The automotive industry is full of “what could have been” situations, but sometimes, top-secret projects only come to light decades after the work started. General Motors isn’t short on such projects, but we’re only now just learning about the XP-85: a baby Corvette.
Wheels uncovered the secret documents after digging through the GM archives during a visit. The documents reveal plans for a smaller Corvette roadster to sit below the V8-powered Corvette. Specifically, GM wanted a Holden engine under the long hood.
Work began on the project in the late 1950s after a memo dated May 28, 1958, to then-GM design head Bill Mitchell called for XP-85’s (short for experimental project) development. Four months later, a second memo sent to Mitchell included photos of a prototype with the words “Corvette Holden Engine” written beside it.