. The mid-engine Vette was probably going to feature GM’s famed and go to 350 V-8 engine and the transmissions were to be the same as the conventional Vette as well.
In fact, for all that went into the Aerovette, the new style Vette would have been just about in line with what the regular Corvette was going for. GM estimated that the Aerovette would have sold in 1980 for about $15,000 to $18,000 and this was very close to the regular Corvette even though the gullwing doors would have added to the cost significantly.
Unfortunately though, the Aerovette was not meant to be and was done in by its biggest supports leaving GM. Both Duntov and Mitchell had already retired and that left the ultimate call to go to other top dogs at GM, one of whom was Dave McLellan. However, McLellan liked the front engine Corvette design much more than he did the Aerovette’s mid engine and that factor was one that had the concept car remain a concept.
Perhaps though the biggest factor that helped make that fateful decision was money. At the time many imports such as Fiat and Porsche had mid engine models and none of them were fairing well in the United States market. Meanwhile Datsun had been selling their 240Z front engine cars in the US at a fast pace, which the brass at GM took instant note of. When it came right down to it, the mid-engine Areovette was deemed too big a risk by McLellan and the other hot shots at GM and would therefore only secure its place in Corvette history as the overachieving concept car that could have been but never was.