The Hands-On Life and Times of a Lifelong Corvette Guy, Allan “Bunky” Garonzik
Even though Zora Arkus-Duntov was “only” the chief engineer, he felt a personal connection with Corvette customers. He used to refer to them as “his” customers. One of the young engineers that worked with Duntov once said that Zora lead with love and passion. Duntov wanted his customers to ENJOY their Corvette. He wanted them to not only drive their Corvette, but also drive them hard – go racing if they wanted, and he and his team would supply the parts to be successful.
Of course, back in the day, up to the introduction of emissions controls, Corvettes (all cars for that matter) were really simple. The cars were 100-percent mechanical. With just modest mechanical skills, a box of Craftsman tools, a tackle block pulley and a few other basic tools, an owner could swap an engine on a Saturday and be back on the road on Sunday. It was easy to learn auto mechanics on your own car.
We all start off knowing nothing about cars until the day arrives when the “car bug” bites us and for many, it becomes a life-long, positive infection. When Allan Garonzik (“Bunky” to his friends) was in school, he started out like all of us car guys, hanging on, watching an “older guy” (usually around 21) do stuff to their cars. Continue reading
Mr. Duntov took care of “his customers” that wanted to go racing!
Dateline: 5-27-17 (Download link is at the bottom of this story) – Before the ax fell in 1957 thanks to the AMA Factory Racing Ban, Zora Arkus-Duntov was planning to take a team of his 1957 Corvette SS Racers to Le Mans. The completed SS Racer was an embarrassment at it’s 1957 Sebring debut and in fact, the Corvette SS mule car showed more promise. The car was rushed in its construction and was actually being finished inside the transported on route from Detroit to Sebring, Florida. Management seemed to be more interested in having the car look good than a developed racecar. In retrospect, the car was terribly underdeveloped. Then, right after the race, GM signed on with the AMA Racing Ban and as Duntov liked to say, the program came to, “… a screeching halt!”
But two major elements from the Corvette SS project survived and eventually made a significant impact on Corvette racing. The finished Corvette SS Racer with its magnesium body was converted into a show car and went on tour with a jet age bubble top. The rough mule car was stripped of it’s cobbled together fiberglass body and the chassis went into storage, only later in 1958/59, to be bought for a nominal fee by then-new GM VP of Styling, Bill Mitchell so that Wild Bill could go racing. His racing effort could in no way look like it was a GM-sponsored enterprise. Mitchell’s racing indulgence became the Stingray Racer, which was the public face of what would eventually become the 1963 Sting Ray. Continue reading
by Scotty Lachenauer as republished from Super Chevy
Silver Mined: Digging out a barn find Gen One
Dateline 12.2.15: Gary Clairmont needed to sell his car. The South Burlington, Vermont, resident decided the time was right to pass on his 1960 Corvette – a car that had languished in his garage silently for the better part of four decades. He received the stylish ride as a gift from his parents in the late ’60s; a present that any young man would surely cherish. And now his longtime daily driver was ready for a new home. Continue reading
by John Gilbert as republished from Super Chevy
1955 Duntov Corvette
Dateline 11.24.15: There were only 700 Corvettes built in 1955, so that places 1953’s production run of 300 units at number one in rarity and bumps 1955 to second place. For a 21st Century Corvette collector buying a rare vintage Corvette can cost a bunch of money, but if one had a time machine that would make it a completely different story. With a time machine a fellow could go back to the April 1965 issue of Hot Rod magazine and snag Zora Arkus-Duntov’s 1955 Corvette test mule for $3,500 or best offer. Continue reading
Photo Credit: St. Louis Art Museum
by Mitch Talley as republished from CorvetteBlogger
A Corvette of any age is considered a work of art by many
Dateline November 2015: That’s why it is no surprise that a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette is being displayed inside the St. Louis Art Museum starting next week. The black Corvette, borrowed from Stephen Brauer, was rolled into place by museum workers on Monday, getting ready for its unveiling to the public on Nov. 8. Continue reading
by Steve Temple as republished from Corvette Online
Dateline October 2015: Back in the 1960s, Corvettes duked it out with Shelby Cobras on road courses across the country. But, there was another battle raging on American asphalt. Supercharged gassers—wild, nearly uncontrollable machines with short wheelbases and ungainly body styles—that dominated the drag strip. They were a challenge to drive and fun to watch—from a safe distance. Early versions ran Oldsmobile or Cadillac power, but as the years progressed, blown Chevy V8s and Chrysler Hemis were the engines of choice. Continue reading
1959 Chevrolet Corvette, the Purple People Eater Mk III. Photos courtesy Barrett-Jackson.
by David Conwill as republished from blog.Hemmings.com
Dateline October 2015: When Nickey Chevrolet of Chicago decided to sponsor a road racing Corvette in 1958, it wanted to make sure its advertising dollars were getting their maximum return. Accordingly, the dealership decided that to make its car stand out in a sea of white, silver, and light-blue ‘Vettes, something special was required in the paint department. Likely inspired by Sheb Wooley’s hit novelty song, the distinctive metallic purple paint job would result in the car and its two successors bearing the nickname “Purple People Eater.” Next January, the last of these cars, the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Purple People Eater Mk. III, will cross the auction block in Scottsdale, Arizona. Continue reading
by Keith Cornet as republished from CorvetteBlogger
Dateline October 2015: Sometimes when you run across an old Corvette story, it really makes you wonder about your fellow man – like, what the heck were they thinking! We’ve covered the infamous 1954 ‘Entombed’ Corvette” previously in 2013 when it was offered for sale and for those that have never heard how it got its nickname, it makes for a good tellin’ especially around Halloween. Continue reading
by Detroit Steel as republished from CorvetteForum
Dateline October 2015: Talk about striking gold.
I can only imagine the smile on the face of Corvette collector Larry Fisette after getting a call from a man in Illinois saying his brother had not one, but two C1 Corvettes that had been kept in his garage since 1973. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: 10.18.67 – United Artists premieres Elvis Presley’s new film, “Clambake” featuring Elvis, pretty girls, awful songs, and the 1959 Sting Ray Racer
by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Vues
The King of Rock & Roll drives the 1959 Sting Ray Racer
By 1967 Elvis Presley was totally bored with making movies. Elvis could have been a good actor, but his fans wanted to see him smile and sing. His “serious” movies from the early ‘60s, “Flaming Star” and “Wild In The Country” didn’t do well at the box office and there were no soundtrack records. So, Colonel Parker set up long-term, million dollars-per-picture contracts, plus soundtrack LP records, and publishing rights with movie studios. For a solid five to six years, no one in Hollywood was making more money than Elvis and the Colonel. Continue reading
Words and Art by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Vues.
Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Godfather of the Corvette, proves that the pen is mightier than the sword!
Dateline October 2015: By the end of the production run of the 1954 Corvette, it was obvious – the car was a flop. Only 300 cars were built in 1953 with many given away for promotions. (John Wayne, General Curtis LeMay, ABC News commentator Alex Drier, and movie star Dinah Shore got 1953 Corvettes) For 1954 Chevrolet dropped the price of the Corvette $724, down to $2,774, a 30.1-percent reduction, but it only helped a little, as only 3,640 Corvettes were sold. The same year, Chevrolet sold 248,750 240 Bel Air four-door sedans! When an executive told Duntov that the Corvette was finished, Duntov put pen to paper and proved the pen to be mightier than the sword, or the calculator. Continue reading
BY DREW SINGER as republished from GMAuthority
Dateline October 2015. There’s nothing like a barn find to get the mind wondering about the story behind it, but unfortunately this particular example might just bring a tear to the eye of C1 Corvette enthusiasts.
Here we have a 1954 Corvette C1 that was recently discovered and then sold in May 2015 by Cabin Fever Auctions in Douglassville, PA, where a buyer picked it up for a cool $52,000, according to Corvette Blogger. Continue reading
October 7, 1953 – Movie Star John Wayne receives 1953 Corvette #051 – Videos Below
Dateline: 10.7.53: It was a rough start for the Corvette. First of all, the concept of the “sports car” had not yet grabbed the attention of mainstream America. Fast, powerful American cars were well known, but they were big, in a time when “more was better and bigger was best!” In truth, the 1953 Corvettes were more like pilot cars. The engineers and assembly workers were figuring things out as they went along in their little, makeshift assembly facility in Flint, Michigan.
Imagine what the American people must have thought in 1953. Here’s a little tiny car (by American standards), with an in-line six and a two-speed Powerglide, no hardtop (convertible only) and no roll-up side windows – for $3,498. The only options were Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: 9-27-15 General Motors officially begins using the name “Corvette” for its new sports car
September 27, 1952 – General Motors officially begins using the name “Corvette” for its new sports car. – Video below
Dateline: 9.27.15: Last month we told you about Chevrolet PR-man Myron “Scotty” Scott’s induction into the National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Scott was the man responsible for coming up with the name “Corvette” for Harley Earl’s “American sports car” show car concept. The working name for the two-seater had been “Opel.” How uninspiring! (Hey Man! Did you see the new Op?”) Over 300 names were rejected before Myron Scott found the word, “Corvette” in the dictionary. I wonder if a copy of that last is still around?
“By the books” the American flag, in its entirety, is not supposed to be used for anything but the American flag, and thus cannot be used as part of a logo or trademark. This “rule of the flag” is pretty much ignored these days, but back in 1952, GM’s lawyers nixed Harley Earl’s first Corvette logo design because Continue reading
republished from WindingRoad.com
Location: Bellflower, CA
Chassis # VE555001196
This particular chassis has no racing history. We restored it from a basket case to commemorate the famous EX87/5951 Corvette which set the 150+ mph speed record at Daytona Beach in January 1956. It is presented as closely as possible to the paint scheme and configuration of that milestone car in Corvette History. Continue reading