Chevrolet milked the automotive press and stoked Corvette fans for nearly two years with rumors and sneak-peeks of the ZR-1 Corvette! This was obviously pre-Internet, so all the stoking was done the old-fashioned way, via paper magazines. This was to be the biggest power increase since the introduction of the big-block engine in 1965 and the first time there was an optional engine since the last big-block in ‘74. But unlike the 1974 $250 optional LS4 454 engine, the LT-5-powered ZR-1 was a total-car package deal that cost a thunderous $27,016 ON TOP OF the $31,979 base Corvette! Read More
General Motors had a mandatory, “retirement at 65” policy, so as Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov was nearing retirement in January 1975 the big question was who would be chosen to fill Zora’s big shoes. Duntov was not consulted about his replacement and McLellan would not have been his choice, but Dave was definitely the man for the job. McLellan was an Alfred P. Slone Fellow with a degree in engineering and management. The ‘70s was not a fun time and there were serious issues to be dealt with besides horsepower, racing, and mid-engine designs. There were emissions and quality control issues, as well as the implantation of a new assembly plant and an all-new Corvette to be designed and developed. Read More
Yesterday we told you about the 2015 Corvettes at Carlisle show and that Wil Cooksey is one of the special guests for the event. Actually, ever since Wil put on that stunning, explosive burnout display back in 2007, he’s become an almost permanent fixture of the Corvettes at Carlisle show.
On April 5, 2013 I had the pleasure of interviewing Wil Cooksey on my Far Out Radio program. The YouTube version of the program, here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBNkyoi72kc Read More
Corvettes at Carlisle is one of the top three Corvette events. The annual four-day event is situated on 82 acres, in beautiful, rural south east Pennsylvania, just down the road from the Carlisle Army War College. The 82 acre fairground is in a huge bowl shape with “Corvettes only” in the infield. It is absolutely, Corvette sensory overload! Read More
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.
So, let’s have a look see at what was so special back in the Summer of ’94 when the automotive press went gaga over the then new, C4 Corvette! Read More
The second piece of big news for ‘86 was that a Corvette would pace the Indy 500 for the second time. Retired general Chuck Yeager was enjoying celebrity status as a result of the book and movie, “The Right Stuff.” But Chevrolet was still smarting from the heavy criticism over the ‘78 Corvette Pace Car debacle and seemed to go in the opposite direction. Rather than producing a set number of pace car relicas, ALL ‘86 Corvette convertibles were designated as a “Pace Car Replica” and came with dealer or customer applied decals for the doors. Many said, “Why bother.” Read More
When the Cadillac-derived Small-block Chevy engine first arrived in 1955, I’m certain that Ed Cole and his team of Chevrolet engineers never imagined that their efforts would have such a profound and long lasting impact on the automobile industry. The little 265-cubic-inch engine had just 162-horsepower. By 1970 the 350-cubic-inch LT-1 engine was packing 370 gross horsepower. Beginning in 1973 Gm started rating their engines in “net” figures making it look as if the legs had been cut out from under all of their motors. While it’s true that there were emissions restrictions and reduced compression, the “net” power ratings were in real-world terms, closer to reality.
From ‘73 to ‘96 it was a long slow slog, but the last SBC to use the basic original design was the 330-horsepower LT4. So, what would be the ”gross” horsepower rating of a ‘96 LT4? That would be anyone’s guess, but somewhere close to or over 400-horsepower would be a good guess. Read More
If you have never been to the Carlisle, let me describe the facility. The first thing that you are aware of is that the place is HUGE! Carlisle is located in the rolling hills of south east Pennsylvania in what is known as “Pennsylvania Dutch” country. The town of Carlisle dates back to 1751, but is most known for the Carlisle War College that dates back to 1904. Carlisle is also known for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School that was started in 1879. After you enter the fairground, if you look around, you’ll see that the facility is situated in a very large bowl-shaped area. For the Corvettes show, Carlisle productions only allows Corvettes to park in the infield. So, when you are inside, all you see are CORVETTES. Aside from a few trucks and support vehicles, everywhere you look, you see CORVETTES. After four or five hours, it’s sensory overload. “Oh look! Ah, just another ZR1!” Read More
The turbocharged issue is interesting and got me to remembering an earlier turbo Corvette that Chevrolet was tinkering with. Back in 1979 the above show car Corvette was powered by a 195-HP L48 engine with an AIResearch tubrocharger that bumped the power up to around 280 – 290-HP. Why they didn’t use the more stout L-82 engine, only the Corvette engineers know. Ask Dave McLellan if you get the chance. But the extra 90-to-100-horsepower didn’t WOW anyone in the already husky ‘79 Corvette. But the car sure looked cool! Read More
The C5 Corvette was supposed to be out years before, but financial troubles at GM kept pushing back the release date. While this was frustrating for Corvette fans, the positive part was that it gave the Corvette team the time to make the car as good as they could. The basic design of the C5 platform was started by Corvette chief engineer Dave McLellan. When mcLellan retired in 1992, former Cadillac engineer, Dave Hill was made the third Chief Engineer for the Corvette. The C5 was so well designed that by ‘99 engineers determined that they had done nearly as much to the car’s platform as they could, without designing a new platform. This naturally paved the way for the C6 Corvette. Read More
While 3-deuces had been around for over 10 years on Pontiacs, seeing that big triangular air cleaner atop of the already enormous big-block stuffed into the ‘67 Sting Ray was almost better than a Playboy centerfold! Read More
The design process has to start somewhere and that “somewhere” is a humble sketch. Car guys are always doodling and I’m certain that designer Jerry Palmer probably had a few preliminary loose sketches of what he thought the next Corvette should look like. Palmer was promoted to head of Chevrolet Studio III in 1974 and took over exterior design responsibility in 1977 when Bill Mitchell resigned. Read More