Roger Judski’s SUPER RARE 1969 ZL-1 Corvette
Dateline: 10.11.14 – Twenty-three years ago today, October 11, 1991, at of all places, The Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Roger Judski, owner of Judski’s Corvette Center in Maitland, Florida became the owner of what is arguably the rarest of all high performance Corvettes, a 1969 ZL-1 Corvette. When this car was announced to the world in the fall of 1968 as an option on the ’69 Corvette, it became an instant legend for numerous reasons. Judski paid what was then considered a stunningly HUGE amount of money for the ZL-1, $300,000! Roger had been trying to buy the ZL-1 for 12 years.
The stratosphericly expensive, all-aluminum 427 big-block ZL-1 option cost a whopping $3,000 back in 1969. But wait, there’s more! On top of that, there were four other “required” options that totaled up to $63 LESS that the cost of the base Corvette, tallying up to $4,719. Those other required options were; K66 – transistor ignition, F41 – special front and rear suspension, J56 – heavy duty brakes, and G81 – posi-traction rear.
Not until the arrival of the ’09 ZR1 did an option on a Corvette cost more that the base model. At least with the C6 ZR1, it was a complete package. The C4 ZR-1 comes in second place in the expensive Corvette options race costing $27,016 on the $31,979 ’90 Corvette and later $31,258 on the $36,185 ’94 Corvette. Continue reading
The Gradual Refining Process of the C4 Corvette Is Underway
Dateline: 10.9.14 – Twenty-eight years ago today Chevrolet released the new 1987 Corvette to the buying public. A look back at the 1987 Corvette fills me with irony. Performance was back to ‘60s levels, fuel-injection was standard (yes, a Fuelie!), the car had a top speed of 150-MPH making it the fastest car in America in 1987, the Kim Baker’s Corvette was kicking butt in the SCCA Showroom Stock racing series, and it was one of Car and Driver’s Top Ten Cars of 1987. That’s not too shabby! Especially considering the Corvette’s dark disco days of the late ‘70s.
Yet today, 1987 Corvettes are some of the most unwanted used Corvettes on the market. Check out Keith Cornett’s VetteFinders.com and you’ll see many mid-‘80s Corvettes going for less than $10,000. Why is this? Simple – because since that time Corvettes have gotten so progressively better! It doesn’t mean that there’s anything “wrong” or “bad” with the ‘80s Corvettes (unless you can’t stand the square dash design) , it’s just that Chevrolet did such a fine job of honing and refining the car, the new Vettes are just more desirable.
I covered the 1987 Corvette in my Illustrated Corvette Series No. 71 monthly column in the May 2003 issue of VETTE Magazine. Here’s the story copy, the article layout is below.
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 71 – 1987 Corvette “Return to Greatness”
After having been kicked around for over 15 years as an overweight has-been, the ’87 Corvette reestablished itself as America’s performance car. You have to go back to the ’70-1/2 LT-1 and LS6 454 big-block to see performance figures like those of the ’87 Corvette. Although there was only a 5hp increase in power, testers reported that it felt more like 25hp. With 0-60 mph times of 6.3-seconds and a top speed of 152-mph, critics, the competition, and racers were beginning to notice. Continue reading
1992 Sting Ray III, Another Corvette Movie Star
It was a dystopian, 1984, Brave New World, grim, not too far into the future, cop verses bad guy film, with lots of fighting, guns, sweat, muscle, and cool cars. Not surprisingly, the film got so-so reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 64% rating and Siskel & Ebert gave it a Thumbs Down, but Ebert liked the satirical wit. But it was good movie fun. The film debuted No. 1 at the box office and eventually grossed $58,055,768 by the end of the North American run and $159,055,768 world-wide.
Considering that the Corvette was born as a razzle-dazzle show car in 1953, it makes perfect sense that Hollywood would have affection for Corvettes in films and TV. Continue reading
The Corvette Becomes a TV Star on Route 66!
Dateline: 10.7.14 - Fifty-Four years ago today, Route 66 made its TV debut. Beginning October 7, 1960 and once a week into early 1964,viewers followed the adventures of Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) and Buzz Murdock (George Maharis) as they tooled around America in a brand new 1960 Corvette, seeking… well, adventure. Even though Chevrolet wasn’t selling that many Corvettes (10,261 units in 1960) the Chevrolet PR guys couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the Corvette a TV star.
The guys kicked around living as true vagabonds. There were usually pretty gals and a fight scene with Todd taking a sock to the jaw and Buzz coming to the rescue. Buzz was a tough guy from Hell’s Kitchen, so he, “didn’t take no guff!” The series ran for four years with Maharis leaving the show towards the end of the third season. For the remainder of the series, Tod Stiles co-driver was Lincoln Chase, played by Glenn Corbett.
Filmed in black & white, Route 66 is a time capsule of America from 1960 to early 1964, just as Beatle Mania and the British Invasion took America’s youth by storm. Continue reading
The 1978 Corvette Gets a Well-Deserved Major Refresh
Thirty-six years ago today Chevrolet released the new 1978 Corvette. Chevy’s sports car was selling well considering the times. Muscle cars were all but dead, gas prices were up to around 75-cents-a-gallon (GOSH!), and the economy was in a slump. However, the Corvette was getting a little stale-looking, so when the ’78 model was released, it was a “WOW!”
The new bubble fastback roof was sweet indeed. One of the shortcomings of the ’68 to ’77 Corvette coupes was a serious lack of rear stowage area. Unlike the ’63-to-’67 Sting Ray Coupe that had a fairly good size space behind the seats (for a sports car), the C3 coupes up to ’77 had a narrow slot tall enough for a suit case and not much more.The new roof design not only yielded more room in the back, it helped brighten up the refreshed interior and eliminate a serious rear-view blind spot. The dash was redesigned in a more-square, vertical mode, the door panels were revised, and a few controls were relocated. It was also the Corvette’s 25th anniversary, so all ’78 Corvettes wore a special 25th Anniversary badge. And for an extra $399 customers could order the very handsome-looking 25th Anniversary two-tone silver paint option. Continue reading
October 5, 1966, the Running Mako Shark-II Debuts at the Paris Auto Show
Forty-Nine years ago today, October 5, 1965, the automotive press got to see the first, running Mako Shark-II show car at the Paris Auto Show in France. The non-running full-size model of the Mako Shark-II had been shown in April ’65 at the New York Auto Show and was a knock-out. The response was so overwhelming, Chevrolet brass quickly decided to build a running prototype for the next phase of development.
As V.P. of Design, Bill Mitchell laid out what he wanted the next Corvette to be. See if you can follow this.
He wanted the following; “a narrow, slim, center section and coupe body, a tapered tail, an all-of-a-piece blending of the upper and lower portions of the body through the center (avoiding the look of a roof added to a body), and prominent wheels with their protective fenders distinctly separate from the main body, yet grafted organically to it.” Continue reading
The 4-Rotor Experimental Corvette Makes It’s Grand Debut 41 Years Ago In Paris!
Oui! Oui! Thanks to Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette fans were treated to a series of mid-engine Corvette through the ‘60s and ‘70s. But XP-882 was no “ordinary” experimental mid-engine Corvette. Behind the driver was a honk’n 390 cubic-inch Wankel rotary engine. Ed Cole was President of General Motors at the time and was hot on the smooth-running rotary engine design. So what better a hallo car to present the then-exotic engine that under a stunning Corvette.
Although VP of Design Bill Mitchell was the official “designer” of the body shape, Chuck Jordan supervised the project. The car had wrap-around glass and hidden A-pillars. The doors weren’t just gull-wing, they were bi-fold gull wings. The look was fresh, edgy, exciting, and definitely CORVETTE. Continue reading
1986 Corvette Convertible Is Back!!!
The Corvette was born as a roadster, so it was a sad day in 1975 when Chevrolet announced that the 1976 Corvette would only be available as a Coupe. Yes, the convertible was history! “Safety concerns” were the stated reasoning. Yea, it was “A Bummer, Man!”
Fast forward to October 3, 1985 Chevrolet announced that the Corvette convertible was back! Yes, the Roadster Corvette had returned!
A large X-brace was added to the bottom of the frame to stiffen the chassis and the ride height was increased slightly, and no one cared. The drop-top, open-air motoring Corvette was back.
Later it was announced that the ’86 Corvette convertible would pace the Indy 500 and that ALL 1986 Corvette Convertible would be designated as Pace Car replicas, regardless of the color. Of the 35,109 Corvettes sold in 1986, 7,315 (20.8%) were convertibles. Continue reading
Corvette Racing Legend, Dave MacDonald Inducted Into National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame
Dateline: 9-27-14 Auto racing legend Dave MacDonald was inducted into The National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame on August 28, 2014, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. MacDonald’s induction took place 50 years after the extremely talented young driver was tragically killed in his rookie race at the 1964 Indy 500 that also claimed the life of driver Eddie Sachs. After the race, an investigation determined that there was, “No driver error.”
MacDonald learned his driving skills in Southern California behind the wheel of several championship-winning first generation Corvettes. A gentle, quiet family man off the track, MacDonald was known as “The Master of Oversteer” and a fierce competitor. His driving skills were such that they attracted the attention of two other legends in auto racing of that time, Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and Carroll Shelby. MacDonald drove prototype test cars for Duntov and was eventually hired by Shelby to drive Cobras professionally.
His induction into The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame was well deserved and more than a little overdue. Regardless, Dave MacDonald now has a prominent and permanent place in Corvette history.
I have written extensively about the life and times of Dave MacDonald and have had the pleasure of getting to know the MacDonald family. I have Dave MacDonald’s younger brother Doug to thank. Many years ago I created a piece of line art for VETTE Magazine as a column filler “spot art” illustration. Later I included the illustration as an art print on my IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com website and mistakenly titled the print, “Dave MacDonald’s 1961 Corvette Racer.”
NEW Corvette License Plate Art Prints – 2005 to 2014
Dateline: 9-25-14 – Our new Corvette License Plates Art Print Series is making progress. With 60 years of Corvettes and many model variations, plus four different print layouts, it’s a BIG project. Here’s where I am as of today.
I started out with one year for each generation Corvette, as shown on the slider at the top of the homepage. This week I have added the following year Coupe Corvettes: C6 – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Grand Sport Coupe, 2011 Grand Sport Coupe, 2012 Grand Sport Coupe, and 2013 Grand Sport Coupe.
Each year print is available in four layouts: a red-to-white, black-to-white, blue-to-white, and one print with all three layouts.
Plus, we have available the 1962 Corvette, the 1967 Corvette Coupe, the 1982 Corvette, the 1996 Corvette Coupe, and 2002 Corvette Coupe. And for owners and fans of the Special Edition Corvettes, we have all 16 Special Edition Corvettes from the 1978 25th Anniversary Corvette to the awesome 2014 60th Anniversary 427 Convertible.
Every 11” x 17” print is signed and numbered, then shrink wrapped on 12”x18” cardboard and shipped via USPS Priority Mail for fast delivery for just $29.95 + $6.95 S&H.
Specific number prints are available upon request. Continue reading
Corvette “License Plate” Art Prints
1953 to 2014
A LIMITED SERIES IS NOW AVAILABLE-SEE THE TABLE BELOW!!!!
We are very happy to announce a new and totally unique Corvette art print series, the Corvette License Plates Series.
This is our initial rollout of the series that will soon include every year Corvette License Plate Art Print from 1953 to today. Each year in the license plate Series will feature a side view illustration on one of three different colored backgrounds: red-to-white, black-to-white, and blue-to-white.
Each print is made on matte finished white card stock, signed and numbered by the artist in a series of 500. All of our prints are shrink wrapped on cardboard and mailed in a flat USPS Priority Mail mailer for speedy delivery.
Specific number prints are available upon request.
Plus, we’re offering a single print with all three of the colored license plate layouts on one print for an All-American red, white/black, and blue presentation.
To start the series, we have one year Corvette from each generation and will be adding other year license plates quickly. Continue reading
1954 Corvair Motorama Show Car 1/25 scale model benefits the “Chip Miller Charitable Foundation” at ’14 Corvettes At Carlisle
By guest columnist, Don Theune (Slide Show at bottom)
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Corvette, “Scale Visions” has created two of the 1954 Motorama show cars – the Corvette-based “Corvair” and “Nomad.” One of which (1954 Corvette Corvair) shall be donated to raise funds & awareness for the “Chip Miller Charitable Foundation.” Scale Visions has been donating significant works of Automotive Art to the Corvettes at Carlisle charitable auctions since it began in 1996, and as help raise tens of $1,000′s for the various causes
The Corvette-based Corvair, Nomad & Corvette Hard Top were concept cars built by Chevrolet and introduced at the 1954 General Motors Motorama in New York City. The experimental concept 1954 Corvette Corvair (the name combined Corvette & BelAir into “Corvair”) Nomad, and Hard Top, unfortunately never made it into production.
Scale Visions has been creating the “Perfect gift, for the person who has everything!” (Exact Model Replicas of Your Corvette) for more than 23 years. They have been an institution at Corvettes at Carlisle for many of those years. The “works of Automotive Art” are so realistic and life like, it is hard to discern the difference between photos of the original 1/1 Corvette and its 1/25 scale counterpart.
In May 2013 Don Theune was a guest on my radio program, Far Out Radio. Enjoy the program. – Scott Continue reading