Corvette Mike’s Beautiful Video Presentation of the 1956 SR-2 Corvette Racer
Dateline: 7.21.15 “Corvette Mike”of Anaheim, California,the car dealer that ONLY sells used, refurbished, and restored Corvettes, produced this beautiful video of the stunning 1956 SR-2 Corvette Racer. I covered this car in Part 2 of my Vette Magazine “Corvette Experimental, Prototype, Concept, and Show Car Corvettes” series that ran in the December 2014 issue. That article is republished in its entirety at the bottom of this post.
The other day Joe Pruitt, the Event Coordinator/Owner of the National Corvette Homecoming event contacted me to tell me about their new event video by Efran Films that covered the National Corvette Homecoming 2014 event. This is a very touching video that captures what Corvettes mean to people. As we know, they’re not just “car” they’re something else. Actually, the people in the video say it perfectly. This video has heart! Enjoy! – Scott
Dateline: 2-10-15 – Motor Trend has taken the car magazine experience to a whole new level with their video productions.And having the videos up on YouTube is just too sweet. This video was published last August and somehow I missed it. What’a matchup: The 1967 427/435 Corvette Sting Ray Roadster vs the 1968 Porsche 911 L.
Both cars are period perfect. What the Corvette has in brute force and beautiful stereo-music booming from the factory side-pipes, the Porsche makes up for in better braking experience thanks to the 911’s low weight and agility due to quicker steering. If you go strictly by the numbers, the Corvette slams the 911L. However, the driving experience isn’t just about 0-60 and ¼-mile times. Continue reading “Motor Trend’s Head 2 Head: 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 vs 1968 Porsche 911L!”→
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.
Shinoda shares his Mitchell “fish story” and De Lorenzo shares his “”neighborhood kid on a bike” Mitchell story!
Here’s one for the Kawinkydink Department. I thought we were all done with our look back and the life and career of Larry Shinoda – wrong! This morning while surfing around the net, I found a video about Bill Mitchell. Before I knew it, there’s Larry Shinoda telling stories about his former boss, Bill Mitchell!
Most of us in the Corvette community are very familiar with the unique “shark” paint style used on the Mako Shark-I, Mako Shark-II, and the Manta Ray concept/show cars. Larry shared a wonderful story about how the guys in the painting department perfected that distinctive paint scheme.
Also interviewed in the video is the late David E. Davis, former Campbell-Ewald Advertising man, former editor of Car and Driver, and founder and former editor of Automobile Magazine. Here’s the video…
Lucky for us, GM design chief, Bill Mitchell had a fish fetish. Or should we say, a shark obsession. I once read an amusing story about Mitchell and his “shark thing.” He was talking with someone about the Mako Shark-I show car and he said, (sorry for the paraphrasing) “Look at the open mouth in that grille area. You can just see the blood dripping from the opening!” Yea, he was “into it.”
The story goes that Mitchell caught a big shark off the coast of Bimini and had it stuffed and mounted. It must have been his muse because he obviously picked up on three design elements.
1. The real shark’s side gills. On the car they show up just ahead of the front wheel wells and just behind the rear wheel wells. 2. The real shark’s open mouth snout. Gee Bill, no teeth for the car? I think over the years, a few show car Corvettes have been seen with shark’s teeth. 3. The real shark’s light underbelly and dark blue top. This became the signature “Mako Shark” paint job with lots of variations.
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 “Vette Videos: The STUNNING Corvette Classic 1959 Stingray Racer”→
The very cool “Chevy Runs Deep” video featuring the C6.R Corvette racers is at the bottom of this post. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if General Motors had told the AMA to “stuff it” back in 1957? Why should Ford and Chrysler get all the racing glory? Just before the GM enforced the 1957 AMA ban on racing, paperwork had been submitted to take Duntov’s Corvette SS race car to Le Mans. And what might have happened if Zora had been allowed to fully develop the ‘63 Grand Sport. Ah, the stuff of bench racing.
In the early years of the Corvette, Chevrolet and General Motors seemed to almost be shy about their involvement in Corvette racing. While the infamous 1957 AMA ban on corporate involvement in racing was for a very long time, their excuse for not being upfront about racing, there was PLENTY of back door parts and engineering “field testing” going on. Select individuals received special assistance that always kept things a little murky. Names such as Smokey Yunick, Roger Penske, Bill Jenkins, Jim Hall, John Greenwood, and others were often gifted with development parts (at no, or little charge) in exchange for feedback from the race track.
And for the regular customers, there were plenty of go-fast parts that were unofficially referred to as Duntov’s “racer kits.” Not that the parts came in a special box, like an AMT model kit, but they did give a wanna-be Corvette racer the benefit of solid Chevrolet engineered parts for their racing efforts.
Fortunately for every Corvette owner for the last several decades, many race developed parts slowly and subtly made their way into production Corvettes. The tide didn’t really turn in the corporate attitude towards racing until the mid-’80s when Chevrolet began to build specially prepared cars for the Corvette Challenge Series. Plus, there was a lot of help given to the C4 Corvette racers in the Showroom Stock Series. Then there was the GTP Lola/Corvettes and the Morrison Motorsports speed demon C4 ZR1 Corvette that shattered speed records. Continue reading “Vette Videos: Chevrolet Embraces Corvette Racing”→
Motor Trend magazine has a neat new TV program titled, “Head 2 Head.” To kick off the series MTs Editor at Large, Angus MacKenzie pits the 2012 Grand Sport Corvette against a 2012 911 Carrera S. The program is a lot of fun to watch. There are vintage clips of both cars from 1963 when the rivalry first started with the arrival of the 911 taking on the new Corvette Sting Ray. Footage of the Sting Ray is from a Chevrolet promotional film featuring race car drivers Dave MacDonald and Dr. Dick Thompson wringing out the new ‘63 Vette at the Chevrolet test track in the Summer of ‘62.
Harley Earl gave us much more than the Corvette. He could have also been called, “The King of the Razzle-Dazzle!”
Three Harley Earl Videos!
Yesterday we shared with you a brief overview of the life and career of General Motors’ first chief of design, Harley Earl. When it comes to Corvettes, it’s easy in retrospect to say that GM should have done this and done that. But it’s essential to remember that when Earl first showed his sports car renderings of what they were calling the “Project Opel,” there were no sports cars being made in Detroit. And no one even knew if there was an American market for the little machines. And on top of that, no one in Detroit really knew “how” to build a true sports car. But, everything has a beginning. And lucky for the Corvette, it skimmed by for a time, just on its good looks.
So much of what Earl pioneered in his career at GM is now commonplace practices in the automobile industry. Two of the best examples of Earl innovations were the “design studio” and “annual model changes.” Today all of the major car companies have their own private facility where ideas and concepts are thrashed out. Before Earl’s Technical Center was officially christened in 1956, there were no such places where ideas could be securely developed in private. Continue reading “Vette Videos: The Life & Times of The Father of the Corvette, Harley Earl”→
Dateline: 11.10.11 Chevrolet goes straight for the heart strings! Before you watch this, get some tissues…
Okay, this isn’t a Corvette video, but it’s close enough! What a sweet story. Dad gave up his 1965 SS-396 Impala Fastback so that his children could go to college. Years later, his youngsters got Dad’s car back! (Hey kids! I had a ‘65 Vette back in ‘75, how about… oh, never mind.)
Never before or since did the big Impala have so much Corvette in its styling. The rear fender humps are straight off the mid-year Sting Ray and the two sets of triple round tail lights is what many felt the Corvette should have had, so they added their own. Chevrolet could have done something special for the hood and the Corvette knock-off wheels would have looked “boss.”
What was once considered pie-in-the-sky and experimental, is now regular production!
To see the much larger version of the Z06/ZR1 chassis, just click the above image
Aluminum has been the automotive industry’s magic material for over 60 years. Corvette engineers have been thinking about an all-aluminum engine and drive train for the Vette since the 1957 Q-Corvette proposal. While it took until 1997 to get there, the engineering department seeded aluminum parts whenever they could.
Nearly 40 years ago, Corvette engineering decided to explore an all-aluminum Corvette. Everything but the tires, plastics, wiring, glass, and other essentials was to be aluminum. Working with Reynolds Aluminum Company, the experimental XP-895 was debuted to the automotive press in 1973. The chassis design was the same as the experimental 2-rotor Corvette, but power was supplied by a 400-CID small-block engine. The completed aluminum car weighed 400-pounds less than the steel bodied XP-892 Wankel-powered experimental. While the styling of the aluminum “Corvette” was interesting, the only design element that connected it to anything Corvette was the aft portion of the roof, from the B-pillar back. Overall, it did not scream “CORVETTE!” but then again, the all-aluminum car wasn’t supposed to be a styling exercise for the C4 Corvette, it was a feasibility study.
Fast forward to the 2006 Z06 and its aluminum chassis. One of the biggest challenges with an aluminum chassis is the strength of materials issue. Lightweight aluminum is soft, so there were interesting shape and construction problems that had to be worked out to mass-produce such a chassis. While it is true that the Z06 wasn’t the first car to use an aluminum chassis (many hand-made exotic cars had aluminum chassis) the Z06 was the first “mass produced” car to have an all-aluminum chassis, engine, and suspension. The net result to that the 2012 Z06 weighs about the same as a C2 mid-year Corvette… with nearly double the horsepower as a base model C2. That’s progress for you.Continue reading “Vette Videos: How Hi-Tech Z06 & ZR1 Aluminum Frames Are Made”→