Z06 Corvette Review, Pt. 5 – The Grady Davis 1963 Z06 Race Car

Grady Davis’ Successful 1963 Z06 Corvette Becomes a Million Dollar Collectible

Dateline: 7-20-22 Graphics and illustrations by K. Scott Teeters, this story first appeared in the February 2010 issue of Vette magazine.

Intro: Details keep rolling out as orders pour in for the new C8 Z06 Corvette. The official pricing just came out and the car starts at $106,395 and it doesn’t take much to get past $125,000. Back in 2009, the then-new C6 ZR1 had a starting price of $103,300! I guess it’s the accounting magic of amortization. Let’s continue our look back at the origin and development of the Z06 Corvette. Continue reading “Z06 Corvette Review, Pt. 5 – The Grady Davis 1963 Z06 Race Car”

Z06 Corvette Review, Pt 1 – The 1963 Z06 Racer Kit

For “Off Road” Use Only!

DATELINE: 3-19-22, this story first appeared in the January 2017 issue of Vette Vues Magazine The C8 mid-engine Corvette is arguably the biggest news in the world of Corvettes since the very beginning in 1953. Many of us thought Chevrolet would never offer such a Corvette, but here we are. And thanks to an established pattern of performance track-model Corvettes that started in 2001 when Chevrolet decided to brand the car, “Z06” after the one-year-only 1963 Corvette, subsequent new model Corvettes have offered a Z06 model. Within minutes after the C6, C7, and now C8 Corvettes were debuted, fans’ second question (after “how much is the new Vette?”) is, “Where’s the Z06?” Yes, we expect it and Chevrolet has not let us down since.

As of this writing, Chevrolet has their Traveling Road Show in full-swing at select Chevrolet dealers to show the loyal faithful exactly what the new C8 Z06 is all about. On March 25, 2022, Stingray Chevrolet, in Plant City, Florida will be hosting their C8 Z06 presentation. No doubt, owner Steve Hurley will put on a fantastic presentation.

So, with that in mind, the next dozen or so posts here on Corvette Report will present stories I have written for Vette Vues Magazine over the last ten years about the Z06. The C8 Z06 did not arrive from nowhere, there’s been a progression of Z06 Corvettes that go back nearly 70 years to 1963 when “RPO-Z06” was an obscure, one-year-only “racer kit” option that Zora Arkus-Duntov seeded into the 1963 Corvette option list that was essentially a “suspension and brakes” option on top of the L84 Fuelie. There were no external badges or special body enhancement and the car looked like any other Fuelie Corvette. And truthfully, unless a customer wanted to go road racing with their new Corvette, the Z06’s performance suspension and brakes were of little value on the street. There was no fanfare and after 1963, no one but Zora and his hardcore racer friends missed the Z06, so the Z06 faded into Corvette history; that it until the release of the 2001 model year. Ever since then, the Z06 was THE track weapon for Corvette racers.

So, let’s have a look at how we got to where we are with the C8 Z06. It is arguably the most exciting story in Corvette history. – Scott

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. Continue reading “Z06 Corvette Review, Pt 1 – The 1963 Z06 Racer Kit”

1961 Chevrolet Corvette Special – Dave MacDonald and Jim Simpson

The First Independent Purpose-Built Corvette Race Car

1961-chevrolet-corvette-sketch-side-viewThe Corvette Racing Team has proven that the Corvette is more than a match for any sports car on the planet. But in the early days, racing a production Corvette would only get you so far. To get to the next level, “purpose-built” race cars were the order of the day. Tube frames (aka “bird cages”) with a thin fiberglass or aluminum body were super lightweight and the low power-to-weight ratio made for a race car that was a handful.

Dave MacDonald was one of the young lions of Southern California sports car racing. He was a natural and quickly earned the nickname, “Master of the Oversteer.” Dave and his racing partner Jim Simpson started racing in 1960 and in their first year won 3 out of 15 races and never finished lower than 4th. In his second year Dave racked up 15 wins and three 2nd place finishes in 24 races and was on his way to being a dominant force. But like all racers, Dave and Jim wanted to move up into something faster. It was Carroll Shelby who suggested the guys get a Max Balchowsky chassis and build a purpose-built car. (Be sure to check out the video of this car. Click the “Continue reading” link)
Continue reading “1961 Chevrolet Corvette Special – Dave MacDonald and Jim Simpson”

Vette Videos: Corvette Grand Sport Vs Porsche 911! – Head 2 Head Episode 1

Dateline: 2.9.12

The old Corvette vs 911 Porsche rivalry heats up!

Motor Trend magazine has a neat new TV program titled, “Head 2 Head.” To kick off the series MTs Editor at Large, Angus MacKenzie pits the 2012 Grand Sport Corvette against a 2012 911 Carrera S. The program is a lot of fun to watch. There are vintage clips of both cars from 1963 when the rivalry first started with the arrival of the 911 taking on the new Corvette Sting Ray. Footage of the Sting Ray is from a Chevrolet promotional film featuring race car drivers Dave MacDonald and Dr. Dick Thompson wringing out the new ‘63 Vette at the Chevrolet test track in the Summer of ‘62.

Comparisons of the two cars has always been somewhat of a force fit. In the olden days, the Corvette had the upper hand in power, but the Porsche was smaller and lighter – more expensive too. Fast forward 48 years and now the 911 is a smidge larger than the Corvette and is only 211-pounds lighter than the Corvette. Continue reading “Vette Videos: Corvette Grand Sport Vs Porsche 911! – Head 2 Head Episode 1”

Vette Shows: The Sights of C1 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show

Dateline: 9.4.11
2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Week continues with coverage of 1953 to 1962 C1 Corvettes!

Over the years, Corvettes have evolved into ultimate American supercar. Yea, there are a handful of high-end exotics that can walk away from a C6 ZR1, but with enough $$$, you can do nearly anything. But like Hobbits from the Lord of the Rings trilogy series, Corvettes turned out to be the most unlikeliest of heroes when you look at the earliest Corvettes. While the ‘53 – ‘54 Corvette was a fine-looking car compared to its contemporaries, good looks will only get you so far. Thankfully, the 265 Chevy small-block arrived just in time. If there had been no SBC engine, the Corvette never would have made it into the ‘60s.

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The difference between a ‘53 Blue Flame Six and a ‘62 Fuel Injected Corvette with the racer kit options is astonishing. By ‘62, Fuelie Corvettes had a near strangle hold on SCCA A/Production racing. Established racers such as John Fitch and Dr. Dick Thompson helped carry the banner forward and start up racers including the great Dave MacDonald, and Dick Guldstrand Continue reading “Vette Shows: The Sights of C1 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show”