The Mark IV Chevy Big-Block Becomes a 427!
Dateline: 9.2.15 – The year 1966 was a banner year for Corvettes for several reasons. It was the best sales year for the short, five-year run of the C2 Sting Ray with 27,720 cars built, and convertibles outsold coupes -17,762 convertibles (64%) and 9,958 coupes (36%). This was back in the days when convertible Corvettes actually cost LESS than coupes. The coupe’s base price was $4,295, while the convertible’s base price was $211 less, at $4,084. My, how things have changed! Not only was 1966 the best sales year of the C2 Corvettes, it was the best year ever for Corvettes to that date. The car had come a long way from its breakout year in 1956 when 3,467 Corvettes were sold.
But the big news was under the hood. The Mark IV big-block arrived mid-year in ’65 as a 396 and the 327 Rochester Fuelie was phased out. For 1966, the Mark-IV big-block was opened up to its intended size, the magical 427-cubic-inches. Continue reading
Dan Gale & Zora Arkus-Duntov’s Dream Comes True, After a TON of Work
Dateline: 9.2.15 – There are many car museums in the world but nothing like the National Corvette Museum. Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, just a quarter-mile from where Corvettes are built, customers can not only tour the assembly plant, they can take in Corvette history at the museum. Starting in 2001, Corvette customers could take delivery of their new car at the museum (option RPO R8C) and get the full royal treatment. The museum was the dream of the late Dan Gale and Zora Arkus-Duntov. In 1986 the Library, Archives, and Museum Committee was formed and Gale was one of the charter members. Duntov wanted a place to store the artifacts of Corvette history.
Obviously, a lot of money needed to be raised and in 1991 Gale was elected as president of the NCM’s board of directors and headed up the “Capital Campaign” 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
The First Z06 Corvette Was a Race Car!
Dateline: 8.30.15 – The original Z06 was Duntov’s “racer kit” for the then-new 1963 Sting Ray. Unlike modern Z06s, there was no flash to the first Z06, it was strictly hardware designed for the racetrack – no badges, special body panels, or designations at all! But considering the official “we don’t race” policy of GM, 199 1963 Fuel Injected Corvettes with heavy-duty brakes and suspension, wasn’t anything in GM’s big picture. But, if you wanted to race your Corvette in ’63, it was everything, and Duntov made sure you got what you needed.
Thanks to the SCCA rules that allowed the 2000-pound Cobra to race against the 3100-pound Corvette, even with the Z06 racer kit, the Vette was at a serious disadvantage. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: NCM inducts James Jeffords, Myron E. Scott, & John A. Cafaro to the Hall of Fame
August 30, 2002 – National Corvette Museum, inducts James Jeffords, Myron E. Scott, and John A. Cafaro into the Hall of Fame.
Dateline: 8.30.15 – The Corvette has lasted longer than Harley Earl, Ed Cole, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and Bill Mitchell ever imagined back in the 1950s, thanks to the continuing passion of men and women that understand the soul of the Corvette. The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony has become a much-anticipated annual event in the Corvette community, as a “Thank You” to those that have carried the flame forward.
James “Jim” Jeffords was two-time SCCA B-production champion and pioneered the successful use of Duntov’s first “racer kit” the RPO 684 that helped him be unbeatable in 1958 and 1959 driving the Nickey Chevrolet “Purple People Eater” 1958 Corvette.. Jeffords also drove Jerry Earl’s 1956 SR-2, as well as some of the top sports cars of the day including a Scarab, a Maserrati Birdcage, and Jaguar. Continue reading
The 33rd edition of Corvettes at Carlisle, Comes to a close!
Corvettes at Carlisle is a Corvette Happening! The sights, the sounds, the carbon fiber, fiberglass, and wax. With almost 63 years of Corvette history spread out over 82 acres, to take it all in is a marathon. Today, thanks to the wonder of YouTube you can at least get a sense of what the event was like.
1954 Motorama Chevrolet Nomad (Corvette): The Original Corvette “Station Wagon”!
Dateline: 8.29.15 – Unlike the Pontiac, Buick, and Olds ’54 Motorama cars (Corvette wanna-be’s), Chevrolet designers did something totally unique and in retrospect, way ahead of its time. Using a 115-inch wheelbase Chevy station wagon chassis, Earl’s designers and stylists took the complete ’53 Corvette design and stretched it. From the front cowl and windshield forward, it was a production Corvette. Then the doors and back end were stretched to fit the nine-inch longer chassis. The rear fenders were straight off the ’53 Corvette. (scroll down for the video of the 1954 GM Motorama)
The ’54 Motorama Nomad was one of those designs that just looks right at first glance. Obviously not a sports car, the Nomad was a balanced blend of trim sports car styling with the full utility of a station wagon.
“Practicality” was a big sales feature in the ‘50s. 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.
Corvette Timeline Tales: August 22, 1957 – GM designer, Peter Brock submits sketches for a new Corvette design – VIDEO
GM designer, Peter Brock submits sketches for a new Corvette design and Chief of Styling, Bill Mitchell, approves and orders Styling to proceed with Brock’s design.
Peter Brock was one of the youngest designers ever hired by GM Styling. Ed Cole was the new general manager at Chevrolet and after the success of his small-block Chevy engine design, he wanted to make a follow-up splash by introducing the entire 1960 Chevrolet line of cars equipped with a transaxle, including an all-new Corvette. A transaxle would improve weight distribution and yield more front seat interior space. Continue reading
By Brent Davis as republished from CorvetteOnline
CNN Money has listed the 10 most valuable Corvettes according to their research, using the mean sold price. Starting with number 10 and increasing in value we have listed each of the cars along with a bit of tech and specifics about each model. We understand that there may be some very unique or special editions that can draw higher dollar figures, but this list tried to cover the more well known Vettes. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: August 20, 1954 – Chevrolet races 1953 Corvette at a NASCAR-sanctioned Raleigh Speedway.
The Corvette was a race car almost from the very beginning!
Yes, these were the first Chevrolet-built Corvette race cars. They don’t look familiar because in this promotion photograph the cars had yet to be decorated. The young man to the left and in the back is Bill France, Jr. in 1953 Corvette VIN #211 and the man on the right and in front is Joe Hawkins in 1955 Corvette VIN #1399. The names of the bathing beauties are not known. Back in the NASCAR’s early days they had a “Sports Car Series,” sometimes called the “International Class” that ran as support races for the Grand National races.
Terry Michaelis, owner of ProTeam Corvette has fully restored the 1953 version and meticulously researched the two cars, stitching together the history of these two forgotten Corvette racecars. Back in the day, working under the direction of three-time Indy 500 winner, Mauri Rose and Chevrolet chief engineer, Ed Cole, the Chevrolet Engineering Department did an admirable job turning the struggling Corvette into a racer. Continue reading
The Illustrated Corvette Designer Series No. 212
Words and Art By Scott Teeters as Written for Vette Magazine, republished from SuperChevy.com
1982 was a serious year of challenges facing Dave McLellan and his design team with several interesting “firsts.” 1982 was the first year since the ’53-’54 Corvettes that a manual transmission was not available. However, it was the first year that a four-speed automatic with Fourth gear as an overdrive. 1982 was also the first year since 1965 that a fuel-injection system was used and the first time ever that a Corvette had an electronic fuel-injection system. Continue reading
Corvette collector Ken Lingenfelter sits in his 1954
EX-87 “Duntov Mule” Corvette in Brighton, Michigan.
Lingenfelter said the car is now worth $2 million.
John M. Galloway, Detroit News
by Lauren Abdel-Razzaq as republished from The Detroit News
Through seven generations, the Corvette has created a legacy of success on the race track, a performance parts program that rivals any in the auto industry and legions of devoted fans.
“General Motors is riding high on the Corvette now,” said car guy Ken Lingenfelter, owner of the Lingenfelter Collection and Lingenfelter Performance Engineering. “The car is so desirable.”
He would know. He’s got 75 Corvettes himself, including some of the most famous and rarest models built.
But none of them would exist without Zora Arkus-Duntov. He’s the man that put the Z in Z06. Continue reading
Here’s what’s in the August 2015 issue of Vette Vues Magazine!
Dateline: 8.15.15 – The cover story for the August issue of Vette Vues is “Victory At Le Mans!” There’s an old saying in road racing that goes, “If you win the 12 Hours at Sebring or the 24 Hours at Daytona, all of America will know. But if you win the 24 Hours At le Mans, the WHOLE WORLD will know. The Corvette Racing Team scored their eighth Le Mans win since the debut arrival of the C5-R cars in 1999. BRAVISSIMO! Corvette Racing Team!
Feature stories in the August issue include:
Circle City Corvettes Caravan to the Beach – Article & Photos by Charley Robertson
Second Annual Indianapolis Grand Prix – Story by Tom Fielitz & Photos by Dave Estes
“Eyes On Design” In Detroit 2015 Show Coverage – Article & Photos by Wayne Elwood
“Corvette Milestones: August” – Story & Graphics by K. Scott Teeters
“The John Meyerhoff and Mary Carol Plott Corvette Love Affair, Pt 2” – Story and Photos by K. Scott Teeters Continue reading
The Illustrated Corvette Designer Series, No. 213
words and art by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Magazine and republished from SuperChevy.com
Dateline 8-7-15 To understand the Z06, we need to go back to the beginning—1953. The Corvette started out as a show car and quickly turned into a tough guy by 1957 with the 283 fuelie option. From 1957 to 1974, the last year for the 454, there was always a serious “performance” option. From 1975 to 1980 the only performance option was the “just OK” L82. Hey, it was better than nothing. Performance didn’t start to come back until 1985 with the fuel-injected L98. The big splash happened in 1990 when the awesome ZR-1 arrived with its all-aluminum, 375hp LT5 DOHC engine that surpassed the old “big-block” glory days. The LT1 replaced the L98 in 1992 and topped out in 1996 with the 330hp LT4. But it was the arrival of the LS1 that took performance to new heights. Continue reading
Scott Teeters’ Illustrated Corvette Designer Series No. 222
by Scott Teeters as originally written for Vette Magazine and now on SuperChevy.com
Dateline: 8-3-15 Milestone Corvettes have become a fascinating part of the Corvette story. Prior to the white 1992 1,000,000th Corvette convertible, no one was paying any attention to numerical milestones or first and last of any Corvettes. When the C4 1984 Corvette came out, 51,547 customers said, “I’ll take one!” When the C3 1968 Mako Shark II-inspired Corvette was unleashed, 28,569 fans placed their order. Continue reading
Feature Article from Hemmings Classic Car as originally published on July, 2013 – Richard Lentinello
republished from Hemmings Blog
Dateline: 7.29.15 It’s been over 60 years since Chevrolet unveiled the Corvette, a car which has become the longest-running production model in General Motors’ history. Backed by a fanatical fan-base spanning the globe, the Corvette has earned the right to be called an American institution. And judging by the recent introduction of the new C7 model, interest in Corvettes is bound to remain strong for generations to come. Just try to name another car that comes close to what the Corvette has achieved. 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
A Brief Tribute to Corvette Racing Legend, John Greenwood
Dateline: 7.13.15 (There are four videos at the end of this post)
The Corvette community lost another legend last week. On July 7, 2015 John Greenwood died. During the 1970s John and his brother Burt arguably made more of an impact of Corvette racing than anyone in their time.
Their most stunning legacy was the development of the Corvette wide-body, also known as the “Batmobile.” The wide-body kit was the last of what was unofficially known as “Duntov’s Racer Kit” series of Chevrolet engineered parts for road racing Corvettes.
By 1974 racing tires had almost quadrupled in width from those of the early 60s and were beyond the L88 fender flares that had been out since 1968. Racers were also learning about and making better use of air downforce. Chevrolet designed the wide-body kit and Greenwood developed and marketed the parts into a huge aftermarket enterprise, along with building all-out racing Corvettes for customers. The Greenwood brothers engineered suspension parts and setups and made them available to customers.
The wide-body look was so popular that complete street versions were offered by Greenwood and privateers could build their own street versions by purchasing the body kits. John and Burt also made body kits for C4 Corvettes, but the term “Greenwood body” will forever be linked to what it undeniably the wildest Corvette look ever
Below is a tribute to John Greenwood written by Registry of Corvette Race Cars and Vette Vues contributing writer/photographer, Wayne Ellwood that was published on July 13, 2015. Many thanks to Wayne Elwood for his brief overview of John Greenwood’s racing career. Condolences to the Greenwood family. – Scott
John Greenwood, Innovator and Influencer
Died on July 7, 2015 age 71
Greenwood held sway in Corvette racing for a decade
By Wayne Ellwood
The son of a GM executive, John Greenwood began drag racing as a teenager on Detroit’s famed Woodward Ave strip. A few years later, he caught the road-racing bug after entering his new 1968 Corvette in a parking lot solo event. That was enough. When he took his big block Corvette to Waterford Hills it marked the start of a remarkable career in SCCA and IMSA, a full-blown race shop, a sponsorship program with the BF Goodrich Tire Company, a thriving cars and parts business, and three trips to the 24 hour race at Le Mans, France. Continue reading
A look back at Chevrolet’s experimental, prototype, concept car, and show car Corvettes.
Words and Art by Scott Teeters as republished from Vette Magazine’s SuperChevy.com. Read the other experimental stories HERE.
General Motors makes hundreds of kinds of cars and trucks. Some sell hundreds of thousands of units a year, which makes Chevrolet’s Corvette a complete enigma. Given the small number of Corvettes sold every year, it is a modern American manufacturing miracle that the car survived for 61 years. Continue reading