It turns out that the first mid-engined Corvette was... a boat?!
It was made by Malibu Boats and it's one of the most interesting watercraft you'll ever see!
There have been quite a few crossovers between the worlds of cars and boats. Bugatti has collaborated with Palmer Johnson to make super-opulent Bugatti boats. Mercedes has collaborated with Silver Arrows Marine to make the Arrow 460 Granturismo, a 14 metre sports boat with a top speed of over 40 knots. There's also the AM37 sports boat created by a collaboration between Quintessence Yachts and Aston Martin. Whilst all of these are beautifully over the top pieces of nautical design, nothing comes close to the sheer madness that happened when Malibu Boats decided to create a boat based on one of America's most beloved sports cars, the Chevrolet Corvette.
If you haven't heard of these boats before, I wouldn't be surprised. Thankfully, Cannonball record-holder Doug Tabbutt owns one and he talked about his experience with looking for one, finding one and owning one in a video for VinWiki. As Tabbutt explains, the boat has a marinized version of the engine used in the Corvette as well as Corvette seats, a Corvette dash, Corvette styling and a matching trailer with Corvette Z06 wheels! The Corvette engine was also stuffed behind the seats at the back, making this sort-of mid-engined and technically the first production mid-engined Corvette ever. The vast majority of Corvette boats are red (as you might expect) and they originally retailed for around $125,000 new. Tabbutt managed to get his for around $35,000 secondhand, which is a steal if you ask me!
What's a Corvette boat like to own? Well, as a boat it's a bit of a dude. Malibu Boats clearly seemed to think that the boat would never be used for actual boating. The Z06 wheels of the trailer weren't designed at all for carrying a boat in the trailer, something that was made very clear when Tabbutt tried to ship the boat home when the tyres either blew out or kept being on the verge of blowing out. There was also nothing on the boat that could be used to help tie the boat up at a dock and there were other sorts of small niggles that made it not the most suitable boat for going... well, boating. However, all of that was forgiven when Tabbutt felt the sheer power and acceleration of the marinized Corvette engine.
Whilst it might be a tad difficult to live with, it must be really cool to own such a unique boat like this. Whilst it is a fairly rare boat and therefore fairly difficult to get parts for, the Corvette engine is a standard Corvette engine so it's fairly easy to get parts for and work on that (even if the engine is a bit of a pain to access because of its location in the boat). Even though Tabbutt has had to put a lot of time and money into it to make it useable as an actual boat, it's one that's provided him with a lot of entertainment and he is adamant that he won't sell it any time soon!