Corvette Historical Facts

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57 years ago today…

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The Corvette was born!

June 30th, 1953 in Flint, Michigan, our national love affair with the Corvette began and continues to grow as we near the car’s 6th decade.

Let’s all lift our glasses to another 57 years!!

Keith at CorvetteBlogger has some neat vintage shots and more information on the Corvette’s first days.

The Corvette Still Reigns Supreme…

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

The Corvette Still Reigns Supreme… and a recent survey by Hagerty says just that. The Michigan insurance company asked its clients which American sports car they couldn’t live without and the Corvette won hands down. The Corvette is synonymous with America’s car culture and it continues its popularity in dealer showrooms, classic car shows, and in garages worldwide. Hagerty’s survey only confirmed what we already knew, the Corvette is still the one. For those keeping score, number two was the Ford Mustang followed by the Dodge Challenger. Check out the complete list at hagerty.com/corvettenumber1.

The ZR-1 (1970-’72) Street Legal Racer…

Friday, September 19th, 2008

In 1970 Chevrolet Corvette introduced to the racing world a new street legal racing machine. The racer was dubbed the ZR-1. Production was limited to 1970, ’71, and ’72. Altogether for the three years, ZR-1 Corvettes totals 53 cars; 25 were produced in 1970, 8 in 1971, and 20 in 1972. Racers saw the natural roll bar effect of the coupe as a safety advantage and, as a result, there are few convertibles.

What is a ZR-1 Corvette? A ZR-1 Corvette is an LT-1 equipped Corvette produced in 1970, ’71, or ’72. ZR-1′s were specially equipped with all the heavy duty racing equipment  that had previously been used on the L-88 Corvettes of 1967, ’68, and ’69.  The only other Corvettes to receive this special group of heavy duty racing equipment in a package were the ZR-2 in 1971. The ZR-1 included the LT-1 engine, M-22 transmission, heavy duty J56 power brakes, transistorized ignition, special aluminum radiator, and special springs, shocks, and front and rear stabilizer bars.

ZR-1 identification features: (1) LT-1 engine, suffix CTV-1970, CGY-1971, or CKY-1972, (2) J-56 heavy duty brake package with dual pin front brake calipers (power), (3) F-41 heavy duty suspension package, 7 leaf rear spring, heavy duty shock absorbers, heavy duty 5/8″ front sway bar and heavy duty rear spindle struts, (4) M-22 (rockcrusher) transmission, (5) large aluminum radiator with expansion tank (no other LT-1 equipped car has an expansion tank), (6) steel fan shroud, other than 1972′s (most), (7) radio delete (no fenders drilled for antenna). The ZR-1 package could not be ordered with any creature comforts, ie: air conditioning, power windows, power steering, radio, alarm system, rear window defroster, or special trim items like P02 wheel covers.

The ZR-1 cars are the rarest small block Corvettes ever produced. The most common ZR-1 (the 1970) has only 5 more than the rarest L-88 (1967 – 20 units total). The ZR-1 cars are about five times rarer than L-88 cars.

You can see a pair of ZR-1′s Go to: 1970 – NSN-CG2 or 1972 – 241Z

note: portions of this article were taken from Vette Vues Magazine

Terry’s B-List (The Affordables)

Friday, March 21st, 2008

1955 V-8 • 700 produced (7 Blue Flame Six; 693 with V-8′s) • values $125K to $350K
1957 Fuelie • 1,040 produced (RPO-684 HD racing suspension, 51 produced; RPO-579E air box, 43 produced) • value $250K up on the RPO-684/579E
1958-’62 Fuelies • RPO 684 + RPO 687 HD brakes + suspension; 884 produced in all 5 years/177 per year • value $150K up (1958 RPO-684 are very special and more expensive)
1958-’61 Dual Four • 245 hp and 270 hp • value $100K up
1963 Fuelie Split Window • 1,300 prox. produced • value $100K up
1965 Fuelie • last year fuelie (771 produced) • value $100K up
1965 396-425 hp • first/last year for the 396 (only 2,157 produced) • value $100K up (M-22 adds $150K to $250K)
1966 427-425 hp • 5,258 produced • #2 in top 40 fastest muscle car list • value $100K up • 15 M-22 produced (adds $150K to $250K)
1967 435 hp • 3,754 produced (popular then/popular now) • colors & documentation is important & rare • value $150K up
1963-’67 Tanker • 63 ’63′s produced, 38 ’64′s produced, 41 ’65′s produced, 66 ’66′s produced, 2 ’67′s produced • values range $125K up • ’63′s are hot and just try to find a ’67 (probably $500K to $1 million)
1967 400 hp/air/convt. • colors & documentation is important • value $150K up
1968/69 L-89 • 624 1968′s/390 1969′s produced with aluminum head option • value $150k up
1968/69 435 hp • 2,898 (’68) 2,722 (’69) produced • colors/documentation adds a lot • values $100K up
1970 LT-1 • 1,287 produced • value $60K up
1971 LT-1 • 1,949 produced • value $60K up
1972 LT-1 • 1,741 produced • value $60K up • add air and price soars especially convertibles (less than 50)

footnotes:
A) must be the real deal… not fakes or frauds
B) Colors (Black) adds a lot… must be real factory original body/trim tag
C) Original documentation, history, and Bloomington/NCRS show awards adds a lot,br>
D) Original rare options adds a lot (set of Kelsey bolt-on wheels and red stripe tires sold on eBay in ’07 for $33K)
E) Original, unrestored in excellent condition adds a lot.
condition based on #1 or #2
F) Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware). We are adrift in a sea of sharks disguised as mermaids.
G) When it is time to sell… be a smart seller. High-profile events like the Barrett-Jackson and Mecum Muscle Car auctions will get you more money for your car than newspaper and trade publication advertisements. Plan ahead if you’re considering selling your baby: seek good lot numbers (pay a premium if you must) and baby-sit your car during the event to answer questions and show pride in your car – it is a reflection of you, and people simply pay more if they like the seller.
A-E) Equals an overall package and desirables.

Much of information is based on writer’s personal knowledge and prices achieved at high profile public auctions.

Terry’s A-List (When money is no object)…

Friday, March 7th, 2008

1963 GRAND SPORT • 5 produced • value $6 million and up (good luck)… none for sale
1969 ZL1 • 2 produced • value $3 million and up (good luck)… none for sale
1967 L-88 • 20 produced • value $1.5 million and up (good luck)… none for sale
1968/69 L-88 • 196 produced • value $350K to $750K (They are out there)
1971 ZR2 • 12 produced • value $350K to $650K (4 known to exist)
1967 L-89 • 16 produced • value $450K to $750K (few known to exist)
1953 BLUE FLAME • 300 produced • value $300K to $500K (VIN 003 sold for $1 million; VIN 005 sold $850K)
1963 Z06/TANKER • 63 produced • value $275K to $400K (add for race history)
1970-’72 ZR1 • 53 produced • value $125K to $200K (few exist)
1971 LS6 • 188 produced • value $125K to $200K (not hard to find)

footnotes:
A) must be the real deal… not fakes or frauds
B) Colors (Black) adds a lot… must be factory original body/trim tag
C) Original documentation, history, and Bloomington/NCRS show awards adds a lot
D) Original rare options adds a lot (set of Kelsey bolt-on wheels & red stripe tires sold on eBay in ’06 for $33K)
E) Original, unrestored in excellent condition adds a lot.
F) Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware). We are adrift in a sea of sharks disguised as mermaids.
G) When it is time to sell… be a smart seller. High-profile events like the Barrett-Jackson and Mecum Muscle Car auctions will get you more money for your car than newspaper and trade publication advertisements. Plan ahead if you’re considering selling your baby: seek good lot numbers (pay a premium if you must) and baby-sit your car during the event to answer questions and show pride in your car – it is a reflection of you, and people simply pay more if they like the seller.
A-E Equals an overall package and desirables.

Much of information is based on writer’s personal knowledge and prices achieved at high profile public auctions.

What has been written about the L-88 Corvette…

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Racing improves the breed…

The Mark IV’s development was a direct result of Chevrolet’s search for more performance than the W-series could find within unusual canted-deck, flat bottom cylinder head design. The secret of the Mark IV was its heads that angled the valves in two planes to create a semi-hemispherical combustion chamber with gently-curved runners and efficient valve location. The ultimate development of the Mark IV big block was the L88 Corvette. Each engine was individually built, assembled, blueprinted and tested off-line in the Tonawanda engine factory.

The word on the L88 hardly got out in 1967 and only 20 were built. Awareness grew in 1968, when 80 were delivered, followed by 116 in 1969, the last year in production. The L88′s reputation far exceeded its exposure and these 216 Corvettes have become the most sought and valuable of all Corvettes. Many were raced, gathering laurels in North America and in Europe. Others were raced less formally on side streets and service roads.

Only 80 L88 Corvettes were built in 1968; the same number of 1968 Corvettes came with the M22 close ratio, heavy duty ‘Rock Crusher’ transmission. Only 81 Corvettes with the J56 special performance brakes were built. PRO Export Preparation is so rare and unusual it doesn’t appear on published options lists for 1968 Corvettes.

Modern Corvettes boast blazing performance in their Z06 packages but their performance pales in contrast with this brutal, exhilarating 1968 and 1969 L88.

Buyers who lived in the right place, got along well with their Chevy dealer and knew the right codes and terminology could tailor their Corvette exactly to their liking and with just a little edge over even owners of comparably-powered Corvettes. One example of a tiny but significant advantage was ‘Export’ cars which avoided some of the power-robbing and weight-adding emission control equipment. No car could better benefit from incremental improvements of export preparation than the L88 Corvette.

Built off-line in a corner of Chevrolet’s Tonawanda, NY engine factory, the L88′s attributes were legendary. It was Corvette’s answer to the Cobras and Ferraris, a full-bore racing engine that appeared on paper to be sufficiently unattractive than all but the well-informed, serious racers would overlook it. The L88 option appeared on Corvette’s option list as a 430hp version of the 427 cubic inch engine. In rating the L88, Chevy quit the dyno run well below the rpm where it had maximum torque, much less maximum horsepower. In actual fact every L88 cranked out 550 or so horsepower.

Every part was individually weighed, blueprinted, fitted. You didn’t get air conditioning with the L88 engine. You could get your L88 without emissions control equipment by specifying PRO if the ordering dealer and any watchful order processor upstream let it through.

Racing improves breed, but the old time sensations are bigger, better and more exciting.

**SOURCE: Bonhams & Butterfields Auction Catalog, Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, Friday, August 17th, 2007

What has been written about the 1967 Corvette…

Friday, October 19th, 2007

It is very hard to argue the attraction of a big block, tri-power, solid lifter, Mid-Year Corvette roadster. If there were illustrations of examples of the definition of ‘macho’ in the dictionary it’s likely the Corvette would be there, alongside avalanche-busting and cage fighting.

There is nothing, in the least, subtle about 427/435 Corvette. Rude, loud and unruly only mildly describes the engine and drivetrain’s characteristics. In a coupe the sound and furor were contained within the passenger compartment. In the roadster it was all out there in the open.

Constraining their excesses is a challenge. Their noise, tenderness, and elemental sensations are in pointed contrast to the quiet luxurious climate controlled refined sport cars that have redefined ‘sporting’ in the 21st century’s first decade.

Today, however, it is those very characteristics that endear the rudest wildest Corvette to collectors.

Many people think of the 1967 Corvette as the best Corvette ever built. Its reputation owes at least something to the fact that Chevrolet never intended that it be built at all.

Chevrolet’s stingy allocation of engineering resources for the Corvette delayed the third generation Corvette. There wasn’t time for the usual model change tweaks, so the ’67 Corvette was remarkably clean, functional and free of the fussy stylist touches that tend to clutter up the final years of a generation.

One in four 1967 Corvette buyers opted for tri-power 427s under the hood and their popularity has been affirmed by collectors ever since.

A sporting individual in 1967 who wanted the ultimate in performance with just a hint of sybaritic (devoted to pleasure and luxurious ease) accommodations, chose the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette roadster and checked off L71 on the order form. It added $437.10 to the invoice but in return the prospective Corvette owner got the 427 cubic inch/435 horsepower engine with solid lifter camshaft and three two-barrel carburetor intake. The progressive throttle linkage fed the engine off the center carb most of the time but suddenly opened up the other two-barrels when the pedal was matted.

It was in many respects the best of both worlds. Fairly docile low-and mid-range performance in everyday use while running on the center holley two-barrel with the sure and certain knowledge that another quarter inch or so of throttle movement would unleash the furies.

The powerglide automatic is a matter of personal preference, but for any Corvette collector who finds the heavy clutch of a big block four-speed to be a challenge it is a shining opportunity.

The freedom to choose from vast options list has resulted in some very unusual, and sometimes unique, combinations, especially among relatively low production models like Corvette.

That’s an attractive concept and it has continued to demonstrate its attractiveness in the subsequent 40 years until today the 427/435 hp big block Corvette is one of the most desired and avidly sought after of all collector cars.

**SOURCE: Bonhams & Butterfields Auction Catalog, Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, Friday, August 17th, 2007

1967 Corvette Historical Facts

Friday, May 4th, 2007

1967 Corvette Historical Facts (condensed version)
The 1967 Corvette Celebrates its 40th anniversary this year (2007) and marks the end of the Corvette’s second generation (1963 to 1967). The 1967 Corvette is unequivocally the high water mark or holy grail for Corvette collectors in the know and has an appreciation record that tracks well back to the mid 1970′s with many selling for the six figure range today.

Recently a 1967 Corvette coupe VIN #22940 (known as the Last Sting Ray) sold for $660,000.00 and the preceding day a 1967 L-88 received a bid in excess of 1.5 million dollars.

A. 1967 Corvette were produced from September 1966 through July 1967 with a total production of 22,940 of which only 8,504 were coupes.

B. 1967 Corvette had functional side fender vents with five slots.

C. 1967 Corvette had a blue GM Mark of Excellence label attached to the back of each door above the latch.

D. 1967 Corvette engine combinations were: 327-300 hp (6,842 produced), 327-350 hp (6,375 produced), 427-390 hp (3,832 produced), 427-400 hp (2,101 produced), 427-435 hp (3,754 produced), 427-435 with aluminum heads (16 produced), 427-430 [L-88] (20 produced).

E. 1967 Corvette L-88 engines exceeded 500 hp but were intentionally understated to restrict its appeal to non-racing clients.

F. Some of the rare options were: C-48 heater & defroster deletion (35 produced), L-88 engine (20 produced), L-89 engine (16 produced), M-22 heavy duty transmission, N03 36 gallon fuel tank (2 produced), and N89 cast aluminum bolt-on wheels (720 produced).

G. 1967 colors were: Tuxedo Black (815 produced), Ermine White (1,423 produced), Rally Red (2,341 produced), Marina Blue (3,840 produced), Lyndale Blue (1,381 produced), Elkhart Blue (1,096 produced), Goodwood Green (4,293 produced) , Sunfire Yellow (2,325 produced), Silver Pearl (1,952 produced), Marlboro Maroon (3,464 produced), and ten (10) 1967 Corvettes had non-standard paint or just plain primer.

H. The 1967 was the last year of the famous Sting Ray (two words).

source: Corvette Black Book, Mike Antonick (2006)

1965 Corvette Historical Facts

Friday, May 4th, 2007

1965 Corvette Historical Facts (condensed version)
The 1965 Corvette production marked the end of the famed Rochester fuel injection and the beginning and end of the famed 396-425 hp Corvette Big Block!

A. 1965 Corvettes were produced from August 1964 through August 1965 with a total production of 23,564 of which only 8,186 were coupes.

B. 1965 marked the last year of the Rochester fuel injection (771 produced).

C. 1965 marked the first and last year of the 396 ci-425 hp engine for the Corvette (2,157 produced).

D. 1965 marked the first year that four-wheel disc brakes were available as standard equipment.

E. 1965 Corvette engine combinations were: 327-250 hp (2,551 produced), 327-300 hp (8,358 produced), 327-350 hp (4,716 produced), 327-365 hp (5,011 produced), 327-375 hp (771 produced), 396-425 hp (2,157 produced).

F. Some of the rare options were: C-48 heater and defroster deletion (39 produced), F-40 special suspension (975 produced),J61 drum brakes/credit (316 produced), N03 36 gallon fuel tank (41 produced), N14 side mount exhaust (759 produced ) and 4.56:1 ratio rear end (789 produced). Other very rare racing options also were available but that information has not been printed as of yet.

G. 1965 colors were: Tuxedo Black (1,191 produced), Ermine White (2,216 produced), Nassau Blue (6,022 produced), Glen Green (3,782 produced), Milano Maroon (2,831 produced), Silver Pearl (2,552 produced), Rally Red (3,688 produced), Goldwood Yellow (1,275 produced), and five 1965′s had non-standard paint or primer.

H. Chevrolet built two 1965s after production officially ended July 31st.

I. The first 1965 was painted 1964 Satin Silver and coded ZZ (Cadillac’s code for the same color) and currently belongs to a ProTeam client.

source: Corvette Black Book, Mike Antonick (2006)

1961/1962 Corvette Historical Facts

Friday, May 4th, 2007

1961 Corvette Facts (condensed version)
1961 Corvettes were produced from September 1960 through July 1961 with a total production of 10,939. All 1961 Corvettes were convertibles with over half receiving an auxiliary hardtop.

A. Exterior styling was facelifted for 1961. It was the first Corvette without heavy “teeth” in the grill area. The rear was completely restyled with four taillights, now a Corvette tradition.

B. Exhausts exited below the body on 1961′s

C. The grill for ’61 was finished in argent silver

D. Popular & Optional Engine Combinations Were: 283ci, 315hp engine (fuel injection) – 1,462 produced; 283ci, 270hp engine (2×4 carburetor) – 2,827 produced; 283ci, 245hp engine (2×4 carburetor) – 1,175 produced.

E. RPO-687 included special front and rear shocks, air scoops/deflectors for front brakes and air scoops for rear brakes, metallic brake facings, finned brake drums with cooling fans, and quick-steering adaptor of which only 233 were produced!

F. This was the last year for use of 283ci engines in Corvettes. This was the last model with “wide” whitewall tires.

G. 1961 Colors were: Tuxedo Black – 1,340 produced; Ermine White – 3,178 produced; Roman Red – 1,794 produced; Sateen Silver – 747 produced; Jewel Blue – 855 produced; Fawn Beige – 1,363 produced; Honduras Maroon – 1,645 produced.

H. Jewel Blue exterior paint was exclusive to 1961

I. Contrasting cove colors were last available in ’61, as were dual-four carburetors.

1962 Corvette Facts (condensed version)
1962 Corvettes were produced from August 1961 through August 1962 with a total production of 14,531. All 1962 Corvettes were convertibles with over one-half receiving an auxiliary hardtop.

A. Engine displacement for 1962 increased from 283ci to 327ci. Dual-four barrel carburetors were not available. 1962 Corvettes could not be ordered with coves painted to contrast body color. This was the first model with rocker panel moldings. The conventional trunk design of the 1962 was the last until 1998. This was the last year for electric generators and solid rear axles. This was the first year to have tires with narrow whitewalls. The grill for 1962 was finished in black anodized, gold anodized, or gold anodized painted black.

B. Popular & Optional Engine Combinations were: 327ci, 340hp engine – 4,412 produced; 327ci, 360hp engine (fuel injection) – 1,918 produced; 327ci, 300hp engine – 3,294 produced.

C. RPO 687 included special front and rear shocks, air scoops/deflectors for front brakes and air scoops for rear brakes, metallic brake facings, finned brake drums with cooling fans, and quick-steering adaptor of which only 246 were produced.

D. 1962 Colors Were: Tuxedo Black ; Fawn Beige – 1,851 produced; Roman Red; Ermine White; Almond Beige – 820 produced; Sateen Silver; Honduras Maroon.

E. 1962 Corvettes were the last with a solid rear axle which marked the end of the Corvette’s first generation.

The 1962 Corvette celebrates its 45th anniversary this year (2007) and marks the end of the Corvette’s first generation (1953 to 1962).

source: Corvette Black Book, Mike Antonick (2006)

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