Let’s all do a few pushups in memory of Jack!
Here’s LaLanne and his ’05 Corvette. Did Jack test the Corvette’s performance capability? You betcha!
If you are a baby-boomer like me and remember black & white TV, there’s no way you could have missed Jack LaLanne. So, it was especially sad to see another cultural icon of Post WW II America pass away. (David Nelson, member of the Nelson family of TV’s “The Ozzy & Harriet Show” died January 11, 2011) Jack passed at his home in Morro Bay, California of respiratory failure due to pneumonia. LaLanne was 96 years young.
What immediately came to my mind when I read the news were grainy TV images of an effervescent, enthusiastic, guy with a very narrow waist, very broad shoulders, and big arms, exercising as if he could do that all day, every day, and LOVE every minute of it!
What most of the public didn’t know about LaLanne was that he was a passionate car lover with a long affection for Corvettes. Continue reading
It all goes back to one man’s passion for racing. Zora Arkus-Duntov was the only executive at GM that ever raced a car at Le Mans, let alone have class wins in ‘54 and ’55. Duntov took his passion and experience and poured it into Chevrolet’s little beauty queen, the Corvette, taking the car to legendary status.
Duntov had the kind of expertise that only comes from seat of the parts experience of putting it all on the line in a four-wheel drift. With each new development in the Corvette, he always had racing on his mind. Bill Mitchell called this quality, “having gasoline in your veins.” No sooner had Duntov stuffed the new 265 small-block into the ‘55 Vette, he started secretly working on his first Le Mans intended racer, the Corvette SS. Continue reading
The Grand Sport option is available in all colors, enabling customers to personalize their ride.
In retrospect, ‘09 can be best summed up with a Charles Dickens quote from his classic book, A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 2009 should have been an awesome year for Corvettes. But it turned out to be the worst sales year since ’61. Sales went from 35,310 units in ‘08 to just 13,934 for ’09 – a 60-percent drop! Of course, this lead to a lot of internet speculation that the bottom has dropped out of the sports car market, because nearly all sports car marquees saw sales plummet. So, people don’t want sports cars, now? Hardly. It’s the economy, stupid! Continue reading
John & Burt Greenwood Build Super C4 Corvettes
John Greenwood is a Corvette racing legend. Actually, it was the “John and Bert” Greenwood story here because John’s brother Bert was very much part of the story. Through the ‘70s, Greenwood Corvettes were fearsome and very entertaining. It was a classic, American little guy vs the big dogs. The Woodward Avenue street racer put the fear of big-block Chevy power into the competition. While all of the above is correct, sometimes early childhood impressions have profound effects on a lad’s life.
The Greenwood brothers had an inside connection – their Dad. Sr. Greenwood worked at the GM Tech Center and on weekends would take John and Bert to see some of the prototype cars in development. (Can you imagine that?) The inspired boys started their careers with a tube frame go-cart, powered by a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engine. Not long after getting his drivers license, John was street racing a big-block ‘64 Corvette. Street racing lead to road racing with John winning the A/Production championship in his first year. Continue reading
Joel Rosen’s Sharks
Joel Rosen’s meca for Chevy supercars – Motion Performance on Rising Sun Highway, Long Island, New York. Note the custom fish-scales paint job! The Phase III Vega behind the Maco Shark was the car that brought the Feds crashing down on Motion performance.
As the new ‘63 Corvettes were hitting the showrooms, GM’s Chief of Styling, Bill Mitchell, was dreaming up the next Corvette. With the help of stylist Larry Shinoda and a small team of designers, the radical Mako Shark II was shown to GM’s management in Spring of ‘65. The non-running full-size mock up made jaws drop. Before the car was shipped to the New York International Auto Show, the order was given, “build a running version!” By October ’65 the running version of the new design was complete and headed out to the show car circuit where it received rave reviews. It was obvious – the Mako Shark II HAD TO BE the next production Corvette.
You can catch Part 1 HERE.
And Part 2 HERE.
Corvette Engines As Miniature Automotive “Art”
Note the quarter on the display base for scale.
Modern high-performance engines are just amazing machines. A quick look at the most powerful production engine to ever come out of Detroit is the supercharged LS9 ZR1 Corvette engine. This 376-cubic-inch engine has a Net horsepower rating of 638-HP. Measured in the old “gross” power rating system and the number would be easily be in the low 700-HP range. The ZR1 and it’s little brother the 505-HP Z06 can easily smoke ANYTHING from the old glory days of the stump puller muscle car era and get double the gas mileage to boot!
But this isn’t about numbers, it’s about aesthetics. Take the plastic or carbon fiber covers off on any LS-powered Corvette and you’re greeting with a maze of complicated hardware. I guess I’m “old school,” but I enjoy looking at old, pre-smog control device muscle car and racing engines. The simplicity of those old mills was oftentimes “art.” Continue reading
Joel Rosen Builds A Grand Touring Corvette
The term “GT” is arguably one of the most misused automotive designations. The term is an abbreviation for “grand touring.” A GT car is a road-going, lightweight, semi-luxurious coupe built on a high-performance chassis, for long trips, you need a car with plenty of power, a strong chassis, and loads of creature comforts to make the journey pleasant. Most high-priced European car companies all offered GT cars for their affluent customers.
In the ‘60s, Detroit carmakers started to use the GT term on pony and mid-size cars. Many enthusiasts wanted more and sought the help of specialty shops to build a package car. The original Shelby Mustangs were turn-key supercars. But at a small shop in Baldwin, New York, Joel Rosen was making his own machines called the Baldwin-Motion SS and Phase III Supercars.
You can catch Part 1 HERE.
Part 3 is HERE.
An American Auto Exotic – ‘50s Style!
1957 Fuel-Injected Corvette – An American Classic
Today, fuel-injection is no big deal. But lets roll back the clock at least 60 years. The first successful mechanical application of gasoline F-I was in the V-12 engines used in the WW II Messerschmitt Bf 109 airplane. After the war, Mercedes-Benz used direct-injection in their W. 196 Grand Prix racer, the 300 SLR racing car, and 300 SL sports car. Mercedes-Benz used a “timed direct-port injection” that was very efficient, but complex and expensive.
In the early ‘50s, the world of sports cars was pioneered by European car makers. Fortunately for us, one of the most powerful and influential designers in Detroit had the sports car bug. GM’s Harley Earl envisioned an American sports car and most of us are familiar with the beauty queen turned street brawler Corvette story. As fate would have it, Chevrolet chief engineer, Ed Cole hired another key player, a man with sports car engineering and racing experience – Zora Arkus-Duntov. Fortunately, GM had an engineer that understood the complexities of F-I, one John Dolza from the Rochester Division.
Here’s one of the early Phase III SS-427 Corvettes that Rosen worked his magic upon. The side-pipes weren’t designed for the C3 but they sure looked “boss.”
Sometimes special “teams” organically seem to come together. You know, duos, such as, Abbot & Costello, Burns & Allen, Martin & Lewis, Lennon & McCartney. The specialty car market has a similar dynamic duo. But because what they created was so brilliant, it mostly took the spotlight off of them and on to the real stars, the Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercars. “They” happen to be former editor of CARS Magazine, Marty Schorr and owner of Motion Performance, Joel “Mr. Motion” Rosen.
Be sure to catch our other Baldwin-Motion Stories,
Part 1 is HERE.
Part 2 is HERE.
Part 3 is HERE.
Joel Rosen & Marty Schorr Create a Corvette Legend!
From 1967 to 1969, the hottest street Corvette was the 427/435 L71. Not a bad ride for most folks. But Joel Rosen isn’t “most folks.” Rosen owned Motion Performance in Brooklyn, New York in the late ’50s and ’60s, and was having considerable success as a local drag racer-tuner. In ’67 Joel struck a deal with the owners of Baldwin Chevrolet, in Baldwin, New York, to make 427-engine versions of the new Camaro. When the ’68 Corvette came out, Joel knew that he had to make a special red-hot version. The ’69 Baldwin-Motion SS-427 Phase III Corvette was born.
You can catch Part 2 HERE.
Part 3 is HERE.
Ocean City, New Jersey Lifetime Resident, Dewey Powell’s 4WD, 392 Hemi Powered Corvette to the Rescue!
When you live close to the shore, like I do, it’s not uncommon to see 4WD vehicles with surf fishing racks on the front bumper. The formula is this; fishing racks + beach = 4WD vehicle, usually a truck. That’s what threw me when I first saw Dewey Powell’s menacingly cool-looking ‘81-bodied Corvette at the Strictly Corvettes Show, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The first thing I noticed was the stylized fishing pole rack and the way it was angled back from the middle to match the car’s pointed nose. Then the tall tires and L88 wheel flares got me. “WOW! What’s this?” When I looked under the hood and saw a dual-quad 392 Hemi, I said, “Who built this?!”
Dewey was completely relaxed in a lawn chair, wearing jeans, black cowboy boots, a black t-shirt, and his wrap-around shades. I could tell that he was “the guy.” I asked him, “I’ll bet that this is your car and you built it, right?” “Yea, that’s right, and I drove it here today. You should have seen it yesterday, it was covered with sand.” I had just met Ocean City’s local legend, Dewey Powell. Continue reading
Tell us Which Version You Like at the End of This Post!
Ever since the Transformers movie car arrived, C7 speculation has been the hottest topic in the Corvette community. And as if speculation over the C7 wasn’t enough, there’s also speculation about the C8 Corvette! Of course, all of this may well be happy talk because if the C6 doesn’t pull out of its nose dive, we may be looking at those familiar lines for a LONG time. I also want to point out that while anything can be improved, the C6 didn’t suddenly become an outdated, stogy, slug. There’s SO MUCH red meat built into the car. Look at the Lingenfelter ZR1 with some minor intake and slight gearing changes that ran 9.8-seconds in the quarter-mile in December ‘09!!!
My C7 Wish-List
As far as hardware is concerned, it’s all speculation at this point. The Corvette designers are 100% mum about ANY details. About styling, for me, the basic shape of the Transformers / Centennial MINUS the cartoonish front and rear gills, works. I’ve been following Corvettes since the mid-’60s and every time there’s a new design, it takes about a year to get used to the new shape. But in retrospect, I can NOT look back at any new generation Corvette and say, “bad job.” I’m very confident that the designers and stylists that are now working on the C7 will get it right and successfully capture the eseance of that which is “Corvette”. Continue reading
1978 Jet Turbine-Powered Corvette “Granatelli’s Jet Vette”
The January 2011 issue of VETTE Magazine is out (I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of November) and in my Illustrated Corvette Series No. 163 column I have covered the one and only, 1978 jet turbine-powered Corvette. The world’s ONLY jet-Vette is alive and well in an undisclosed location in Ohio. This is a story of unbridled imagination. Enjoy! – Scott
Detroit in the 50s and ‘60s was a time of “let’s try it” thinking. GM tinkered with the turbine-engine Firebird I, II, and III cars in the ‘50s. Chrysler had been making turboprop engines since before WW II and started their turbine car program in ‘54. Turbine-powered race cars showed up at the Indy 500 in ‘62 and ‘66, with little success. But it was the red STP-sponsored, Andy Granatelli car that stunned everyone in ‘67. By the end of the second turn of the first lap, Parnelli Jones took the lead until rain stopped the race. The next day, Jones picked up where he’s left off, leaving everyone far behind, until lap 197 when a $5 transmission ball bearing broke, putting the car out of the race. Granatelli was back the following year, but restrictions placed on his Lotus-built turbine car ended the Indy 500 turbine experience forever. Continue reading
So, what do you think? Would this work for you as the C7 Corvette Roadster?
One of the cool things about running a blog such as CorvetteReport.com is that you can track topics – what’s hot – what’s not. Speculation over the pending C7 Corvette is smokin hot! Perhaps it’s just the ho-hum economy and Corvette fans are looking for something to look forward to. After all, is the C6 Corvette deficient? We won’t get into the interior issue, suffice to say that there still might be time for a C6 interior upgrade, just to quiet the nit-pickers.
I have some other thoughts on C7 speculation that I’ll save for the next post, but for now, let’s take a gander at the latest variation on the Transformers/Centennial concept Corvette – the Roadster version, as well as an interesting application of the concept car’s styling queues to a C6 coupe. Continue reading
The Annual Holiday Challenge For Corvette People Begins!
As the holidays approach, we often have the same challenge with our Corvette friends – “What do you get your favorite Corvette person that they don’t already have???” Well, we might be able to help you out.
We have added three new Corvette CDs and 15 Chevrolet CDs to our Illustrated Corvette Series website. For this post, I’ll just cover the Corvette CDs that are priced to be perfect stocking stuffers.
The “2011 Corvette Anthology” is an Official GM LIcensed product and is a digital encyclopedia of Corvette information and fun for Vette lovers of all ages and owners of Corvettes from 1953 to 2011. This CD has over 1,800 photos, hundreds of graphics, and 56 videos and Corvette TV commercials. My “Illustrated Corvette Series” is also on the CD! The CD has statistics and options for the entire lineage of Corvettes. There’s also an option to print out the entire CD as a book! Plus, the CD comes with a brilliant screen saver for PCs. Just $19.95, plus $5.00 for shipping and handling. Continue reading