Corvette Timeline Tales: March 24, 1956 – Chevrolet Scores First Major Road Racing Win with a Team of Heavily-modified Corvettes – VIDEOS
Image: GM Archives
Unlike today’s out in the open Corvette Racing Team, in 1956 John Fitch’s factory-supported racing team was strictly a covert-op!
Dateline: 3.24.18 – Photos: GM Archives & Mecum Auctions – In the early days and well into the early 1980s GM and Chevrolet had an odd attitude about Corvette racing. There never was a lack of enthusiasm from Corvette engineers and designers, but the company just wouldn’t make “racing” official, in the same way Ford and Chrysler did for their racing programs, that got them tons of publicity and street cred.
But make no doubt about it, in 1956 there was indeed a factory Corvette racing effort, and it paid off! Four Corvettes were specially prepared for the 12 Hours of Sebring race on March 24, 1956, under the official banner of Dick Doane’s Raceway Enterprises. These were no ordinary production Corvettes. WW-II fighter pilot and racing champion, John Fitch was the team manager and had the full support and assistance of Ed Cole and Zora Arkus-Duntov.
After a successful performance at Daytona Beach in February 1956 where three of Duntov’s specially-prepared Corvettes set speed records on the Daytona beach sand, the three cars were sent back to Michigan to be prepared for the Sebring assault and one more car was added to the team. Continue reading
Corvette Odd-Ball – 1958 Fiberfab “Centurion” Sells at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction for $91,000! – 2 VIDEOS
One-of-six Fiberfab Centurion (1959 Stingray Racer), fully-functional, period-correct kit cars – sells for $91,000!
Dateline: 1.19.18, Images Barrett-Jackson – The “build your own car” trend was HOT in the 1960s. Most were never finished and many were badly completed. What is arguably one of the nicest-finished kit cars ever, SOLD today for an impressive $91,000! Bidding was brisk and the auctioneer really worked the car. Check out the above video.
What is surprising to me is that according to the auctioneer, the car is eligible for the Monterrey Historic Races events! How about that?
Below is a video about the real 1959 Stingray Racer.
Corvette Timeline Tales: Happy 65th Birthday to America’s Only True Sports Car, the Corvette! – VIDEOS
On this date in 1953, GM officials never imagined their little fiberglass concept car would one day become a world-class sports car and GM’s technological flagship automobile!
Dateline: 1.17.18 – Story by Mike Waal, Images GM Archives – On this date in Corvette History, Harley Earl‘s prototype Corvette (EX-122) was introduced to the public at the GM Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in Manhattan, NYC, on January 17, 1953.
I was born and raised in Manhattan. My Dad was working for Cadillac at their show room dealership on 57th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan. Dad had access to all the car shows. While I didn’t attend this event with him, I was about to turn 6, some time between this date and 1955 I attended my first car show with my Dad. What a thrill!
My Mom got me dressed in a suit with a white shirt and tie, and put me on the subway train to meet my Dad, who was waiting for me. This is how I saw, in person, my first Corvette!
Here’s a fun Promotional film for the 1953 Corvette. Continue reading
Barrett-Jackson 2018 Scottsdale Auction will auction off one-of-six Fiberfab Centurion (1959 Stingray Racer), fully-functional, period-correct kit cars – NO RESERVE!
Dateline: 12.15.18 (Images: Barrett-Jackson.com) – Back in the 1960s the built-it-yourself “kit car” craze exploded with all kinds of interesting poser cars that used contemporary chassis, engine, drive train, and suspensions. Fiberglass was the carbon fiber of the day, so all kit cars had fiberglass bodies. Ads for kit cars were always in the back of Hot Rod, Car Craft, Road & Track, and most car magazines, and were a lot of fun to daydream about. And they had cool names, such as; Aztec, the Jamaican, Valkyrie, Vagabond, Banshee, and for Corvette lovers, the Centurion.
The Fiberfab Company had a whole series of sports car style bodies that looked very close to Ford GT40s and Ferrari Daytonas. The trouble with kit cars was that most were never completed, stalling out when it came to the electrical wiring part of the project. The body that the customer got typically required a lot of finish work, so most kit cars turned out not so good and many were never finished. Continue reading
We are happy to announce the launch of Corvette Report’s “Vette of the Month” Photo Contest.
Here’s the deal.
Dateline: 11.25.17 – Send us your best photo of your Corvette and we will post it on our “Vette of the Month” photos page.
At the end of the month we will pick a winner, and announce it as a post here at Corvette Report.
The winner will get;
An “America’s Old Glory Sports Car” print of their year Corvette, signed and numbered by K. Scott Teeters.
To enter, use the below Entry Form. Continue reading
Show your Corvette passion,
your patriotic American pride,
and keep the sun out of your eyes!
available on 12 different baseball/trucker cap color/trim patterns.
Whatever year Corvette you own or love, we have a baseball/trucker cap for you.
Prices start at just $18.95!
To start to order your America’s Old Glory Corvette baseball/trucker cap, Continue reading
A walk on “hallowed ground” of Corvette design.
Dateline: 11.18.17 – My monthly column in VETTE Magazine, “The Illustrated Corvette Series” is now in its 21st year. I’m in the middle of a series I’m calling, “The Corvette’s Founding Fathers” that covers the careers of Harley Earl, Ed Cole, Bill Mitchell, Zora Arkus Duntov, Larry Shinoda, and Peter Brock. Each of these men played a foundational roll in setting the pattern and personality of the Corvette. Without them, the Corvette might not have survived the 1950s.
I’m now working on installment number three, covering Bill Mitchell that will appear in the May 2018 issue of VETTE Magazine and will be out in March 2018. While researching Mitchell Continue reading
Corvette “Timeline Tales” Nov. 16, 1956: One magnesium-bodied XP-64 (Corvette SS) would be built for the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring race
The 1957 Corvette SS Racer’s exotic body turned out to be the hot ticket to failure!
Dateline: 11.16.17 (VIDEO BELOW!) – This was such a heady time! Corvettes were starting to do well in racing and the Fuelie was about to go into production. Chevy general manager Ed Cole gave Duntov the green light to move forward with the XP-64/Corvette SS racer. The XP-64 was a purpose-built, tube-frame racer that was to be the template for Duntov’s 1957 Le Mans assault team of Corvette SS racecars.
“Lightweight” was sports car exotica in those days and the only thing lighter than fiberglass or aluminum was magnesium, so the XP-64 was to have an exotic magnesium body. Continue reading
Show your Corvette passion
with a heap’n help’n of
patriotic American pride!
We have every year “Old Glory Corvette” layouts from 1953 to today,
available on three mug styles: Coffee Mugs, Travel Mugs, and Beer Steins
Whatever year Corvette you own or love, we have a mug for you.
Prices start at just $18.70!
Show your Corvette passion
with a heap’n help’n of
patriotic American pride!
available on tees, sweats and more!
Whatever year Corvette you own or love, we have a shirt for you.
Sizes Small to 2XL.
Prices start at just $13.95!
Scott Teeters’ New Corvette Art Prints Series for 2017!
Dateline: 9.1.17 – In November 2015 I helped out with Jan Hyde’s John Greenwood Tribute Event at Daytona International Speedway. Jan is the owner of Registry of Corvette Race Cars. My part of the effort was the creation of a promotional flyer, a two-sided poster featuring Greenwood’s Stars and Stripes BF Goodrich Corvette and his Spirit of Daytona ’76 Corvette on the high banks of Daytona, and a hand-out sticker featuring a profile view of Greenwood’s Sebring ’75 Corvette in front of an American flag. (see the end of this post)
The graphic layout for the sticker stuck with me and I kept looking at it thinking there might be something there as a new prints series that would appeal to Corvette owners and fans of all generation Corvettes.
After numerous prototype layouts I settled in on “America’s “Old Glory” Sports Car”. The first one was kind of easy, but once layout completed, I knew I had a ton of work ahead of me. What started out as a fairly simple idea turned into my Project for 2017! And now, it is ready to present. Continue reading
The 57-Year Saga to the C8 Mid-Engine Corvette – The Old Mid-Engine Advantage & the 1960 CERV I
Dateline: 8.13.17 – Images: GM Archives & Mecum.com – Introduction: Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first. It seemed like the floodlights from the debut of the C7 Corvette weren’t even cool yet when the automotive press and the Internet started chattering about the C8 Corvette being a mid-engine design. GM then added fuel to the fire when it was announced that they had trademarked the word “Zora” which ignited the speculation of a mid-engine Corvettes.
Part of Corvette-lore is that Zora Arkus-Duntov unsuccessfully tried many times to make the Corvette a mid-engine car, because in Zora’s day, it made perfect sense. The trouble was that Chevrolet was selling enough Corvettes to make the argument that, “the Corvette wasn’t broken, so don’t fit it!” The mid-engine Corvette concept lost its champion after Duntov retired in 1975. Dave McLellan’s team tried to recycle the body design of the mid-engine Four-Rotor Corvette, powered by a transverse-mounted small-block Chevy engine. That idea was actually “approved” briefly, but died a quick death. The mid-engine Corvette concept came back again as a development program that started with the Corvette Indy (a full-size static model), the Running Corvette Indy (a functional, drivable version), and finally the CERV III. This CERV III was an almost completely flushed out car, meaning that it “could” have been put into production, had GM not been embroiled in a financial crisis in the early ‘90s. The crisis was so bad that once again, the Corvette was on the chopping block!
Perhaps by sheer luck, the C5 plan eked through and turned out so good, that the mid-engine concept then seemed antiquated. Then suddenly, shortly after the C7 came out, the Mighty Wurlitzer Rumor Organ got cranked up and once again, we are in mid-engine mania. But does the mid-engine make sense? Is this what the Corvette community really wants? I’ve had my head plugged into the world of Corvettes since 1965 and followed all of the mid-engine Corvette concept cars. Most were engineering studies and not real, drivable, serviceable, safe cars – a few were close to production-ready.
The “story” of the Corvette is long and rich with colorful characters, loud and awesome machines, and two, BIG, “Could’a been so cool!” chapters – The Grand Sport and the mid-engine Corvette. While it was wonderful that Chevrolet used the Grand Sport moniker for one of the two special-edition 1996 C4 swan song Corvettes, and then as a separate model Corvette starting in 2010, these were not Duntov’s original vision. Continue reading
One of the five 1954 Corvette Nomad show cars that would today be worth over 1,000,000 was ordered destroyed by a bureaucrat!
Dateline: 7-8-17 – Norm Brown got a new job at Chevrolet, but little did he know that he’d be helping to send one of the five Corvette Nomad show cars built for the 1954 Motorama to the crusher. According to Mario van Ginnekin’s *** “Remarkable Corvettes” webpage, three of the five Nomads are known to still exist. “Why” one of the Nomads was sent to the crusher is not known. However, even though the ’56 Corvette with its updated body was about to go into production, the Corvette was not generally liked inside GM.
Also, by the end of the 1955 production cycle, Chevrolet had only sold 4,640 units from ’53 through ’55, which was NOTHING for a GM car. Continue reading
A little known Chevrolet/Corvette milestone, a 1958 Corvette marks the 39 Millionth Chevrolet!
Dateline: 6.26.17 – In the early days of the Corvette’s existence, GM had an odd relationship with the car. Power-players such as Harley Earl, Ed Cole, and Bill Mitchell went to bat for the struggling sports car many times. And then there was the wild Russian engineer with the funny name, Zora Arkus-Duntov that pushed to make the car a successful racecar. But GM is all about sales and Chevy wasn’t selling many Corvettes. By the end of 1957 Chevy sold 14,446 Corvettes in total from 1953. In 1957 alone, Chevrolet sold 254,331 4-door Bel Air Sedans!
No, Corvette sales weren’t even a blip on the GM profit margin. So it is peculiar that GM would have chosen a 1958 Corvette to officially be the “39th Million Chevrolet. But bean-counting aside, the Corvette indeed had a special place in GM. No other car was using what was then, a new high-tech composite material Continue reading
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