Corvette News & Opinions
June 21, 1996 – Mike Yager helps build and takes delivery of “The Last C4 Corvette”
Dateline: 6.21.17 – “First and Last” Corvettes have become a niche specialty in the Corvette hobby. Year-by-year, the “first and last” Corvette is only marginally interesting. They’re cool to own or set aside, but not nearly as unique as the “first or last” of a generation.
Mike Yager of Mid America Motorworks came up with a novel idea. While most collectors think of ” special editions” and “firsts,” Mike thought of the “last” C4 Corvette off the production line. No one had ever considered that before. When GM announced in mid-’95 that the ’96 model would be the last of the C4 Corvettes, Yager launched his plan. Mike leveraged his relationship with Chevrolet with a unique proposal. Yager’s request was to be permitted to buy the very last Corvette to roll off the production line, on the condition that the he would retain ownership of the car and display it at his “MY Garage” (Mike Yager Garage). GM liked the proposal, had nothing to lose, and a lot of publicity to gain.
Mike decided that the Last C4 should be visually unique. In honor of the first Corvette, he chose polo white as the body color. From there he added the Grand Sport rear fender flares, white ZR-1 wheels, red Grand Sport front fender hash marks, special embroidery for the seats, and special “Last C4” decals for the front fenders and the windshield. Under the hood was a (Videos on next page!) Continue reading
A Corvette That’s Never Not Been a Racer!
Dateline: 6-15-17 – Ken Hazelton’s 1963 Split-Window Coupe Corvette Sting Ray is a unique car. Ken’s Corvette has never been a streetcar. Although born to be a street sports car, this Sting Ray has never been anything but a racecar. Zora Arkus-Duntov was the driving force behind making sure that production Corvettes could be easily turned into competitive racecars. He was famous for saying, “I want my customers to enjoy their Corvette.” Even though he was in the engineering department and not sales and marketing, he thought like a salesman. Duntov’s insistence that Corvette customers had access to Chevrolet engineered parts for racing, created the Corvette’s halo of racing.
Unlike any other American automobile, the Corvette was born to be a racer. In 1951 when Harley Earl went to his first sportscar race at Watkins Glen, he saw the raw enthusiasm for the new breed of small cars from Europe – sports cars. Earl was an automotive genius and pioneer, who often saw possibilities where most did not. For the most part, Americans preferred big cars. But Earl reasoned, “Why should the Europeans have all the fun and racing glory? There should be an America sportscar.” The rest, of course, is history.
Because “racing” was built into the Corvette’s DNA, the car attracted others that saw potential for greatness. Without men such as Ed Cole, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Mauri Rose, Bill Mitchell, and many others, Continue reading
The Hands-On Life and Times of a Lifelong Corvette Guy, Allan “Bunky” Garonzik
Even though Zora Arkus-Duntov was “only” the chief engineer, he felt a personal connection with Corvette customers. He used to refer to them as “his” customers. One of the young engineers that worked with Duntov once said that Zora lead with love and passion. Duntov wanted his customers to ENJOY their Corvette. He wanted them to not only drive their Corvette, but also drive them hard – go racing if they wanted, and he and his team would supply the parts to be successful.
Of course, back in the day, up to the introduction of emissions controls, Corvettes (all cars for that matter) were really simple. The cars were 100-percent mechanical. With just modest mechanical skills, a box of Craftsman tools, a tackle block pulley and a few other basic tools, an owner could swap an engine on a Saturday and be back on the road on Sunday. It was easy to learn auto mechanics on your own car.
We all start off knowing nothing about cars until the day arrives when the “car bug” bites us and for many, it becomes a life-long, positive infection. When Allan Garonzik (“Bunky” to his friends) was in school, he started out like all of us car guys, hanging on, watching an “older guy” (usually around 21) do stuff to their cars. Continue reading
Race-prepared, stock 1990 ZR-1 Shatters a 50 Year 24-Hour Speed Record
Dateline: 5.22.17 (This story first appeared in the May 2017 issue of “Vette Vues”) – Racing Corvettes used to have a long history of durability issues. There are many reasons why Corvette racecars had durability issues, but one of the biggest is easy horsepower. It’s always been relatively easy to get a lot of power out of a small-block or big-block Chevrolet engine. If a builder is more oriented towards drag racing, the temptation for an extra 50-horsepower is just too tempting for many builders. That’s fine for drag racing where a car is stressed to the max for a matter a seconds. But in endurance racing, you have to finish to win.
From the perspective of the mid-1980s, the new C4 Corvette was light years ahead of the previous two-generation Corvettes. In the mid-1980s Corvettes were so fierce in SCCA Showroom Stock racing that after two years they were kicked out for being too fast! So, the factory-built Corvette racecars duked it out in their own series, The Corvette Challenge. Breakage with the C4 cars wasn’t much of an issue thanks to the much-improved structure and suspension, plus the cars weren’t powered by massive, torque-monster big-blocks. Continue reading
A C7 ZR1 in full-camo makes a daylight raid on Nurburgring in the snow and rain!
Dateline: 4.20.17 – Before you know it, we’ll know it! Chevrolet and the media are teasing us like never before. Spy photos are now so clear and sharp that it looks like Car and Driver Magazine’s April 2017 cover nailed it.
Of course, we still don’t know what’s really lurking beneath all that carbon fiber. Will the ZR1 be powered by the next generation LT5 engine? Will the ZR1 have GM’s Active Aero System? Or, are they saving those gems for the mid-engine C8? Folks, we just do not yet know, which leads to delicious bench racing. Enjoy the below Corvette video.
Even without the LT5 or Active Aero goodies, a goosed-up LT4 sporting a bigger supercharger and intercooler could do the trick. Maybe Chevrolet engineers will employ Continue reading
Car and Driver dishes the C7 ZR1 with “25 Cars Worth Waiting For” cover story!
Dateline: 3-9-17 – I just love paper car magazines! Subscriptions are dirt cheap and once a month your letter carrier delivers a bundle of paper for you to feast your eyes upon and consume delightful automotive stories. For Corvette lovers, its a thrill when one of Chevrolet’s “Plastic Fantastic” Corvettes adorns the cover. The April 2017 issue of Car and Driver arrived yesterday in my mailbox and it was a WOW!
The cover story is, “25 Cars Worth Waiting For” and in front of the Kia Stinger and Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the 2018 ZR1 Corvette. I’ve seen magazines do this before, about a month before the official debut, a publication will show images that are about 98-percent spot on. The image on the April 2017 Car and Driver cover and in the feature story, look Photoshop-enhanced, but not cobbled together.
As an illustrator and stylist, when I look at something “new” I go with my very first, gut reaction. When I saw the Car and Driver cover I said out loud, “WOW! The long article leads with a front/top view of the ZR1. The “25 Cars Worth Waiting For” runs from number 25, backwards to number 1, which is the ZR1 Corvette. Continue reading
Corvette Engine Blueprint Series Salutes the 1967-1969 427/435 L71 and 1990-1995 LT5 Engines
Dateline: 2.3.17 – ATTENTION CORVETTE MOTORHEADS! We are officially announcing the next two classic Corvette engines in our NEW Corvette Engine Blueprint Series – the 1967-1969 427/435 L71 and the 1990-1995 LT5. We’re releasing these two engines together because they are arguably two of the most awesome-looking engines to ever live under the hood of a Corvette. The sight of that big, triangular air cleaner on top of that gigantic 427 big-block engine engine provides owners with instant bragging rights. Continue reading
The BIG Return of the Grand Sport
Dateline: 1.17.17 – The long-view story of the Grand Sport now has four chapters. The first chapter told the story of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s vision of offering to the public, lightweight, powerful, all-out racing cars that “could” be driven on the street – not unlike what Ferrari was offering – available through Chevrolet dealerships. It was a great idea, but went over like a belch in church with GM’s brass. The plug was pulled immediately and the five pilot Grand Sports were left to go fallow with no factory development or backing.
Part Two of the story happens 33 years later, in 1996. By this time, unless you seriously followed the early days of Corvette racing, you probably never heard of a “Grand Sport.” Continue reading
by James Vincent for The Verge
GXE is a prototype created by small automotive company Genovation, and uses state-of-the-art electric motors
Dateline 3.29.16: A new world record for the fastest street legal all-electric car has been awarded to the Genovation GXE, a heavily-modified 2006 Z06 Corvette which hit a top speed of 186.8 mph at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last month. Continue reading
by Walt Thurn as republished from SuperChevy.com, Graphics-Photos by Super Chevy
33 Corvettes Are Judged and 25 Receive Top Flight Awards
Dateline 02.20.16: The National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) is dedicated to the preservation of Corvette history through the use of a comprehensive judging process. This process enables the NCRS to verify how accurately owners have restored and returned their cars to its original state. Corvettes that meet these requirements are presented with a Top Flight Award. Continue reading
by Sean Szymkowski as republished from GM Authority
Esoteric Auto Detail has stamina to detail one 2016 C7 Corvette Z06 for 100 hours
Dateline 02.18.16: Having your vehicle professionally detailed is like slapping a ring on the man or woman you love. It’s a major commitment to show how much you love the vehicle, and it takes trusting hands and utmost care to do the job correctly. It looks like guys at Esoteric Auto Detail are just the people to bring your special car, because they had enough stamina to detail one 2016 C7 Corvette Z06 for 100 hours. Yes, that’s two zeroes there. Continue reading
by Patrick Rall as republished from Torque News
Corvette endurance racers rack up race wins and series championships around the world
Dateline 2.14.16: Corvette Racing has announced that both of their team cars have received an invitation to compete in the 2016 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race – giving the Corvette crew a chance to back up last year’s LeMans win while continuing the momentum gathered in finishing 1-2 earlier this month in Daytona. Continue reading
by Mark Vaughn as republished from Autoweek
With the efforts of Superformance, there is no shortage of great Grand Sports
Dateline 01.20.16: Even in the rarified, no-necked, hairy-backed world of ultimate muscle cars and the men who love them, the Corvette Grand Sport is exalted. Rumble and growl all you want about your Cobras, your GT40s and your whatever-the-hell-else you think is the ultimate road brute, but the Corvette Grand Sport just might crush them all. Continue reading
by K.Scott Teeters as written for Vette magazine and republished from Super Chevy
Dick Guldstarnd was a member of the “old guard,” one of Duntov’s guys
Dateline 12.18.15: On September 2, 2015, the Corvette community lost another legend; Dick Guldstrand passed – he was 87 years old. Dick was a member of the “old guard,” one of Duntov’s guys. He was part of the Southern California sports car racing scene that included Dave MacDonald, Mickey Thompson, Doug Hooper, Bob Bondurant, and others. Dick was a hot rodder in high school in a time when you were either a jock, a hot rodder, or a “candy-ass.” Dick’s ride was a ’27 Ford on ’32 Ford ’rails and he raced at El Mirage and Murdoc. When Dick went into the Army he was a USO singer and later got his degree in electrical engineering. Continue reading
by Sam McEachern as republished from GM Authority
Corvette Team wins three of the most prestigious races in sportscar racing:
the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans
Dateline 12.9.15: Corvette Racing may have missed out on the IMSA GTLM championship in 2015, however the team still has lots to be proud of after winning three of the most prestigious races in sportscar racing: the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans. While the official ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport is rightfully the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix, Corvette Racing captured their own make-do Triple Crown with their three endurance wins. Continue reading