Corvette News & Opinions
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
Corvette Timeline Tales: January 10, 1999 – Two C5-R Corvette race cars start testing for the 1999 24 Hours of Daytona – 2 VIDEOS
The Chevrolet-backed Corvette Racing Team starts its 20th racing season this month and has consistently raced longer than any other team in IMSA history. But it all started today in 1999!
Dateline: 1.10.18, Images: AutoWeek & illustration by K. Scott Teeters – Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to get focused on important stuff – such as the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship racing season! Yes, The 2018 24 Hours of Daytona event is coming up January 26-29, just 2-1/2 weeks from today.
But 19 years ago today, when the new Corvette Racing Team, with their two new Pratt & Miller-built C5-R Corvettes made their debut, no one knew the new enterprise would be so successful. Corvette racing fans were thrilled and let out a collective, “IT’S ABOUT TIME!”
GM’s standoffish attitude towards Corvette racing had been perplexing since the bad old days of the 1957 AMA Racing Ban that stopped the 1957 Corvette SS Racer and the Duntov’s 1963 Grand Sports dead in their tracks. Or as Zora used to say, “Came to a screeching halt!” Yes, the 1980s Showroom Stock and Corvette Challenge cars were cool, but Continue reading
2019 ZR1, exotic cars in Naples, and SpaceX Rocket Launch Sightings in Florida!
Dateline 1-9-18, Image, GM Archives, Space.com & SpaceFlight Now – Sometimes you just have a Lucky Day. Sunday, January 7, 2018 turned out to one of my lucky days – times three!
We were driving south on Florida I-75 (along the west, Gulf side of the state) around 1pm on a bright, sunny, warm day to visit my daughter and son-in-law. Somewhere around the Bonita Springs area, I saw heading north a BRIGHT YELLOW 2019 ZR1 Coupe! If you were a Corvette fan or someone that’s into high performance sports cars, the car was screaming, “LOOK AT ME!!!” Of course for those that aren’t into cars, it was “just” a little yellow car. (silly people!)
I said to my 90-year old Mom, “Look! There’s a 2019 ZR1!” To which she replied, “Oh, that’s nice. Where?” (She’s NOT into cars.) A short time later, I saw something low and exotic with squinty headlight eyes in my rear-view mirror. It was a McLarren P2. I said to Mom, “Look at the little car coming up on the right.” She said, “What’s THAT?” I answered, “A McLarren P2.” And she said, “Oh, I like the color!” “Moms” can be so much fun!
When we got to Nikki and Dave’s, I told Dave (a car guy) that we’d seen a 2019 ZR1. Dave was all smiles and said, Continue reading
Several very interesting and unique Corvettes will be ON THE BLOCK at the Mecum Kissimmee and Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auctions over the next few weeks.
Dateline: 1.5.18, Images: Vette Vues, GM Archives, Mecum Auctions and Barrett-Jackson Auctions – “Auctions”, be they car or even farm auctions, are a lot of fun because it is the best example of “The Marketplace”. Things sell based on what people are willing to pay and not what sellers think something is worth. If a vehicle has a Reserve that isn’t met, that means that the Seller’s notion of the car’s value isn’t in alignment with the Market. If a vehicle has No Reserve, the Market will determine the vehicle’s value.
Bidding Wars and Feeding Frenzies can wildly drive prices up, making an auction a lot of fun to watch. On the other hand, excellent vehicles are often “Well Bought” at very good prices for a variety of reasons; rough condition, poor presentation, high production numbers, and cars that are just plane weird!
Two major car auctions are upon us with some very interesting and unique Corvettes that may or may not find new owners. The Mecum Kissimmee Auction starts today, January 5, 2018 and runs to January 14, 2018. The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction starts January 13, 2018 and runs to January 21, 2018
Of interest to Corvette and Chevy fans are the following cars;
January 12, 2018 – Mecum Kissimmee, 1969 Baldwin-Motion Phase-III GT Corvette. Lot F139
A unique piece of Corvette history, the 1965 Fuel Injected Corvette Sting Ray Coupe Cut-Away car, could be YOURS! – VIDEO below!
Dateline: 1.1.18, Images from Barrett-Jackson – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
I love cut-away cars, they’re just so cool! The concept has been around at least since the 1930S and possible before that. Kevin Mackay, owner of Corvette Repair on Long Island, New York has made himself quite a reputation for his independently-produced cut-away Corvettes. We have covered most of Kevin’s cut-away Corvettes here on CorvetteReport.com.
But it is unusual when a factory cut-away hits the auction block, meaning that a private citizen will get a chance to own a unique piece of Corvette history. The 1965 Fuel Injected Corvette Sting Ray Coupe Cut-Away car will go on the block at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, January 13-21, 2018. The Lot number is, Continue reading
John and Patti Hutchinson, of Orlando, Florida, and owners of The Grand Sport Registry (www.GrandSportRegistry.com), are the winners of Corvette Report’s first “Vette of the Month” photo contest with their Grand Sport Twins!
Dateline: 12-31-17, Photos by John Hutchinson: I know that I’m preaching to the choir about the origin of what it now arguably the single most popular Corvette model ever offered by Chevrolet – the Grand Sport. The original Grand Sport concept was Zora Arkus-Duntov’s secret weapon to battle the Shelby Cobra, but GM’s adherence to the AMA Racing Ban forced Zora’s covert operation to a screeching halt. Only five cars were built, and unfortunately never given proper development. Sports car racing was progressing so fast that within two years, the Grand Sports were outdated and ten years later, nearly totally forgotten!
The five Grand Sports were bought and sold over and over. Gradually proper owners acquired the cars and took good care of them, such as Bill Tower’s Grand Sport #005 that wears the Jim Hall & Roger Penske blue and white livery.
Today, all five cars are accounted for and the Wintersteen L88-powered Grand Sport is one of the prize cars in the Simeone Collection in Philadelphia. Over the years different kit versions have been produced. But since as race cars, unlike the class-dominating Cobras, the Grand Sports didn’t win any championships, so they never got much attention outside the Corvette community. Continue reading
Chevrolet Marketing truly out-did themselves with the Dubai debut of the 2019 ZR1 Corvette!!!
Dateline: 12-26-17 Images: GM Archives & Wiki Commons – Dubai is arguably the most spectacular place on the planet. Just look at the below images of the Dubai skyline at night. It shows what can be done with almost unlimited capital. The city looks like something out of a Star Trek film!
So what a better place to debut the new C7 ZR1 Corvette. Tadge Juechter said a subtle, but VERY interesting thing, did you catch it? He said that his Corvette engineering team did everything they could possible do to the C7 platform when designing and developing the ZR1. Hmmm.
When a chief engineer says that, do you know what that means??? Continue reading
The rumors were true! The new C7 ZR1 will be available as a coupe AND a convertible. TOP DOWN, OH, WOW!!!
Dateline: 12.24.17 – Images: GM Archives – Let’s briefly back up to 1990 in order to put the significance of the new C7 ZR1 convertible into perspective. When the first ZR-1 was released in 1990 there was no way that it could have been offered as a convertible. In order to even make the C4 a convertible, a large X-brace had to be added to the bottom of the C4’s chassis.
The C4 ZR1 had a nice run from 1990 to 1995. But when the C5 Z06 arrived, offering ZR-1-level performance at a fraction of the cost, the C4 ZR1’s star began to fade. What made the C5 Z06 such a track star was it’s strong structure. It was as it Corvette engineers discovered structural rigidity. Thanks to lessons learned in the C5-R Corvette Racing Team experience, the C6 Z06 took the concept of structural rigidity to a new level, and with an aluminum frame to boot!
Corvette performance fans were so jazzed over the C6 Z06 that no one was pinning for something more. So, when Chevrolet released the C6 ZR1, dripping with carbon fiber and the supercharged 638-horsepower LS9 engine, heads were spinning and Duntov sat up in his grave and said, “Vhat?!?!?” (There was no convertible version, but no one was asking for one.) The C6 ZR1 was everything that Corvette engineers could possibly do with the C6 platform.
When that happens, there’s only one thing left to do – start working on the next generation Corvette! Continue reading