GTM: The Mid-Engine C5

Posted September 18, 2017

By Dean Larson

The upcoming mid-engine C8 Corvette is in the news now more than ever as more spy shots roll in and the car nears production. We might be seeing it fairly soon, too, as there’s talk on the web that the car will be revealed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January. As excited as we are to see the Vette take a quantum leap forward in performance, it seems General Motors put off the mid-engine layout for far too long. It was back in the 1960s, when the Corvette was busy establishing itself as an American performance icon, that Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov argued that the Corvette needed to adopt the superior layout. But it would be another 50 years before Arkus-Duntov’s vision for the Vette came to be. 

Mid Engine Vette Gtm7

While the lumbering giant General Motors toyed with mid-engine concepts for decades, the low-volume auto industry saw the possibilities and realized a mid-engine Vette of its own. While its not officially on paper as such, the design of the Factory Five GTM is essentially a leaner, meaner C5 Corvette with the engine out back for improved performance. There are many builders who choose to source all new components, but the GTM was designed to use the C5’s engine, front and rear control arms, suspension, brakes and fuel tanks. With these well-designed parts and a superior mid-engine layout, the GTM’s performance reminds you of the Corvette, but is better in most every way.

 The looks of the GTM have been equated to the Ford GT most often, and that’s easy to see, especially from the front. However this particular GTM for sale on eBay wears its Vette ancestry with pride and looks like every bit of the mid-engine C5 that never was. 

There are no surprises here mechanically, as the GTM is powered by an LS1 from a 2002 Vette, which is hooked up to a Porsche 911 transaxle like FFR suggests. The seller doesn’t list much additional info, but it’s pretty clear that the builder sourced everything possible from the C5 donor. We’re actually impressed how well the Vette steering wheel, gauge cluster, parking brake and some of the switches fit into the GTM interior. However the use of blue upholstery, the factory radio and the custom aluminum bezels may not suit everyone’s tastes.

It’s really the exterior that sells this car as a mid-engine C5 though. The factory Vette wheels look nice on the GTM, but are unique enough to be instantly recognizable as a GM product. But pair those OEM wheels with paint that looks strikingly like Nassau Blue, a factory C5 color, and the vision is complete. 

With an asking price of $55,000, this GTM is cheaper than most, but it’s optioned as such. The early LS1 makes about 345 hp in stock trim, considerably less than some of the other LS engines commonly seen in GTMs. Also, some of the interior components discussed above will probably turn away some buyers. On the other hand, this GTM is a V8 mid-engine super car for the price of well-optioned pickup truck.

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Corvette GTM