Z06 Review, Pt. 8 – Dave Matlock’s NCRS Heritage Award 1963 Z06 Tanker Sting Ray

One of 63 “Tanker” 1963 Z06 Corvettes Saved From Oblivion!

Dateline: 10.5.22 – This story was first published in the June 2020 issue of Vette Vues Magazine Restoring old cars is a long, arduous, and expensive enterprise. When the car being restored was once a race car, the owner has an important decision to make; does he restore the car back to its factory original condition or to its racing configuration? If the owner chooses the race car life of the car, it had better been a championship car, otherwise, the owner will probably never see a return on investment.

Restoring Back to When?

Two excellent examples of this at both ends are the 1960 Cunningham Le Mans Class-winning Corvette and the John Greenwood Widebody Sebring ’75 race car. The Cunningham #3 Corvette is estimated value is in the millions. In 2015 the Greenwood Corvette auction stalled at $300,000. Why? The Greenwood car is a beautifully restored racer, but it was never a champion car.

Dave Matlock’s 1963 ZO6 Corvette Sting Ray tanker was indeed a racer, but it was only raced regionally and didn’t win any championships. The car was sponsored by Star Chevrolet in East Orange, New Jersey, and was raced for only one season. In the car’s last race the front end was bumped and rubbed, but the car was not seriously damaged.

Skip Sofield was Star Chevrolet’s “Mr. Corvette”; spearheaded the racing effort and drove the car, along with Martin Krinner and Tom McNeil. “Racers” are not “collectors”. Back in the day, typically if a car is damaged or outdated, it was sold off or put into storage. Sofield’s ZO6 went into storage for decades.

As the years rolled on, the ZO6 was just a damaged old racer that was no longer competitive. No one wanted it. The only interest the car received was from vandals. The theives broke into the storage facility and helped themselves to the seats, seat belts, door panels, radio, and other small parts that they could steal quickly.

Despite the front end damage and some missing interior parts, the car was mechanically sound. Eventually, someone decided to put the car back to running condition, repair the body, and fix the interior, just to get rid of it.

One of 199 1963 Z06 Corvettes

From the factory, the Z06 was Sebring Silver with a red interior and had several juicy options, including; N03 36.5 Gallon Fuel Tank (the “Tanker” option), Power Windows, and an AM/FM radio. The build was in February 1963. The Z06’s suspension was rock hard and not a car one would like to drive on the street, especially on rough, potholed North Jersey roads. And the exotic fan-cooled brakes were almost useless until they were hot from heavy braking on a race track. We’ll get to Dave’s one-time-only harrowing experience driving his restored Z06 at the end of this article. Continue reading “Z06 Review, Pt. 8 – Dave Matlock’s NCRS Heritage Award 1963 Z06 Tanker Sting Ray”

Z06 Review, Pt. 7 – 2004 Commemorative Edition Z06 Corvette

The 2004 C5 Corvette Goes Out With a ROAR With the Commemorative Edition Z06 Corvette

Dateline: 9.18.22 – This story and art were part of my Illustrated Corvette Series for VETTE magazine. The C5 Z06 was the “to-die-for” performance Corvette. To celebrate the Corvette Racing Team’s astonishing success against the world’s best sports race cars, Chevrolet offered the Commemorative Edition option. The unique Special Edition available on the 2004 Corvette Coupe, Convertible, and Z06. Chock full of goodies, the Z06 version had some extra-special, advanced features that arguably made the car the Ultimate C5 Corvette! Let’s have a look-see! – Scott

It all goes back to one man’s passion for racing

Zora Arkus-Duntov was the only executive at GM to have raced a car at Le Mans, where he enjoyed class wins in 1954 and 1955. Duntov took his passion and experience and poured it into Chevrolet’s beauty queen, the Corvette, and elevated the car to legendary status.

Duntov had the kind of expertise that only comes from putting it all on the line in a four-wheel drift. Throughout the Corvette’s development, he always had racing on his mind. Bill Mitchell called this quality “having gasoline in your veins,” and in Duntov’s case, it showed. No sooner had he stuffed the new 265 small-block into the 1955 Corvette than his secret plans were hatched to build the first Corvette Le Mans racer, the Corvette SS.

It’s hard to imagine how Duntov kept the program secret from the GM brass for so long. But when the Corvette SS went public in 1957, management came down on him like an avalanche. The project was shelved, though fortunately SS Racer car and mule car escaped the crusher. Two years later the mule chassis was used for Bill Mitchell’s Stingray Racer. Both cars survive today! Continue reading “Z06 Review, Pt. 7 – 2004 Commemorative Edition Z06 Corvette”

Glenn Palmer’s Restored & Improved 1964 Sting Ray Convertible

Firemen Car-Guys bring a tired old Corvette back to life!

Dateline: 9.15.22 – This story was first published in the November 2021 issue of Vette Vues Magazine Police, Fire, and First Responders are a unique breed of American. The work is dangerous and just like military combat experience, unique bonds are formed, sometimes for life. This story is about fellow firemen; Lance Mallow, the Corvette’s third owner, and life-long Corvette-guy, Glenn Palmer. Glenn was part of the teams from all over America sent to work as part of the FEMA teams for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Lance Mallow was a big, strapping football player as a young guy. In 1973 Lance bought a white 1964 Corvette Convertible from his high school football coach. The car was originally purchased new from from Courtesy Chevrolet, in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 3, 1964. Lance’s coach was the third owner. The car has never been out of arid Arizona, so there was no rust on the car whatsoever.

Once A Daily Driver

For years the Corvette was Lance’s daily driver and along the way, he personalized the car with lots of typical ’70s street machine features, including; Hooker Header Side-Pipes, Mags, a diamond-tuft interior, and numerous other bling-things. Hey, it was the ’70s and Lance had a blast with his Corvette.

Glenn met Lance Mallow in 1981 when they started working out of Fire Station 27, in Phoenix, Arizona. Firemen spend a lot of time training and maintaining their equipment to be ready in a heartbeat. Along the way, Glenn and Lance learned of their mutual interest in cars and Corvettes. Lance’s Corvette was his daily driver, so Glenn got to see the car every day and got to know the car well. Continue reading “Glenn Palmer’s Restored & Improved 1964 Sting Ray Convertible”

The Larry Lipsitz Classic Performance Corvette Collection, Pt. 1

A beautiful collection of un-abused “old-school” performance Corvettes

Dateline: 9.12.22 – This story was first published in the September 2022 issue of Vette Vues as part of their ongoing “Reader’s Rides” series of stories.

First, a brief early Corvette history review

From 1956 to 1980 Corvette buyers had optional performance engines that were available. The 1953 and 1954 Corvettes only had the Blue Flame Six engine because that’s all Chevrolet had to offer. The small-block V8 was still being developed, so with help from three-time Indy 500 driver and engineer, Mauri Rose, the tried and true Stovebolt Six was given as many performance enhancements as it could take. Chevy’s old 115-horsepower engine was massaged up to 150-horsepower. Underwhelming in hindsight, but Rose had to work with what Chevrolet had.

In 1955 when the all-new small-block 265 engine was released for production, it was installed in all but seven of the 700 Corvettes built for 1955. Horsepower went from 150 to 195-horsepower, a nice bump. For 1956 the Corvette also got a total body makeover, but the car was on life support.

By then Zora Arkus-Duntov was guiding the Corvette and starting with the 1956 Corvette, there was a performance engine option. For an extra $172, customers could check off the 265/225 engine with two, four-barrel carbs and enjoy 225-horsepower, and a manual 3-speed manual transmission was standard.

1957 was the breakthrough year

The 265-small-block engine was enlarged to 283-cubic-inches, the 3-speed manual transmission was standard, and the Powerglide automatic was available for $188. But the big news was that in addition to the optional 245-or270-horsepower two four-barrel setup, there were four fuel injection options available with power from 250 or 283-horsepower at the cost of $484. Plus, a 4-speed manual transmission was available for $188. From this point forward, new Corvettes could be ordered from mild-to-wild. Continue reading “The Larry Lipsitz Classic Performance Corvette Collection, Pt. 1”

Old Red: The Beast, the Baddest of all Street Vettes in 1969!

Jonathan Herrick’s 1-of 390 1969 427 L89 Corvette

Dateline: 8.30-22: This story was originally published in the May 2022 issue of Vette Vues Magazine POSTSCRIPT: The Vette Vues story, “Old Red: THE BEAST!” about Jonathan Herrick’s 1969 427/435 L89 Big-Block Corvette was written in March of 2022. I just got the following update from Jonathan. Congrats, Corvette Brother!

“The car received the Survivor Gold award, Gold Certification award, and the Benchmark award at Bloomington in June. Headed to the Muscle Car Nationals in November to take it through NCRS Top Flight judging and the Pinnacle award judging!”

Back in the day when big-block muscle cars roamed America’s highways and byways, many of what we now call “classic performance cars” were literally pounded into the ground. So, when an example of one of the most advanced performance cars from those golden years comes to our attention; complete, and all-original; it is something to stop and admire; and ask, “how did this happen?” Continue reading “Old Red: The Beast, the Baddest of all Street Vettes in 1969!”

Corvette’s A-Team Gives the Low-Down on the New 2023 Z06 Corvette

Dateline: 8-27-22 – It’s Corvettes at Carlisle Weekend and Chevrolet brought their A-Team to show off the new 2023 Z06 Corvette. And to sweeten the deal, their “star-car” was a 2023 70th Anniversary Edition Z06!

The A-Team’s Executive Chief Engineer, Tadge Juechter lead the presentation. Product Manager Wizard, Harlan Charles, Chief Engineer Josh Holder, and Exterior Manager, Kirk Bennion flushing out the details within their areas of expertise. Continue reading “Corvette’s A-Team Gives the Low-Down on the New 2023 Z06 Corvette”

Fred & Alcy Panasik’s Matching His & Hers 1980 Corvettes

A Most Unusual Way to Enjoy Corvettes!

Chevrolet had a great run with the C3 Shark Corvettes, selling 542,861 Shark-styled Vettes from 1968-to-1982. It all started in the spring of 1965 when then-Chief of Styling, Bill Mitchell showed upper management at Chevrolet his vision for the next Corvette, the Mako Shark-II. As distinctive as the C2 Sting Ray was, the Mako Shark-II was more so. It truly looked like “the car from another planet”. Management was blown away and wanted the Shark as the new Corvette for 1967, a mere eighteen months away! Continue reading “Fred & Alcy Panasik’s Matching His & Hers 1980 Corvettes”

Z06 Corvette Review, Pt. 6 – 2001 Z06 Performance Model Corvette Launches

The Production Z06 Legend Begins!

Dateline: 8-16-22 – This story and art first appeared in “VETTE” magazine as part of my “Illustrated Corvette Series” – Details and delays keep rolling out as the Corvette faithful patiently (mostly) waits while GM warns against “flipping” Z06 Corvettes and will VOID the car’s warranty if the owner flips in the first twelve months of ownership. That’s the “stick”.

The carrot will be $5,000 in “My Chevrolet Reward Points”. These are astonishing developments in a historical time in Corvette history. Never before has the production of any Corvette been so challenging. We are indeed living in mega-powerful cars and interesting times. Here’s how the first performance model Z06 hits the streets. – Scott

This was the Corvette to die for! When we think of high-performance Vettes, we usually think of the glory days of the big-blocks or the exotic, DOHC ZR-1. Those stump-pulling big-blocks were pricey and not always easy to live with. And while the ZR-1 was a jewel, it cost nearly twice as much as the base Corvette. All that changed in 2001, with the arrival of the Z06—a genuine performance bargain. Continue reading “Z06 Corvette Review, Pt. 6 – 2001 Z06 Performance Model Corvette Launches”