HistoricRacingNews.com and our presenting sponsor Reliable Carriers will be bringing you the all-important judging from the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, with our live-stream going on-line at noon on March 10th (United States Eastern Time). The event takes outside our usual remit of historic motorsport by also featuring some of the very best classic cars assembled at one venue, and in the build-up to the event on the second weekend of March we will bring you some of the road cars that have caught our eye.
One is a striking mid-engine Corvette prototype that will be featured as a part of the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance’s Mid-Engine sports car class. The display is also scheduled to include vehicles from DeTomaso, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The 1973 Chevrolet Corvette XP-897 GT was one of two mid-engine Corvette prototypes designed by General Motors Styling Division to promote the smooth and high revving Wankel Rotary engine. The rotary was intended to power GM passenger cars from 1976, so both cars were shown at the major worldwide auto shows from September 1973 to April 1974.
Unfortunately, the rotary Wankel engine proved to be both thirsty and polluting compared to the conventional piston-in-cylinder engine so the simultaneous gasoline shortage and strict Federal emission legislation sealed its fate.
After the last show appearance in Europe the XP-897 GT lost the rotary engine and was sealed in a plywood case and stored at the British GM Division Vauxhall Motors Design Centre in Bedford, England. Scheduled to be crushed in the early 1980s, it was rescued by Corvette author Tom Falconer with the assistance of then GM Head of Design, Chuck Jordan, and has been displayed in Kent, England until recently.
On March 10, 2019, the day of the Concours judging, the XP-897 GT will be displayed alongside a recently-acquired 1973 GM rotary engine - don’t miss out live stream!