Corvette Racing

Dave MacDonald Inducted Into National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame

Corvette Racing Legend, Dave MacDonald Inducted Into National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame

NCM-macdonaldDateline: 9-27-14 Auto racing legend Dave MacDonald was inducted into The National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame on August 28, 2014, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. MacDonald’s induction took place 50 years after the extremely talented young driver was tragically killed in his rookie race at the 1964 Indy 500 that also claimed the life of driver Eddie Sachs. After the race, an investigation determined that there was, “No driver error.”

MacDonald learned his driving skills in Southern California behind the wheel of several championship-winning first generation Corvettes. A gentle, quiet family man off the track, MacDonald was known as “The Master of Oversteer” and a fierce competitor. His driving skills were such that they attracted the attention of two other legends in auto racing of that time, Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and Carroll Shelby. MacDonald drove prototype test cars for Duntov and was eventually hired by Shelby to drive Cobras professionally.

His induction into The National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame was well deserved and more than a little overdue. Regardless, Dave MacDonald now has a prominent and permanent place in Corvette history.

I have written extensively about the life and times of Dave MacDonald and have had the pleasure of getting to know the MacDonald family. I have Dave MacDonald’s younger brother Doug to thank. Many years ago I created a piece of line art for VETTE Magazine as a column filler “spot art” illustration. Later I included the illustration as an art print on my IllustratedCorvetteSeries.com website and mistakenly titled the print, “Dave MacDonald’s 1961 Corvette Racer.”

The 2014 National Corvette Museum's Hall of Fame inductees included: Race Car Driver Dave MacDonald, Corvette Engineer and Race Car Driver John Heinricy, and Automotive Journalist & Author, Jerry Burton.

The 2014 National Corvette Museum’s Hall of Fame inductees included, left-to-right: Automotive Journalist and Author Jerry Burton, Corvette Engineer and Race Car Driver John Heinricy, and Race Car Driver Dave MacDonald.

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The Owens Corning L88 Corvette Goes On the Block and It’s a NO SALE!

Dateline: 8.17.12

Another famous Corvette race car makes THUNDER at RM Monterey!

SPECIAL NOTE – Check out the new Owens Corning Corvette Postage Stamp art print at the bottom of this post!

Well I hope that you were able to catch some auction action, live from Monterey, California. High-end auctions, such as the RM and Mecum events draw some of the finest and most interesting cars in the world. For car lovers, these auctions are the proverbial box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.

Last year at the RM Monterey event there were five delightful Corvettes that went on the block - one stocker, a ‘60 Corvette with just 750 miles on the odometer and four Corvette race cars. For Corvette lovers, the star of last years show was the Greenwood Stars & Stripes 1969 427 ZL1 BF Goodrich racer that sold for $580,000.

This year the RM Monterey auction only had one Corvette and WOW, what’a beauty! Preauction estimates predicted that the car should sell for between $950,000 and $1,350,000! “Auctions” are arguably the ultimate expression of the economic free market. Sellers always have an idea as to how much they want for their cars, but when the gavel comes down, it’s the buyers that set the price. Granted, the economic downturn had depressed the prices of exotic cars over the last few years. Some would call it a price correction to rein in the wildly high prices of just a few years before the downturn.

One interesting factor for the Owens Corning Corvette, as compared to the Greenwood Corvette is the car’s pedigree. The Owens Corning Corvette is the winningest Corvette race car of all time with a staggering 22-straight wins! That’s like winning every race for over two years in today’s American Le Mans Series races. Could the Owens Corning record be broken? Sure, anything is possible. But it’s NOT likely.

When you watch the car auctions, there are two parts. First, the car is presented on stage with a detailed description of the car with images and sometimes video. Then the bidding action begins. Here’s how the auction action played out. Continue reading

Owens-Corning Corvette in the New RM Auctions Monterey Catalog

Dateline: 8.9.12

A stunning collection of photos of one of the toughest racing Corvettes ever!

To access the RM Auctions catalog, just click on the above image.

RM Auctions is putting on 11 events for 2012 and the Monterey auction is just around the corner. Last year five Corvettes went on the block, four racers and one stocker, with all but one finding a new home. Of course, last year’s BIG star for Corvette fans was the Greenwood Stars and Stripes 427 ZL-1 #49 Corvette that went for $580,000.

This year there’s only one Corvette and WOW is it a beauty with a story. The Owens-Corning 1968 L88 Corvette was one of the fiercest Corvette racers ever.  Raced by Jerry Thompson and Tony DeLorenzo, the car scored an astonishing 22 victories in a row! The team fielded two L88 Corvettes and at one point took 1st and 2nd in 14 of the 22 races won. In the March 2010 issue of Corvette Magazine, Jerry Thompson was quoted saying, “They worked. That doesn’t mean that they were easy to drive. The engines had so much torque and power that most guys were intimidated by them.”

When Corvette Repair performed the restoration on the car, Kevin Mackay and his team took the car back to its 1971 24 Hours of Daytona livery. The car has been beautifully photographed for the RM Auction catalog. RM Auction publishes a paper book/catalog for around $50, but they also publish a digital version through ZMags at no charge. Every car that’s up for auction is in the catalog with first class pictures and wonderfully written articles about each car. The catalog by itself is a delight, and you can’t beat the price.

To access the digital catalog, Continue reading

Corvette Widebodys – Past and Present

Dateline: 5.31.12

When it comes to widebody Corvettes, it’s all about BIG tires.

Check out the wide body Corvette prints at the bottom of this post.

Special thanks to Corvette Racing for the very cool images. For tons of Corvette Racing fun, be sure to visit, www.corvetteracing.com/.

On March 16,2012 GMAuthority.com announced that for the 2012 racing season, the C6.R ZR1 Corvette would be wearing a new suit. We’re not talking about the livery, it’s still Competition Yellow with black graphics that seems to change every few races.

No, we’re talking about actual body parts. It was only six years ago that the production widebody C6 Z06 gave the new C6 that big, broad shoulders look that we love so much. It wasn’t long before lots of regular Corvettes were wearing Z06 outfits, and why not? It looks great, almost as if that’s the way the C6 should have looked in ‘05. But things evolve and we go from there. It wasn’t just a fad either. Chevrolet certainly noticed and and in ‘10 dished up the Grand Sport model, wearing Z06 cloths and a new set of front fender vents. The new look struck a chord, because in ‘10 the Grand Sport Corvette made up 49.5% of total sales and in ‘11 Grand Sports accounted for 58.7% of sales! That’s very impressive and the Corvette planners deserve credit for picking up on the widebody trend.

Special thanks to Corvette Racing for the very cool images. For tons of Corvette Racing fun, be sure to visit, www.corvetteracing.com/.

But when ‘12 Corvette Racing season began, the ZR1-based race cars were wearing an even wider, wider body. And just like the original ‘70s widebody Corvettes popularized by John and Burt Greenwood, it was all about tires. Race car tires are a whole other interesting topic. If you go all the way back to the earliest Corvette racers, you can’t miss those painfully skinny tires. These were stock tires that were sometimes shaved a little. When you got into the late ‘60s tire sizes began to grow and L-60 series tires were considered enormous. Continue reading

Vette Videos: Eckler Can-Am Custom Corvette Blast From The ’70′s Past

Dateline: 4.6.12

“Corvettes and Racing” A Wonderful Marriage!

“Corvettes and racing” have been perfect together since 1956. Without the influence of racing, I’m sure that the Corvette would have morphed into something else and been gone long ago. The other day CorvetteBlogger.com posted a story about a 2011 C6.R Le Mans Winning tribute Corvette that’s For Sale. The car looks as if it was just rolled out of the transport and is ready for a few hot laps, but this is a street machine sporting a brand new LS7 crate engine and a host of delicious racing goodies. The car has 52,000 miles on the odometer and the asking price is just $55,000. Almost begs the question, “So what’s wrong with the car???”

Seeing the car got me to thinking about earlier Corvette street machines with a powerful visual racing reference. Arguably the most over-the-top race track-influenced Corvettes were the ‘70s wide-body IMSA Corvettes. The wide body design was the last of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s “racer kit” Corvette parts program and first showed up on John Greenwood’s Corvettes around 1974-1975.

Previous Corvette racer body parts were limited to the functional L88 hood and fender flares. The fender flares were pretty big, but as tires got wider and wider, something else had to be done. Corvette stylists came up with a wild-looking and functionally aerodynamic full body kit that not only cover up the Can-Am-size racing tires, but improved the car’s aerodynamics. In full battle regalia, Greenwood’s IMSA Corvette looked like “the future” and was quickly nick named, “The Batmobile.” Continue reading

Vette Videos: Corvette Daytona Prototype Scores First Win!

Dateline: 4.4.12

The second time was the charm as the Corvette Daytona prototype STOMPS the competition in Hotlanta!

Congrats, Kudos, and Three Cheers to the Corvette Daytona prototype team’s first win! When the flag came down it was the electric blue Spirit of Daytona Corvette prototype to took the checkered flag at the Porsche 250 race at the Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama. Richard  Westbrook and Antonio Garcia drove the car 103 laps with a best time of 1:22.245.

The next race will be the Grand Am Rolex Series Grand Prix in Miami on April 27-29. For more info about the team’s first big win, CLICK HERE.

And for AutoWeek’s coverage of the race, CLICK HERE.

NOW Feast your eyes on this beauty!

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Vette Videos: 505-Horsepower LS7-Powered Duntov Motors Grand Sport

Dateline: 3.11.12

The Civilized Grand Sport Corvette Replica – Sort of…

Today you can go to your local Chevrolet dealer today and buy a Grand Sport Corvette to your liking.  Almost 50 years ago, there were only five Grand Sport Corvettes in existence and they were NOT for sale. “Unrealized potential,” “the ultimate could’a been Corvette” and many other expressions tell the original Grand Sport Corvette story. Unlike today’s C6 Grand Sports, the originals were all-out racing Corvettes, designed to give the Cobras a good run for it.

But GM had a completely different attitude about racing back then that can be nicely described as “backward.” Fortunately, all five original Grand Sports are still around. Along the way, there have been numerous companies that offered Grand Sport replicas – some, better than others. But today there is only one “officially licensed” by GM, Grand Sport replica, and that is the Duntov Motors Grand Sports.


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Vette Videos: The STUNNING Corvette Classic 1959 Stingray Racer

Dateline: 3.2.12 -

A Timeless Corvette Beauty

Every so often a car design comes along that is “perfect.” It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you end up stopped dead in your tracks. You find yourself almost unable to STOP looking at the car’s shape. For me, the 1959 Stingray Racer is such a car. The 1959 Stingray Racer was an outgrowth of the dead-on-arrival 1957 Q-Corvette, which never made it past the full-size clay model stage. But the pint-sized concept had a nuclear-powered punch because it set in motion a design process that is still with us today. Consider the lineage…

Q-Corvette leads to…
1959 Stingray Racer leads to…
Mako Shark I show car leads to…
1963-1967 Sting Ray leads to…
Mako Shark-II-inspired C3 “shark” Corvette… that leads to…
C6 Corvette (look closely at the front and rear fenders of the C6 – there’s a C2 Sting Ray in there).

 

Back to the timeless ‘59 Stingray. Clearly, Bill Mitchell wasn’t done with the design of the proposed Q-Corvette. So, with a borrowed chassis from the aborted ‘57 Corvette SS racer (1957 was a VERY GOOD year for the Corvette!), Mitchell designed a roadster version of the interesting Q-Corvette around the small, lightweight birdcage tube chassis from the mule version of the Corvette SS project. Continue reading

Zora Arkus-Duntov’s Mule Corvettes – Zora’s Toys

Dateline: 12.24.11

While Zora never got a custom Corvette, he still had some very cool Corvette toys!

Zora Arkus-Duntov Birthday Weekend continues here at CorvetteReport.com. Over the last few months we told you about several of the customized Corvettes that were built for Chevrolet executives. But to the best of my knowing, the man that found the Corvette’s Mojo never got a full-out Chevrolet styling department customized Corvette. He did buy a ‘74 Corvette coupe upon his retirement and by all accounts it didn’t have any performance enhancements, but it did get a unique stripe paint job.

So, Why didn’t Duntov get a custom Corvette? Maybe he wasn’t high enough up on in the GM corporate food chain. We’ll probably never know. Not that Zora didn’t have his toys. Zora’s Corvette toys were often all-out racing optioned Corvettes. Along the way of developing his various “racer kit” packages,he built an interesting array of mule Corvettes. These were cobbled together cars that were never taken out of the Chevrolet R&D center or test track.

I covered Duntov’s mules in a two-part story in my VETTE Magazine Continue reading

FOR SALE – C6.R Ridemakerz Corvettes

Dateline: 12.21.11

The Most Affordable C6.R Corvettes!

Last September I took you through a behind the scene look at the delightful “You Build Your Ride” toy line of cars from RideMakerz, plus my personal experience of working on the body styling of many of the first wave of RideMakerz cars. Unfortunately for me, by the time RideMakerz secured the license for the C6.R body shape from General Motors, my art director and designer friend at Scrambled Eggz Productions in Medford, New Jersey, Don Amadio, had the time to do the styling on the C6.R Corvette himself.

The RideMakerz store and website offers a dazzling selection of accessories!

The toy concept was essentially Build-A-Bears meets Cars and Trucks. Each toy was available either online or at specific RideMakerz stores where Dad and Junior could go, pick out their favorite body, body color, chassis type (static or R/C), then trick out their ride with a dazzling selection of ala’ carte options including wheels, tires, engines, wings, side pipes, nurf bars, wheelie bars, and graphics – just like a real car. And if all that wasn’t enough, each car had lights that turned on, engine sounds, pealout sounds, plus a tool box-styled cardboard case. It was a very cool concept! Continue reading

The John & Burt Greenwood BF Goodrich Trifecta at Corvette Repair

Dateline: 12.19.11

Mega Horsepower! Racing on Street Tires! And Blazing Stars & Stripes!

(Check out the slide show at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s a sweet little bench racing, Corvette day dream for ya! Imagine if you have a Corvette restoration shop and you had ALL THREE Greenwood  BF Goodrich Corvette race cars in for restoration work. Yes, I know – open headered, old-school, hard-ass Corvette racing machines. Could you stand it? Well, Kevin Mackay and the Corvette Repair team could and it was no bench racing fantasy.

Mackay’s Valley Stream, New York shop has been doing top level C1, C2, and C3 Corvette restoration work on production Corvettes for over 25 years and has developed a nitch for Corvette race car restoration work. Kevin and his team of craftsmen have brought back to life some of the most famous early model Corvette race cars and Chevrolet Engineering experimentals to ever wear a set of Corvette cross flags. It’s not uncommon for race cars to be thoroughly beat when a team decides to unload a machine. Once gone, most teams rarely if ever keep track of the car’s new owners. So, part of what makes Corvette Repair’s work so interesting is the car’s back story of what happened after a high-profile team sold the old war horse off. Some are well maintained and enjoyed on the track. Some are even converted BACK to street cars, such as the Cunningham Le Mans class-winning 1960 Corvette. And others aren’t so fortunate and are pretty much are one hoof away from the glue factory. Continue reading

Corvette Race Car Files: C4 1989 GTP Corvette Racer

Dateline: 12.2.11 zzz

A Look Back at the Last Time Chevy Went Prototype Racing With a Corvette

It’s been well over 20 years since Chevrolet got into prototype racing, but it’s good to see them back. The Daytona Prototype Corvette is nicely dressed in exotic material with some very stylish styling points that are very “C6.” I’m surprised they didn’t name the car “Grand Sport,” after all, the front fenders ARE wearing C6 Grand Sport fender vents. But, let’s not pick. The Corvette community wishes them the best and we’ll all enjoy watching the latest round of Corvette racing history in the making.

So, I thought it would be fun to look back at the last time Chevrolet went prototype racing with a Corvette. I covered the 1989 GTP Corvette back in October ‘03 in The Illustrated Corvette Series. The short article and illustrations are below. I see some feature “comparison” stories coming up. It’ll be fun to examine 20-plus years of prototype development. Below is the story, “GTP Corvette Racer – Unrealized Potential.” Continue reading

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