Here’s the latest installment from the Illustrated Corvette Series VETTE Magazine Column
It was early last July that Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair sent me a link to the RM Auctions online version of their Monterey Auction Catalog. Kevin and I have had many conversations about early Corvette race cars, so he knows that I’m a big fan. Any time a Greenwood Corvette goes on the block it’s big news, so I posted a story about the auction right away. For the next 6 weeks or so, the car magazine and Corvette blogs were on fire in anticipation of the auction. RM Auctions broadcasts their auctions online, so I stayed up and watched the coverage and sale of the Greenwood ZL-1. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun. Here’s the post of the auction coverage.
Since the car has so much historical importance, I decided to cover the car in my VETTE Magazine monthly column, “The Illustrated Corvette Series.” The January 2012 issue of VETTE just came out, so I’m sharing the story and art with you below. Enjoy! – Scott
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 175: #49 Greenwood ‘69 427 ZL-1 Racer
“Stars and Stripes On The Block!”
Expectations were high when it was announced that the No. 49 Greenwood BF Goodrich “Stars and Stripes” Corvette was going on the block at the 2011 RM Auction Monterey event. Some estimated that the car would sell for $750,000 to $950,000. In ‘09 the Gulf One ‘63 Z06 Corvette racer went for an astonishing $1.113 Million! So there was quite a buzz in the Corvette community.
John and Burt Greenwood knew all about Duntov’s “racer kits” and like many others, took maximum advantage of the special hardware. The Greenwood boys had another advantage. Sr. Greenwood had been a WW II fighter pilot and worked at the GM Tech Center. Their Dad would sometimes take young John and Burt to work on Saturdays, to let the lads see the experimentals and prototypes. It was better than an invitation to Elvis’ house! Continue reading
Corvette Odd-Ball: A Juicy Story, Indeed, But Some Documentation Would Sure Help!
The Corvette hobby has grown so wide and deep you could spend all day, day-after-day, and probably not be able to keep up with everything. So I didn’t beat myself up for not discovering this sooner. While poking about for some background on another project, I stumbled upon a post talking about a story from Autoweek writer, William Jeanes that addressed the notion that there was a SIXTH Grand Sport Corvette. If you’ve been into the Corvette hobby for a while, you’re familiar with the GS Corvette story: Five lightweight Grand Sport Corvette race cars were secretly built by Zora Arkus-Duntov as a counter punch against the Shelby Cobras. The cars showed potential, but GM’s president, Frederick Donner, order that Chevrolet MUST comply with the official GM policy that “we DO NOT race cars.”
Duntov and Chevrolet’s general manager, Simon “Bunkie” Knudsen, were ordered to stop what they were doing. The cars were not ordered to be destroyed, so Duntov loaned the cars out and eventually, they were sold. From there, the GS Corvettes were raced, hammered on, became outdated, sold, resold, and at one point in the early ‘70s were nearly lost. Eventually, all five cars were found and have been lovingly restored. Today, they are very valuable pieces of Corvette history.
While the prospect of a 6th GS is an intriguing story, it’s got “modern urban legend” smell all over it. Unfortunately, it’s all based on anecdotal stories. Here are the key points:
1. Texas oil man John Mecom claims that he bought 6 GS Corvettes.
2. Road & Track artist and Mecom pal, Bill Neale claims that his friend, John Mecom, had a photo in his trophy room showing 6 GS Corvettes in his shop.
3. Retired GM employee, Jim Champlin worked at the GM Milford proving Grounds claims that he was personally charged with destroying the 6th GS in late ‘64 or early ‘65. He says that after the car was returned from the Bahamas, he was told to “make it disappear.” So, he put two tires in the car, doused it with gasoline and BURNED IT. Champlin also says that his supervisor, Bob Cameron witnessed the destruction. Continue reading
Montgomeryville, PA Corvette enthusiast, Skeets Mariano’s one-of-a-kind, 1984 “Zora 1” Corvette
Back in ‘01, I was talking with a few Corvette club presidents looking for unique production Corvettes in the South Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania area. One club president told me about an area man with a preproduction Corvette with the official model name, “Zora 1.” After a few phone calls, I connected with Corvette racer, collector, and car enthusiast, Skeets Mariano. Continue reading
An Expose-look under the pretty fiberglass of a C1 Fuelie Corvette!
Now here’s something you don’t see every day. A C1 Corvette without a body and interior. Just the engine, drive train, suspension, wheels, tires, and the steering wheel. And not just any C1 Corvette, a Fuelie Corvette!
Up front I must apologize because when I was at the April 2011 Strictly Corvettes and American Muscle Cars Show at the Atlantic City Convention Center, I was also a vendor and had little time to get away from my booth. So I kind of zoomed through and took pictures of what looked interesting. The chassis-only display really caught my eye. You just don’t see this every day. I did the same thing with Kevin McKay’s drivable 1969 427 L-88 drivable chassis-only, Corvette. (see links below) Continue reading
Dateline: 7.13.11 (Our 100th post!)
Circa 1992: Chevy performance R&D guys do some showing off. Oh, WOW!
Click the image for a MUCH larger image.
One of the fun things about running a blog is that you can see what people are searching for. It’s interesting to see topics come and go. Next to searches for C7 Corvettes, another common search is for the Falconer Corvette. I covered this car once before, but found some new info and neat things to share.
My wife is always saying to me, “Dude, you sure have the car magazines.” I don’t know how many there are (not 1,000s) but “enough.” Sometimes I even forget what I have. That’s why I was so pleased to find the below May 1992 issue of Motor Trend, with the cover story, “TOP SECRET CHEVYS!” Featuring something AWESOME-LOOKING on the cover. Oh, that’s “Conan the Corvette” AKA the Falconer V-12 Corvette, a 610-cubic-inch, 686-HP, 680-ft/lb of torque monster! In 1992 is was OH! MY! GAUD!!! Continue reading
Step Into My Sting Ray Spaceship
Over the weekend I was looking a photos online of ‘63 Split-Window Coupe Corvettes. I especially like the GM studio shots. Not only are they uniquely lit and posed, sometimes little clues are there if you look closely. Any way, they’re a lot of fun to look at.
The above picture caught my eye because the father of the production ‘63 Sting Ray, Bill Mitchell’s Stingray Racer, is in the background lit with blue light on its silver paint.
The red roadster and coupe have no fender vents, but substantial scoops that go into the doors with two horizontal spears. The roadster has side rocker panels that almost look like the side-pipe covers that would arrive in ‘65. And it appears that the gas filler cap is located on the driver’s side rear fender.
The silver split-window coupe has little shark gill decorations going on that awkwardly cut behind the bumpers. This looks like one of Bill Mitchell’s frills he liked adding on the show cars. “Elements of Discovery” was the idea. But with an overall outstanding design shape, do-dads aren’t needed. Continue reading
Happy Birthday to an Essential Part of Your Corvette’s History!
To see the larger version of this classic 1958 Corvette MSRP window sticker, click the image.
Fifty three years ago, on July 7, 1958 a federal law was passed requiring car makers to put window stickers on all new cars. New car window stickers have been around for so long, I thought that they’d been around since the beginning. Actually, I never really thought, “Gee, I wonder when window stickers began?”
Of course, back in ‘58 no one probably ever thought that the factory window sticker would one day be an important part of the documentation of cars. Of course, it’s a pretty good guess that Continue reading