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Corvette Lifestyles

Bruce Willis' 1957 Corvette Roadster

The 1957 Corvette roadster owned by Bruce Willis was sold at the Bonhams & Butterfields’ California Classic auction on Saturday. The White/White convertible was hammered for a sale at $79,560 which included the undisclosed buyer’s commission. Bruce’s second Corvette in the auction was a 1967 Marlboro Maroon 427/435 Convertible that didn’t reach reserve and was unsold.

The 1957 Corvette was a gift to Bruce Willis from his ex-wife actress Demi Moore. Bruce had the non-standard Blue/White Corvette repainted to Polo White and upgraded the mechanicals by installing front disc brakes with a power booster and adding power steering. The Corvette came with the base 283 ci 220 hp V8 engine and it apparently is an original Radio Delete car.

Bruce Willis' 1957 Corvette Roadster Bruce Willis' 1957 Corvette Roadster
Bruce Willis' 1957 Corvette Roadster Bruce Willis' 1957 Corvette Roadster

Here is the description of the Bruce Willis 1957 Corvette from Bonhams & Butterfields:

1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Chassis no. E57S104949

The early Corvettes advanced steadily from the near-prototype hand built construction of the first 300 Corvettes in 1953, through their 3,640 successors in 1954, both with Blue Flame six-cylinder engines and Powerglide, through the first V-8 powered 1955 Roadsters of which only 700 were built.

1956 saw Corvette make a major evolution, becoming a true convertible with rollup windows. For the first time its distinctive fender side coves appeared. 1956 also brought Corvette’s first optional high performance engine. Described as “for racing purposes only”, its dual 4-barrel carburetors could be combined with RPO 449 high lift camshaft to deliver something like 240 brake horsepower from the little 265 cubic inch Chevy V-8. It was a harbinger of things to come.

Corvette fully matured in 1957 with a laundry list of 283 cubic inch engines and other performance options. There were five available engines, starting with the 220hp V-8 and ending, of course, with the famous 283/283 Fuelie engine. On April 9, 1957, just over half way through the year’s production, Corvette closed the last gap in its stature as a true sports car with the addition of the Borg-Warner T10 4-speed manual transmission to its options list.

Attesting to the success of the evolved Corvette concept and its execution was the year’s production, 6,339 cars, nearly double the 1956 total of only 3,467.

One of them was this base model Corvette which Demi Moore gave to Bruce Willis. It has had a thorough restoration and is still in sharp, near-showroom condition. A base 283 cubic inch, 220 horsepower car with Powerglide transmission, it was finished in Light Blue with White coves and White upholstery. Although it has a heater it is apparently an original radio delete car, as it has the factory blanking plate in the instrument panel cutout and no RF suppression shielding on the secondary ignition wires.

Bruce Willis then set out to give it some personalization, including installing disc front brakes with a power booster, power steering and radial tires (reproduction BFG Silvertown wide whitewalls) for better handling on 15” wheels with spinner wheel covers. The color combination was non-standard so Bruce entrusted it to the acknowledged experts at Performance Paint in Torrance, California to repaint it in a gorgeous nearly pure bone white color. It comes with both hard and soft tops, both in white to give it a consistent all-white presentation that is outstanding.

It is described as a sweet running Corvette in excellent overall running and driving condition and is ideal for cruising or weekend jaunts in the country. Its all-white presentation is dynamically different and will stand alone among any Corvette display.

If purists ask why it’s presented this way the response, “Because this is the way Bruce Willis wanted it,” is virtually guaranteed to start a conversation.


Source:
Bonhams & Butterfields

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Elfi Arkus-Duntov: 1915-2008

by Keith Cornett on October 25, 2008

Elfi and Zora Arkus-Duntov

If Zora Arkus-Duntov is considered the “Father of the Corvette”, then his wife Elfi was most certainly Corvette’s First Lady. The National Corvette Museum announced that Elfi Arkus-Duntov passed away on October 23, 2008 at St. John’s Hospital in Detroit. She had been hospitalized there for several weeks with a severe leg infection.

The former dancer from the Folies Bergere in Paris was 93 going on 19. Together, she and Zora personified the performance and allure of the early Corvettes. Even well into their years, the pair had an energy and spark that infected everyone around them. Now they can be together again.

Funeral arrangements are pending and additional information will be made available via the Museum. Elfi will be cremated and her ashes will be joined with Zora’s as part of the current tribute inside the Museum.


Source:
National Corvette Museum
Photo Credit: Corvette Owners Club

Related:
Zora’s Ashes Rest at Corvette Museum
Video: Zora’s 1955 Corvette Sold By RM Auctions for $134,750

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Actor and Corvette Racer Paul Newman Dies at 83

by Keith Cornett on September 28, 2008

Paul Newman and his GT1 Corvette

The country lost one of the greats this weekend with the passing of Paul Newman. Newman was diagnosed with lung cancer 18 months ago and passed away this weekend at the age of 83 years old. Paul’s love of auto racing is well documented since he starred in the 1969 movie Winning. Once hooked, he raced for the rest of his life. Just last year he had two SCCA regional class wins and a second place finish. Newman won four amateur national championships, a second place finish at Le Mans and in 1995 won the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Paul’s car of choice was his GT1 Corvette. Every year it was renumbered to coincide with his age. Last July, Paul and his #82 Corvette finished 4th at the Glen Nationals at Watkins Glenn.

Perhaps one of the most stirring stories in racing took place in August when Lime Rock shut down for a couple of hours so that Newman could take his final laps in the Corvette.

God Bless you Paul and thank you for your support of Corvette Racing over the years. Click here for Paul Newman’s official obituary.


Source:
Autoblog Related:
Paul Newman Is Still Racing Corvettes at 82 Technorati Tags:
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[VIDEO] Cindy McCain – Corvette Drifter?

by Keith Cornett on September 17, 2008

Cindy McCain Drifting a Corvette

There are many things we don’t know about the personal lives of the Presidential candidates and that extends to their spouses as well. ESPN’s E:60 took some time with Cindy McCain and I was surprised to learn that she has a serious passion for all kinds of motor sports and has even pursued drifting.

According to her son Jack, after seeing a drifting race, Cindy was taken immediately with the sport and the two of them flew to Japan to learn from one of the Country’s highly regarded instructors.

Unfortunately, due to a wrist injury suffered on the campaign trail, we don’t get to ride along with the wife of the Republican Presidential candidate behind the wheel and sliding sideways around the corners of a track, but we do see video we’re assuming to be Cindy drifting one of the yellow Corvettes at Bondurant’s School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix.

Cindy apparently has a soft spot for NASCAR as well. The video shows her behind the wheel of Corvette Z06 Pace Car, which she drove at a NASCAR race at Pocono in August.

Cindy and her son Jack are finishing building a Nissan 240 SX with a “tricked out engine” as she calls it and promises to continue her passion for motor sports if her husband is elected.



Source:
ESPN

Related:
Bondurant Driving School Adding 2009 Corvette ZR1 to Fleet

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Only in Vegas: Rent A Corvette Z06

by Keith Cornett on September 15, 2008

C6 Corvette Z06 For Rent on the Vegas Strip

I was in Las Vegas for a long weekend to attend the wedding of a friend. Walking the strip, we came across an exotic car rental service which had this Corvette Z06 parked out front.

I couldn’t take it for a spin though as my lucky streak was limited to picking good restaurants and fast taxi lines. I was lucky to leave with a Corvette shirt on my back. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – including my money! Related:
Hertz To Offer Exclusive Limited-Edition Corvette ZHZ

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[VIDEO] Man Builds Running 1/6th Scale Corvette V8 Engine

by Keith Cornett on August 12, 2008

1/6th Scale Corvette V8 Engine

Ever since Jim Moyer was little, he had an interest in all things mechanical. While serving in the Army back in 1964, he started building his first miniature engine, the coyotee 4-cylinder, which took nearly 30 years to complete. This isn’t just a model, but an actual working engine capable of producing 11,000 RPMs. Today, Jim’s current project is a 1/6th scale Chevrolet 327 cubic inch V8 modeled on the L76 365 hp engine found in 1964 Corvettes.

Jim measured an actual 327 V8 as his guide and then began the process of fabricating the parts. The head and block began as billet aluminum that was painstakingly machined on a bridgeport-style mill. The 5-main crank has real babbit bearings and the cam is a scaled version of a 30-30 Duntov. Jim created dies for stamping out the front cover, oil pan and rockers. And since this is a running engine, there is spark ignition, a pressurized oil system and a cooling system just like those that are found on an actual 327 CI V8.

The engine will currently run for brief periods as the video shows. Jim is still completing the water pump and radiator, valve covers and the carburetor.

1/6th Scale Corvette V8 Engine 1/6th Scale Corvette V8 Engine 1/6th Scale Corvette V8 Engine

Here are the specifications for Jim Moyer’s 1/6th scale 327 ci Chevrolet V8 engine:

Type: 1/6th scale V8
Displacement:
1.10 cu in, 18 cc
Bore: 0.600 in
Stroke: 0.487 in
Ignition: Spark
Construction:
Machined Billet
Began Construction: 1998
First Ran: 11/3/05


Source:
MoyerMade.com

Related:
LS2 Corvette Engine Animation/Screensaver

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Corvette Z06 Police Car

Folks in Michigan are getting all gitty about this weekend’s Woodward Dream Cruise that runs through the heart of Detroit. From the look of Royal Oak’s newest police interceptor, I’d say the cops should be pretty excited about the cruise as well. This Corvette Z06 in Jetstream Blue Metallic is actually a loaner from the General Motors Police Fleet and will be used to maintain law and order throughout the weekend. More photos after the jump.

Corvette Z06 Police Car Corvette Z06 Police Car Corvette Z06 Police Car
Corvette Z06 Police Car Corvette Z06 Police Car Corvette Z06 Police Car
Corvette Z06 Police Car    


Source:
Jalopnik.com Related:
Fire Chief Selects a 1978 Corvette for Command Car
Hot Pursuit! Bob Lutz’s Corvette ZR1 Police Interceptor
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VetteGirl.TV Video Series

If you haven’t yet seen Becky Anderson AKA Vette Girl tearing up some of the best tracks in America in a borrowed Corvette Z06, head over to the internet show’s newly launched website, www.vettegirl.tv. The show is off to a fast start with five episodes already produced and posted, and they can all be viewed on the new site.

Becky’s enthusiasm for going fast is infectious. For those of us that have never taken a Corvette to a track event, its interesting to see what happens next as we’re new to this experience as well. And for you guys who do take their Corvettes to the track, watch out for the Blue DC C5 Z06 sporting the number 13, because the girl driving it only has one thing on her mind and it doesn’t involve following your ugly ass.

Vette Girl – An American Adventure is produced by Patrick Gramm of DigitalCorvettes.com and the quality and content to date have been excellent. A new episode is usually posted every 10 to 14 days and the interesting storyline has turned the series into a must watch for any serious Corvette fan. Make sure you register and you’ll be notified when a new episode is posted. We hear the next track on Vette Girl’s conquest list is Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Go Vette Girl Go!


Source:
www.vettegirl.tv

Related:
[VIDEO] VetteGirl.TV Video Series Makes Debut

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Remarkable 1954 Silver Style Corvette Reborn

by Keith Cornett on July 25, 2008

1954 Style Corvette - Photo credit: James Haefner

While 1954 Corvettes are far from ordinary, VIN #2771 of 3640 produced in the second year of Corvette production took the path that few Corvettes seldom see and has survived to tell the tale 54 years later. This Corvette would become part of an exclusive club known as “style” Corvettes. Style Corvettes were cars usually pulled off the assembly line and sent to GM’s design studios where they would undergo a host of interior and exterior design changes as Chevrolet looked to improve and refine the looks, comfort and usability of the two-seat sports car.

The life span of a “style” Corvette was usually short. It was common for these cars to be destroyed after their “styling” exercises were concluded, but in some instances they were returned as close as stock as possible and resold. In some rare cases, they were kept in their restyled configuration and sold to GM employees or outsiders with ties to the Corvette program

Yet E54S002771 wasn’t pulled from the assembly line like the typical style Corvette. She started out the way most 2nd year Corvettes did – delivered to her new owner with a factory fresh Polo White enamel exterior with Sportsman Red interior. The original owner of #2771 was a GM employee named Roger Crispel. Roger longed for a 1953 Corvette, but being neither a VIP nor a celebrity, the two credentials needed to secure 1 of the 300 Corvettes built in that first year, had to settle on a 1954 model.

Roger received his Corvette in the middle of 1954 and thoroughly enjoyed the car until he started having issues with the mechanicals and the top. His Chevrolet dealer was powerless to help and may have actually contributed to Roger’s problems as at one point the Corvette wouldn’t go any faster than 15 mph. Copies of letters exist today show Roger wrote to Chevrolet Chief Engineer Ed Cole, describing his issues with his 1954 Corvette and how his euphoria and enthusiasm for the car had turned to dismay. Cole suggested dropping off the car at GM’s executive garage and Roger was given use of a company car while the mechanical problems could be correctly diagnosed and fixed. GM performance contributor and 3-time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose signed off on the engine performance once the repairs were completed. Fitted with the second generation top now found on 1955 Corvettes, the Corvette was reunited with her owner.

In 1955 Roger was leading one of GM’s various interior design studios and needed a Corvette for a proposal. Instead of requesting a Corvette off the assembly line, he offered up his own car for the exercise. The first design exercise for #2771 was Shop Order 2536 and was dated 4-14-55. That exercise had the Corvette painted orange and black. “Hideous” is the word that Roger used to describe the appearance of his Corvette at the conclusion of the study.

A second Corvette design proposal was floated a few months later and once again Roger offered up his own 1954 Corvette as the subject. This exercise was Shop Order 10028 and was dated 2-11-56. The Corvette was repainted in a finish that Roger himself created. The color was described as having a goldish-silver hue and so he named it “Sahara Silver”. The interior was redone in a two-tone black and silver alligator leather trim and the original beige top was replaced with black canvas which really complimented the silver exterior and black and silver interior. Other styling enhancements included an engine-turned gauge bezel, a prototype three spoke Corvette steering wheel, vertical “shark-fin” headlamp fittings and a center armrest storage console.

1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette
1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette
1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette

The “shark-fin” headlamp fittings are one of the more interesting aspects of the second design proposal. 1953-1955 Corvettes are well known for their wire-mesh basket headlight covers, but due to laws in several states that prohibited obstruction of the headlights, the vertical shark-fin was tested as an alternative to the production headlamp baskets. In the end only two sets were made with one set installed on this 1954 Corvette while the other set found its way to GM Design Chief Chuck Jordan’s own Corvette.

The details of the two separate style exercises were well documented as Roger kept fastidious records. The 2-inch GM binder retained with the Corvette details the progress of the design proposals and numerous photos show the corvette undergoing the work in GM’s design shops. The Corvette itself is documented with the shop order (SO) id and date stamped on a metal plate that was then riveted to the Corvette’s cowl.

Sometime in the early Seventies, the Corvette was sold to Bruce Vollmer who restored the Corvette back to its original Polo White with Sportsman Red interior. The custom parts like the shark-fin headlamp splitters, dash, steering wheel and top all remained on the car. Shortly after this restoration, #2771 was parked in a heated garage where it remained for 30 years. Family, work, and money are often the reasons why cars are parked and forgotten and such was the case with this 1954 Corvette Roadster.

1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette 1954 Style Corvette

Corvette restorer Werner Meier knew #2771′s second owner Bruce Vollmer and had seen the Corvette in person. He had also seen the two-inch binder that documented her time in GM’s design studios. Knowing the special history of the Corvette, Werner often tried to convince Bruce to let him restore the car, but to no avail. Finally, the time was right and the Corvette was sold to well known automotive collector Ken Lingenfelter (no relation to John), who had the car transported to Werner’s Masterworks Automotive Services in Madison Heights, Michigan for restoration.

Werner used the data and pictures from the second design exercise as the basis of the restoration and the results of his eight months of labor are stunning. Much of the chrome had to be redone and Werner concentrated much of his talents on improving the fit and finish of the panels and gaps that early Corvettes are notoriously known for. Werner also had to take special care when working on the car’s custom pieces like the “shark-fin” headlight splitters. They were showing deterioration when he received the car and should anything have happened to them during the restoration process, there was no supplier call to order a new set.

The future of #2771 remains to be written, but looks to be much brighter since becoming one of the cornerstones of Ken Lingenfelter’s 150 car collection. Ken recently shared this Corvette and several others as E54S002771 made her public debut at the NCRS Michigan Regional Meet in Novi in Mid May 2008.

For a pricing perspective we turned to Vette-N-Vestment’s Bob Kroupa who said that documented style Corvettes are very rare and when they do reach the open market, they usually sell for a premium price. Bob mentioned the recent sale of two style Corvettes that were sold during 2006′s Bloomington Gold auction as a comparison. Both were owned by the former President of Chevrolet Bunkie Knudsen. A pink 1964 automatic coupe with air that was styled for his wife sold to collector Bob McDorman for $367,500 while Mike Yager of Mid America snatched up Bunkies personal frost blue 1964 Coupe for $278,250.


Source:
Masterworks Automotive Services
Corvette Forum

Photo Credits
Al Steiger – North Oaks Corvette Club
James Haefner – Haefner Photo
John Hinckley – Michigan NCRS

Related:
Friday’s Featured Corvettes for Sale – 1954 Edition
Rare 1957 “Airbox” Corvette Found & Restored to Former Glory

 

Fire Chief Selects a 1978 Corvette for Command Car

by Keith Cornett on July 16, 2008

Corvette Documentation

Dennis, Massachusetts Fire Chief Mark Dellner has added a new vehicle his fleet – a “fire engine red” 1978 Corvette outfitted with a light bar, graphics and a siren that can be heard two miles away. Chief Dellner says the use of the Corvette as his personal command and control vehicle makes perfect sense: “when I have to get to a fire, I have to get there fast.”

According to Chief Dellner, the Corvette will also be a public relations boon. “Actually, no, it’s just keeping up with the times,” said Dellner. “Young people like to see that public officials are ‘with it,’ and the Corvette projects the image they expect.”

“We had a little trouble mounting the light bar just behind the T-top, but it fits beautifully. Also that massive chrome siren can be heard two miles away. This little baby will get me through town at 80 miles an hour. This car was the official pace car for the 1978 Indianapolis 500. Tell me, what better car is there in which to race to a fire?”

The town’s police chief Mike Whalen has received calls from concerned citizens about the prospect of the Fire Chief’s Corvettes racing through town at 80 mph. His only comment was “Does it come in blue?”

Check out the full tongue and cheek post of the Fire Chief’s new Corvette at capecodtoday.com
Source:
capecodtoday.com Related:
Hot Pursuit! Bob Lutz’s Corvette ZR1 Police Interceptor
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