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1973 Chevrolet XP-897GT Two-Rotor by Pininfarina

Ed Cole, president of GM, who had become an ardent rotary engine advocate, ordered up a sports car concept designed around the developing two rotor GMRCE (General Motors Rotary Combustion Engine). Coded XP-897GT, this 1973 Chevrolet Corvette concept was designed by GM’s Experimental Studio and built on a modified Porsche 914 chassis with a Pininfarina steel body. It was powered with a 180 horsepower, transversely mounted rotary engine mated to a new automatic transaxle developed for the forthcoming X-body Chevrolet Citation.


The Corvette 2-Rotor made its show debut at the 1978 Frankfurt Auto Show. After its career on the show circuit, GM decided to cancel the rotary engine program due to poor emissions and mileage problems. After its British Motor Show debut, the car minus engine and transaxle were put in storage in the UK.


In 1982, Englishman Tom Falconer, a car collector, heard the XP-897GT was scheduled for the car crusher and convinced Chuck Jordan, head of GM Styling, to let him save the car. He installed a four-cylinder Vauxhall Cavalier engine and automatic gearbox just to get it mobile. In 1997, it was fitted with a Mazda 13B rotary engine matched to a Cadillac front-wheel-drive automatic gearbox.


Today the car is on display in Tom’s showroom in Snodland, Kent, England.


Images: www.shorey.net; www.corvettes.nl; deansgarage.com