Larry Shinoda was the perfect designer/stylist for GM VP of Styling Bill Mitchell. In the same way that Mitchell fit with Harley Earl, Shinoda clearly understood what Mitchell wanted. As VP of Design, Mitchell’s job was to hold the vision for what he knew would be new and fresh, then lead his designers and stylists to bring his vision into reality. Corvettes were always Mitchell’s pet projects and he was famous for saying, “Don’t get cocky, kid! I design Corvettes around here!” Mitchell’s Corvettes were about design, speed, power, and performance. And for that, he needed a designer/stylist equal to Duntov’s engineering/racing prowess. Larry Shinoda was his man. Read More
The Mark IV big-block engine was intended to be a replacement engine for the W-Series 348/407/427 truck engine. But very quickly in the development phase it was discovered that the engine was a torque monster.
When released in spring of 1965 in the Corvette as the 396/425 L78 for only $292, it was obvious that it was easier to make big horsepower and torque with the new big-block to the more exotic and expensive ($538) L84 Fuelie. The rest is history. Read More
Milestone dates only happen once. In September 2018 I was talking with former Corvette development engineers Bill Tower and said to him, “Bill, do you realize that this December it will be 40 years since you bought your Grand Sport?” Bill sputtered a little and said, “Oh man, now you’re really making me feel old!” I said, “Ain’t we all, Bill!” and we both had a good laugh. Then I said, “You should have a party, or something, Bill.”
Bill thought about it and contacted his friend, Steve Hurley, owner of Stingray Chevrolet (a GREAT name for a Chevy dealership!), and Steve said, “Let’s do it here at the dealership. The 25-foot Christmas tree will be up and we’ll make it great!” Read More
One of the definitions of the word, “godfather” is; “one that founds, supports, or inspires”. Of all of the Corvette’s “Founding Fathers” none are more deserving of the term than Zora Arkus-Duntov. It is not an exaggeration to say that were it not for Duntov, the Corvette never would have made it past 1970!
Although the Corvette fit the definition of a “sports car”, when Chevrolet released the car in 1953, they said that the car was, “not a sports car”. But when Zora saw the Corvette at the 1953 GM Motorama in New York City, he said that it was the most beautiful car he had ever seen, and knew instantly that he wanted to be a part of the new Corvette team. Read More
I was recently perusing around the GM Heritage Center’s website. The “GM Historical Brochures” section of the “Archives” section, has 16 different subjects covering; Cadillac, Camaro, Chevrolet Engineering, Chevrolet History, Chevrolet Trucks, Consumer Information, GM History, GMC, Manufacturing Facilities, Events, Portfolio, Service and Training, Corvette Historical Brochures, and Corvette News.
The Corvette Historical Brochures section has 47 sales brochures and the Corvette News section has 13 issues of Corvette News from Vol 1, Number 4, (1958) to Vol 5, Number 2 (1962). Read More
I have a very large collection of Corvette magazines and magazine clippings that date back to the late 1950s. Recently I was talking to a Corvette restoration expert about a project that he wants to take on. George is considering building a replica of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s 1969 427 ZL1 development mule.
I’m calling the first wave of PDFs “The Duntov Files”. Read More
Ed Cole was born on September 17, 1909 and grew up on his family’s dairy farm. As a kid, Ed designed, built, and sold radio sets and when he was old enough, the natural mechanic started working at an auto parts supply store and building hot rods. For a time, Ed thought he wanted to be a lawyer, but that “car thing” got in the way. Read More
Harley J. Earl’s accomplishments were staggering. His beautiful concept cars and subtle innovations (such as turn signals and wrap-around glass) that live on today, unnoticed, aren’t nearly as impactful as his greatest legacy, the Corvette. His quote, “The Corvette was a little thing I started.” is one of the all-time great, automotive understatements. Sixty-five years after Earl took his LeSabre concept car to the 1951 Watkins Glen sports car race and was inspired, we are still captivated by Corvettes. That’s one heck-of-a legacy! Read More
Unlike today’s Corvette Racing Team’s massive year-around, non-stop R&D program, the Sebring cars were prepared in just a few weeks and were being worked on around the clock. But all things considered, it was a valiant effort that paid off. Here’s a list of the modifications made to the Corvettes. This is why I say, these were no ordinary Corvettes and by 1956 standards, these cars were very advanced. Read More
While Duntov lead the charge when it came to racing Corvettes, he wasn’t the only power player inside Chevrolet with a vision for a mid-engine Corvette. Frank Winchell was a low-profile company man who, unlike Duntov, did not like or seek out fame and attention. He was comfortable in his role as a corporate man. Winchell ran the Chevrolet R&D group from 1959 through 1966 and was a “take no prisoners,” “lets try it” kind of guy. While not a degreed engineer, he had a natural sense of how things worked and specialized in the design and development of automatic transmissions. Read More
Obviously this is a “1959 Stingray Racer” wanna-be. I personally would not have finished off the car this way. The dual headrests is one too many, the Stinger hood is out of period by eight years, the side vents are odd, and the wheels should have been polished Hildebrand-style wheels.
But hey! It’s a customized kit car. I’m sure it’s fairly light in weight, and with the 283 Fuelie and 4:11 rear, it’ll be a hoot to drive.
The car was recently restored and despite my own personal quibbles, I’d say the car was, WELL BOUGHT. Whom ever is the new owner, I hope you really enjoy your cool new ride! – Scott Read More
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… Read More