C4 ZR-1 Corvettes
Several very interesting and unique Corvettes will be ON THE BLOCK at the Mecum Kissimmee and Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auctions over the next few weeks.
Dateline: 1.5.18, Images: Vette Vues, GM Archives, Mecum Auctions and Barrett-Jackson Auctions – “Auctions”, be they car or even farm auctions, are a lot of fun because it is the best example of “The Marketplace”. Things sell based on what people are willing to pay and not what sellers think something is worth. If a vehicle has a Reserve that isn’t met, that means that the Seller’s notion of the car’s value isn’t in alignment with the Market. If a vehicle has No Reserve, the Market will determine the vehicle’s value.
Bidding Wars and Feeding Frenzies can wildly drive prices up, making an auction a lot of fun to watch. On the other hand, excellent vehicles are often “Well Bought” at very good prices for a variety of reasons; rough condition, poor presentation, high production numbers, and cars that are just plane weird!
Two major car auctions are upon us with some very interesting and unique Corvettes that may or may not find new owners. The Mecum Kissimmee Auction starts today, January 5, 2018 and runs to January 14, 2018. The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction starts January 13, 2018 and runs to January 21, 2018
Of interest to Corvette and Chevy fans are the following cars;
January 12, 2018 – Mecum Kissimmee, 1969 Baldwin-Motion Phase-III GT Corvette. Lot F139
The rumors were true! The new C7 ZR1 will be available as a coupe AND a convertible. TOP DOWN, OH, WOW!!!
Dateline: 12.24.17 – Images: GM Archives – Let’s briefly back up to 1990 in order to put the significance of the new C7 ZR1 convertible into perspective. When the first ZR-1 was released in 1990 there was no way that it could have been offered as a convertible. In order to even make the C4 a convertible, a large X-brace had to be added to the bottom of the C4’s chassis.
The C4 ZR1 had a nice run from 1990 to 1995. But when the C5 Z06 arrived, offering ZR-1-level performance at a fraction of the cost, the C4 ZR1’s star began to fade. What made the C5 Z06 such a track star was it’s strong structure. It was as it Corvette engineers discovered structural rigidity. Thanks to lessons learned in the C5-R Corvette Racing Team experience, the C6 Z06 took the concept of structural rigidity to a new level, and with an aluminum frame to boot!
Corvette performance fans were so jazzed over the C6 Z06 that no one was pinning for something more. So, when Chevrolet released the C6 ZR1, dripping with carbon fiber and the supercharged 638-horsepower LS9 engine, heads were spinning and Duntov sat up in his grave and said, “Vhat?!?!?” (There was no convertible version, but no one was asking for one.) The C6 ZR1 was everything that Corvette engineers could possibly do with the C6 platform.
When that happens, there’s only one thing left to do – start working on the next generation Corvette! Continue reading
Rare Corvette Engineering Prototype Goes ON THE BLOCK at Mecum Kissimmee 2018 Auction, January 5 – 14 – Lot 165
Car auctions are a lot of fun because you never know how much or how little any given car is going to sell for. The exception being rare Ferraris, Cobras, and anything owned by Steve McQueen – they always sell for A LOT! Corvettes are especially unpredictable. Several years ago the John Greenwood Sebring ’74 IMSA Corvette (the Batmobile) was a NO SALE. In 2016 the very first C7 2017 Grand Sport Corvette to roll off the assemble line sold for only $170,000. Many, including me, thought that the car would go for a lot more, as previous “first off the assembly line” Corvettes have sold for big bucks. A lot of it has to do with the mood of the economy. So, we never know and predictions are often way off.
Next month at the Mecum Kissimmee Auction, January 5 – 14, a truly rare ZR-1 Corvette will hit the auction block. The Lot Number is, S165. When the ZR-1 finally came out as a 1990 Corvette is was a very big deal. This was truly an exotic Corvette with its Lotus DOHC all-aluminum engine and wide body. Tommy Morrison’s race-prepared, but stock, ZR-1 shattered speed endurance records, thus legitimately giving the ZR-1 the nickname, “King of the Hill.”
Engineering prototypes and mule Corvettes are typically stripped of their good parts and then sent to the crusher; a terrible fate. But sometimes, a few are saved. According to Mecum, the ZR-1 that will be auctioned off next month is one-of-two “known” C4 ZR-1 prototypes; 25 prototypes were build in July 1987. 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
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!
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
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
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
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.
Here’s What Corvettes Mean To People
The other day Joe Pruitt, the Event Coordinator/Owner of the National Corvette Homecoming event contacted me to tell me about their new event video by Efran Films that covered the National Corvette Homecoming 2014 event. This is a very touching video that captures what Corvettes mean to people. As we know, they’re not just “car” they’re something else. Actually, the people in the video say it perfectly. This video has heart! Enjoy! – Scott
A Most Excellent Addition To Your Corvette Library
I’ve been collecting car magazines and car books since the mid-’60s. My library has gotten larger than I ever imagined. There’s one book that I accidentally bought three times. I have four different versions of essentially the same book authored by Randy Leffingwell and published by Motorbooks. All four versions are very nice books, loaded with excellent images and well written prose by Leffingwell. But each time I bought the book online, I thought I was getting a different book because the covers and sizes are all different.
So, when I saw that Motorbooks was publishing “Corvette Sixty Years,” I was holding out in hopes of a totally new book and not a shuffled around version of the previous “Corvette Fifty Years” with some updated C5 and C6 material. I was NOT disappointed! Leffingwell and MBI have delivered the goods! The book is, for me, a visual delight. You see, when you have as many books and magazines as I have, you’ve probably seem nearly all of the old vintage photos showing the design and development work on the Corvette. At least, that’s what I thought!
Our New Partnership With FineArtAmerica.com
We are very happy to announce our new Corvette art prints enterprise with FineArtAmerica.com. But first, I must give credit, where credit is due. My lovely wife and business partner Karen, discovered FineArtAmerica.com about a month ago. Partnering with FineArtAmerica.com allows me the freedom to create Corvette art print layouts in any proportion. FineArtAmerica.com allows customers to order my Corvette prints in sizes to fit their budget needs! The optional matte and framing service allows customers the freedom to choosing their color matte and frame style to suit their decor needs.
By offering our Corvette prints through FineArtAmerica.com, customers can order prints as small as 8” x 2-5/8” up to 48” x 16” for our 1×3 proportion layouts and 8” x 8” up to 48” x 48” for our square proportion layouts. Every print can be produced on either archival matte paper, photo paper, watercolor paper, or canvas. Then, if you want, you can have your print custom matted and framed. There are dozens of matte colors and frame styles. You can design your framed print to match your home decor. The possibilities are staggering!
The Master of Cut-Away Technical Illustration Automotive Art
Please allow me to indulge myself and geeze a little. It seems that the farther north you are from the age of 50, the more times from the past begin to blur together. If you’re under 30 or 40 and are wondering what I’m talking about, just wait. I think it was somewhere around 1984 or 1985 the first time I saw one of David Kimble’s cut-away technical illustrations.
While Kimble had been working for many years as a technical illustrator for the US Navy, an RV company, the Chaparral Racing Team, the Harrison Racing team, and Sports Car Graphic Magazine, I believe that it was his 1984 technical illustration of the then-new 1984 C4 Corvette that put him on the automotive map. If it wasn’t his ‘84 Corvette cut-away that I first saw, then it was his Ferrari F40 cut-away that appeared in Motor Trend that definitely caught my attention. In the early ‘80s I was a freelance commercial artist specializing in machines. There was a wonderful magazine for commercial and graphic artists back then titled, “Step-By-Step Graphics” that was truly awesome for aspiring artists. Each issue featured several articles that took you on a step-by-step overview of exactly how the artist created their works. It was a terrific magazine.
One issue had a feature story covering David Kimble’s unique approach to the classic “cut-away” style of technical illustration. I was already familiar with James A Allington’s cut-away illustrations from a series of Shell Oil print ads that ran in the late 60s featuring famous road racing cars, such as the Ford GT40, Jim Hall’s Chaparral, and others. But Kimble’s style was quite different and unique. Where as most cut-away technical illustrations show what’s under the car’s body by illustrating a section of the body that seemed to be snipped away, Kimble created a new dimension to the “cut-away” body sections. David’s illustrations looked as if most of the car’s painted body was transparent. Parts, such as tires, wheels, floorboards, dash panels, transmission cases, valve covers were either transparent or used the traditional “cut-away” technique. When you look at a Kimble technical illustration, you experience a journey of discovery. For us gearheads, Kimble’s art satisfies the the question, “What’s under there?” Continue reading
A Salute to Chevy’s “King of the Hill” the ZR-1 and ZR1
When the ZR-1 Corvette first arrived in 1970 almost the only people that noticed were the Corvette racers and a few magazine gearheads. That’s because RPO ZR1 was the latest of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s “racer kits.” The ZR-1 was an LT-1 version of the ‘67-’69 L-88 racer kit package that Duntov deliberately designed to be a “track-only” car. There were no creature comforts – no radio and even no heater. The suspension was completely heavy duty and could jar your molars out on normal streets. Plus, the lack of a proper radiator shroud made driving the car in stop-and-go traffic an engine killer.
Consequently, from ‘70 to ‘72, only 53 official ZR-1 Corvettes were built. After the end of ‘72, the Corvette market began to move away from performance to a boulevard car. It took 18 years for the ZR-1 to surface again, but this time as a world-class Grand Touring road machine. Packed to the gills with creature comforts and powered by the all-aluminum, double-overhead-cam, Lotus-designed, Mercury marine-built LT-5 engine, this was no “off raod use only” machine. When the clamshell hood of the press preview ‘89 ZR-1 was opened, jaws dropped and grizzled automotive journalists gasped at the sight of the LT-5.
The Corvette team was a very different group from the late ‘60s. One thing Dave McLellan and his team were determined to do was make sure their new world-class Vette was NOT launched prematurely. The team intended to release the ZR-1 as an ‘89 Corvette, but smartly chose to postpone production a year to make sure the car was right. The only downside to the entire enterprise was a small matter of the BIG price. At $27,016 on top of the $31,979 base price, this wasn’t just an engine option. No, no. everything from the flywheel back to the tires was bigger, more stout, and heavy duty. And rather than just add flares to the fenders to cover the oversized tires (ala the C3 L-88 fender flares), the entire back end of the car was widened. Unfortunately, the change was only noticeable to those with a keen Corvette eye or if the ZR-1 was next to a regular C4 Corvette. But, we won’t pick, as it was a magnificent car. Continue reading