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Corvette Escapades - Pt II (Story Below)

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Corvette Escapades Part II

It was late on a 1960 summer night when I saw my buddy Howard's '57 Chevy in the lot at the local White Castle Drive-in restaurant. Rumors had spread among our crowd that he had hopped-up his engine. All that was obvious were two-four's, anything else had to be hidden in the engine. "Anything" could include an Isky 5-cycle cam and maybe over-sized pistons, just for starters. The usual bravado about whose car is fastest led to the inevitable challenge of: "do you want to talk or race?"

My '60 Corvette, to which I had added three Rochester 2-barrel carburetors on straight linkage plus additional enhancements, put out about 300 raw horsepower. The only external change to the car was the addition of French Marchal head lamps to replace the outboard standard sealed beam lights. Though it wasn't set up for drag racing, it turned a respectable 99.3 MPH in the quarter-mile.

Rules agreed to, we pulled onto Reading Road, a 4-lane residential street in the northern part of Cincinnati. Just past Elizabeth Place we leveled off at twenty-five miles per hour. I rolled my window down to hear the count, as Howard's passenger shouted above the din, "One...two...three!"

At the sound of the magic number, I stabbed the throttle and hit the high beam switch. The sudden acceleration slammed me to the seatback as I fixed one eye on the tach and put my full attention into hearing the engine. I got the jump on him, the three-two's and a lower first gear ratio, having the advantage on the low end. The recent tune-up had not been in vain. In second gear of my close-ratio 4-speed transmission (he had a 3-speed) my lead increased. Once into third and as we neared the top of the hill, just before Langdon Road, he began to close the distance - his two-four's and whatever else he had, now had the edge.

Cresting the hill, almost side by side and, at a little over a hundred, the powerful Marchal headlamps illuminated the reflective decals on the side of a city police car waiting for the light at Langdon Road. I could see by the condition of the walk-wait signal that the light was about to change to red for our north bound cars. It was too late now. At about seventy we went through the red light together, Howard in his 270+ Chevy and me in my hopped-up Vette. The cop didn't waste anytime in turning on his "bubble gum machine" and pulling around the line of cars waiting with him. Howard stopped in front of the high school, but I kept right on going, while flipping the switches I had installed to turn my tail and brake lights out.

Source: Chuck Klein, Chuck Klein Author.com

Submitted by Phil Ellison

Corvette Escapades Part I

At 50 +/- MPH, it had to appear that we were hurtling straight for the telephone pole...then at what must have seemed like the absolute last possible moment - as the tires chirped on the hard dirt in a full panic stop - she was thrown forward, her knuckles white against the black "chicken bar." Suddenly realizing we weren't going to hit the pole, the pony-tailed blond surely believed we were going to roll. Now, she was slammed against the passenger door as the open roadster made a very hard left while the rear end swung out and the engine roared. Surviving all that, as we headed down the straight-a-way, she was now pinned to the seatback - a prisoner of acceleration

After three times around, I pulled into the infield and grinned at my passenger, a 16 year old honey. She was wide-eyed and as white as my Ermine White Vette. "I, I, I...was never so scared. I thought we were going to hit that pole...and roll over...lets do it again," she stammered. Stop watches in hand, my buddy and the 5/8 mile dirt track owner were striding over excitedly proclaiming that I had broken the track record.

This was spring, 1960, and I was just getting the feel of my combination 18th birthday gift and high school graduation present, a new 230 HP, 3-speed (close-ratio) Corvette (with options of AM Push-Button radio, White-wall tires and heater, the cost was $3433.01). The track, laid out in some farmer's field, was near Middletown, about an hour north of Cincinnati. It was the only place around that allowed anyone with a driver's license to race. Passengers were also allowed - this, in the days long before the proliferation of lawyers got into everything. I loved road racing, but being only 18, SCCA was out of the question for three more years.

Post-graduation, and against my parent's wishes, I took a job instead of going to college. I needed money to build my Vette - I mean what's more important, playing Joe College with a stocker or having a fast machine?

During the rest of the summer, as funds permitted, I added: Marchal headlamps, quick steering adapter, HD shocks, metallic brake linings, 4-speed transmission, HD clutch, three two-barrel carburetors on an Offenhauser manifold, Duntov 097 cam with solid lifters, dual points and a Mallory 50K volt coil. The last item was one of the most significant improvements - in relation to other hi-performance 283 Chevys. When I first installed the coil, the engine developed a miss. I figured the coil was bad, but before taking it back, for some reason, I thought to turn the lights out in the garage and watch the engine run with the hood up. There were sparks all over the place.

Though I had replaced the factory graphite spark plug wires with stranded type wires, voltage was leaking everywhere. I took some neoprene fuel, slit pieces to match each plug wire and then sealed the wires in the neoprene with electrician's tape. Now, there was no leakage and performance was significantly enhanced.

Source: Chuck Klein, Chuck Klein Author.com

Submitted by Phil Ellison

Vietnam Vet Has Corvette Carjacked

A red Corvette stolen from an elderly veteran, who was beaten unconscious during the carjacking, has been found, and police have made an arrest, Tuesday evening. Police said 72-year-old Omar Sixto's prized Corvette, a 2000 Corvette convertible with a tan top, was found in Miami Gardens, near Northwest 203rd Terrace and 43rd Avenue, Tuesday.

The Vietnam War veteran became the victim of the violent carjacking, Sunday afternoon, near his friend's house, located at Northwest Sixth Street and 28th Avenue in Miami. He has since been recovering at his brother's house and said Tuesday that he's lucky a 7News viewer spotted his car and called police.

"This is my car, and it looks good," he said. "I thought that I would never see it again."

7News was at the scene as police towed Sixto's Corvette away and also put a subject in handcuffs, Tuesday afternoon, who has since been identified as 23-year-old Arturo Breton. Sixto said he was fixing the windshield wiper on his Corvette when he noticed a clean-cut man in his early 20s walking back and forth across the street.

"He hit me on the back of the head with something. I don't even know if it was a pistol," he said. "I fell down, and I got up. I don't remember how I got down, I don't remember how I got up, but I know that I was bleeding," he said.

Read the story

Source: Walter Morris, Miami News 7 TV

Submitted by Phil Ellison

A Corvette SUV?

What if Chevrolet made a Corvette SUV? Maybe that's not so far-fetched. Corvette is a singular car within Chevrolet, and in many ways is a performance brand unto itself. Almost every performance brand now has its own crossover; the most prominent of which is Porsche's money-machine, the Cayenne.

If Corvette did make an SUV, what would it look like? Detroit News presentation editor Jamie Hollar drew his own concept car, shown here. And The Detroit News talked to ex-GM big wigs, auto analysts and car enthusiasts for their ideas on what the high-performance SUV should be.

Since the first Jeep sport utility appeared in 1984, the automotive landscape has been transformed by high-riding, five-door SUVs with visibility and utility to spare. Even legendary performance brands that once built only ground-hugging sports cars have jumped in. Beginning with Porsche in 2003, SUVs have become a performance-maker's goldmine. Nearly every performance badge wants a piece of the lucrative ute market.

Notably absent is the Corvette, America's V-8-powered workingman's superhero.

Though technically a Chevrolet product, the Corvette long ago became an iconic nameplate that's equal to Europe's elite sports car names. It's faster than the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type, Alfa Romeo 4C and Lamborghini Huracan. And while those brands have all exploited their athletic images to expand into sport utilities - the Jaguar F-Pace, Alfa Stelvio and Lamborghini Urus - the Corvette remains a one-off.

Read the story & see more photos & spec sheet

Source: Henry Payne, Detroit News

Submitted by Phil Ellison

Ford Fusion Crushes Classic 1959 Vette

No, that's not a poorly photoshopped picture of a Ford Fusion resting on a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette -- it's real, and it's not the result of some hypertraditionalist who hated the Cragar wheels wrapped in wide whitewall rubber.

No, it was just a confused elderly woman. According to a post on the Corvette Forum, she confused her gas and brake pedals and promptly parked her Ford Fusion on top of the vintage Corvette.

Considering the situation, the Corvette seems to have come out OK, though you can't see what exactly is going on underneath the shards of broken fiberglass. There's definitely a trip to the body shop in its future.

Read the story & see more photos

Source: Wesley Wren - Autoweek

Submitted by Phil Ellison

2019 Chevy Corvette C8 Spied

What It Is: Even casual readers of this publication are no doubt aware of our particular multi-decade obsession with General Motors finally pulling the trigger and mounting the Corvette's engine behind the driver and passenger, where God, Ferry Porsche, and Zora Arkus-Duntov intended it to be. First spied by us 18 months ago cosplaying as a DTM-grade Holden Ute, Chevy's mid-engined mules have seemingly taken on a more conventional, disguised-supercar wardrobe.

Why It Matters: Why it matters? Why it matters? Have you not been reading our rantings about such a thing over the past five decades? As per our latest report on the car published just last month, expect the totally new machine to arrive at the 2018 Detroit auto show and go on sale later that year. It'll be the most important fundamental change to the Chevrolet Corvette since GM dropped in an eight-cylinder engine in 1955.

Platform: The C8 will ride on a new platform shared with nothing else in the GM portfolio, until Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen decides to bring back the XLR.

Powertrain: Expect the next Corvette to launch carrying a version of the venerable Chevrolet pushrod small-block engine behind the occupants. A year later, there should be a mid-engined revival of the original ZR-1 engine concept: a 32-valve V-8. And given that GM has trademarked "E-Ray," we expect some form of hybrid powertrain option.

Competition: Audi R8, Ferrari 488GTB, Jaguar F-type, Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4, Porsche 718 Cayman, Porsche 911.

Estimated Arrival and Price: The car will arrive in 2018 as a 2019 model. Pricing is expected to start at $80,000 or so, rising quickly as more power is introduced.

Read the story & see more photos

Source: Davey Johnson - Car & Driver

Submitted by Phil Ellison

My 1960 Corvette Story

For as long as I can remember, I have been a car guy. Even when I was little, my first and favorite memories are of cars. When I was four, my father owned a 1972 Corvette convertible, Elkhart Green with a black vinyl mesh interior. I remember standing up (this was long before airbags, crumple zones, mandatory seat belt laws, or the hyper-safety-conscious society of today) in the passenger seat, convertible top down, with Dad's foot deep in the throttle on a two-lane Missouri highway. I would squeal in delight as that big V-8 roared down the road, blowing my hair back, watching all my surroundings speed up in synchronicity with that green bullet. I loved his Corvette, and was forever hooked on those fiberglass wonders.

When I was 14, my father began looking for a Corvette close to his high school graduation year, 1961. He liked the styling of the previous model year, because is still had the sweeping, rounded rear end. Dad had been in an accident when he was in college that had done some permanent damage to his ankle, so automatic transmissions were easier to drive. He wanted a car that was original, not modified. He also loved the red with white cove paint scheme. This search pre-dated the internet by quite some time, so the best place to look was the local newspaper. The trouble was, I was so infatuated with cars, I would read all the classified ads every weekend, even before I could drive. If Dad wanted to look for a Corvette, he had to beat me to the classifieds. Eventually, he just started asking me what was for sale each weekend.

After about a year of checking, I found an ad for a car I thought my father would like. It was a 1960 Chevrolet Corvette, red and white, numbers matching 283/230hp engine, and a Powerglide automatic transmission. It had 29,000 original miles on it, and had never been wrecked or damaged. The gentleman who owned the car lived in a little town on the other side of the city. I remember riding to his house with my father, in his 1976 Corvette. The seller had a driveway full of other great cars, but nothing as cool to me as that 1960. Dad drove the car, negotiated his purchase price, wrote the seller a check, shook hands, and agreed to pick up the car in a couple of days.

I remember Dad drove the car for a few months, then parked it in an airplane hangar. We didn't have enough space for it at home, and my father was a private pilot, so he parked it with his plane. I didn't see it much for a few years.

I barely graduated high school. (Dad says I got out on a plea bargain.) It wasn't that I was incapable (I was in the gifted program-and in-school suspension), it was that I was bored. I wasn't much interested in most of my school work. I was far more interested in cars and girls. So when I did graduate, my father told me I should go find a new car. He gave me a budget and a few other parameters, and let me go. I chose a little red Mazda RX-7 GTU. Dad called to find out how much insurance would be. Little did he know, I had paid off a truckload of speeding tickets over the past three years. The insurance agent just laughed, then told him "around $3,000 a year". The old man was livid. While yelling at me, he said, "For that kind of money, you could be driving a Corvette!" Lightning had struck. I watched the look on his face change as the idea took hold. Then he asked, "How would like to have my old Corvette?" That is how a skinny, irresponsible, 18-year-old punk from Kansas came to own a vintage Corvette convertible three days before his high school graduation. Dad was thrilled because he saved the purchase price of an RX-7 GTU. I was thrilled because I got to look like King Stud of the Universe.

Read the story & see many more photos

Source: Classic Car Land (online) - Brett Hatfield

Submitted by Phil Ellison

Exploring the Curious Cult of the Corvette

It was an oppressively hot day in White Plains, and Guy Zani Jr. was driving one of his Corvettes with the roof down. ''I'm a little low now,'' he said. ''I've only got six Corvettes. Usually, I've got eight or ten. This one's a 1957. Some great-looking car, right?''

Streets and cars became a blur. Mr. Zani kept up his Corvette monologue. ''I have to warn you, I'm not normal,'' he said, not without pride. ''I'm really gone on this car. It's hard for me to explain it. After you've owned one for a while, you get what I call the fever. When I'm behind the wheel of a Corvette, I feel like a new me.''

Mr. Zani got into Corvettes early. In 1958, when he was 15, a Corvette used to be parked across the street from his grandfather's garage. When nobody was looking, Mr. Zani would climb into it, shut his eyes and dream that he was piloting it at 300 miles an hour. The best night of the week was when the television series ''Route 66'' came on, because he could watch Martin Milner and George Maharis barrel down the highway in a shiny Corvette.

A chatty, weathered-looking man with a tidy beard, Mr. Zani today owns his grandfather's garage. Over the years, he has bought and restored dozens of Corvettes. He can talk Corvettes about seven or eight hours longer than most people are willing to listen. Whenever he learns of an old Corvette for sale, he will hop into one of his Corvettes and roar off for a look. One time, acting on a tip, he drove three hours and found a Thunderbird. He was depressed all night.

Mr. Zani belongs to a peculiar, possessed, mysterious cult. He is a certifiable Corvette nut.

The Chevrolet division of General Motors, which makes the Corvette, does not object to these eccentricities. Year after year, it sells about $1 billion worth of Corvettes.

There are hundreds of thousands of people like Guy Zani, who, defying normalcy, are obsessed by Corvettes. Some people love Jaguars and others think nothing equals a vintage Plymouth Duster, but in the hierarchy of car freaks none ranks above the Corvette nut. Vette Vues, a monthly magazine devoted to the Corvette, attempted to summarize the phenomenon: ''The Corvette carries a very strange, almost unexplainable mystique; one that can turn perfectly rational, sane, mature human beings into incoherent, delirious blabbering idiots!'' There are people like Les Bieri, a former nuclear engineer whose idea of retirement is to dismantle and reassemble the 17 Corvettes he keeps near his home in Poquoson, Va. ''I have dedicated my life to my Corvettes,'' he said. There is a man in Illinois who keeps two Corvettes in his playroom. The doors have been removed and he uses the cars as large armchairs.

Read the entire story

Source: N.R. Kleinfield - NY Times (first published 7/19/1987)

Submitted by Phil Ellison

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