Corvette History

Chevrolet Debuts the New 1987 Corvette on October, 9, 1986

The Gradual Refining Process of the C4 Corvette Is Underway

1987-Corvette-1Dateline: 10.9.14 Twenty-eight years ago today Chevrolet released the new 1987 Corvette to the buying public. A look back at the 1987 Corvette fills me with irony. Performance was back to ‘60s levels, fuel-injection was standard (yes, a Fuelie!), the car had a top speed of 150-MPH making it the fastest car in America in 1987, the Kim Baker’s Corvette was kicking butt in the SCCA Showroom Stock racing series, and it was one of Car and Driver’s Top Ten Cars of 1987. That’s not too shabby! Especially considering the Corvette’s dark disco days of the late ‘70s.

Yet today, 1987 Corvettes are some of the most unwanted used Corvettes on the market. Check out Keith Cornett’s VetteFinders.com and you’ll see many mid-‘80s Corvettes going for less than $10,000. Why is this? Simple – because since that time Corvettes have gotten so progressively better! It doesn’t mean that there’s anything “wrong” or “bad” with the ‘80s Corvettes (unless you can’t stand the square dash design) , it’s just that Chevrolet did such a fine job of honing and refining the car, the new Vettes are just more desirable.

1987-Corvette-5I covered the 1987 Corvette in my Illustrated Corvette Series No. 71 monthly column in the May 2003 issue of VETTE Magazine. Here’s the story copy, the article layout is below.

Illustrated Corvette Series No. 71 – 1987 Corvette “Return to Greatness”

After having been kicked around for over 15 years as an overweight has-been, the ’87 Corvette reestablished itself as America’s performance car. You have to go back to the ’70-1/2 LT-1 and LS6 454 big-block to see performance figures like those of the ’87 Corvette. Although there was only a 5hp increase in power, testers reported that it felt more like 25hp. With 0-60 mph times of 6.3-seconds and a top speed of 152-mph, critics, the competition, and racers were beginning to notice. Continue reading

10-6-13 Chevy Debuts the New 1978 Corvette

The 1978 Corvette Gets a Well-Deserved Major Refresh

1978-Corvette-Ad-1Thirty-six years ago today Chevrolet released the new 1978 Corvette. Chevy’s sports car was selling well considering the times. Muscle cars were all but dead, gas prices were up to around 75-cents-a-gallon (GOSH!), and the economy was in a slump. However, the Corvette was getting a little stale-looking, so when the ’78 model was released, it was a “WOW!”

The new bubble fastback roof was sweet indeed. One of the shortcomings of the ’68 to ’77 Corvette coupes was a serious lack of rear stowage area. Unlike the ’63-to-’67 Sting Ray Coupe that had a fairly good size space behind the seats (for a sports car), the C3 coupes up to ’77 had a narrow slot tall enough for a suit case and not much more.The new roof design not only yielded more room in the back, it helped brighten up the refreshed interior and eliminate a serious rear-view blind spot. The dash was redesigned in a more-square, vertical mode, the door panels were revised, and a few controls were relocated. It was also the Corvette’s 25th anniversary, so all ’78 Corvettes wore a special 25th Anniversary badge. And for an extra $399 customers could order the very handsome-looking 25th Anniversary two-tone silver paint option. Continue reading

10-5-65 The Running Mako Shark II Was Shown To The Automotive Press – WOW!

October 5, 1966, the Running Mako Shark-II Debuts at the Paris Auto Show

Mako-Shark-II-1Forty-Nine years ago today, October 5, 1965, the automotive press got to see the first, running Mako Shark-II show car at the Paris Auto Show in France. The non-running full-size model of the Mako Shark-II had been shown in April ’65 at the New York Auto Show and was a knock-out. The response was so overwhelming, Chevrolet brass quickly decided to build a running prototype for the next phase of development.

As V.P. of Design, Bill Mitchell laid out what he wanted the next Corvette to be. See if you can follow this.

He wanted the following; “a narrow, slim, center section and coupe body, a tapered tail, an all-of-a-piece blending of the upper and lower portions of the body through the center (avoiding the look of a roof added to a body), and prominent wheels with their protective fenders distinctly separate from the main body, yet grafted organically to it.” Continue reading

Corvette History:10-4-73 – The 4-Rotor Experimental Corvette Debuts In Paris!

The 4-Rotor Experimental Corvette Makes It’s Grand Debut 41 Years Ago In Paris!

 4-Rotor-Corvette-Photo Oui! Oui! Thanks to Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette fans were treated to a series of mid-engine Corvette through the ‘60s and ‘70s. But XP-882 was no “ordinary” experimental mid-engine Corvette. Behind the driver was a honk’n 390 cubic-inch Wankel rotary engine. Ed Cole was President of General Motors at the time and was hot on the smooth-running rotary engine design. So what better a hallo car to present the then-exotic engine that under a stunning Corvette.

Although VP of Design Bill Mitchell was the official “designer” of the body shape, Chuck Jordan supervised the project. The car had wrap-around glass and hidden A-pillars. The doors weren’t just gull-wing, they were bi-fold gull wings. The look was fresh, edgy, exciting, and definitely CORVETTE. Continue reading

Corvette History: 10-3-85 – The Return of the Roadster! The Convertible is Back!

1986 Corvette Convertible Is Back!!!

1986-Corvette-AdThe Corvette was born as a roadster, so it was a sad day in 1975 when Chevrolet announced that the 1976 Corvette would only be available as a Coupe. Yes, the convertible was history! “Safety concerns” were the stated reasoning. Yea, it was “A Bummer, Man!”

Fast forward to October 3, 1985 Chevrolet announced that the Corvette convertible was back! Yes, the Roadster Corvette had returned!

A large X-brace was added to the bottom of the frame to stiffen the chassis and the ride height was increased slightly, and no one cared. The drop-top, open-air motoring Corvette was back.

Later it was announced that the ’86 Corvette convertible would pace the Indy 500 and that ALL 1986 Corvette Convertible would be designated as Pace Car replicas, regardless of the color. Of the 35,109 Corvettes sold in 1986, 7,315 (20.8%) were convertibles. Continue reading

Dave MacDonald Inducted Into National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame

Corvette Racing Legend, Dave MacDonald Inducted Into National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame

NCM-macdonaldDateline: 9-27-14 Auto racing legend Dave MacDonald was inducted into The National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame on August 28, 2014, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. MacDonald’s induction took place 50 years after the extremely talented young driver was tragically killed in his rookie race at the 1964 Indy 500 that also claimed the life of driver Eddie Sachs. After the race, an investigation determined that there was, “No driver error.”

MacDonald learned his driving skills in Southern California behind the wheel of several championship-winning first generation Corvettes. A gentle, quiet family man off the track, MacDonald was known as “The Master of Oversteer” and a fierce competitor. His driving skills were such that they attracted the attention of two other legends in auto racing of that time, Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and Carroll Shelby. MacDonald drove prototype test cars for Duntov and was eventually hired by Shelby to drive Cobras professionally.

His induction into The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame was well deserved and more than a little overdue. Regardless, Dave MacDonald now has a prominent and permanent place in Corvette history.

I have written extensively about the life and times of Dave MacDonald and have had the pleasure of getting to know the MacDonald family. I have Dave MacDonald’s younger brother Doug to thank. Many years ago I created a piece of line art for VETTE Magazine as a column filler “spot art” illustration. Later I included the illustration as an art print on my IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com website and mistakenly titled the print, “Dave MacDonald’s 1961 Corvette Racer.”

The 2014 National Corvette Museum's Hall of Fame inductees included: Race Car Driver Dave MacDonald, Corvette Engineer and Race Car Driver John Heinricy, and Automotive Journalist & Author, Jerry Burton.

The 2014 National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame inductees included, left-to-right: Automotive Journalist and Author Jerry Burton, Corvette Engineer and Race Car Driver John Heinricy, and Race Car Driver Dave MacDonald.

Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

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