Dateline: 8.11.17 – Photos: GM Archives, Michael Beal, Illustrations: K. Scott Teeters – There’s an unwritten, unofficial “Law of the Jungle” that basically states, “If you are at the top of the food chain, you might not be there for long.” Such was the case for the C4 ZR-1 Corvette, for a little while. The C4 ZR-1 had a six-year production run with only 7,018 units produced. The ZR-1’s head-exploding price was the biggest limiting factor. The crummy economy in the early ‘90s didn’t help, and the much-rumored, all-new C5 no doubt was a drag on the ZR-1’s sales. And then there was also that pesky Dodge Viper. The 427 Cobra’s “Marley’s Ghost” was obvious, only this time disguised as a Dodge,
While armchair quarterbacking is easy and hindsight is 20/20, it is worth asking the question, why wasn’t such an awesome car more successful? “Timing” aside, the ZR-1’s aesthetics was a big factor. Stated simply: When viewed by itself, the C4 ZR-1s look like “regular” Corvettes. As an illustrator and stylist, I find it astonishing that Chevrolet would have done this, after all the engineering work that went into the ZR-1. The body panels from the doors all the way back to the rear bumper cover, are unique to the ZR-1 – made wider to cover the widest tires put under a factory-built Corvette body, to that point. This means that the panels had to be redesigned. But rather than make them visually unique, the Corvette stylists were commanded to imitate the basic design of the standard Corvette, with one exception Continue reading
It took seconds for the 1,000,000th Corvette to fall 40 feet and be nearly totally destroyed. I took almost a year to make the car GOOD AS NEW!
Dateline: 7.12.17 – The 1,000,000th Corvette, a white Convertible with a read interior (just like the first 1953 Corvette) rolled off the Bowling Green Assemble Line on July 2, 1992. Zora Arkus-Duntov was there to help celibate the event. Then, on February 9, 2014 the Ground under the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome display area opened up and swallowed 8 precious, special Corvettes.
The Corvettes that went into the 40-foot deep hole included;
1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan from General Motors) <– Beyond repair
2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” (on loan from General Motors)<–Restored in late 2014
1962 Black Corvette <– Restored in 2017
1984 PPG Pace Car <– Beyond repair
1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette <– Restored in 2015
1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette <– Beyond repair
2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette <– Beyond repair
2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette <– Beyond repair Continue reading
June 21, 1996 – Mike Yager helped build and take delivery of “The Last C4 Corvette”
Dateline: 6.21.17 – “First and Last” Corvettes have become a niche specialty in the Corvette hobby. Year-by-year, the “first and last” Corvette is only marginally interesting. They’re cool to own or set aside, but not nearly as unique as the “first or last” of a generation.
Mike Yager of Mid America Motorworks came up with a novel idea. While most collectors think of ” special editions” and “firsts,” Mike thought of the “last” C4 Corvette off the production line. No one had ever considered that before. When GM announced in mid-’95 that the ’96 model would be the last of the C4 Corvettes, Yager launched his plan. Mike leveraged his relationship with Chevrolet with a unique proposal. Yager’s request was to be permitted to buy the very last Corvette to roll off the production line, on the condition that the he would retain ownership of the car and display it at his “MY Garage” (Mike Yager Garage). GM liked the proposal, had nothing to lose, and a lot of publicity to gain.
Mike decided that the Last C4 should be visually unique. In honor of the first Corvette, he chose polo white as the body color. From there he added the Grand Sport rear fender flares, white ZR-1 wheels, red Grand Sport front fender hash marks, special embroidery for the seats, and special “Last C4” decals for the front fenders and the windshield. Under the hood was a (See Videos) Continue reading
Race-prepared, stock 1990 ZR-1 Shatters a 50 Year 24-Hour Speed Record
Dateline: 5.22.17 (This story first appeared in the May 2017 issue of “Vette Vues”) – Racing Corvettes used to have a long history of durability issues. There are many reasons why Corvette racecars had durability issues, but one of the biggest is easy horsepower. It’s always been relatively easy to get a lot of power out of a small-block or big-block Chevrolet engine. If a builder is more oriented towards drag racing, the temptation for an extra 50-horsepower is just too tempting for many builders. That’s fine for drag racing where a car is stressed to the max for a matter a seconds. But in endurance racing, you have to finish to win.
From the perspective of the mid-1980s, the new C4 Corvette was light years ahead of the previous two-generation Corvettes. In the mid-1980s Corvettes were so fierce in SCCA Showroom Stock racing that after two years they were kicked out for being too fast! So, the factory-built Corvette racecars duked it out in their own series, The Corvette Challenge. Breakage with the C4 cars wasn’t much of an issue thanks to the much-improved structure and suspension, plus the cars weren’t powered by massive, torque-monster big-blocks. Continue reading
By Scott Teeters as written for Vette Vues
January 3, 1983 – Production begins on the 1984 model Corvette, the all-new C4 Corvette.
Dateline January 2016: Chevrolet had a lot riding on the all-new C4 Corvette – expectations were very high since the C3 had been riding on the C2 chassis that was designed in 1960! Even though the new C4 used the 1982 Cross Fire Injection, rated at 205-hp, the new structure, modern suspension and brakes, and huge tires made the new Vette handle better than ever. Continue reading
by Scott Teeters, Editor of Corvette Report
Sellers disappointed when reserves not met.
Dateline 11.23.15: The 1996 Grand Sport was the sixth Special Edition Corvette and did more to bring the moniker “Grand Sport” back into the consciousness of the Corvette community than anything else. Prior to 1996, it was mostly Corvette racing fans that knew what a “Grand Sport Corvette” really was – Zora Arkus-Duntov’s lightweight Cobra killer that he envisioned being offered in every Chevrolet dealership in America. It was a noble concept, but even Chevrolet General Manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen couldn’t get a special exemption from GM’s management to allow the Chevrolet build and sell Corvette race cars. (I know, it’s a bummer, man!)
As the original 1963 Grand Sport racers faded into the collective memory of motorsports, the legend turned into a myth, until slowly but surely, Continue reading
Words and Art by K. Scott Teeters as written for Vette Magazine and republished from SuperChevy.com
Read the other Experimental Vettes Stories HERE.
Trend Setting, Part 13: A look back at Chevrolet’s experimental, prototype, concept car, and show car Corvettes
The CERV III was a real-world version of the Corvette Indy show car. It was also the first functional, electronic high-tech Corvette concept car. There was a long, dry spell of Corvette concept cars after the mid-engine 4-Rotor/Aerovette. Not only did the Corvette go through a total redesign, but electronic computer-control systems enabled fuel-injection to come back and along with it, solid, ’60s-like performance with modern emissions ratings on unleaded gas. Computers were the best thing to happen to the Corvette since the big-block. Now it was time to see how far the envelope could be pushed. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: 9-26-91 – Callaway Engineering completes its 500th Twin-Turbo Corvette conversion
Callaway Engineering completes its 500th Twin-Turbo Corvette conversion – Videos
Dateline: 9-26-15: Callaway Cars did something that no other outside vendor had ever done before or since for the Corvette line. From 1987 to 1991 Chevrolet offered, on the official Corvette order form, RPO B2K – Callaway Twin Turbo (not GM installed). RPO B2K started as a $19,995 option on top of the ’87 Corvette’s base price of $27,999, making it the most expensive option ever offered on a Corvette – a record that stood until the arrival of the $27,016, 1990 RPO ZR-1 option. The twin-turbocharged L98 engine was initially rated at 345-horsepower, up from the stock L98’s 240-horsepower. By 1991 the Callaway twin-turbo was rated at 403-horsepower.
1991 Callaway Supernatural 550 Well Bought at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction 9-25-15 – Video
Dateline: 9-25-15 – Car auctions are a ton of fun! I mean it doesn’t take long and the sing-song of the auctioneer starts to have a happy sound. But not as happy as seeing someone getting an awesome deal on a stunning Corvette.
In 1991 the ZR-1 was the “Corvette to die for!” Everything was SO exotic, it’s too bad Chevrolet played it outrageously safe with the body styling that looks almost exactly like a regular Corvette. On well, ZR-1s are still beauties and the only way it could get better was to have Callaway Engineering do their thing on top of what was already Corvette’s flagship model. Continue reading
On July 7, 2015, the Corvette community lost another legend; John Greenwood passed.
Words and Art by K. Scott Teeters as written for Vette Magazine, republished from SuperChevy.com
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 223
On July 7, 2015, the Corvette community lost another legend; John Greenwood passed. He was 70 years old. John was a member of a very small club of legendary Corvette figures that only needed one name, such that when you said that one name, it spoke volumes. Just a few others are: Shinoda, Lingenfelter, Callaway, Yenko, Guldstrand, and of course, Duntov. Engage any serious Corvette person in some bench racing, drop the name Greenwood and instantaneously all manner of mental images come to mind: suspension packages, C4 body kits, BFGoodrich Stars and Stripes, 427 ZL1 racers, and the most outrageous Corvette racers ever, the C3 widebody “Batmobile” Greenwood IMSA cars. Continue reading
What will this 1995 Corvette Go For? Watch the Auction Fun!!
Video – as recorded and produced by Scott Teeters
1995 LT1 Corvette Coupe Auction, Lot W41, Mecum Dallas Auction Sept 16, 2015
1994 LT1 Corvette Coupe goes on the auction block, on Corvette Report YouTube Channel. Continue reading
1-Millionth Corvette Restoration Timelapse
Chevy finishes restoring one millionth Corvette after sinkhole damage
by JORDAN CHITTLEY as republished from The Globe and Mail
When a sinkhole opened up underneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky last year, it swallowed the one millionth Corvette that rolled off the assembly line – a white 1992 model.
The fall made the iconic sports car look more like a pancake. Now, after more than four months and 1,200 man hours the restoration is complete. Continue reading
August 31, 1992 – Dave McLellan accepts early retirement and steps down after 18 years as the Corvette’s second Chief of Engineering.
General Motors had a mandatory, “retirement at 65” policy, so as Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was nearing retirement in January 1975 the big question was who would be chosen to fill Zora’s big shoes. Duntov was not consulted about his replacement and McLellan would not have been his choice, but Dave was definitely the man for the job. McLellan was an Alfred P. Slone Fellow with a degree in engineering and management. The ‘70s was not a fun time and there were serious issues to be dealt with besides horsepower, racing, and mid-engine designs. There were emissions and quality control issues, as well as the implantation of a new assembly plant and an all-new Corvette to be designed and developed.
When the C4 Corvette came out it received rave reviews – “The Best Vette Yet!” and under McLellan’s leadership kept getting better and better every year. By the late 80s, performance was back to late 1960s levels, Continue reading
Wil Cooksey shares his life story and career in GM and building Corvettes.
Dateline: 8.29.15 – Yesterday we told you about the 2015 Corvettes at Carlisle show and that Wil Cooksey is one of the special guests for the event. Actually, ever since Wil put on that stunning, explosive burnout display back in 2007, he’s become an almost permanent fixture of the Corvettes at Carlisle show.
On April 5, 2013 I had the pleasure of interviewing Wil Cooksey on my Far Out Radio program. The YouTube version of the program is below.
K. Scott Teeters Corvette art prints are available in our Amazon Store!
Thursday, is our day to honor the fourth generation Corvettes. If your desire is a cheap Corvette, then the concept of a C4 daily driver looks rather promising. A slightly beaten and sufficiently dirty C4 won’t need much care and will reward you with the sound of a V8, the practicality of that glass hatchback and the versatility only a targa roof can provide. Parts availability is brilliant and no matter what anybody says, you’ll be driving the most important Corvette of them all. Just don’t buy an ‘83. Continue reading