Corvette News & Opinions
See the original Grand Sports in action at Sebring 1962 and Nassau 1963!
Dateline: 8.13.18 – Photo: GM Archives Last week while finishing up a story about Bill Tower’s Grand Sport #005 Corvette for Vette Magazine, I came across two YouTube videos posted by GM Heritage Center. The videos are silent and were probably shot with an 8mm camera that someone brought along to the events. The film looks like hand-held and amateurish, not at all the same quality of the Jam Handy films from that era. But, you do get to see the Grand Sports in action.
The above film was shot in December 1962 when Zora Arkus-Duntov took Grand Sport #001 to Sebring for testing. Note how “stock” the original batch of Grand Sports, originally called the “Lightweights” looked. Grand Sport Corvettes always suffered from front end lift which was mostly attributed to the shape of the Sting Ray. While the front end design of the Sting Ray indeed let way too much air flow UNDER the car, another big factor in the lift was how the new Corvette’s rear suspension would “squat” down. Continue reading
Fifteen years ago, all five Grand Sport Corvettes gathered at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance event.
Dateline: 8-2-18 (Photo Credit – AutoWeek) This was arguably the first time ALL FIVE 1963 Grand Sport Corvettes were all together in one place. Perhaps “once” after all five Grand Sports were built in the last months of 1962, all five cars might have been together, but there’s no documentation. So, it only took 50 years for all five Grand Sports to be in one place and be formally documented.
Zora Arkus-Duntov wanted to build 125 Grand Sports to be homologated as “production” Corvettes, available through local Chevrolet dealerships. Imagine that! And, Duntov also wanted to take a team of Grand Sports to Le Mans. Ahh, it could have been so cool!
No sooner had the Grand Sports been completed, word got up to the top level of GM and Duntov’s racing program came to a screeching halt. From there, Continue reading
A cool, hot ride for exploring beautiful Florida!
Dateline: 7.10-18 (Photos by K. Scott Teeters) – For a good long time I have been asked, “So, when are you going to get another Corvette?” My standard answer was, “I’m working on it.” And I was, really. But, as we all know, life gets in the way sometimes, and sometimes for a long time. But it gave me time to really think about what I wanted.
For the longest time I was focused on a 1996 Collector Edition Corvette with the optional LT4 330-horsepower engine and a six-speed transmission. I liked the car for several reasons. 1996 was the last year for the C4 generation and was the most refined of all of the C4s. The LT4 was the end of the line for the classic small-block Chevy engine and stands as the most developed of all of the small-block Chevy engines. While my favorite color for Corvettes is white, I also like silver Corvettes, as many experimental and prototype Corvettes have been silver. And I like the Collector Edition’s silver ZR-1 five-spoke mag-style wheels.
But as I trolled around on Craig’s List, CarGurus.com, and eBay, I noticed that 1996 Collector Edition Corvettes were going for as much as mid-year C5 Corvettes. Anyone who has studied Corvettes knows that while the C4 was a vast improvement over the C3, that was riding on a frame/chassis designed in 1960. By 1996, the C4 was riding on a frame/chassis that was designed in 1980.
Keith Busse puts his entire private collection of Corvette Pace Cars on the block at the Mecum Indy Auction.
Dateline: 6.4.18 – Here’s something you don’t see every day. Keith Busse had a fascination with Corvette Pace Cars. He bought his first Corvette Pace Car in the early 1980s, obviously a 1978 Corvette Pace Car. Then he got a 1986 Corvette Pace Car and just kept going.
Up until 2008 Chevrolet offered Corvette Pace Car replicas in limited quantities, so if you could afford the premium and acted quickly, you could own a Corvette Pace Car, minus the actual track hardware that typically included strobe lights and safety equipment. Corvette Pace Cars never needed any extra power enhancements because the basic car was more that capable of handling its task.
Eventually, Keith had 16 Corvette Pace Cars, including; two Official Pace Cars (one of which was a factory pilot car), Continue reading
This could be just another concept Corvette, or it might be a COPO road racer Z06 Corvette!
Dateline: 5.25.18 – The last time we saw something like this was in 2010 when Chevy showed the Z06-X Concept Corvette. The formula is the same; your basic Z06 with all the latest racer-type hardware. This is right out of the old Zora Arkus-Duntov RPO “racer kit” model from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
The first time we ever saw something like this was back in 1969 when Duntov held court at the GM Proving Grounds with one of his mule development Corvettes. Zora and his team built a big-block Corvette like a racer would have; they removed everything that shouldn’t be on a racecar and added everything that should be on a racecar, plus a ZL-1 engine! Continue reading
Kentucky’s tourist attraction jewel is about to be even better!
Dateline: 5.17.18 – The National Corvette Museum just announced that BIG plans are in the works. The proposal calls for more display space, more office space, and more storage space. Hemmings Motornews posted a very comprehensive article that you can read HERE.
I was surprised to learn that the Museum owns 81 vehicles and that the museum does not have an example of every year Corvette. That’s just one of the many things on the Museum’s Wish List.
And just an interesting FYI, in December 2017 at USA Today poll, readers voted Continue reading
After a very long wait, the 2019 ZR1 delivers the goods!
Dateline: 4-30-18 – Years ago, a good friend gave me a book about race car driving. Inside the cover Joe wrote, “The insanity of speed is only understood by those that cautiously extract it.” With a two-run average speed of 212-mph, the new ZR1 has entered the Insane Zone for production automobiles.
The 2019 ZR1 will go down as one of the all-time great Corvettes.- Scott
The 1964 Corvette GS-II – Frank Winchell’s Mid-Engine Engineering (Racing) Study with Jim “Mr. Chaparral” Hall
Dateline: 3.6.18 – Images GM Archives – This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of Vette Vues Magazine
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.
In Chapter 35 of Karl Ludvigsen’s 2014 edition of “CORVETTE – America’s Star Spangled Sports Car”, in Chapter 35, titled, “Winchell’s Raiders”, Karl shares that one of Winchell’s nicknames was, “General Bullmoose” after Al Capp’s Li’l Abner character, General Brashington T. Bullmoose, the cold-blooded capitalist tyrant tycoon. (This was obviously NOT a compliment) Chevrolet engineer and author of the book, “Chevrolet = Racing…? Fourteen Years of Raucous Silence!!, Paul Valkenburgh, said, “Winchell hated the phrase, ‘That can’t be done.’ Upon hearing that, there would be an inner explosion like a mine blast. He might grab an engineer by the lapels to bellow, ‘What that means is that you can’t do it. So, by God, I’ll find someone who can!’ And he usually did.”
It has been said that Duntov managed with love and enthusiasm, where as nobody worked “with” Frank Winchell – they worked “for” him. Frank was a tough “take no prisoners” kind of guy. So, it is no surprise that the two strong willed men had different ideas of what the Corvette should be. Duntov and Winchell respected each other, but they often locked horns. Continue reading
Question: What’s better than a Grand Sport? Answer: TWO Grand Sports
Special Edition Corvettes are a fun part of the Corvette hobby. Production numbers for this group vary widely from as low as 20, 2009 Competition Edition Z06 cars to a staggering 11,632, 2004 Commemorative Edition coupes, convertibles, and Z06 cars. Chevrolet only made 1,000 1996 Grand Sports – 820 coupes and 180 convertibles, which puts the C4 Grand Sport in the rare zone of special edition Vettes. The Grand Sport convertible (only 180 units) is in the VERY rare category.
John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, owner of the Grand Sport Registry, says their current membership consists of 261 C4 (1996) Grand Sports. But he emphasizes that the GSR caters to all GS generations, be it C2, C4, C6, or C7, and that total membership is close to 800 Grand Sport enthusiasts from across the USA and 12 other countries. So, yes, all Grand Sport Corvettes are indeed special. Corvette product planners have a unique way of surprising the Corvette faithful with special editions. But in 1996, no one dreamed that the Grand Sport would become what it is today.
Hutch and Patti Hutchinson are the proud owners of TWO Grand Sport Corvette convertibles, both obtained Continue reading
Hanspeter Bohi from Muenchenstein, Switzerland builds a spot-on replica of the most important concept Corvette ever!
Dateline 2-4-18, Photos by Hans Peter Bohi and GM Archives – This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of Vette Magazine.
The 1965/1966 Mako Shark-II set down the basic look and proportion for all Corvettes going forward. To understand the Mako Shark-II, we have to get into the mind of GM VP of Design, Bill Mitchell. His task was to see the future and then pull it into reality through his designers and stylists. Mitchell didn’t “draw” a single line of either the Sting Ray or Mako Shark-II, but he knew what he wanted.
Here’s how Bill commanded his troops; he wanted, “…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.” Mitchell was almost there with the 1962 Monza GT. After the design was nailed down, a full-size, non-running version was built and shown to management in March 1965. It was unanimous; the Mako Shark-II HAD TO BE the next Corvette.
This 1970s custom Corvette is a Blast From the Past! “FAR OUT, Man!”
Dateline: 2.3.18 – Photos by Kevin Livering, writtten by K. Scott Teeters (This story was first published in the February 2018 issue of Vette Vues.)
While custom cars go all the way back to the early days of the automobile, it wasn’t until after WW-II when the emerging car culture took America by storm. Creative backyard mechanics started customizing their own cars and created the Custom Car Culture. The tricky thing about custom cars is that it is totally subjective. “Beauty” is truly in the “eye of the beholder.” One person’s “Dream Car” is another person’s nightmare. (What did you do THAT for???) In the 1950s car customizers emulated Detroit designers – restyling existing cars in the manor of how they thought the car should have rolled off the assembly line.
In the late 1950s Ed “Big Daddy” Roth helped usher in the “Kookie Krazy Kustom Kars Kraze” with his bubble top “Outlaw” roadster. Ed also launched a line of tee shirts called “Weirdo Shirts” with his lead character, the “Rat Fink”, Ed’s Anti-Mickey Mouse character. Car magazines such as Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding, Hot Rod, and others inspired ten’s of thousands of guys to Continue reading
One-of-a-Kind 1965 Cut-Away, Animated Corvette Fuel Injected Coupe Sells for $1,000,000!!! – 2 VIDEOS
Barrett-Jackson buyers were in a BUYER’S MOOD and ran the bid up to $1,000,000 for the 1965 Cut-Away Corvette Coupe!!!
Dateline: 1.20.18 Image Barrett-Jackson – Anytime a car auction hits the million dollar mark, it’s a thrill. Thirteen years ago this unique cut-away 1965 Corvette Coupe sold for $640,000 – a BIG number in 2005. But we sure do love round numbers that are BIG.
Be sure to check out not only that hot auction video above, but the demonstration video below Continue reading
Corvette Odd-Ball – 1958 Fiberfab “Centurion” Sells at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction for $91,000! – 2 VIDEOS
One-of-six Fiberfab Centurion (1959 Stingray Racer), fully-functional, period-correct kit cars – sells for $91,000!
Dateline: 1.19.18, Images Barrett-Jackson – The “build your own car” trend was HOT in the 1960s. Most were never finished and many were badly completed. What is arguably one of the nicest-finished kit cars ever, SOLD today for an impressive $91,000! Bidding was brisk and the auctioneer really worked the car. Check out the above video.
What is surprising to me is that according to the auctioneer, the car is eligible for the Monterrey Historic Races events! How about that?
Below is a video about the real 1959 Stingray Racer.
Corvette Timeline Tales: Happy 65th Birthday to America’s Only True Sports Car, the Corvette! – VIDEOS
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 the GM Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in Manhattan, NYC, on January 17, 1953.
I was born and raised in Manhattan. My Dad was working for Cadillac at their show room dealership on 57th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan. Dad had access to all the car shows. While I didn’t attend this event with him, I was about to turn 6, some time between this date and 1955 I attended my first car show with my Dad. What a thrill!
My Mom got me dressed in a suit with a white shirt and tie, and put me on the subway train to meet my Dad, who was waiting for me. This is how I saw, in person, my first Corvette!
Here’s a fun Promotional film for the 1953 Corvette. Continue reading
A genuine Corvette supercar, a Baldwin-Motion Phase-III GT Corvette has a new home!
Dateline: 1.12.18, Image – Mecum Auction – One of the 10 Baldwin-Motion Phase-III GT Corvettes went “On The Block” today at the 2018 Mecum Kissimmee Auction. This was the only Phase-III GT Corvette built with the Shelby Mustang-style B-pillar scoops. The car was also featured many times in Marty Schorr’s “Hi-Performance CARS Magazine”, as well as “Corvette Fever” and “Chevy Rumble”.
Back in the day, this was a SUPER expensive custom car. In 1969 a fully-loaded 427/435 Corvette cost just over $6,000 – as much as a Cadillac! A Phase-III-GT could easily cost over $12,000! Continue reading