Videos – C3 Corvettes
“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
Feast your eyes on the lines and shapes of this classic Bill Mitchell Shark Corvette
For shark Corvette fans, this is a MUST-SEE Corvette video. The video looks to have been shot inside a long, lighted roadway tunnel because the light reflections is what creates this artistic, dreamy video.
As you are watching, keep in mind that the shape of the car was worked out almost 50 years ago! And it still is dripping with sexitude. Continue reading
Bill Mitchell’s longer, lower, louder, sleeker Mako Shark
Bill Mitchell and his design team cranked out an amazing number of concept and show cars through the ‘60s. The ‘69 Manta Ray was the end of the line for Mitchell’s shark theme that started in ‘61, and was somewhat overlooked for a time. Those were heady days between the new production Corvette, Chevy and other exciting muscle cars, and tremendous advances in all kinds of race cars. The Mako Shark-II-based Manta Ray was kind of, “been there, done that” by 1969. Designers often have concept ideas that they just want to try out in full size, and it seems that the Manta Ray was such a car.
Perhaps the most unfortunate part of the whole Mako Shark-II story is the fact that the configuration of the the running Mako Shark-II is gone! When Mitchell decided to try out a few more design elements for the Shark Corvette, the quickest way to get there was to start with the ‘66 running Mako Shark-II. The running Mako Shark-II was a stunningly beautiful car, so can you imagine what it might have been like for the designers and builders that were tasked with the job of CUTTING THE CAR UP to make the Manta Ray? Oh, that first cut must have been painful! It must have felt like sacrilege taking a zip saw to such a beauty. Continue reading
Here’s the latest installment from the Illustrated Corvette Series VETTE Magazine Column
It was early last July that Kevin Mackay of Corvette Repair sent me a link to the RM Auctions online version of their Monterey Auction Catalog. Kevin and I have had many conversations about early Corvette race cars, so he knows that I’m a big fan. Any time a Greenwood Corvette goes on the block it’s big news, so I posted a story about the auction right away. For the next 6 weeks or so, the car magazine and Corvette blogs were on fire in anticipation of the auction. RM Auctions broadcasts their auctions online, so I stayed up and watched the coverage and sale of the Greenwood ZL-1. I have to admit, it was a lot of fun. Here’s the post of the auction coverage.
Since the car has so much historical importance, I decided to cover the car in my VETTE Magazine monthly column, “The Illustrated Corvette Series.” The January 2012 issue of VETTE just came out, so I’m sharing the story and art with you below. Enjoy! – Scott
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 175: #49 Greenwood ‘69 427 ZL-1 Racer
“Stars and Stripes On The Block!”
Expectations were high when it was announced that the No. 49 Greenwood BF Goodrich “Stars and Stripes” Corvette was going on the block at the 2011 RM Auction Monterey event. Some estimated that the car would sell for $750,000 to $950,000. In ‘09 the Gulf One ‘63 Z06 Corvette racer went for an astonishing $1.113 Million! So there was quite a buzz in the Corvette community.
John and Burt Greenwood knew all about Duntov’s “racer kits” and like many others, took maximum advantage of the special hardware. The Greenwood boys had another advantage. Sr. Greenwood had been a WW II fighter pilot and worked at the GM Tech Center. Their Dad would sometimes take young John and Burt to work on Saturdays, to let the lads see the experimentals and prototypes. It was better than an invitation to Elvis’ house! Continue reading
The last of Joel Rosen’s Shark Corvettes – The Moray Eel
As cool as the Mako Shark-styled production 1968 Corvette was, there were a few that were… disappointed. Why, you wonder? Because the ‘68 Corvette WASN’T the ‘65-’66 Mako Shark II show car. Making a show car is one thing, designing a car to be mass produced is another. While the Mako Shark II show car looked large on the stage, it was actually about 7/8s the size of the production Corvette. In other words, a VERY tight little package that could not directly translate into a production car.
But it was fiberglass man, John Silva that took it upon himself to make his own Mako Shark. “Kit cars” were all the rage in the mid-to-late ‘60s. Meanwhile, on Long Island, New York, Joel Rosen was building ground-pounding big-block Phase III Chevys and was looking for something really exotic to offer his Corvette customers. Rosen bought two complete Silva Maco cars and got permission from Silva to make molds off of the Silva parts to make his Motion Maco kits. The Maco kits were kind of a “love it, or hate it” thing. It wasn’t quite as svelte as the Mako Shark, but for many, it was close enough.
For creative types, such as Rosen, the mind never stops. In the early ‘70s Joel was on a roll with his “shark-thing.” His Motion Maco Shark burst on the street scene in ‘71, quickly followed by two interesting variations. The Manta Ray featured the front end of the Phase III GT with its distinctive tunneled headlights and Continue reading
Dateline: 8.28.11 (Our 150th post!)
All you’ll need is a knockwurst with mustard on a bun and a tall, frosty root beer!
Perhaps you are simply too far away from southeastern Pennsylvania to attend. Fret not, we’ll bring the show to you. Unless you have been holed up in your Corvette or in your man-cave, you may have missed the news that a hurricane zipped up the East Coast. Hurricane Irene made a mess here and there. While the southeastern part of Pennsylvania only caught the western edges of Irene, Saturday was a yucky day and Sunday was only better in that it was not raining like it was Saturday night. While Irene didn’t deliver a washout, it didn’t help.
I can only describe the Corvettes at Carlisle experience as a “happening.” Pardon the 60s expression, but I AM a baby boomer. There’s so much to see, look at, oggle, take in, sounds, smells, talking, laughing, smiling. Plus, the Corvettes! (12 more videos below) Continue reading
Former Hot Rod Magazine editor and publisher, Jim McFarland interviews Zora Arkus-Duntov in 1991
So, if you happened to have an extra $580,000, one of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s most famous “racer kit” cars could have been yours! The 1969 John Greenwood 427 ZL-1 BF Goodrich Corvette racer WOWed the crowd, but the bidders were tight with their bids. Very few people know how much the seller paid for the car in ‘06 when it was purchased from the Chip Miller Estate, or how much the restoration work by Corvette Repair cost. Suffice to say that the car was “well bought.” That’s auction-speak for “someone get a GREAT deal!”
Restored old Corvette race cars have become quite the prized possession for Corvette collectors. In early ‘09 the ‘63 Gulf One Z06 Corvette sold for an astonishing $1.113 Million. With the depressed economy as it is, it’s hard to say if the same car would fetch the same price today. No one knows for sure, but, ah, it’s not likely. What IS likely is that restored old “racer kit” Corvettes will continue to be high-profile machines at the auction, regardless of their sale price. From 1957 to the end of his working career, Mr. Duntov always made sure his beloved racers had “the good stuff” readily available from any Chevrolet Parts Department catalog. No one worked the corporate manufacturing system like Zora did and Continue reading