Corvette History

Scale Visions’ 60th Anniversary Salute to the 1954 (Corvette) Corvair

1954 Corvair Motorama Show Car 1/25 scale model benefits the “Chip Miller Charitable Foundation” at ’14 Corvettes At Carlisle

 1-Corvair-Nomad-ModelsBy 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.

2-Nomad-ModelScale 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

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Corvette C1-C7 in Review…The Most Successful Car in Detroit History?

Illustrated Corvette Series No. 200 1953 – 2014 Corvette

“DETROIT’S ULTIMATE SUCCESS STORY?” by K Scott Teeters as originally published in Vette magazine

In the February 2014 issue of VETTE Magazine, I celebrated my 200th installment of The Illustrated Corvette Series with a look back at the entire history of the Corvette. The title of the column is, “DETROIT’S ULTIMATE SUCCESS STORY?” The Corvette has come a very long way from being a car that many inside GM wanted to kill off to becoming General Motors’ flagship halo car.

While the article in VETTE only shows one Corvette from all seven generations of Corvettes, I wanted to do something extra special. So, I created the 1’ x 3’, “Seven Generations of Corvettes 1953-2014 Corvettes” art print, available through our Fine Art America store, HERE.

 The print is available in a variety of sizes and can be custom framed right from the site.

3x1-1953-2014-Corvettes-72

 

Here is the story……..

2013 may be remembered as the most extraordinary year in Corvette history. Not only was 2013 the last year of the sixth generation Corvette, it was also the 60th anniversary of the first Corvette. The only way it could have been better was if the C7 have been released as a ‘13 model. Arguably, the C7 was the most anticipated Corvette ever seen. Continue reading

Scott Teeters Talks With VETTE Magazine Founder, Marty Schorr

Bench Racing With VETTE Magazine Founder, Marty Schorr

Dateline 5.17.13

To listen to the FREE Archived Show, CLICK HERE.__________________________________

Marty-Schorr-FB-72Our guest is author and automotive journalist, Marty Schorr. Marty is a “car guy’s, car guy.”

With over five decades of hands-on experience, behind the wheel and under the hood of some of the most amazing cars ever, plus capturing images with his camera and word-smithing the life and times of the American muscle car, Marty Schorr has a unique perspective.

Marty came of age in the ‘50s, right at the beginning of the birth of America’s postwar love affair with performance cars. After joining a hot rod club in his home town of Brooklyn, New York, Marty learned that his real talent wasn’t driving race cars or spinning wrenches, though he definitely is skilled in those areas.

Marty’s gift is in the arena of visual arts and word-smithing. By the late ‘50s Marty got the bug for writing stories and photographing hot cars for magazines. What started out as a passion for cars became a lifelong career. Continue reading

The Baldwin Motion Experience with Marty Schorr & Joel Rosen on Far Out Radio!!!

Dateline: 4.24.13

Listen to Archived Show – Click Here

Schorr-Rosen-FB-Graphic-72It’s a Friday Night Car Show at Far Out Radio! Our guests are Marty Schorr and Joel Rosen. Marty is the former editor of CARS Magazine, founder of VETTE Magazine, editor and chief of CarGuychronicles.com, and owns PMPR, an automotive public relations business. Joel Rosen is the former owner of Motion Performance and currently owns and runs Motion Models, a world renown scale military model company.

Back in the ‘60s, Marty Schorr was the editor of CARS Magazine and Joel Rosen was the owner of Motion Performance. Schorr and Rosen became friends and Motion Performance was CARS Magazine’s “special projects” shop. The two creative guys came up with a Chevy supercar concept, not unlike Carroll Shelby’s Ford Shelby Mustangs, only at a local level.

Baldwin Chevrolet was a local Mom & Pop Chevy dealership on Long Island. Schorr and Rosen pitched the concept of offering supercar versions of new Chevy muscle cars purchased through Baldwin Chevrolet. Rosen designed a near-bullet-proof parts package and took care of the assembly. The team created the Baldwin Motion “look” and Schorr took care of the branding, advertising, catalogs, and PR.

Rosen spun the wrenches and Schorr spun the spin. The cars had drop-dead, in-your-face aggressive good looks to go with their ground-pounding performance – all with a 100% Chevy warrantee!

The guys created a legend that still being talked about 45 years later! Survivor Baldwin Motion Supercars are today VERY valuable.

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A Scale Visions Birthday Tribute to Zora Arkus Duntov

Dateline: 12.24.12

Master model builder Don Theune shares his touching encounter with Corvette maestro, Zora Arkus-Duntov 

Don-Theune-1Forward: Zora Arkus-Duntov was born on December 25, 1909 and would have been 103. Zora often joked that he had the birthday curse being born on Christmas Day.

When you are a kid and your birthday is on Christmas you tend to not get double gifts. But Duntov made up for any toy deficiency as a child after he took over the Corvette program. Arguably, no one had more fun playing with Corvettes inside Chevrolet than Duntov.

Not only did he design and develop the go-fast parts we all came to know and love, but he usually did his own track testing. What’a lucky guy! Here’s our Happy Birthday tribute to Zora Arkus-Duntov and a big THANKS to Don Theune. Continue reading

Corvettes at Carlisle – First ZL1 Engine Alive and Well!

 

Dateline: 8.29.12

Thanks to Kevin Mackay and his team at Corvette Repair, once piece of lost Corvette history has been found, refurbished, and ready for the show circuit.

Be sure to catch the below slide show!

Yes, the original fan was green.

The entire Q-Chevrolet project quickly fizzled due to cost concerns but several great ideas came out of the project. The unique Peter Brock and Bob Veryzer-designed body eventually was developed into the 1963 Sting Ray. The all-aluminum engine proposal started the ball rolling with aluminum parts gradually seeded into various Corvette engines. While aluminum water pumps, intake manifolds, and bell housings were relatively easy to develop, heads and the block were another story. By the early ‘60s, Duntov began experimenting with aluminum heads, but they proved to be unreliable. The small-block Chevy engine was already a lightweight, but the thought of an even lighter version of the engine was indeed tantalizing.

Corvettes have been powered by all-aluminum engines since the arrival of the LS1 in the all-new C5 1997 Corvette. Of course, today nearly all engines are  made with the lightweight metal. These days, the move is on to integrate even lighter magnesium, carbon fiber, and plastic parts wherever possible. But back in 1957, only the exotic cows of the most expensive European sports cars had all-aluminum engines.So in 1957 when new general manager Ed Cole proposed his Q-Chevrolet line of trans-axle cars, including the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Duntov jumped on the chance. No one inside GM was more tuned into the advantage of an all-aluminum engine than Duntov. The proposal Duntov outlined for his vision of the Q-Corvette included the mandatory trans-axle and an all-aluminum, fuel-injected small-block Chevy engine. The Rochester Fuelie had just arrived and the small-block Chevy engine was only in its third year of production. No one in Detroit was making all-aluminum engines, so this was a very outrageous proposal. Continue reading

Owens-Corning Corvette in the New RM Auctions Monterey Catalog

Dateline: 8.9.12

A stunning collection of photos of one of the toughest racing Corvettes ever!

To access the RM Auctions catalog, just click on the above image.

RM Auctions is putting on 11 events for 2012 and the Monterey auction is just around the corner. Last year five Corvettes went on the block, four racers and one stocker, with all but one finding a new home. Of course, last year’s BIG star for Corvette fans was the Greenwood Stars and Stripes 427 ZL-1 #49 Corvette that went for $580,000.

This year there’s only one Corvette and WOW is it a beauty with a story. The Owens-Corning 1968 L88 Corvette was one of the fiercest Corvette racers ever.  Raced by Jerry Thompson and Tony DeLorenzo, the car scored an astonishing 22 victories in a row! The team fielded two L88 Corvettes and at one point took 1st and 2nd in 14 of the 22 races won. In the March 2010 issue of Corvette Magazine, Jerry Thompson was quoted saying, “They worked. That doesn’t mean that they were easy to drive. The engines had so much torque and power that most guys were intimidated by them.”

When Corvette Repair performed the restoration on the car, Kevin Mackay and his team took the car back to its 1971 24 Hours of Daytona livery. The car has been beautifully photographed for the RM Auction catalog. RM Auction publishes a paper book/catalog for around $50, but they also publish a digital version through ZMags at no charge. Every car that’s up for auction is in the catalog with first class pictures and wonderfully written articles about each car. The catalog by itself is a delight, and you can’t beat the price.

To access the digital catalog, Continue reading

Was the 1984 Corvette Really That Awesome?

Dateline: 7.24.12

An alternate look at the lowly 1984 C4 Corvette.

Be sure to CAST YOUR VOTE for your Favorate C4 Corvette, HERE.

The Illustrated Corvette Series continues on with its look back at the “first” of each generation Corvette. The latest issue of VETTE (November 2012) covers the first C4 1984 Corvette. It’s hard to believe that it was 29 years ago this summer that Dave McLellan and his team stunned the automotive press at the ‘84 press preview with the all-new ‘84 Corvette. I can sum it up with one expression, “Heads spun!”

Now, if are new to the Corvette hobby, you most likely know that as of today, an ‘84 Corvette is arguably the lowest valued Corvette on the market. But when you look back and read the reports and road tests, one can’t help but ask, “How could that be?!?” The quick answer is that the reason this happened was because the C4 Corvette improved so much, so fast. While the platform of a ‘96 Corvette (the last year for the C4) is the same, it might as well be a different car.

In the C4’s 13 model year run, here’s a short list of the big items that changed:

* Front and rear bumper covers, wheels and tires, front fender vents. Continue reading

Book Review: Corvette Sixty Years – by Randy Leffingwell

Dateline: 7.5.12

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!

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1968 Corvette – The First C3 Corvette

Dateline: 6.25.12

From Mako Shark show car to production Corvette – a little too quickly.

In retrospect, it’s amazing that the C3 Corvette wasn’t called the “C2.5 Corvette.” After all, the frame, suspension, chassis, and running gear was straight off the C2 Sting Ray. It all goes to show how important looks can be. Of course, today, we’re all used to the “shark” style, but in September ‘67 when the ‘68 cars made their grand debut, it was WOWZERS for Chevrolet! To really appreciate how advanced and completely original the Mako Shark-inspired ‘68 Corvette was, go back an look at what Detroit was offering back then. Yes, there are a dozen of so genuinely classic cars from the late ‘60s, but the ‘68 Corvette was even more original than the ‘63 Sting Ray. The ‘68 – ‘82 Corvettes were so iconic, they are forever branded the “Shark” Corvettes.

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 first of the Shark Corvettes! - Scott


Illustrated Corvette Series No. 183: 1968 Corvette – “The First C3 Corvette”

In March ‘65 Bill Mitchell showed GM’s upper management his new Mako Shark II. After the attendees got their breath back, the first question was probably, “When can we have it?” Publicity photos were made and the non-running Mako Shark II was shipped off to New York City for the 9th Annual International Automobile Show, then to the New York World’s Fair. Meanwhile, two orders were given: build a running prototype, and begin work on a production version. Unbelievably, GM management wanted the new design to be a ‘67 model! That meant only 18 months to design and develop the car. Continue reading

Corvette Widebodys – Past and Present

Dateline: 5.31.12

When it comes to widebody Corvettes, it’s all about BIG tires.

Check out the wide body Corvette prints at the bottom of this post.

Special thanks to Corvette Racing for the very cool images. For tons of Corvette Racing fun, be sure to visit, www.corvetteracing.com/.

On March 16,2012 GMAuthority.com announced that for the 2012 racing season, the C6.R ZR1 Corvette would be wearing a new suit. We’re not talking about the livery, it’s still Competition Yellow with black graphics that seems to change every few races.

No, we’re talking about actual body parts. It was only six years ago that the production widebody C6 Z06 gave the new C6 that big, broad shoulders look that we love so much. It wasn’t long before lots of regular Corvettes were wearing Z06 outfits, and why not? It looks great, almost as if that’s the way the C6 should have looked in ‘05. But things evolve and we go from there. It wasn’t just a fad either. Chevrolet certainly noticed and and in ‘10 dished up the Grand Sport model, wearing Z06 cloths and a new set of front fender vents. The new look struck a chord, because in ‘10 the Grand Sport Corvette made up 49.5% of total sales and in ‘11 Grand Sports accounted for 58.7% of sales! That’s very impressive and the Corvette planners deserve credit for picking up on the widebody trend.

Special thanks to Corvette Racing for the very cool images. For tons of Corvette Racing fun, be sure to visit, www.corvetteracing.com/.

But when ‘12 Corvette Racing season began, the ZR1-based race cars were wearing an even wider, wider body. And just like the original ‘70s widebody Corvettes popularized by John and Burt Greenwood, it was all about tires. Race car tires are a whole other interesting topic. If you go all the way back to the earliest Corvette racers, you can’t miss those painfully skinny tires. These were stock tires that were sometimes shaved a little. When you got into the late ‘60s tire sizes began to grow and L-60 series tires were considered enormous. Continue reading

1963 Corvette – The First Production Sting Ray

Dateline: 5.16.12

The Illustrated Corvette Series “First” continuities with a look back at the FIRST production Sting Ray.

A few years ago, someone created a series of Chevrolet billboards using classic, iconic images of some of the most popular Chevrolet cars. Naturally, there were several layouts featuring Corvettes. While this is a totally biased opinion, I think the above “The Original American Idol” is the best. Four words sum it up perfectly and the back end of the one and only, split-window coupe says a thousand words.

Our friend and VETTE Magazine founding editor, Marty Schorr, recently posted a review of the new 911 Porsche Carrera S at his CarGuyChronicles.com blog site. Writer, Howard Walker expounds on the fact that while the latest version of the classic 911 shares no hardware what-so-ever with the original and first ‘63 911, the spirit of the original 911 is still in tact. It’s an amazing combination of the rear-engine layout and the fact that the car still “looks” like a 911, only bigger and much better. I have often wondered what today’s Corvette would look like had Bill Mitchell never designed the game changing Mako Shark II. As I have written here in stories about Mitchell’s Mako Corvettes, the Mako Shark II was so astonishing, it simply HAD TO BE the next Corvette. End of conversation! And, we’ve moved on from there.

So, buckle up and lets take a blast back to 1963 for a look-see at the first production Sting Ray! – Scott


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. Today, new designs are market researched, but in the ‘50s, it was a seat-of-the-pants approach, driven by men with strong personalities. “Father” of the Corvette, Harley Earl, was the director of GM’s “Art and Color Section.” from 1927 to 1958.  His successor, William L. Mitchell picked up the mantle and drove the Corvette where Earl never imagined.

The Sting Ray design began in ‘57 as the Q-Corvette concept and morphed into Mitchell’s weekend warrior Stingray Racer. Mitchell wanted to go racing, and do some informal market research. By ‘59, the Corvette was due for a change and Mitchell had the design already worked out. Late in ‘59, Mitchell assigned stylist Larry Shinoda to make a full-size, clay coupe version the Stingray Racer. By April ‘60 Continue reading


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