A new Corvette is coming, and preparations for its inauguration are already under way at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky. According to The Bowling Green Daily News and the National Corvette Museum website, factory tours will be suspended for 18 months beginning June 16. While there has been no official explanation for the closure, a year and a half seems like enough time to rework the factory tooling for a mid-engine sports car.

Yes, automotive publications have been predicting the reveal of a mid-engine Corvette for half a century, but numerous spy photos show that GM is working on something special. Additionally, we have reason to believe that the Corvette’s V8 will move away from pushrods, finally adopting a free-revving DOHC layout. While GM has worked Merlin levels of magic to make pushrods possible in this day and age, the move to overhead cams was going to occur eventually. In addition to the mid-engine platform, the factory might be installing a new DOHC engine production line.

Of course, the halting of tours might simply be to hide the new C7 Corvette ZR1 that we’ve seen running around. The truth is likely somewhere in between, since we believe both cars are coming and 18 months is far too long to rework the plant for another variant of the C7, even if it is the hot and ready ZR1. If the ZR1 is everything we expect it to be, it’s going to be one hell of a way to close out this generation of Corvettes.

2018 will mark the sixth year of production for the C7 generation, a short lifecycle when compared to past Corvettes. The thing is, the C7 has roots going all the way back to 1984 and the introduction of the C4. Since then, the car has been undergoing heavy alterations and modifications, but the lines can be traced back. The real question has nothing to do with camshaft placement or factory tour dates. What we really want to know is, where does a leaf spring go on a mid-engine car?

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