The 1978 Corvette Gets a Well-Deserved Major Refresh
Thirty-six years ago today Chevrolet released the new 1978 Corvette. Chevy’s sports car was selling well considering the times. Muscle cars were all but dead, gas prices were up to around 75-cents-a-gallon (GOSH!), and the economy was in a slump. However, the Corvette was getting a little stale-looking, so when the ’78 model was released, it was a “WOW!”
The new bubble fastback roof was sweet indeed. One of the shortcomings of the ’68 to ’77 Corvette coupes was a serious lack of rear stowage area. Unlike the ’63-to-’67 Sting Ray Coupe that had a fairly good size space behind the seats (for a sports car), the C3 coupes up to ’77 had a narrow slot tall enough for a suit case and not much more.The new roof design not only yielded more room in the back, it helped brighten up the refreshed interior and eliminate a serious rear-view blind spot. The dash was redesigned in a more-square, vertical mode, the door panels were revised, and a few controls were relocated. It was also the Corvette’s 25th anniversary, so all ’78 Corvettes wore a special 25th Anniversary badge. And for an extra $399 customers could order the very handsome-looking 25th Anniversary two-tone silver paint option. Continue reading
A colorful new addition to Scott Teeters’ collection of Corvette art prints!
Work continues on our new prints enterprise. In April 2012 we partnered with Fine Art America so that our Corvette art print customers could enjoy the many options afforded by FAA. Our latest offering, “Corvette Box of Candies” came as a happy result of working on our horizontal and vertical layouts of the Corvette Special Editions and Corvette Indy 500 Pace Cars layouts.
After I completed the graphics for the Special Editions and Pace Cars, it occurred to me that if I put them all on one layout, they’d look like a box of brightly colored, pretty, hard candies. You know those bright-colored, sweet, hard candies you often see in the display cases at Hallmark Card shops. Corvettes in the layout include all of the Special Edition Corvettes from the 1978 25 Anniversary Corvette to the 2011 Carbon Edition Z06, and Corvette Indy 500 Pace Cars from 1978 to 2008. So I ran the idea by the boss and she said, “Make it so, Dude!” So, the Dude, got’r done! Continue reading
The Forgotten Corvette Indy 500 Pace Cars
Even if you’re not “into” Indy Car racing, the Indy 500 is a uniquely American special event. Whom ever coined the expression, “The Greatest Spectacle in Motor Sports” got it spot on. In its own unique way, it is the American equivalent of Le Mans. The expression in road racing is this, “You can win at Daytona and America knows about it. But when you win at Le Mans, the whole world knows!” Even though the event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is just one race in a series of races and is early on in the season, it might as well be the Super Bowl of American auto racing. When the flag comes down and the winner is declared, every city newspaper,as well as every national and local TV station reports the winner. But if you win say, the Baltimore or Los Angeles Grand Prix, very few outside the arena of motorsports will know. No, there’s only ONE Indy 500.
While pace cars have been used at the Indy 500 since 1911, the tradition of giving the pace car to the winner of the Indy 500 goes back to 1936. Tommy Milton (winner of the 1921 and 1923 races) was invited to drive the official pace car, a Packard 120, and suggested giving the pace car to the race winner. A new tradition was born. As the speeds of the Indy race cars increased, so did the demands of the pace cars. Eventually, the pace cars were specially modified versions of the street machines with enhanced engines, suspensions, and brakes. By the ‘60s, manufacturers began to sometimes offer pace car replicas to their customers. Tracking actual pace cars is a little tricky because manufacturers usually build several pace cars for the actual race and for promotional use that all pretty much look the same.
Yes, Indy 500 pace cars have become a specialty nitch all by themselves. That’s why in 1978 when it was announced by Chevrolet Continue reading
A Salute to the AWESOME, highly collectible, Baldwin Motion Corvettes
In November 2011 there were a few automotive bomb shells dropped on the MCACN Muscle Car Show. Namely three unique Baldwin Motion Corvettes. One Survivor Phase III 454 Corvette, one restored Motion Mako Shark Corvette, and one garage/barn find Corvette, the ‘76 Can-Am Spyder.
The survivor car is known as the “Ankenbauer Phase III 454 Corvette. The car is currently owned by Dave Belk and is just an amazing Motion survivor car. I have a feature story on this Motion Phase III 454 Corvette coming out in Vette Vues Magazine in a few weeks. After publication, I’ll post the story here. The car is jaw-dropping and the owner’s story rocks!
Dan McMichael is a collector of Motion Corvettes. His latest finished Motion car is the 1970 Motion Maco Shark Corvette. There are many configurations of the Mako design. Both Silva and Motion produced customer Macos AND sold the body kits. This car was built by Motion Performance, according to the customer’s specifications. The restoration of this car is said to be “STUNNING!” From the photos I’ve seen, that adjective is spot on.
And Dan McMichaels scores a second stunner. This might be the most amazing Corvette barn find ever. The car was discovered by Maryland State legislator Rick Impallaria when he was clearing out cars and hardware after evicting a tenant from the auto body shop he was renting. Stashed away was the hulk of an unusual Corvette. Rick was told that the car might be the remains of a Motion Can-Am Spyder Corvette. Rick did some inquiries, including to our sister site, www.BaldwinMotionReport.com, as to what the Corvette community thought this hulk might have been. Turns out it was one of three yellow Can-Am Spyder Corvettes built. And now it’s Dan McMichaels. If anyone will “do right” by the Can-Am Spyder, it’ll be Dan! Continue reading
Is this the C6 to the max? We’ll see!
As I have written many times here, Chevrolet is really on a roll with the special edition Corvettes. I really like these Corvettes and the fact that they’re technically “parts bin” cars, doesn’t bother me in the least. The fact that none of the special edition Corvettes have any horsepower enhancements is irrelevant. It sure would be nice, but after all, Chevrolet isn’t a tuner company. And if 436-hp, or 505-hp, or 638-hp isn’t enough for you, you’re in luck! In the classic small-block Chevy tradition, Chevrolet engineers left plenty of red meat in all three Corvette engines that can be easily extracted without seriously altering the car.
When I wrote my Illustrated Corvette Series No. 177 column for VETTE in October ‘11 covering the 2012 Centennial Edition, there was zero talk about 2013 special editions. And frankly, I wasn’t anticipating the announcement of the 60th Anniversary Special Edition until the Spring. Then in early January, “BAM!” Chevrolet unleashed the 60th Anniversary Edition, plus the delicious 427 Convertible. While I personally like a little more sizzle, the two ‘13 special editions are indeed sweet. But it did complicate the main question of my column, “Is the 2012 Centennial Edition ZR1 the best of the C6 Vettes?” Continue reading
Chevrolet released two special additions for the final C6 production run. Nice, but a little tame.
Be sure to take our informal opinion poll at the bottom of this post.
Sometimes Chevrolet sneaks a zinger on us when we’re not expecting it. I wasn’t anticipating an advanced look at the 60th Anniversary Corvette until the Spring. But here we are, into the second week of January, and BAM! Chevy unleashes not one, but two special edition Corvettes to wrap up the production run of the C6 Corvette.
The two special editions are the 60th Anniversary Package and the 427 Convertible Collector Edition. Although both cars are essentially parts bin and graphics combos, both are very nice. Details are listed below. The anniversary Package is consistent with every previous Anniversary Corvette package – paint, creature comforts (except for the ‘78 25th Anniversary option), and badges. If you look back at the 25th, 35th, 40th, and 50th Anniversary edition Corvettes, they’re all very handsome cars, but special paint, trim, and options packages.
While a nice enough package, I was expecting more, especially since the Corvette’s 60th anniversary uniquely coincides with the final year for the C6. The complete 60th Anniversary package gets you Arctic White paint, Blue Diamond interior with suede leather trim, a ZR1 rear spoiler, gray painted brake calipers, and badging on the front and rear, wheel caps, instrument panels, and door sills. The car Chevrolet showed us was the 427 Convertible Special Edition WITH the 60th Anniversary package. The 60th Anniversary Package is available on all model Corvettes – the 427 Convertible included. Continue reading
It’s time to do your patriotic Corvette duty and CAST YOUR VOTE!
Your local Corvette polling place is at the bottom of this post
The other day we were talking about the Ron Fellows Spring Mountain Special Edition 2012 Z06 Corvette. After posting the story I was doing some followup reading and found one post that called the car “boring.” Really? What part? Are we becoming a wee bit jaded with Special Edition Corvettes because they aren’t something other than a coordinated package of performance parts? Me thinks so.
This is an aside, but I’ve been reading similar blather on the net about Corvettes in general. I call it “goofy sniping crap.” You know what I’m talking about, the endless complaining that the Corvette isn’t a Nissan or a Porsche, or a world car, or whatever. The car is either too big (it’s about the same size as a 911 Porsche), it’s too heavy (the Nissan GTR is almost 600 pounds MORE than a Z06), it’s too expensive for younger buyers (and the Porsche and Nissan is cheaper?), materials are low grade (they want cheap, expensive materials?), and on and on.
But the fact remains that; 1. We’re in a deep economic recession, and 2. Even the base model (costing sometimes less than $50,000 if you shop around) delivers more performance per dollar than any other “sports car” you can buy. PERIOD! Is the base Corvette the baddest boy on the block? No. But if that’s what you need to feel good, be prepared to pony up three times as much as a Corvette for a top level Porsche. No, modern Vettes are tight, well-engineered performance cars that can give an owner years of dependable automotive performance pleasure for as little as $50K. Sorry for the digression.
So what’s up with all the special edition Corvettes? They’re just that, “special.” perhaps the disconnect for some is how one defines “special.” Former Corvette engineer and race car driver gave a little bit of insight into what it takes for a major manufacturer like Chevrolet to build special editions. John was largely credited with coming up with the concept for the ‘96 Grand Sport. “Monday morning quarterbacking” is for many, a sport un-to-itself. “Well, it’s just this and that, and why didn’t they do this and such, and wouldn’t you think that they could have…” Heinricy revealed that clearing out the assembly line time and pulling all the parts needed to build 1,000 Grand Sports was a major pain in the butt. For a tuner shop, 1,000 of anything would be a big deal. But for a big manufacturer, small numbers of specialty cars is a big headache. Continue reading
Ron Fellows’ Very Special, Spring Mountain Special Edition
We’d like your opinion at the bottom of this post! Should Chevrolet offer this car as an additional Special Edition for 2012?
Ever since the arrival of the 2007 Ron Fellows Z06 Special Edition Corvette, Chevrolet has been on a roll with special editions. Including the Fellows ‘07 Z06, there have been nine special edition Corvettes since ‘07. The list includes:
* 2007 Ron Fellows Z06 Special Edition
* 2007 Indy 500 Pace Car Replica
* 2008 Indy 500 Replica
* 2008 427 Limited Edition Z06
* 2008 Hertz ZHZ Special Edition
* 2009 GT-1 Championship Special Edition
* 2009 Competition Sport Edition
* 2011 Carbon Edition Z06
* 2012 Centennial Edition Corvette
Now some would argue that having so many “special editions” devalues each car. But I like these cars and here’s why. Why not? I believe that Chevrolet seriously missed the boat by not getting on to this nitch market decades ago. What might a limited production, 1960 John Fitch Le Mans Special be worth today? Would a ‘67 L89 427/435 Indy 500 Pace Car Roadster get your attention? Or how about a ‘71 Greenwood Sebring Special? How about a Kim Baker Corvette Challenge Street Edition, or a ‘92 Snake Skinner LT1? Getting warm yet? You could have a lot of Corvette day dreaming fun with this notion. Continue reading