Vette Videos: Hail to the 1967 L71 427/435 Big-Block Corvette!!!

Dateline: 9.3.12

A video romp salute to one of the sweetest-sounding bad-boy Corvettes ever!

When you play the video, turn the sound WAY UP!

Okay, lets get this part out of the way first. True, true – a modern C6 Z06 or ZR1 Corvette can easily walk away from anything from the big-block days – HANDS DOWN! But as our pal Mike Beal once told us, the difference between modern Corvettes and the big-block Corvettes from the olden days is that the newer cars deliver “controlled horsepower.” The old big-block Corvettes delivered “EXPLOSIVE horsepower.” Not only that, but there was a guttural rumble that let even the uninitiated know that this was one bad-ass machine.

I intuitively understood this the very first time I ever encountered a 427/435 big-block. It was the summer of 1968, I was just 14 years old and a serious model car builder. In the town next to where I lived in Collingswood, New Jersey, there was (and still is) a small hobby shop called, Sattlers Trains & Hobbies. While their main business was HO gauge electric trains, they had a big selection of model car kits. Continue reading

Corvettes at Carlisle – First ZL1 Engine Alive and Well!

 

Dateline: 8.29.12

Thanks to Kevin Mackay and his team at Corvette Repair, once piece of lost Corvette history has been found, refurbished, and ready for the show circuit.

Be sure to catch the below slide show!

Yes, the original fan was green.

The entire Q-Chevrolet project quickly fizzled due to cost concerns but several great ideas came out of the project. The unique Peter Brock and Bob Veryzer-designed body eventually was developed into the 1963 Sting Ray. The all-aluminum engine proposal started the ball rolling with aluminum parts gradually seeded into various Corvette engines. While aluminum water pumps, intake manifolds, and bell housings were relatively easy to develop, heads and the block were another story. By the early ‘60s, Duntov began experimenting with aluminum heads, but they proved to be unreliable. The small-block Chevy engine was already a lightweight, but the thought of an even lighter version of the engine was indeed tantalizing.

Corvettes have been powered by all-aluminum engines since the arrival of the LS1 in the all-new C5 1997 Corvette. Of course, today nearly all engines are  made with the lightweight metal. These days, the move is on to integrate even lighter magnesium, carbon fiber, and plastic parts wherever possible. But back in 1957, only the exotic cows of the most expensive European sports cars had all-aluminum engines.So in 1957 when new general manager Ed Cole proposed his Q-Chevrolet line of trans-axle cars, including the Corvette, Zora Arkus-Duntov jumped on the chance. No one inside GM was more tuned into the advantage of an all-aluminum engine than Duntov. The proposal Duntov outlined for his vision of the Q-Corvette included the mandatory trans-axle and an all-aluminum, fuel-injected small-block Chevy engine. The Rochester Fuelie had just arrived and the small-block Chevy engine was only in its third year of production. No one in Detroit was making all-aluminum engines, so this was a very outrageous proposal. Continue reading

The Owens Corning L88 Corvette Goes On the Block and It’s a NO SALE!

Dateline: 8.17.12

Another famous Corvette race car makes THUNDER at RM Monterey!

SPECIAL NOTE – Check out the new Owens Corning Corvette Postage Stamp art print at the bottom of this post!

Well I hope that you were able to catch some auction action, live from Monterey, California. High-end auctions, such as the RM and Mecum events draw some of the finest and most interesting cars in the world. For car lovers, these auctions are the proverbial box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.

Last year at the RM Monterey event there were five delightful Corvettes that went on the block - one stocker, a ‘60 Corvette with just 750 miles on the odometer and four Corvette race cars. For Corvette lovers, the star of last years show was the Greenwood Stars & Stripes 1969 427 ZL1 BF Goodrich racer that sold for $580,000.

This year the RM Monterey auction only had one Corvette and WOW, what’a beauty! Preauction estimates predicted that the car should sell for between $950,000 and $1,350,000! “Auctions” are arguably the ultimate expression of the economic free market. Sellers always have an idea as to how much they want for their cars, but when the gavel comes down, it’s the buyers that set the price. Granted, the economic downturn had depressed the prices of exotic cars over the last few years. Some would call it a price correction to rein in the wildly high prices of just a few years before the downturn.

One interesting factor for the Owens Corning Corvette, as compared to the Greenwood Corvette is the car’s pedigree. The Owens Corning Corvette is the winningest Corvette race car of all time with a staggering 22-straight wins! That’s like winning every race for over two years in today’s American Le Mans Series races. Could the Owens Corning record be broken? Sure, anything is possible. But it’s NOT likely.

When you watch the car auctions, there are two parts. First, the car is presented on stage with a detailed description of the car with images and sometimes video. Then the bidding action begins. Here’s how the auction action played out. Continue reading

August Auction Action – Watch RM Monterey and Mecum Monterey, Live!

Dateline: 8.15.12

A BIG weekend for Corvettes on the block!

Auction action begins at 6:30 Pacific Time for the RM Monterey event.

It’s turning out to be a very interesting weekend for Corvettes at the high-end car auctions, with two big-time events going off at about the same time and area. I checked the RM Auctions website and saw that they have updated their home page and added a “VIEW AUCTION LIVE” link at the top of their homepage. So, they made it easy for us. Auction action starts at 6:60 PM Pacific time (9:30 Eastern Time). If you click the page link before the scheduled start time, all you’ll see is a black box where the streaming video will be. This won’t change until the event starts. After the feed begins, look for the button to Fill Screen, kick back, and enjoy!

 

For details about this fantastic Corvette racer, just click the image.

If you’re mainly interested in the Owens-Corning 1968 L88 racer, the lot number is 141. The numbering begins with #101, a 1953 Hudson Hornet. So with 40 cars before the Owens-Corning car, it’ll be a few hours before the old war horse Corvette comes thundering upon the stage.

But if you love old cars and racing machines, the auction is a treat. Not only do you get to see the numbers ring up, but before the bidding begins, they describe the car, show photos and videos, as well as letting you get a good look at the car on the turntable. Most of the cars at the RM event are really special and have been lovingly restored and cared for. The marque almost doesn’t matter, they’re just wonderful machines. Continue reading

Owens-Corning Corvette in the New RM Auctions Monterey Catalog

Dateline: 8.9.12

A stunning collection of photos of one of the toughest racing Corvettes ever!

To access the RM Auctions catalog, just click on the above image.

RM Auctions is putting on 11 events for 2012 and the Monterey auction is just around the corner. Last year five Corvettes went on the block, four racers and one stocker, with all but one finding a new home. Of course, last year’s BIG star for Corvette fans was the Greenwood Stars and Stripes 427 ZL-1 #49 Corvette that went for $580,000.

This year there’s only one Corvette and WOW is it a beauty with a story. The Owens-Corning 1968 L88 Corvette was one of the fiercest Corvette racers ever.  Raced by Jerry Thompson and Tony DeLorenzo, the car scored an astonishing 22 victories in a row! The team fielded two L88 Corvettes and at one point took 1st and 2nd in 14 of the 22 races won. In the March 2010 issue of Corvette Magazine, Jerry Thompson was quoted saying, “They worked. That doesn’t mean that they were easy to drive. The engines had so much torque and power that most guys were intimidated by them.”

When Corvette Repair performed the restoration on the car, Kevin Mackay and his team took the car back to its 1971 24 Hours of Daytona livery. The car has been beautifully photographed for the RM Auction catalog. RM Auction publishes a paper book/catalog for around $50, but they also publish a digital version through ZMags at no charge. Every car that’s up for auction is in the catalog with first class pictures and wonderfully written articles about each car. The catalog by itself is a delight, and you can’t beat the price.

To access the digital catalog, Continue reading

NEW!!! Famous Corvette Engines Blueprint Prints Series

Dateline: 7-29.12

Subtitle: A Blueprint salute to the power of the Corvette!

Note: Be sure to check out the below slide show of Corvette engines!

To visit the Corvette Engines Department of our Fine Art America store, just click the above image.

If the Corvette used a regular passenger car engine, do you think there’s be much excitement? Of course not! In 59 years of building Corvettes, Chevrolet has only once used a standard production car engine in the Corvette and that was in 1980. Unfortunately for Californians, because of very tight standards, Chevrolet did not certify its 350 engines for sale in that state. So for that year, the only engine available for California Corvettes was the lowly 305 passenger car engine. Fortunately, that was a one-time occurrence.

Aside from that one incident, Corvette engines, even the base engines, have always be a cut above the regular car engines. At the top of the feeding chain, many Corvette engines achieved legendary status. And even though Corvette engines didn’t become truly “exotic” until the introduction of the LS1 in 1997, where it matters them most – who wins the races – small and big-block Corvette engines delivered the goods, regardless of their basic simple design. The slide show is below… Continue reading

Was the 1984 Corvette Really That Awesome?

Dateline: 7.24.12

An alternate look at the lowly 1984 C4 Corvette.

Be sure to CAST YOUR VOTE for your Favorate C4 Corvette, HERE.

The Illustrated Corvette Series continues on with its look back at the “first” of each generation Corvette. The latest issue of VETTE (November 2012) covers the first C4 1984 Corvette. It’s hard to believe that it was 29 years ago this summer that Dave McLellan and his team stunned the automotive press at the ‘84 press preview with the all-new ‘84 Corvette. I can sum it up with one expression, “Heads spun!”

Now, if are new to the Corvette hobby, you most likely know that as of today, an ‘84 Corvette is arguably the lowest valued Corvette on the market. But when you look back and read the reports and road tests, one can’t help but ask, “How could that be?!?” The quick answer is that the reason this happened was because the C4 Corvette improved so much, so fast. While the platform of a ‘96 Corvette (the last year for the C4) is the same, it might as well be a different car.

In the C4’s 13 model year run, here’s a short list of the big items that changed:

* Front and rear bumper covers, wheels and tires, front fender vents. Continue reading

On the Auction Block! 1968 Owens-Corning L88 Corvette

Dateline: 7-11.12

Subtitle: A Piece of Corvette racing history could be yours! How deep are YOUR pockets?

To check out the RM Auctions Monterey event, CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE.

Sometimes you get a little “I wonder” thought. Yesterday I realized that the RM Auctions Monterey event would be coming up soon and wondered if there might be any interesting Corvettes going on the block. Last year there were five interesting Corvettes that were up for auction – four race cars and one one street Corvette. But the big splash was the auction of the John Greenwood Stars and Strips BF Goodrich  427 ZL-1-powered Corvette racer that went for $580,000. What’a show!

Usually, the cars are carefully pushed on the revolving stage, but for the Greenwood Corvette, the big ZL-1 was fired up off stage, sounding like an approaching thunder storm, and driven on stage. “Seven hundred horsepower, ladies and gentlemen!” said the auctioneer. And the crowd went wild! Yea, it was FUN.

So I checked in with the RM Auctions Monterey website to see if any Vettes were going on the block. But alas, I only found one (as of this date), but what’a beauty. Here’s your chance to buy one of the all-time great Corvette race cars, the ‘68 Owens-Corning Fiberglass L88 A/Production Corvette. This car won 22 consecutive races, qualified on the pole in most of its races, and scooped up the A/Production Championship two times!

The car is currently owned by John Thompson (no relation to race car driver, Jerry Thompson). In ‘07 Thompson sent the car to Corvette Repair for a restoration back to its Daytona ‘71 configuration. Kevin Mackay and his expert team completed the work in ‘08. In ‘09 the car won the NCRS American Heritage Award and was later one of the Chip’s Choice cars on display at the Corvettes at Carlisle Show. Continue reading

Y’all In A Heap Of TROUBLE, Boy!

Dateline: 7.11.12

Subtitle: Omega Tool Corp Does Damage Control, ON US!

I was about to tell you all about a really awesome piece of Corvette racing history that’s going on the auction block, when I received an interesting email from the law firm of Schafer and Warner, PLL demanding that we remove the wrongfully and illegally posted image of a screen shot from a bootlegged video that was posted online that sure looks like the nose of the C7 Corvette. I discovered the images from my Google Alerts, which is setup to inform me of Corvette related stories in the news. The only image in the post showed the front bumper cover of what was speculated to be the nose of the C7 Corvette. The image was linked back to the source of the story, as per my Google Alert, and we included a text link to the source.

In followup emails from Google Alerts on Monday, Tuesday, and early Wednesday, it was obvious that the Corvette hungry community was all over this story like flies on stink. So I’m sure the legal eagles have been working hard to scour the net, racking up copious hours of billing time.

Well, I got on it right away, YES, SIR! Least we be the cause of any damages the the Omega Tool Corp might suffer as a result of their own problem. No, the only “suffering” they’ll incur is the butt chewing they probably already received from their big boss, plus the bill they’ll be getting from their attorneys for fix their screw up. It’s funny, because when I first read the story, I said out loud, “D’OGH! Someone’s in a HEAP OF TROUBLE!” The picture that came to my mind’s eye was that of sheriff Buford T. Justice, the cartoony character wonderfully played by Jackie Gleason in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies. (next I’ll get a letter about the Gleason image) If you were able to see the illegal images in question, you might have wondered, “Is this REALLY the nose of the C7?” Now you know for sure, IT IS THE C7! Otherwise there wouldn’t be this Continue reading

Book Review: Corvette Sixty Years – by Randy Leffingwell

Dateline: 7.5.12

A Most Excellent Addition To Your Corvette Library

I’ve been collecting car magazines and car books since the mid-’60s. My library has gotten larger than I ever imagined. There’s one book that I accidentally bought three times. I have four different versions of essentially the same book authored by Randy Leffingwell and published by Motorbooks. All four versions are very nice books, loaded with excellent images and well written prose by Leffingwell. But each time I bought the book online, I thought I was getting a different book because the covers and sizes are all different.

So, when I saw that Motorbooks was publishing “Corvette Sixty Years,” I was holding out in hopes of a totally new book and not a shuffled around version of the previous “Corvette Fifty Years” with some updated C5 and C6 material. I was NOT disappointed! Leffingwell and MBI have delivered the goods! The book is, for me, a visual delight. You see, when you have as many books and magazines as I have, you’ve probably seem nearly all of the old vintage photos showing the design and development work on the Corvette. At least, that’s what I thought!

Continue reading

1968 Corvette – The First C3 Corvette

Dateline: 6.25.12

From Mako Shark show car to production Corvette – a little too quickly.

In retrospect, it’s amazing that the C3 Corvette wasn’t called the “C2.5 Corvette.” After all, the frame, suspension, chassis, and running gear was straight off the C2 Sting Ray. It all goes to show how important looks can be. Of course, today, we’re all used to the “shark” style, but in September ‘67 when the ‘68 cars made their grand debut, it was WOWZERS for Chevrolet! To really appreciate how advanced and completely original the Mako Shark-inspired ‘68 Corvette was, go back an look at what Detroit was offering back then. Yes, there are a dozen of so genuinely classic cars from the late ‘60s, but the ‘68 Corvette was even more original than the ‘63 Sting Ray. The ‘68 – ‘82 Corvettes were so iconic, they are forever branded the “Shark” Corvettes.

Since we’re rolling into the C6’s final year and looking forward to the new 7th generation Vette, the next several installments of my VETTE Magazine monthly column looks back at the “first” of each generation Corvette. So, let’s go back to the first of the Shark Corvettes! - Scott


Illustrated Corvette Series No. 183: 1968 Corvette – “The First C3 Corvette”

In March ‘65 Bill Mitchell showed GM’s upper management his new Mako Shark II. After the attendees got their breath back, the first question was probably, “When can we have it?” Publicity photos were made and the non-running Mako Shark II was shipped off to New York City for the 9th Annual International Automobile Show, then to the New York World’s Fair. Meanwhile, two orders were given: build a running prototype, and begin work on a production version. Unbelievably, GM management wanted the new design to be a ‘67 model! That meant only 18 months to design and develop the car. Continue reading

WHAT??? Chevy Volt Outsells Chevy Vette???

Dateline: 6.6.12

Good for the Chevy Volt, ah, not so good for GM’s halo Corvette

 

Apples & Oranges. Chevy’s baseball and apple pie Corvette vs the green Volt. Same badge, worlds apart.

When the Chevy Volt concept car came out at the North American International Auto Show in 2007 it was a genuine attention grabber. Even a died-in-wool Corvette fan like me said, “Hey, pretty cool!” Between the big diameter wheels, the chopped and channeled look, and the promise of 50-plus mpg, it looked like Detroit was serious about taking the lead away from the Toyota Prius.

We all thought THIS was going to be the Chevy Volt!

But when the production Volt came out, enthusiasts said, “Ahh… Excuse us, but what happened?” Of course, fans of the Prius “larva school of styling” cheered, but were not electrified buy the Volt. And why would they? At over $40,000, the car cost $12,00 to $10,000 more than the Prius. It looks like a Malibu variant. The Malibu is a nice car, but it’s just a “nice” car. Even the Motor Trend Car of the year didn’t help the Volt. But by October 2011, the Volt was getting many buyers charged up with sales, as only 3,895 Volts had been shipped. GM had projected 10,000 Volts for ‘11.

So the big “WHOO-WHOO” news for Volt lovers (and GM) is that by the end of May ‘12, Chevy had sold 7,057 cars. I’m certain that the major reason for the bump in Volt sales was the price reduction to just under $32,000. But for some reason, the media has chosen to compare the Volt’s sales with the Corvette’s sales – and it doesn’t look good for the Corvette. What’a dopy comparison! First of all, greeny Volt fans most likely wouldn’t be caught dead in a Corvette, and visa-versa. While Corvette sales are up somewhat from ‘11, they’re still WAY off the ‘07’s total of 40,561 Corvettes. Sorry guys, but it’s apples and oranges here. Continue reading


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