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 actually laid out in this very unique 1957 prototype.
Early in 1957, Chevrolet was in the beginning stages
of developing a completely new small car concept that would eventually become the Corvair. Corvette designers saw that the
transaxle and independent rear suspension from the Corvair could be used to develop a totally new and revolutionary Corvette.
With this exotic piece of hardware, Zora Arkus-Duntov and his designers saw this as a golden opportunity for a new and very
different Corvette for 1960.
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. The transaxle
case was aluminum and could be offered as either a 4-speed manual or automatic.
Up front an all-aluminum, fuel-injected 283 engine
with a dry-sump oil system was proposed. There were to be 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 larger, 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 strong horizontal
line and bulges over the wheels in 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 there was a recession
in the automobile industry, 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.