Chevy’s Steroid-Injected “Bad Boy” Vette
Dateline: 11-9-17 (All photos GM Archives) Kudos to the Corvette product planners and engineers for expanding on the Z06 “performance model” concept. “Suspension” has always been key to the Corvette’s success. From 1957 to 2000 Chevrolet offered many variations of suspension options for Corvette buyers. The early offerings up to 1975 were for serious track cars and included, the 1957 to 1959 RPO 684 Heavy Duty Brakes and Suspension, the 1960 to 1962 RPO 687 Heavy Duty Brakes and Special Steering option, the 1963 RPO Z06 Special Performance Equipment package, the 1967 to 1969 L88 engine and J56 Special Heavy Duty Brakes package, the 1970 to 1972 RPO ZR1 and ZR2 packages, and the 1973 to 1975 RPO Z07 Off Road Suspension and Brake Package. Up to this point, all of the before-mentioned special option packages were considered, “Off Road”, that’s code for; RACING.
For spirited street use, from 1974 to 1982 customers could option RPO FE7, the Gymkhana Suspension that gave customers stiffer front sway bar and stiffer springs for just $7.00! The term “gymkhana” means, “A day event comprising of races and other competitions between horse riders or car drivers.” A more modern term today would be, “Autocross.” Continue reading
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The 1962 Monza GT – Corvair-based, Mid-Engine Sports Car – Think Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder and you’re close!
By the early 1960s the Fuelie Corvette, equipped with Duntov’s “Racer Kit” suspension and brake packages, established itself as a solid, dependable platform for a B/Production or A/Production SCCA racer. Several cars had killer reputations on the track, including; the Nickey Chevrolet-sponsored 1959 “Purple People Eater” driven by Jim Jeffords, Dave MacDonald’s “Don Steves Chevrolet” C1 Corvettes, C1s raced by Dick Thompson and Dick Guldstrand, as well as Grady Davis’ 1961 B/Production and 1962 A/Production “Gulf Oil” Corvettes, and others. Setup right, these cars could be unbeatable.
Yet, despite their track success, the European sports car community did not accept the early Corvettes. Why? Because Corvettes were big and heavy, compared to European sports cars. Traditionalists considered Corvettes to be crude, with more in common with a Chevy Bel Air than anything from Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin and other low-volume European exotics. Corvettes were “mass produced” while European sports cars were “hand-crafted.” This perception did not go unnoticed inside Chevrolet, and some were thinking of a “Plan B” for the Corvette.
The Monza GT and the Monza SS roadster were never intended to be replacements for the Corvette. After all, the basic platform was the rear-engine Corvair. Now before you go, “Puke! Puke!” lets go back to 1957 for a brief look at where the Corvair came from, Chevrolet General Manager, Ed Cole’s aggressive and innovative, “Q-Chevrolet” line of cars. Continue reading
Chevy’s New “Performance” Model C5 Corvette, the Z06!
Dateline: 10.19.17 – (All images, GM Archives) The arrival of the C5 Z06 was a delicious surprise for Corvette fans at the end of 2000 as the new 2001 models were being announced. It had been 38 years since the first and only RPO Z06 quietly arrived as an expensive Off Road suspension option, designed strictly for racing. Ordering a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray with the Z06 option for street use was pointless because there was no horsepower advantage, as the Z06 option required the same 360-horsepower L84 317 engine that was available on any Sting Ray. There were no special badges or trim to make a Z06-equipped Corvette look unique. No, all the good stuff was in the suspension and brakes. And since only 199 Z06 Corvettes were built in 1963, unless you were into road racing, you didn’t even know about the Z06. Then add in a 38 year gap between 1963 and 2001, and its no wonder that hardly anyone knew what a Z06 was!
For years there’d been a clamoring for a “cheap Vette”, you know, a strippo model void of all the thrills and creature comforts. The “logic” being that if Chevy would just take out all the goodies, the car would be lighter, leaner, and therefore, meaner and cost a bunch less. After the successful launch of the C5 Corvette, Corvette Chief Engineer, Dave Hill and his team seriously considered such a Corvette.
The problem was that removing the frills didn’t add up to much an any weight advantage and the price hardly dropped at all. To really make the car cost less, smaller wheels and tires, and a lesser engine were needed. The end result was a Corvette that no one would have wanted. Continue reading
Scott Teeters’ New Corvette Art Prints Series for 2017!
Dateline: 9.1.17 – In November 2015 I helped out with Jan Hyde’s John Greenwood Tribute Event at Daytona International Speedway. Jan is the owner of Registry of Corvette Race Cars. My part of the effort was the creation of a promotional flyer, a two-sided poster featuring Greenwood’s Stars and Stripes BF Goodrich Corvette and his Spirit of Daytona ’76 Corvette on the high banks of Daytona, and a hand-out sticker featuring a profile view of Greenwood’s Sebring ’75 Corvette in front of an American flag. (see the end of this post)
The graphic layout for the sticker stuck with me and I kept looking at it thinking there might be something there as a new prints series that would appeal to Corvette owners and fans of all generation Corvettes.
After numerous prototype layouts I settled in on “America’s “Old Glory” Sports Car”. The first one was kind of easy, but once layout completed, I knew I had a ton of work ahead of me. What started out as a fairly simple idea turned into my Project for 2017! And now, it is ready to present. Continue reading
Retired Corvette R&D engineer Bill Tower shares some of his insights into the background of the 1963 Grand Sport Program
The 57-Year Saga to the C8 Mid-Engine Corvette – The Old Mid-Engine Advantage & the 1960 CERV I
Dateline: 8.13.17 – Images: GM Archives & Mecum.com – Introduction: Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first. It seemed like the floodlights from the debut of the C7 Corvette weren’t even cool yet when the automotive press and the Internet started chattering about the C8 Corvette being a mid-engine design. GM then added fuel to the fire when it was announced that they had trademarked the word “Zora” which ignited the speculation of a mid-engine Corvettes.
Part of Corvette-lore is that Zora Arkus-Duntov unsuccessfully tried many times to make the Corvette a mid-engine car, because in Zora’s day, it made perfect sense. The trouble was that Chevrolet was selling enough Corvettes to make the argument that, “the Corvette wasn’t broken, so don’t fit it!” The mid-engine Corvette concept lost its champion after Duntov retired in 1975. Dave McLellan’s team tried to recycle the body design of the mid-engine Four-Rotor Corvette, powered by a transverse-mounted small-block Chevy engine. That idea was actually “approved” briefly, but died a quick death. The mid-engine Corvette concept came back again as a development program that started with the Corvette Indy (a full-size static model), the Running Corvette Indy (a functional, drivable version), and finally the CERV III. This CERV III was an almost completely flushed out car, meaning that it “could” have been put into production, had GM not been embroiled in a financial crisis in the early ‘90s. The crisis was so bad that once again, the Corvette was on the chopping block!
Perhaps by sheer luck, the C5 plan eked through and turned out so good, that the mid-engine concept then seemed antiquated. Then suddenly, shortly after the C7 came out, the Mighty Wurlitzer Rumor Organ got cranked up and once again, we are in mid-engine mania. But does the mid-engine make sense? Is this what the Corvette community really wants? I’ve had my head plugged into the world of Corvettes since 1965 and followed all of the mid-engine Corvette concept cars. Most were engineering studies and not real, drivable, serviceable, safe cars – a few were close to production-ready.
The “story” of the Corvette is long and rich with colorful characters, loud and awesome machines, and two, BIG, “Could’a been so cool!” chapters – The Grand Sport and the mid-engine Corvette. While it was wonderful that Chevrolet used the Grand Sport moniker for one of the two special-edition 1996 C4 swan song Corvettes, and then as a separate model Corvette starting in 2010, these were not Duntov’s original vision. Continue reading
Dateline: 8.12.17 / Photos: WikiCommons, Illustrations by K. Scott Teeters – When I was a wee lad and would see the term, “For Off Road Use Only” I used to think, “Well who drives these cars in the dirt and grass?” What I didn’t understand was that the term is code for “RACING”! Beginning in 1957, Chevrolet’s new general manager, Ed Cole, made the command decision that he would let “customers” carry the Corvette racing mantle by offering Chevrolet-engineered parts, specifically designed for racing, available through the Chevrolet Parts Department.
For decades, Zora Arkus-Duntov has been credited for the implementation of the Corvette “Racer Kits” through the RPO (Regular Production Option) system. Zora was the face of the unofficial Corvette racing effort, but while researching C1 Corvette chassis design, I came across some interesting information in Karl Ludvigsen’s 2014 book, “CORVETTE: America’s Star Spangled Sports Car”. While Duntov was definitely the front man, Ed Cole also charged three-time Indy 500 winner and engineer, Mauri Rose with the development of the Corvette’s RPO parts program. So, the Corvette “Off Road” RPO effort guided by Le Mans racer and class winner, Duntov, AND Mauri Rose, the second man to win the Indy 500 three times (1941, 1947, and 1948)! Pretty cool, huh?
The Racer Kits weren’t a “secret” but unless customers were tuned into racing, most weren’t aware of this special program. In truth, since improvements in suspension and brakes were for racing, customers rarely used them for their street Corvettes. And typically racers used the expensive dual quad or Fuel Injection performance engines. The Racer Kit RPO option program enabled Corvette racers to be seriously competitive in SCCA racing such that by the end of the 1950s, Corvettes were a force to be reckoned with.
Engineer Maurice Olley designed the chassis and suspension of the first Corvette in 1952 and was considered to be the best suspension and chassis engineer in Detroit. It is essential to remember that the Corvette was NOT designed to be a racecar. Continue reading
Dateline: 8.11.17 – Photos: GM Archives, Michael Beal, Illustrations: K. Scott Teeters – There’s an unwritten, unofficial “Law of the Jungle” that basically states, “If you are at the top of the food chain, you might not be there for long.” Such was the case for the C4 ZR-1 Corvette, for a little while. The C4 ZR-1 had a six-year production run with only 7,018 units produced. The ZR-1’s head-exploding price was the biggest limiting factor. The crummy economy in the early ‘90s didn’t help, and the much-rumored, all-new C5 no doubt was a drag on the ZR-1’s sales. And then there was also that pesky Dodge Viper. The 427 Cobra’s “Marley’s Ghost” was obvious, only this time disguised as a Dodge,
While armchair quarterbacking is easy and hindsight is 20/20, it is worth asking the question, why wasn’t such an awesome car more successful? “Timing” aside, the ZR-1’s aesthetics was a big factor. Stated simply: When viewed by itself, the C4 ZR-1s look like “regular” Corvettes. As an illustrator and stylist, I find it astonishing that Chevrolet would have done this, after all the engineering work that went into the ZR-1. The body panels from the doors all the way back to the rear bumper cover, are unique to the ZR-1 – made wider to cover the widest tires put under a factory-built Corvette body, to that point. This means that the panels had to be redesigned. But rather than make them visually unique, the Corvette stylists were commanded to imitate the basic design of the standard Corvette, with one exception Continue reading
An Intimate Conversation With Martyn “Marty” L. Schorr and Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen – Co-Founders of the Baldwin-Motion Supercars
Dateline: 8.10.17 / Photos: Martyn L. Schorr & K. Scott Teeters’ Baldwin Motion Magazine Archives, Mecum Auctions, Dan McMichaels, & Google Maps – Part one of my 2013 Far Out Radio conversation with Marty Schorr and Joel Rosen is in the July 2017 issue of Vette Vues can be enjoyed HERE. The year 2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Baldwin Motion Experience. Before we get into the rest of my 2013 conversation with Marty and Joel I’d like to share an anecdotal story about setting up the interview.
I have known Marty Schorr since 1976, just after he started “VETTE Quarterly”, the first Corvette-only, newsstand publication. I’ve had numerous conversations with Joel since around 2000 and always found him to be polite, but very reserved. When I asked Marty if he’s like to me on my radio program he said, “Sure, I’d be happy to.” When I asked Joel, he said, “Well, okay, but I don’t really have that much to say. How long is the interview?” I told him I did a one-hour show and without the commercials and bumper music, we have around 45 minutes to talk. He said, “Oh… I really don’t have that much to say, Scott. Really.” So, I assured him that if he ran out of things to say, Marty would fill in the rest. When the show started, Joel was reserved, as usual, but quickly loosen up. Before I knew it, he was seriously bench racing! As the host of the show I carefully watch the clock. When I said, “Well guys, we’re just about out of time, Joel said, “What! We just got started!” That’s just what happens when car guys get to bench racing.
Published GM U.S. Patent Confirms New “Active” Aero System for the Corvette
Chevrolet has been extremely tight-lipped about the C7 ZR1, such that we have to look for other sources to glean info. Several months ago, published U.S. Patent documents indicated that GM is working on a new DOHC engine called the “LT5.” The conclusion is that the C7 ZR1 will have a double overhead cam version of the Z06’s LT4. Guestimations are that the LT5-powered ZR1 is pushing 750-horsepower – maybe more!
The April issue of Car and Driver showed artist renderings depicting the ZR1 sporting a very aggressive front splitter, big air intakes, an elaborate new hood, and a very angular rear wing with winglettes. Killer-looking stuff! But wait! There’s more!
On March 23, 2017 AutoGuide.com reported that on May 24, 2016, GM Global Technology Operations LLC filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office, Patent Application number 20170080770, titled, “VEHICLE RIDE-HEIGHT DETERMINATION FOR CONTROL OF VEHICLE AERODYNAMICS”. The “Abstract, Claims, and Description” are on the US Patent & Trademark Office – Patent Application Full Text and Image Database website. CLICK HERE to read the actual US Patent.
We just love “firsts & lasts” of any important performance car. Why? Because there are only ever two – the first and the last ones to roll off the assembly line.
Dateline: 7.22.17 – The First C1 and C2 Corvettes are not known, however, the Last C1, a black 1962 model sold for $150,000 at the 2014 Mecum Seattle Auction. We covered the Last Sting Ray, HERE. But today, we honor the “Last C5 Corvette”, which if you are looking to add an important Corvette to your stable of Vettes, just happens to be For Sale at BuyAVette.net! More about where you can pick up this piece of unique Corvette history for only, $1,000,000. (Karen, call the Credit Union!)
But for now, lets step into the CorvetteReport.com Time Machine and dial it back 13 years to 2004. To celebrate the success of the C5-R Corvettes winning Le Mans in ’01, ’02 and ‘03, Chevrolet dished up the 2004 Commemorative Edition option. This was an intense option to put into the production schedule because it was an open option on all three models of 2004 Corvettes – coupes, convertibles, and Z06s. On top of that, plant managers knew that as soon as the Last C5 was rolling through its journey of assembly, the production line was disassembled.
“Special Edition” Corvettes are always a tedious enterprise because all of the unique parts of a package have to be on hand. For Limited Edition Corvettes, at least it is known ahead of time that X-number of parts will be needed. However, with “open production” Special Edition Corvettes, the marketplace determines how much resources will be needed. From a sourcing and production position, it is a difficult task. Continue reading
An intimate conversation with Baldwin-Motion Phase-III Chevy Supercar Creators, Marty Schorr & Joel Rosen – Pt.1
Marty Schorr & Joel Rosen set the story straight and tell how the Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercar Experience came together. (4 Videos)
Dateline: 7.19.17 – This interview appeared in the July 2017 issue of Vette Vues Magazine. Part 2 coming soon! – Marty Schorr is the former editor of CARS Magazine, the founder of Vette Magazine, and is the current editor and chief of CarGuyChrolicles.com, and PMPR, an automotive public relations form. Joel Rosen is the former owner of Motion Performance, on Long Island, in New York, and currently owns and runs Motion Models, a world-renowned, scale military model company in Florida.
In June 2013 I had the pleasure of interviewing Marty and Joel on my radio program, “Far Out Radio.” And now, you get to read the story from the guys that made it happen – Marty Schorr and Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen. The guys created a legend and we’re still talking about it over 50 years later!
You can enjoy Part 2 of this conversation, HERE.
Scott: Marty, Joel, welcome to the program.
Marty & Joel: Scott, we’re here, we’re here! (laughs)
Scott: Great to have you here all the way from Florida. You never thought it would go this long, did ya? (laughs)
Joel: I never thought I’d live this long!
Marty: (Laughing) We never thought it would go past the 1970s!
Scott: Really? And here you are, my goodness. So, now that I have you both here, I’m curious before we get into the story, have you ever been on a radio program like this together, talking about what you have done?
Joel: Oh yes, we’ve done a few programs and some television shows. A number of television shows.
Marty: Yea, we’ve done it and we’re still not tired of each other, which is amazing. (laughs)
Joel: That’s what he says! (both guys laughing)
Scott: It sounds like you are both soul brothers to me. So, were you guys bench racing over some beers, or which one of you came up with the Baldwin-Motion idea first? How did this all get started? Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: July 12, 1967 – The Last C2 Sting Ray Rolls Off the St. Louis Assembly Line – VIDEO
The restored “Last Sting Ray” 1967 427/390 Corvette Coupe sells for a whopping, $660,000!
Dateline: 7-12-17 – Obviously there’s a first-and-last of every Corvette ever built. Unfortunately, there was no pause for celebration on July 12, 1967 when the very last C2 Corvette Sting Ray rolled off the St. Louis Assembly line. Not even a moment for a snap shot! Too bad! But forty years and three months later there was PLENTY of celebrating at the October 2007 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction.
Up until the last C3 rolled off the St. Louis assembly line, no one paid attention to these cars. The VIN number indicates that this was the last C2 Sting Ray to ever be built, Terry Michaelis, owner of ProTeam Corvette, in Napoleon, Illinois bought the rough Corvette Continue reading
It took seconds for the 1,000,000th Corvette to fall 40 feet and be nearly totally destroyed. I took almost a year to make the car GOOD AS NEW!
Dateline: 7.12.17 – The 1,000,000th Corvette, a white Convertible with a read interior (just like the first 1953 Corvette) rolled off the Bowling Green Assemble Line on July 2, 1992. Zora Arkus-Duntov was there to help celibate the event. Then, on February 9, 2014 the Ground under the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome display area opened up and swallowed 8 precious, special Corvettes.
The Corvettes that went into the 40-foot deep hole included;
1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan from General Motors) <– Beyond repair
2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” (on loan from General Motors)<–Restored in late 2014
1962 Black Corvette <– Restored in 2017
1984 PPG Pace Car <– Beyond repair
1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette <– Restored in 2015
1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette <– Beyond repair
2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette <– Beyond repair
2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette <– Beyond repair Continue reading