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Corvette Lifestyles

World’s Ugliest Corvette

by Keith Cornett on February 5, 2006

Sometimes people go too far. Jesus, if you’re going to f*** up a Corvette, do it at the track. GM has already spent millions of dollars on styling so you don’t have to. The Mickey Mouse on the rear quarter panel will do zero for resale value. Besides, where does one find matching parts?


Exterior

Interior

Engine

NCRS Winter Regional and Mecum Auction

by Keith Cornett on January 30, 2006

Living in Tampa has its benefits and one of them is being only an hour away from one of the best NCRS shows in the Country – the Winter Regional Meet in Kissimmee, Florida. This year’s show seemed to be larger than the last few I’ve been to. As the Mecum Auction was moved to a larger facility, the NCRS show had more room for its main attraction – judging Corvettes for Top Flight and Second Flight status. The swap meet area was also humming as people were searching for that last item to complete their restoration, buying new shirts and hats or walking though the Corvettes For Sale Corral. I had my video camera along for the trip so here are a few of the Corvettes we found interesting:


1958 Fuelie Project Car

Compilation Video
Mecum Winter Classic
I’ve always loved car auctions. The buzz from potential buyers, the smell of the exhaust, the sound of the gavel as the sale concludes is all very thrilling. The new location for the Mecum Winter Classic is awesome. While it’s too bad that it couldn’t be held at the same location as the NCRS Winter Regional, their new home at the Osceola Heritage Park gives them a lot more room and therefore more cars could be part of this. The only downside was getting from the NCRS show to Heritage Park. While roughly being only 10 miles away, it took us about 25 minutes to get there due to the road construction and heavy traffic on Hwy 192. I only had a couple of hours at the auction, but they were well spent. Here are three midyears that rolled though the block, and the good news is the Barrett-Jackson pricing was left in Scottsdale.

1965 Convertible

1963 Convertible

1967 Coupe

GM and Chevy Donate Parts to Owner of Stolen Corvette

by Keith Cornett on January 27, 2006

Alan Poster, who was reunited with his 1968 Corvette last week after the car was stolen 37 years ago, got a surprise gift this week from GM Restoration Parts and Chevrolet. While doing a live interview with Cruise Control, a national automotive talk radio show, Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager called Mr. Poster to congratulate him on having his Corvette returned and told him that GM Restoration Parts and Chevrolet were giving him $2,500 credit to use during the restoration of his Corvette. “We’re happy to help Mr. Poster restore his long-lost love,” said Charles. “We understand what it’s like to fall in love with a Corvette and to get it in your blood. Corvette enjoys a 70 loyalty rate, which means 70 percent of people who buy a Corvette purchase another one.” It turns out that Mr. Poster had just purchased a 1974 Corvette prior to having his stolen 1968 Corvette convertible returned. Mr. Poster’s Corvette was returned missing several original items such as a gas tank, carburetor and a transmission, and its original International Blue paint scheme had been changed to silver. Mr. Poster said he plans to restore the car, repaint it blue and give it to his 17-year-old daughter. Although this week’s show wasn’t yet posted when we visited, a podcast of the interview with Mr. Poster will be available at www.cruisecontrolradio.com

Stolen Corvette Returned After 37 Years

by Keith Cornett on January 18, 2006

Alan Poster was 26 when he bought his first Corvette. The Corvette, painted International Blue, was purchased for $6,000. The year was 1968. Three months later, it was stolen from a parking garage. Alan thought his 1968 Convertible was gone forever. Fast forward to December 2005. Alan gets a call from officers’ Cliff Bieder and William Heiser of the NYPD Auto Crimes Division based in Queens. They said to Alan ” ‘You had a car stolen in ’69? A Corvette? What color was it?’” Mr. Poster recalled. “I said, ‘Blue.’ He said, ‘We have your car.’ ” Almost 37 years after the car was stolen, it was found, just days before being shipped to a buyer in Sweden. It was flagged during a routine Customs Service check of the vehicle identification number, sending the two New York City detectives on a long-shot search through thousands of crime reports to connect the car to its first owner. Not much is currently know as to what happened to the Corvette over the past 36 years. During that time, it was repainted and the blue interior changed to red. The engine was replaced and currently it is missing its transmission and gas tank. According to the detectives, no one ever tried to register it or insure it, or the same flags that alerted Customs would have been triggered as well. Alan says the whole experience was a miracle. He says fondly that it was “probably the only car I’ve ever really loved.” Alan picked up the Corvette during a news conference in Carson, Calif on Tuesday, January 17th. Click here to view the video of the reunion. Credits: CBS5.com

Desktop Corvette Computer

by Keith Cornett on January 12, 2006

Am I seeing a trend here? Last week it was a software upgrade, today I’m talking hardware. How about a Corvette that is a computer. The Corvette compucar is a fully functional desktop computer packed with a Pentium 4, 40Gb HardDrive, 512Mb DDRII Ram and wireless connections for a keyboard and mouse. When building your Corvette Compucar, you can select options including your choice of colors (from a list of nearly 70!), real rubber wheels and your choice of Rims. Oh yea, you can get a bigger hard drive, more RAM and all the other goodies that make this computer run like, well a Corvette! While cost is a bit pricey with the base model starting at $1,750, it would look good on any Corvette enthusiasts desk. Hey, isn’t that how I justified buying my 79 Coupe? For the non Corvette faithful, you can select other compucars including Escalades, Hummers, Mustangs and Camaros. The Corvette compucar specs include: Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHZ Prescott processor
40GB SATA HDD
4 SATA connections with RAID 0,1
Intel 915G integrated GMA (Graphic Media Accelerator – 900 Technology) supports up to 224 MB
512MB DDRII 533MHZ RAM
Slim Line Slot Load CD-RW/DVD
Intel ICH6R Integrated Audio with Realtek ALC655 5.1 CH AC97 Codec
2 Integrated Gigabit Network Adapters
Intel Pro/Wireless 2200B/G Mini-PCI Network Adapter
4 USB 2.0 Ports
2 IEEE 1394 Ports (Firewire)
Microsoft Wireless Multimedia Keyboard
Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse
Microsoft Windows XP Home
PowerDVD (DVD player software)
McAfee VirusScan 9.0 w/1yr subscription
1yr parts and labor warranty Click here to view the Corvette Compucar.

Twas the Night Before Christmas – Corvette Style

by Keith Cornett on December 24, 2005

‘Twas the night before Christmas and out in the garage,
There wasn’t a trace of a Honda, Toyota, or Dodge.
The presents were wrapped and the lights were all lit,
So I figured I’d mess with my classic Corvette for a bit.

I popped the release and lifted the hood,
When a deep voice behind me said “looks pretty good.”
Well, as you can imagine, I turned mighty quick,
And there, by the workbench, stood good ol Saint Nick!

We stood there a bit, not too sure what to say,
Then he said “don’t suppose that you’d trade for my sleigh?
“No way, Santa” I said with a grin,
“But if you’ve got the time we can go for a spin!”

His round little mouth, all tied up like a bow,
Turned into a smile and he said “Sure! Let’s go!!”
So as not to disturb all the neighbors’ retreat,
We quietly pushed the Vette out to the street,

Then, taking our places to coast down the hill,
I turned on the key and I let the clutch spill.
The sound that erupted took him quite by surprise,
But he liked it a lot, by the look in his eyes.

With tires a’ screaming and side pipes aglow,
We headed on out to where the hot rodders go.
And Santa’s grin widened, approaching his ears,
With every shift up as I banged through the gears.

Then he yelled “can’t recall when I’ve felt so alive!”
So I backed off the gas and asked Santa if he wanted to drive.
Ol Santa was stunned when I gave him the keys,
When he walked past the headlights he shook at the knees!

The Corvette exploded with side exhaust sound!
And when Santa let out the clutch and the tires shook the ground!
Power shift into second, again into third!
I sat there just watching, at loss for a word,

Then I heard him exclaim as we blasted from sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, it’s one hell of a night!!!”


Credits: CorvetteForum.com, FFCobra.com

 

Driving Your Corvette In A Parade? Review Our Rules

by Keith Cornett on December 20, 2005

Many times as Corvette owners we are asked to drive participants in parades, homecoming football games and other pageants that require motor vehicles. Parade driving is a lot of fun IF you follow the rules. Unfortunately for a retired fire chief from Gastonia, North Carolina who drove his midyear Corvette in a Christmas parade, the rules did not include: Drinking Heavily Before the Parade
Running over the Feet of Spectators
Carrying a Handgun
Resisting Arrest
Yes, a retired fire chief with a .22 blood alcohol content was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving during a Christmas parade after he drove his classic Corvette over the foot of a spectator. Our fun-loving chief was also carrying a .22 pistol and yes, he resisted arrest. For most Corvette owners, these rules are no-brainers. But let’s review just in case we miss something. Don’t drink and drive in your Corvette. Driving a Midyear should be intoxicating enough without the alcohol. Stay in the center of the parade route. You are not a Shriner riding on a little motorcycle. You might want to consider declining the invitation to drive in a parade if it requires the driver to carry a handgun. Finally, should you be drink and drive, hit a spectator, be arrested on DUI and gun charges, make sure that when you resist arrest you do it in front of a television camera so the rest of can see what a dumbass you are.

Corvette Video Podcasts

by Keith Cornett on December 13, 2005

iTunes is much more than just an online music store. The site now offers video downloads, but more importantly has become a hub for publishers of audio and video content called podcasts. Edmunds.com is now offering through iTunes free downloads of their video podcasts of automotive reviews. All three 2006 Corvette models are currently available for viewing, along with 21 other models. The videos begin with a 15 second commercial and then go right into the review, which last about 2 1/2 minutes. What’s really cool is that you get to see and hear the Corvettes perform. With the Z06, they show the car on the highway as well as running on a track. The video for the Convertible was particularly enjoyable for its visuals and descriptions. While Corvette enthusiasts won’t learn anything new from the video reviews, they are entertaining to say the least. iTunes is a free download and works on both Macs and PC’s. The videos are available for free download, so there are no costs associated with viewing the content.

The Z06 on the Mother Road

by Keith Cornett on December 9, 2005

It’s a trip most Corvette enthusiasts only dream about. The Mother Road, Route 66, stretches more than 2,000 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA. While I am too young to remember the television show, the dream of crossing half the United States in a Corvette is something that I vow will one day happen. Until then, I will just have to enjoy the exploits of those who have actually done it. Bill Baker of Edmund’s Inside Line recently took to the Mother Road in the Mother of all sports car, the 2006 Corvette Z06. Reading his story, I find myself imagining I am riding shotgun as he is crossing California’s Mojave Desert:

“… I could see the road ahead was empty to the horizon. I dropped the six-speed gearbox from 6th to 4th and floored it. Like a cathedral pipe organ playing Bach’s “Toccata” with all the stops out, the 7.0-liter, 505-hp LS7 V8 began to thunder and howl toward its 7,000-rpm redline. The dual-stage mufflers opened to release back pressure and a soul-stirring roar that echoed off the mountains. The head-up digital speedometer and tach display changed numbers faster than a premium gas pump totals dollars. 105, 118…think, look, stay on it. 139 — the front end is feeling light over the rough pavement. Stare at the horizon ’til your eyes harden — and keep your foot planted. 145…flick your eyes for an instant to check the HUD. 154 mph. Things are beginning to blur… there’s a slight rise loomin…”
Bill offers an excellent account of not only the Z06, but of Route 66 as it exists today. Today’s Route 66 features a mix of Historic signs, museums and restored buildings with their classic neon signs alongside towns with vacant store fronts and rusting relics. Bill, thanks for the ride… Click here to read the entire article. (Photo Credit Bill Baker)

Corvette’s Tom Wallace Q & A

by Keith Cornett on November 29, 2005

New Chief Engineer Talks About Racing, Restoring and Teaching Respect for Automobiles

On Jan. 1, 2006, Tom Wallace will officially become the car guy with the best job in the world. On that date he will succeed Dave Hill as Corvette chief engineer and vehicle line executive (VLE) for performance cars. Wallace will become only the fourth person to carry the title of Corvette chief engineer in the marque’s history, joining an exclusive club whose membership includes Zora Arkus-Duntov, Dave McClellan and Hill. As the head of the Corvette Nation, Wallace will become the steward of the Corvette legend and the head of an extended family of Corvette enthusiasts, owners, collectors and racers. He is the right gearhead for the job, with more than 30 years of experience as a hands-on builder, restorer, race car driver, and all-around car nut. Wallace, 57, was born in Pittsburgh. He began his GM career as a cooperative student with Buick Motor Division in 1970. He held several engineering positions focusing on engine technology and played a key role in the development of the turbocharged Buick Grand National coupes of the early ’80s. Wallace most recently was vehicle line executive for Small/Midsize Trucks. After competing in amateur drag racing and gymkhana, Wallace started road racing with the Sports Car Club of America more than 30 years ago. He has competed in a variety of sedan and GT classes with raced-prepared Oldsmobile, Buick and Chevrolet models. He raced professionally in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) American Challenge series in 1978-79 in several endurance races, including the Sebring 12-hour and Daytona 24-hour events. Wallace now races regularly in the Detroit area and has twice won the GT1 championship at Waterford Hills Raceway. He has competed in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs six times. His sons, Brian, 35, and Tom, 38, are avid road racers who also have competed the SCCA Runoffs. In the following Q&A, Wallace discusses racing’s impact on both individuals and auto manufacturers. How does your racing experience influence your approach to your new position as Corvette chief engineer?

The one thing that racing absolutely drives is discipline in timing. When they call the cars to the starting grid, you can’t say, “Hold on, I need some more time.” You can’t let it slide; you have to look at the end point and plan your work to be completed before grid time. The second is the need for balance in the product. You can have a great motor, but if your chassis doesn’t work, it’s not a good race car. If you don’t have a good driver, a good crew chief and a good crew, it doesn’t work. If you run out of money and can’t buy tires, you’re done. You must balance all of the components. It really is critical to understand you can’t allow one thing to override the whole vehicle. Last but not least, you learn it’s no fun to finish second. Winning is everything in racing and in the marketplace we’re in today.
How does racing impact production vehicles?
Dave Hill and his team have done an awesome job with the sixth-generation Corvette. I’ve been fortunate to drive an early production Z06, and it’s one incredible vehicle. First and foremost, we’ll continue to build on this strong foundation by continuously improving the current vehicle and developing the next generation Corvette. I like performance vehicles, I drive them and I own them. I race fast cars so I understand what it takes to make a vehicle feel good, how it’s connected to the driver. I don’t mean we’re going to build race cars, but there is definitely cross-over from racing to production. For example, how does the brake pedal feel relate to how the vehicle decelerates? A race car has exceptional brake pedal feel, and the driver knows he has complete control of stopping of the vehicle. That brake pedal feel may be too touchy for the street, but you can start there and dial it back to where it’s right for everyday driving. Another example: good on-center steering feel is absolutely essential in a race car. To go fast in road racing you must hit the apex within inches every time. The only way you can hit the apex accurately is to have steering with such excellent on-center feel that you know exactly where the front wheels are. Customers who drive on the street also want great steering feel when they’re driving down the highway. The vehicle doesn’t wander, and when they see a pothole, they know exactly how much input they need to drive around it.
How did you start in racing?
When I was in high school, I loved racing and fast cars. I don’t know where that came from, perhaps from one of my grandfathers who was mechanically inclined. I was fortunate to get a degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute and started my career at Buick. A few months after I moved to Michigan from Pittsburgh, I bought a ’67 RS Camaro. It didn’t have a radio or air conditioning, but it did have big disc brakes, a four-speed transmission and a 4:10 rear axle. I drag raced it for a while, did some gymkhana, and finally decided to go road racing.
What is the appeal of road racing?
When I was drag racing, I put in hours and hours of effort to make three or four 14-second runs. I didn’t like off-road rallying with a car, and I didn’t own a truck. Then I did some gymkhana races in parking lots, going around pylons, and that really interested me. My Camaro was 18 inches above the ground when I was drag racing, and then I had it slammed on the ground for gymkhana. This was my family car that I drove to the grocery store, and I torched the fenders and flared them to fit bigger tires. I liked that kind of driving, so I decided to try wheel-to-wheel racing. I went to a couple of driving schools and I got hooked. That’s what I’ve done ever since.
And you passed on this interest in racing to your sons?
I don’t know whether it was intentional, but it happened. When my sons Brian and Tom were young, they were interested in cars. They came out to the garage and helped me, and I started to teach them. By the time they were eight or nine, they crewed for me on the race car. Years later they went to Phoenix with me on a business trip and we found two rust-free Camaros that we could restore. We brought them back to Michigan and restored them as a family project, and to this day they both have beautiful Camaros.
What did you teach your sons through their involvement with automobiles?
One of a parent’s worst fears is that a young driver will be hurt in a highway accident. I didn’t have that worry because my sons had so many hours invested in their cars that they would never do something foolish. They had learned respect for their automobiles. They also learned that you have to pay attention to details and to strive for perfection if you want to be successful in racing. Those are traits that carry over into the rest of life.
What is it about Corvette that excites enthusiasts?
It’s the American sports car icon. There is some formidable competition, but Corvette has been around the longest, it offers the best value and the best balance. Corvettes are fast, and enthusiasts appreciate performance. When I attend races and see hundreds of cars in the Corvette Corrals, I’m in awe. I’m going to spend a lot of time with Corvette owners because they have red Bowtie blood in their veins. Corvettes have always raced, but Corvette wasn’t officially in racing until 1999. What’s the importance of having Corvette Racing competing as a factory team? Before the formation of Corvette Racing, much of the factory racing support had a very low profile. It was helpful, but it wasn’t as effective as a true factory-backed team. I think that today’s Corvettes are absolutely better because we are officially connected with the race team. I intend to do everything it takes to ensure that Corvette continues to be the icon for the American sports car.
Is being the Corvette chief engineer a dream job, something you imagined as a teenager?
Being a gearhead, Dave Hill and I had a great relationship. We’d bounce ideas off each other, and he’d ask me to drive an engineering development car for a few days and give him my opinion. Even before getting this job I was driving a Z06 because he knew I’d drive it hard. So yes, it’s a dream job, and it’s still sinking in how awesome it is.
What’s your current race car project?
I had a tube-framed GT1 Camaro that we raced in SCCA. My crew chief, Mike Begley, and I built it identical to a Trans-Am car, about 2300 pounds with 700 horsepower. I just sold that because we are building a new car, and just coincidentally, it’s a Corvette.
Will your new job responsibilities cut into your track time?
I certainly hope not, but if they do, so be it. It may take some time for me to get integrated with the Corvette group, but I’m not going to cut out track time completely from my schedule.
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