A Mid-Engine Story
Highlights from the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Sunrise at The Amelia: The Corvette Mid-Engine prototypes were brought together to celebrate the arrival of the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC.
At The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, special classes are created by assembling vehicles that tell a story. In 2020, The Amelia celebrated The Cars of Harley Earl by gathering 14 vehicles significant to the automotive designer's incredible career at General Motors. Seven rare Lozier automobiles were displayed in a tribute to the most expensive American "Brass Era" car.

To celebrate the launch of Chevrolet's mid-engine Corvette, Bill Warner and his team assembled an inspiring class of nine mid-engine (and one rear-engine) Corvette prototypes. Vehicles in the class included the "alpha" 1960 Chevrolet CERV I (Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle), developed by engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov as a platform to develop and refine Chevrolet body, chassis and suspension systems, to the "omega" 1990 Chevrolet CERV III. The latter debuted at the 1990 NAIAS in Detroit and paved the way for a future generation of mid-engine concepts while influencing the design architecture of the C5 Corvette.
The 1960 Chevrolet CERV I. Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov developed the CERV (Chevrolet Experimental Research Vehicle) as a platform to develop and refine Chevrolet body, chassis and suspension systems. An open-wheeled vehicle with a single seat, the fiberglass body designed by Larry Shinoda in the clandestine "Studio X" weighed only 80 pounds.
Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC.
Chevrolet's 1990 CERV III was inspired by the 1986 Corvette Indy.The body, designed by Jerry Palmer's team in Chevy 3 Studio, was a combination of carbon fiber, Kevlar and aluminum honeycomb. The scissor-type doors pivoted up from the fenders. Power came from a twin-turbocharged 5.7 liter V8 producing 650 HP. With a drag coefficient of 0.277, the car had a calculated top speed of 225 mph. It featured full-time four-wheel drive and active suspension. Photo by Deremer Studios, LLC.
One of our favorites on display was the 1968 Chevrolet Astro II. Chosen to be included in our Parade of Significant Cars, the Astro II Experimental was designed as a prototype for possible mid-engine Corvette production vehicles of the 1970s.
The 1968 Chevrolet Astro II. Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC/Marty V Photography
Code named XP-880 (Experimental Prototype), design was tasked to Larry Shinoda's Chevy 3 Studio and designers George Hubbach, Randy Wittine and Allen Young. Their proposal was conceived to comfortably carry two passengers and their cargo with the engine and radiator placed in the rear of the vehicle freeing the front compartment for storage.
The 1968 Chevrolet Astro II. Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC/Marty V Photography
Chevrolet R&D, under the direction of Frank Winchell, provided the mechanicals. Built with as many off-the-shelf parts as possible, the car was powered by a liquid-cooled version of Chevrolet's 390 hp Mark IV big block engine. Sporting the Firefrost Blue paint desired by Bill Mitchell and Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes, the Astro II debuted to the public at the 1968 New York Auto Show.
The 1968 Chevrolet Astro II (center). Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC.
Of course the special class was designed to celebrate the new "omega" in General Motor's mid-engine Corvette story. Thanks to the vision of the Chevrolet team a spectacular display was created on the show field. Corvette prototypes lined the front and flanked the sides. Guests could ascend the platform and enter a building that showcased Chevrolet's incredible new vehicle.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC/Palmskee Photography
What would The Amelia be without a little pageantry and fun? Bill Warner, the event's founder, took delivery of his new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on the show field. The keys were handed to him directly by Mark Reuss, president of General Motors and Amelia judge.

"When General Motors announced the C8, I simply had to order one and I thank Mark Reuss, Michael Simcoe, Steve Haener and Jim Sardelli II for making delivery on the Field of Dreams possible," said Bill Warner, The Amelia's founder. "The car truly redefines the Corvette and is a technical marvel. In my 60 plus years of driving, this is truly one of most exciting and sophisticated cars that I have ever owned."
General Motors president, Mark Reuss (standing) and dealer/president at Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, Billie Nimnicht III, present Bill Warner with the key to the new mid-engine 2020 Corvette Stingray at the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Photo by Deremer Studios LLC./Palmskee Photography
What stories will Bill Warner and the crew tell at next year's event? We look forward to seeing you March 4-7, 2021, at the 26th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
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About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
THE AMELIA will be held March 4-7, 2021 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island. For the Amelia’s full events schedule, including Saturday’s Cars & Coffee at the Concours and Sunday’s premier Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit www.ameliaconcours.org . The show’s Foundation has donated over $3.5 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996.

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance| 904-636-0027 | E-mail | Website