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.

Because tires are supposed to be inside the fender wells, Corvettes covered up their big skins with bulbous fender flares that gave the C3 L88 racers a tough, mean look. But it was over in Can-Am racing that the McLarens, Porsches, and others that were showing really WIDE tires – far wider that the Corvette’s pop riveted on L88 flares could keep covered.

As Zora Duntov was closing in on his mandated retirement (had he not been booted out at the age of 65, he would have stayed till his last breath!) he cranked out his last “racer kit.” Zora and his crew called the widebody kit a “Silhouette Racer” because the basic shape still was that of a production Corvette, but the innerds was all race car. Marty Schorr, editor of CARS Magazine and later VETTE Magazine, called it the “Factory Corvette Cafe’ Racer.” Then when co-developers John and Burt Greenwood got a hold of the new body and decorated it with Burt’s stunning stars, stripes, and ribbons graphics, the press called it “The Batmobile.” IMSA race cars were already pretty wild and the Greenwood’s Corvette was the wildest of the wild.

Be sure to visit the Greenwood’s website at, www..greenwoodcorvettes.com/ , or click the above image!

As the late ‘70s and ‘80s progressed, lots of Corvette racers and street machines used the C3 widebody design. But as the C4 moved through its production cycle, there was no widebody kit that captured the imagination as the “ultimate C4 Corvette racer look.” The GTO body kit of the late ‘80s was very cool but didn’t seems to translate into the hobby and was not a “wide body.” Same with the C5 Corvette, some nice and interesting kits, but no “wide body.” So when the C6 Z06 was unleashed in ‘06, there was a loud “Who-AH!” from the Corvette community. The factory offered widebody on a the much enhanced Z06 aluminum chassis, with special running gear, and new 505-horsepower LS7 engine  was the latest “to-die-for” Corvette look.

 

Here's the great, Dave MacDonald, The Master of Oversteer" working his magic on those skinny tires! Dave Friedman photo.

Which brings us to the present ZR1-based C6.R widebody Corvette racer. Were it not for racing, there’s be no use for widebody Corvettes, and widebodies are all about wide tires. The C6 ZR1 is the pinnacle of high-performance Corvettes. There isn’t anything a lesser performance Corvette has that the ZR1 doesn’t – period. The production ZR1 uses 19×10 front wheels shod with P285/30ZR19 Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires and 20×12 rear wheels wearing P335/25ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires.

The ZR1-based C6.R racing Corvette uses 18×12.5 front wheels (2.5” wider that the stock ZR1s) shod with 30/68-18 racing slicks. On the back, the C6.R uses 18×13 wheels (1-inch wider than the stock ZR1s) wearing 31/71-18 racing slicks. To accommodate the wider wheels and tires, the already widebody got even wider. The new C6.R configuration measures 80.6-inches – or 4.7-inches wider that the stock ZR1. Yes, the C6.R’s shoulders are getting awfully wide. Perhaps their mascot’s name should be changed from “Jake” to “Jack” as if Jack LaLanne.

The one and only, Jack LaLanne at the age of 71! Looking like a wide body Corvette!

If this is all getting a little heady for you, lets go back to the base C6 Corvette, you know, the one that the Grand Sport outsells. The base Corvette measures 72.6-inches in width with a front track of 62.1-inches and a rear track of 60.7-inches. The C6 Z06’s width measures 75.9-inches (3.3-inches wider) with a front track of 63.5-inches (1.4-inches wider than stock) and a rear track of 62.5-inches (1.8-inches wider than stock).

Since GM Authority.com and CorvetteRacing.com don’t list the track dimension of the new C6.R race cars, we can only go on width, height, length, and weight dimensions. The latest widebody Corvette incarnation measures 8-inches wider, 1.6-inches longer, and .4-inches lower than the base C6 Corvette.

While the C6.R racing Corvette is a tough-looking car, the numbers prove out that “width” aside, the stock C6 isn’t all that far away in size from the C6.R. But as amazing as the production ZR1 is, the latest C6.R is a quantum leap beyond the production car. If you look inside a restored C1, C2, or C3 Corvette, they all look very stripped out and spartan because that’s  how you prepared a Corvette for racing. The C6.R, on the other hand, looks packed to the gills with hardware. And even with all the creature comforts removed and the extra bracing and other racing hardware, the C6.R weights a whopping 608-pounds less than a ZR1! However, the C6.R does have power steering, air conditioning, and a satellite communications system, but no iPod sync. I know, what’a bummer.

I suppose one could call the latest version of the C6.R a “wide-wide body” treatment. Will we see this look on street and custom C6 Corvettes? We’ll see, but I doubt it. With the C7 just around the corner, unless the Corvette designers got it all wrong with the C7 (not likely, but we’ll see – but initial responses to the Jalopnik illustrations have not been good), there’ll most likely be a rush to the new C7 design.

With the debut of the C7 scheduled for this January’s Detroit Auto Show and the ‘14 model possibly rolling out in mid-’13 (go figure, we’ll see), it is not yet known if next year’s Corvette Racing  team cars will be using the C7 structure and body. Maybe. And lastly, will Chevrolet dish up one last C6 shocker with a C6.R-inspired widebody with something north of the ‘13 Shelby Mustang with its 650-horsepower engine for the ‘13 Z06 and ZR1? That WOULD be very cool. Perhaps a 750-horsepower ZR1 with the C6.R’s rear ground effects and the wing from the Z06X concept Corvette from 2010. Probably not likely, but was anyone expecting a ZR1 Indy 500 pace car for the 2012 Indy 500? Nope! Chevrolet is always full of surprises.  – Scott

Related:
PHOTO 9 -
You can keep up with the Corvette Racing Team by regularly visiting their site…
http://www.corvetteracing.com/

Corvette Racing To Debut New Widebody C6.R At Sebring, HERE

Jack LaLanne’s website, HERE.

Just for fun, here’s Jack LaLanne explaining his concept that explains why people are SO TIRED. he called it, “Pooped-out-itis.” This is from the early ‘60s, but it’s still true today. Now go do some push ups for Jack.


The above 11×17 Laser-Etched Print is available for just $49.95 + $8.00 S&H. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


The above 11×17 Laser-Etched Print is available for just $49.95 + $8.00 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


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