How strange was the world back in the 1980s? Honestly, not as strange as it was in the 1970s but then again, we never heard of someone trying to build a V8-powered grass trimmer during the age of disco. In the '70s, life was all about bell-bottoms, roller skates, and finding ways to paint everything a combination of brown, orange, and gold. Nobody cared about power – just look at the cars coming out of Detroit for crying out loud.
Actually, people did care about power. It just took some time to figure out how to do it while being a bit nicer to Mother Nature. However, there was a bit of pent-up demand among petrolheads of the era, which might explain why this 5.7-liter, tuned-port injection V8 from a C4 Corvette is fitted with a strap, a pole, and a spinning weed whipper at the end. No, it totally doesn't explain it.
Thankfully, GM Design explains it for us in an Instagram post from where this photo originated. It was simply a joke, a funny mock-up presented to Tom Peters, who was the Corvette's chief designer at the time. At this point in history, the Corvette was the talk of the town with its sleek new shape and futuristic interior, which in 1985 meant digital readouts and more buttons than an F-16 fighter jet. As for the engine, its 5.7-liter V8 was still a classic pushrod design, but a snazzy TPI intake made it look pretty space-agey as well.
The car featured in the background of this image isn't a C4 Corvette. Rather, it appears to be a version of the Corvette Indy concept that would eventually debut (in a striking shade of red) at the 1986 Detroit Auto Show. It was another step in the mid-engine Corvette saga that would eventually lead to the CERV III concept of 1990, a vehicle that previewed design cues for the fifth-generation Corvette in 1997. It also carried the epic DOHC 32-valve V8 that powered the C4 Corvette ZR-1 from 1990 through 1995. It's the only such mill to ever power a production Corvette, though that will change once the new Z06 debuts.
An L98 pushrod V8 would be a neat weed wacker, but just imagine what a flat-plane-crank DOHC V8 weed machine would be like. Here's hoping folks at team Corvette are already dreaming up such a monster.