If Chevrolet offered brand new C1, C2, and C3 Retro Corvettes, would you buy one?
Take our Poll at the bottom of this post.
The other day I posted a story featuring a collection of make-believe Chevy billboards titled, “Billboards We’d Like to See”. (check it out HERE) Without really thinking deeply about it, my subtitle was, “If Chevrolet was to make retro Corvettes, would billboards such as these help sell cars?” The subtitled popped into my head because as I was looking at the mocked up Corvette billboards, I was struck by just how beautiful the C1, C2, and C3 cars were.
Now this would never, ever, ever happen – but it’s fun to imagine. The basic idea would be this. Start with two Corvettes from each of the first three generations. Let’s say a ‘57 and a ‘62 for the C1 group, a ‘63 and a ‘67 for the C2 Sting Ray group, and a ‘69 and a ‘78 for the C3 group. The idea would be to take the original designs and update the drivetrains, wheels, tires, and brakes, safety requirements, and interior materials and creature comforts. Aside from modern paint colors, wheels, and tires, they would look very much like their original counterparts. They need not be quasi race cars, loaded to the gills with hi-tech hardware. Just brand new, modernized, old-style Corvettes. Sound interesting? So, let’s look at each component.
Engine & Drive Train: Each car could be powered by an LS3 engine, coupled with a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Suspensions should use essentially the original design layout, but with modern shocks, correct anti-sway bars, bushings, steering, etc. The frames should be patterned after the originals, but strengthened in all the known areas of weakness and modified to accept wider tires.
Wheels, Tires, & Brakes: The modified frames could accept tires with modern widths. The wheel diameters should stay at 15-inches so that the wheel/tire proportion looks period correct in the wheelwells. Wheels should be spun-cast aluminum and period styled. C1s could get 15×8 Halibrand styled wheels. C2 and C3 cars could get 15×8-inch spun-cast aluminum Rally wheels or finned knock-odd-style wheels. Brakes should be modern C6 base model brakes.
Interior: The dash layouts should stay true to their original design, but with upgraded electronic gauges, Bose sound system, airbags, modern leather bucket seats (the original C2 and C2 buckets are really just narrow bench seats), A/C, electric windows and side mirrors, and Nav system. These are cruisers, so the emphasis is on comfort and amenities.
Body: The C1 and C2 cars should get small ‘67-’69 Z-28-style chin spoilers. The C2 cars need a slight forward rake to keep the front end down at higher speeds, All of the cars need to be slightly lowered too. There should be optional hoods. Headlights should be modern LED units but styled in period correct housings. Continue reading
The Mako Shark II show car styling forever defined the “Corvette look.” What’s your favorite? Take our poll at the end of this post!
The 1965-1966 Mako Shark-II show car was so over the top, it just had to be the next Corvette! Chevrolet management was so jazzed they wanted it a year! The first Mako Shark-II was a non-running car and was shown to Chevrolet management in Spring of 1965. I guess because the chassis and running gear would be a carry over from the then current Sting Ray, management thought a totally new body and interior could be designed and developed in time for Fall ‘66 delivery to showrooms as a ‘67 model – 18 months? No way!
So the schedule was pushed back a year to Fall ‘67 as a ‘68 model – and even that was pushing it! The end result was that ‘68 models were, shall we say, challenging. Even through everyone’s socks were going up and down over the look of the car, customers were shocked at how rough their premium car was. The new Shark Corvette should have been introduced as a ‘69 model, but hindsight is 20/20. The ‘69 model was a big improvement and things went from there.
Of course, we all tend to think that things will always improve, right? So when the ‘70 Corvettes came out with their LT-1 small-blocks, and enlarged, 454 big-blocks, we all assumed things were going to get even better. But a one-two punch landed squarely on the jaw of performance cars with a right jab from the insurance companies and a left hook from the oil companies and new environmental concerns. While getting the lead out of gasoline was a good thing, it took a long time for performance to recover. 1970 turned out to be the high watermark for performance and it was downhill for almost 15 years.
While the performance party was definitely over in the ‘70s and car makers were dropping their muscle cars like hot potatoes, it turned out to be a good thing for Corvettes. Continue reading
VOTE HERE on some of the most important Corvette questions of our times.
Okay, these aren’t earth shaking questions, it’s just Vette people wanting to have some fun. Last winter while poking through plug-in features that I thought would be neat to have here, I found a “polling” plugin that allows you to as questions with responses to choose from. It’s a neat little feature but the only thing about the polls is that after a few weeks and the post isn’t getting as much attention, the question doesn’t gather any votes.
So, we thought it would be a fun thing to create a dedicated “Polls Page.”The first thing we did was to add all 13 polls to the page with a photo references and a link back to the original post. While we don’t use the Polls feature often, when we do, it will be added to the top of the “Vette Polls” page. Look under the top banner, in the red tab bar for the “VETTE POLLS” tab.
You can participate in all of the polls. After you cast your vote, 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
Cast Your C7 Corvette Vote!
ZR1 Corvette Chassis Display:
Corvette Chassis Engineering At Its Best!
An off-the-showroom-floor ‘09 or ‘10 ZR1 Corvette could walk away from most of the Corvette racers on display by 20 to 70 mph… with the air conditioner and stereo on!
I don’t believe that it’s possible to look at an ‘09 or ‘10 ZR1 Corvette and yawn. Continue reading