A retired Canadian cop has his sights focused on starting a business to sell Corvette Grand Sport replicas.
Ralph Stotschek has always been a fan of the rare model, and when he came across a company in Ohio called Mongoose Motorsports on the Internet that sells reproduction Grand Sport kits, he was quickly there with money in hand.
“Back in high school I remember reading in Hot Rod Magazine about these Grand Sport Corvettes,” he said. “I thought (the kit) was something I could build. I flew down to Ohio to meet with the guys from Mon-goose, and we hit it off like a couple of high school buddies who haven’t seen each other in years. Typical car guys.”
The Grand Sport, in case you’re not aware, was a top-secret project of Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov in the early 1960s. The clandestine plan was to build the ultimate Corvette and put an end to the embarrassing losses being suffered in Sebring and Le Mans at the hands of Carroll Shelby and his Cobras. Unfortunately, Chevy brass got wind of the project and stopped production after only five of the planned 125 street models were built. Fortunately, however, those five proved to be ultra successful in their mission, whipping Cobras from 1963 to 1967 and even later at races around the nation and overseas. By the way, all five still survive to this day, thanks to dedicated collectors and sometimes-secretive efforts.
While serving as a member of the Calgary Police Service, Stotschek also had a side business restoring old cars so he felt he was up to the challenge of building the Grand Sport replica.
“I put every nut and bolt in it – everything,” he said proudly, pointing out that the only help he got was putting in the windshield and back window.
His five-month-long construction efforts were well received, from the beginning.
“I took it to a parking lot down the street and parked it, just to make sure there were no leaks,” Stotschek said. “Two older fellows were coming through the parking lot, both of them staring at the car, and they ran into each other.”
He won the People’s Choice award at the big Airdrie show in 2009, and has even raced the car at Race City, setting fast time of the day on several occasions and bringing home some trophies.
While the car has a tube chassis and fiberglass body like the original, other parts have been upgraded – including C4 suspension and brakes and a 502 GM crate motor.
Stotschek decided to sell the car to a man named Jay Fotie and use the profits to help set up a business building and selling more of the Grand Sports so others can experience the thrill of driving one.
“It just draws attention because it’s the only one like it out there,” Fotie says. “Only about five or 10 percent of the population knows what it is, even in the car world. I tell everybody that it’s as close as you’ll get to feeling like a rock star without being one.”