7 Alternate Universe Possibilities
Written by: The Daily Drive staff. Art by Frank Peiler.
Frank Peiler, Consumer Guide Automotive’s Publisher Emeritus, is back for another round of “What If” design studies. This time, Frank envisions what the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette might have looked like if it had been designed by Studebaker, Hudson, Packard, Nash, Dodge, Ford, or Kaiser. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental. Continue reading
The end of an era: The St. Louis Corvette assembly plant makes its LAST Corvette!
Dateline: 7.31.15 After 27 years, 7 months and 3 days of building Corvettes, the final Corvette rolled off the St. Louis assembly line. The plant was a throwback to the days before Alfred P. Sloan and started building cars in 1920. Photos of the St. Louis factory can be seen online and in Mike Mueller’s book, “The Corvette Factories,” and can be most kindly described as “old school.” Continue reading
Corvette Odd-Ball: Was the 1938 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine the Genesis of the Iconic Sting Ray’s Roof?
Was Corvette Designer Larry Shinoda Inspired by an Old German Pre-WW II Racecar?
Dateline: 7.22.15 The lineage runs like this. In 1957 Chevrolet’s new general manager, Ed Cole (the engineer credited with the design of the small-block Chevy engine – the greatest, longest-in-production engine in Detroit history) decided that by 1960 ALL General Motors cars would use a transaxle to improve weight distribution, handling, and to open up interiors for more space. It was call the “Q-Chevrolets” and yes, there was to even be a Q-Corvette. Continue reading
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
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
A look back 60 years ago to how the first Corvette came to be.
I call the Corvette the “The American Automotive Horatio Alger Story.” It’s the ultimate automotive rags-to-riches story. You could also call it an automotive Cinderella story. While the C6 has taken more flack than it deserves, it’s good to look back to the very beginning to get a really clear picture of how far the Corvette has come in 60 years.
Since we’re rolling into the C6’s final year and looking forward to the new 7th generation Vette, the next several installments of my VETTE Magazine monthly column looks back at the “first” of each generation Corvette. So, let’s go back to the beginning. – Scott
In September 1951, GM’s chief of design, Harley Earl took his Le Sabre dream car to Watkins Glen for a little GM-style show’n tell. Earl was impressed with the “sports cars” he saw there and went back to work with a new car concept for General Motors – an American sports car.
Post WW II saw the birth of plastics and glass-reinforced plastic, or “fiberglass” and Earl saw a new way to build prototypes and production cars. In February ‘52, Life Magazine presented the new space age material in a story titled “Plastic Bodies For Autos.” By March, GM was reviewing the Alembic I, a fiberglass bodied Jeep. Impressed with the new material, Earl decided to start moving on his sports car idea. Engineer Robert McLean designed a chassis layout and by April a full-size plaster model was shown to GM’s management. The following month, Ed Cole was promoted to Chief of Engineering for Chevrolet and was onboard with Earl’s project. Earl pitched his concept to GM’s president, Charles Wilson and Chevrolet general manager, Thomas Keating in June and got the approval to build a functional prototype for the GM Motorama in January 1953. The car’s working name was… “the Opel Sports Car.” Continue reading
Hot rodder Shinoda teams up with Bill Mitchell and defined the “Corvette look.”
Perhaps it was “in the stars” that Larry Shinoda was in the right place at the right time. If you strictly look at Shinoda’s resume in 1956, you might ask, “How did this guy get in the front door?” As a young man, the only thing Larry ever graduated from was high school, Army boot camp, and the School of Hard Knocks. Twelve-year-old Larry had his life turned inside out when along with thousands of Japanese-Americans, he and his family were sent to interment camps for the duration of WW II. The experience had a profound effect on his personality. A self-professed “malcontent” Shinoda could be a little difficult to work with.
After his Army tour of duty in Korea, Shinoda attended Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, but truly hated being there. He could see no purpose in taking the classes in design and the various art mediums, such as watercolor painting. He was a car guy/hot rodder and he wanted to draw and design cars! So he left Art Center without graduating and based strictly on his car illustrations, landed a job at Ford, then Studebaker/Packard. Just a year after starting his career, he landed a job as a designer at General Motors.
The rest is the stuff of legend. Street racing and blowing the doors off of Bill Mitchell’s souped up Buick and quickly being taken under Mitchell’s wing. Things like that happens, but rarely. There was obviously some chemistry between the two men, perhaps it was because both men could be brash and had strong opinions.
Shinoda got his first big break when Mitchell tapped the 28-year-old to translate the body design of the ‘57 Q-Corvette on to the mule chassis from Duntov’s aborted Corvette SS project. The finished car became Mitchell’s 1959 Stingray Racer, which formed the styling theme for the ‘63 Corvette. From there, Shinoda got one peach project after another. It’s worth noting that the design of the Stingray Racer is held in such high esteem that current Corvette chief designer, Tom Peters (C6 Corvette and late model Camaro designer) is on record stating that his ‘09 Corvette Stingray Concept (aka Transformers Corvette) was influenced by the ‘59 Stingray. Continue reading
The 1954 “Could-Have-Been” Motorama Dream Corvettes
Back in ‘09 when General Motors was getting more negative publicity than they ever dreamed, I received a few emails from car pals with images of the 1954 Motorama Corvette variants – the Pontiac Bonneville, the Olds F-88, and the Buick Wildcat II. The gist of the emails was this, “Look at how GM screwed up! The 6-banger Corvette “could have been” a powerful V8, classic ‘50s beauty.” Bla, bla, bla.
While it is true that the above mentioned cars were beauties, there’s no way they would have made it into production. The ‘53 and ‘54 Corvette already had Cadillac prices. The Pontiac, Buick, and Olds versions would have cost even more. But it was an interesting look back, as it turned out that the ‘54 Motorama had numerous delicious concept cars.
In my Illustrated Corvette Series No. 178, I covered the “Chevy/Corvette” concept cars, the Corvette Coupe, the Corvair Fastback, and the Nomad. (The Pontiac, Olds, and Buick concept cars were covered in a later column) Keeping in mind that “concept cars” are three dimensional canvases for designers to try out new ideas, it’s always fun to look back to see what ideas made it into production and where they were used.