top of page

1957 Chevrolet Q Corvette XP-84 Concept

GM worked on a large sedan with a front engine, rear transaxle, and independent rear suspension. Duntov proposed a front/mid-engine Corvette using the new transaxle and suspension, with gullwing doors that took half the windshield with them. This concept died in 1958 due to a recession.

In light of the 1997 5th generation Corvette, the 1957 Q-Corvette is not only the most forgotten Corvette but the most profound of all concept Corvettes! Mechanical designs for the C5 were laid out in this very unique 1957 prototype.

In 1957, Chevrolet was in the beginning stages of developing a new small car concept that would eventually become the Corvair. Corvette designers saw that the Corvair's transaxle and independent rear suspension could be used to create a new and revolutionary Corvette. With this exotic piece of hardware, Zora Arkus-Duntov and his designers saw this as a golden opportunity for a unique and very different Corvette for 1960.

The transaxle case was aluminum and could be offered as a 4-speed manual or automatic. The rear-mounted transmission/axle helped balance the weight of the Corvette. Drum brakes were mounted inboard to reduce unsprung weight. Even the starter motor was on the transaxle for weight balancing.

An all-aluminum, fuel-injected 283 engine with a dry-sump oil system was proposed. There were no steel valve guides, valve seats, or piston sleeves. This was to help achieve the target weight of 2,225 pounds.

The proposed structure of the Q-Corvette was a steel platform similar to the 356 Porsche. Because of the transmission location, the interior would have been more extensive, even though the length and height were smaller than the production Corvette. The fastback roof had a permanent arch behind the cockpit and removable roof panels. At the leading edge of the windshield, there were no A-pillars.

Bill Mitchell suggested to stylists Bob Veryzer and Pete Brock that the styling should come from the slimness of the Pininfarina / Abarth cars with a solid horizontal line and bulges over the wheels on the upper surfaces. The pointed nose had driving lights in the grille opening and manually operated pop-up headlights. Mitchell's Sting Ray Racer used most of the same styling ideas.

In 1958, the automobile industry was a recession, so GM killed the expensive Q-Corvette project. As it was, Corvettes were hardly profitable. So the Q-Corvette was an on-paper and clay-only prototype with some great ideas that took 30 years to produce.

Source: Frank Markus, MotorTrend Magazine;

Images: Motor Trend archives;

Explore by Year, Make or Designer
bottom of page