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
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 Keith Cornett as republished from Corvette Blogger
Don Messner wanted to plant a seed, his widow says
Dateline November 2015: Like so many Corvette enthusiasts, Don was committed to America’s Sports Car – and the National Corvette Museum. That’s why he decided to leave his collection of 10 Corvettes, many collector and special editions, low mileage examples, to the Museum when he passed away in 2013. Continue reading
10.19.95 – General Motors “knights” Dave Hill to be the new Corvette Vehicle Line Executive, aka, Chief Engineer – Video
Dave Hill and his team inject the Corvette with Cadillac quality
by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Vues
Dateline: October 2015 – So much has happened in the last 20 years it’s easy to forget that during the early to mid ‘90s, GM was having financial troubles and went through some serious restructuring. At one point the Corvette’s existence was on the line. Fortunately, cool heads prevailed and once again, the Corvette escaped the chopping block. Continue reading
On July 7, 2015, the Corvette community lost another legend; John Greenwood passed.
Words and Art by K. Scott Teeters as written for Vette Magazine, republished from SuperChevy.com
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 223
On July 7, 2015, the Corvette community lost another legend; John Greenwood passed. He was 70 years old. John was a member of a very small club of legendary Corvette figures that only needed one name, such that when you said that one name, it spoke volumes. Just a few others are: Shinoda, Lingenfelter, Callaway, Yenko, Guldstrand, and of course, Duntov. Engage any serious Corvette person in some bench racing, drop the name Greenwood and instantaneously all manner of mental images come to mind: suspension packages, C4 body kits, BFGoodrich Stars and Stripes, 427 ZL1 racers, and the most outrageous Corvette racers ever, the C3 widebody “Batmobile” Greenwood IMSA cars. Continue reading
The Illustrated Corvette Designer Series No. 211
by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Magazine and republished from SuperChevy.com
John And Burt Take The “Racer Kit” Off-Planet
The L88 “racer kit” package was huge success for the Corvette and brought racing glory through the late ’60s and into the ’70s. Winning L88s included the “Owens Corning,” “Rebel,” and the Greenwoods’ “BFGoodrich Stars & Stripes” cars. After the Greenwoods’ sponsorship expired, John and Burt Greenwood took their Corvettes to a new level. Making power was easy but tires were so wide that the L88 factory flares weren’t big enough. Enter the final “racer kit,” the widebody. Continue reading
Dick Guldstrand’s Third “Package” Specialty Corvette
Dateline September 2015. Mr Corvette, the famous Dick Guldstrand recently passed in September of 2015. We look back at the life and times of this Corvette legend. In 2003 Dick produced his version of a 50th Anniversary Corvette. Dick’s nickname was of course, “Guldie” and since the Corvette’s 50th anniversary would be its “golden” anniversary, Dick’s 50th Anniversary Corvette was bright gold with blue accents. And of course a “special” Corvette should be the toughest available version, which in 2003 was the Z06. And to top it all off, the Z06’s LS6 was opened up to the magical “426 CID.” As it should be!
This was Dick’s third specialty “package” Corvette. The GS80 came out in 1986 that was more or less a Showroom Stock-prepared black beauty with very trendy lace wheels. The 1994 GS90 was a full-out re-body of the awesome ZR-1. The Guldstrand 50th Anniversary 427 retained all of the Z06’s body parts except for the hood and rear bumper cover that had a subtle lip spoiler. Continue reading
A Video Overview of the Career of National Corvette Museum 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee, Rick Hendrick
Dateline: 9.5.15 – Once a year the National Corvette Museum inducts three individuals that have made a significant contribution to the Corvette Community. In 2015 the following people were inducted into The Hall of Fame: Herb Fishel, Corvette Engineer, Russ McLean, GM/Corvette Operations Engineer , and Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
A Chat With National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame Inductee, Dick Guldstrand
Dateline September 2015. From ALMSOfficialVideos on YouTube about 5 years ago- Interview with Dick Guldstrand. Dick Guldstrand commemorates 50 years at Le Mans for Corvette. He even shares the secret for the Mulsanne Stain!
September 2015 -“The Corvette world has lost an influential figure within the community with the news of Dick Guldstrand, nicknamed “Mr. Corvette”, passing away at the age of 88 years old.” Continue reading
by Terry Shea as republished from Hemmings Daily Blog
Legendary SoCal hot rodder, racer and all-around Corvette maestro Dick Guldstrand passed away on September 2 at age 87.
A few years back, we featured Dick in our Hot Rod Hero column for Hemmings Muscle Machines. In fact, I had the opportunity to speak with Dick on the day he was celebrating his 84th birthday.
There is nothing quite like the candor of a retired racer, particularly one who has never truly left the arena. Ever the gentleman, Dick’s refreshing honesty contrasted with most of today’s corporate-backed racers—and I got the feeling it was always that way with the man. Continue reading
Dan Gale & Zora Arkus-Duntov’s Dream Comes True, After a TON of Work
Dateline: 9.2.15 – There are many car museums in the world but nothing like the National Corvette Museum. Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, just a quarter-mile from where Corvettes are built, customers can not only tour the assembly plant, they can take in Corvette history at the museum. Starting in 2001, Corvette customers could take delivery of their new car at the museum (option RPO R8C) and get the full royal treatment. The museum was the dream of the late Dan Gale and Zora Arkus-Duntov. In 1986 the Library, Archives, and Museum Committee was formed and Gale was one of the charter members. Duntov wanted a place to store the artifacts of Corvette history.
Obviously, a lot of money needed to be raised and in 1991 Gale was elected as president of the NCM’s board of directors and headed up the “Capital Campaign” Continue reading
August 31, 1992 – Dave McLellan accepts early retirement and steps down after 18 years as the Corvette’s second Chief of Engineering.
General Motors had a mandatory, “retirement at 65” policy, so as Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was nearing retirement in January 1975 the big question was who would be chosen to fill Zora’s big shoes. Duntov was not consulted about his replacement and McLellan would not have been his choice, but Dave was definitely the man for the job. McLellan was an Alfred P. Slone Fellow with a degree in engineering and management. The ‘70s was not a fun time and there were serious issues to be dealt with besides horsepower, racing, and mid-engine designs. There were emissions and quality control issues, as well as the implantation of a new assembly plant and an all-new Corvette to be designed and developed.
When the C4 Corvette came out it received rave reviews – “The Best Vette Yet!” and under McLellan’s leadership kept getting better and better every year. By the late 80s, performance was back to late 1960s levels, Continue reading
The First Z06 Corvette Was a Race Car!
Dateline: 8.30.15 – The original Z06 was Duntov’s “racer kit” for the then-new 1963 Sting Ray. Unlike modern Z06s, there was no flash to the first Z06, it was strictly hardware designed for the racetrack – no badges, special body panels, or designations at all! But considering the official “we don’t race” policy of GM, 199 1963 Fuel Injected Corvettes with heavy-duty brakes and suspension, wasn’t anything in GM’s big picture. But, if you wanted to race your Corvette in ’63, it was everything, and Duntov made sure you got what you needed.
Thanks to the SCCA rules that allowed the 2000-pound Cobra to race against the 3100-pound Corvette, even with the Z06 racer kit, the Vette was at a serious disadvantage. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: NCM inducts James Jeffords, Myron E. Scott, & John A. Cafaro to the Hall of Fame
August 30, 2002 – National Corvette Museum, inducts James Jeffords, Myron E. Scott, and John A. Cafaro into the Hall of Fame.
Dateline: 8.30.15 – The Corvette has lasted longer than Harley Earl, Ed Cole, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and Bill Mitchell ever imagined back in the 1950s, thanks to the continuing passion of men and women that understand the soul of the Corvette. The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony has become a much-anticipated annual event in the Corvette community, as a “Thank You” to those that have carried the flame forward.
James “Jim” Jeffords was two-time SCCA B-production champion and pioneered the successful use of Duntov’s first “racer kit” the RPO 684 that helped him be unbeatable in 1958 and 1959 driving the Nickey Chevrolet “Purple People Eater” 1958 Corvette.. Jeffords also drove Jerry Earl’s 1956 SR-2, as well as some of the top sports cars of the day including a Scarab, a Maserrati Birdcage, and Jaguar. Continue reading
Al Paer and his 1967 427 Corvette prove that it can be worth getting good grades in high school!
Dateline: 8-29-15 – There is a handful of cars that endear themselves to their owners; Corvettes, Mustangs, Shelbys, GTOs, and several others. But what makes Al Paer’s story so sweet is that Al has owned his 1967 427/435 Corvette roadster since he was in high school! Because Al was getting good grades in school, his Dad let him drive his ’62 Pontiac Tempest. In 1967, Al’s Dad let Al trade in the Tempest for a new ’67 427/435 Corvette Roadster. WHAT’A DAD!
Al has made the ’67 Roadster his own. He has added Hooker Header side pipes, L88 aluminum heads, performance camshaft, aftermarket chrome wheels, a front chin spoiler, Continue reading