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Corvette Racing Sweeps ALMS Championships

by Keith Cornett on October 22, 2006

Corvette Racing capped Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing by sweeping the American Le Mans Series manufacturers, drivers and team championships in tonight’s season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. A runner-up finish by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R at the Monterey Sports Car Championships wrapped up Chevrolet’s sixth consecutive manufacturers’ title and gave the pair their second straight drivers championship. The four-hour race was hard fought from the green flag as all four GT1 contenders finished within one lap of each other. The Aston Martin DBR9 of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy won by 4.945 seconds over Gavin and Beretta, while the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Johnny O’Connell and Ron Fellows took third place by .474 seconds over the Aston Martin of Tomas Enge and Darren Turner. “It’s fantastic that we’ve won the championships again,” said Gavin. “This season has had some ups and downs, some great racing and some frustrating racing, and in the end we’ve come through.” “It was really close at the finish and we didn’t know whether Olivier was going to be able to catch Stephane,” Gavin continued. “He got close but then hit traffic, and then we just ran out of time.” Beretta had the best seat in the house after passing his teammate O’Connell for second in the Corkscrew with 13 minutes to go. “The final stint was amazing,” said Beretta. “We had two options today – Olly and I knew we just had to finish the race to win the drivers championship, and on the other hand we really wanted to push hard and win the manufacturers championship for Chevrolet. So I tried to forget about the drivers championship and push hard to show that Corvette was still No. 1 even with all of the handicaps we have been given this year. Corvette Racing is a great team and they gave me a great car. This is my fourth ALMS championship, but this one is the sweetest.” The race almost went awry for the No. 4 Corvette at the start when Beretta was hit from behind by a Ferrari, damaging the left-rear fender. Two laps later, a fortuitous caution period allowed the pit crew to reattach the fender without losing contact with the leaders. Then shortly after the first hour, Beretta passed Lamy for the GT1 lead. For the next 20 minutes, the GT1 contenders ran nose-to-tail in a four-car freight train. “That was a tough race against a tough competitor,” said team manager Gary Pratt. “When the No. 4 car was hit and then the caution came out I said to myself, ‘This is going to be our lucky day.’ We got it fixed and went right back out there and raced them again.” The race become a strategic chess match when the two Corvettes made their fifth and final pit stops under caution at the 2-hour, 48-minute mark, ensuring that both cars could run to the finish without another stop. When the class-leading No. 007 Aston Martin pitted with a flat tire at 3:16, the championships were virtually clinched as the Corvettes were running comfortably in second and third. O’Connell relentlessly cut the No. 009 Aston Martin’s advantage by a second a lap, passing for the lead in Turn 11 with 27 minutes remaining – but the Aston countered and regained the lead going into Turn 2. “It was a great battle,” O’Connell declared. “We got by them, he got back by me, and then I got punted by one of the prototypes. I thought we might have hurt the car, but we never gave up, and that’s the mantra of Corvette Racing.” “We’ve got a whole winter to train and I’m looking forward to next year,” O’Connell continued. “With all of the challenges that were presented to Corvette Racing this year, for Chevrolet to win the manufacturers championship and for the No. 4 car to get the drivers championship says a lot about the depth of this team.” Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan agreed: “As I said before it started, it was going to come down to who made the fewest mistakes and who had the best strategy. We planned our pit strategy to set up for a long final run. It worked to our benefit, and securing second and third was what we needed to clinch the manufacturers championship.” “Winning this championship for the sixth straight year sends a tremendous message about the durability, reliability and performance of Corvette, Chevrolet and all General Motors products,” said Fehan. “It’s a testament to how hard this race team works.” Corvette’s first class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956 was the first step onto the world stage that established Chevy’s sports car as a contender in top-level competition. “Winning the American Le Mans Series championship puts an exclamation point on Corvette’s 50th anniversary in international road racing,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “We began the year with a victory in Sebring, the site of Corvette’s first major win in 1956. In June we celebrated Corvette’s fifth win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s greatest sports car race. Now with this championship performance today at Laguna Seca, we’ve again shown why racing is such an important part of Corvette’s heritage. On behalf of the entire Chevrolet organization, I congratulate the drivers, mechanics, engineers, support personnel and team managers of Corvette Racing. They’re the best in the business, and they proved it again today.” The 2007 American Le Mans Series will begin with the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Fla., on Saturday, March 17, 2007. The 12-hour endurance race will be televised live on SPEED. Source: CorvetteRacing.com
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A V6 Corvette? Hell No Chevy!!!

by Keith Cornett on October 20, 2006

A Kappa-Platform Corvette?Jesus, I go out of town for a couple of days, and the Corvette world just goes to pieces. CorvetteConti.com drops the bomb that his inside sources say yes to a V6 powered kappa platform vehicle wearing a Corvette badge. While Corvettes in the past have offered buyers significantly different powerplants in the past (small blocks and big blocks), this would be a radical departure for Chevrolet: Two completely separate body style models. One the regular Corvette, the other is a mini-vette built on the kappa platform (think Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky),

There has always been talk of an entry level model for Corvettes. The car is a money-maker, it’s got history and enthusiasts that live and breathe Corvette. The success of the Solstice is fueling this effort and the geniuses are GM are probably trying to figure out how they can get a kappa platform for Chevrolet without competing with Corvette. Previous efforts for an entry-level Corvette never really materialized. Conti reminds us that the 99 Hardtop was supposed to be a stripped down Corvette with less power, 17 inch wheels and cloth seats. Thankfully someone (Dave Hill?) stepped in and instead the Z06 was unleashed as the hardtop model.

The only reason Chevy would want to call this car a Corvette is for name recognition. We are in New Coke territory here, folks. Nothing else about this car screams Corvette. Instead of mucking (put an F on it!) up the name of the greatest American Sports Car in history, why not just dig deep into the recesses of Chevy musclecardome and bring back something nostalgic like the Chevelle or Nova. Both are names that lend themselves to performance and affordability, and both names would be seen as Chevy trying to bring Sexy Back like they’ve done with the Camaro.

You boys at Chevrolet better get this right the first or there will be hell to pay from your loyal base. While Corvette people are some of the greatest in the world, this mini-vette and the people that drive it would initially be shunned. That’s right, you can drive your kappa Corvette, but you have to eat lunch at the kids table. Only grownups are allowed at the REAL Corvette table.


Source:
CorvetteConti.com

 

About the Five Factors Series

by Keith Cornett on October 19, 2006

I was pulled out of town unexpectedly earlier this week on a family emergency. I had originally planned to post this series over five consecutive days. However, they are a tad wordy so I have decided to break them up a bit. I am planning to post the Options and Originality Factors next week and then should be able to conclude the series with a look at Market Forces the following week. Thanks – Keith

Five Factors That Drive Corvette Values – Condition

by Keith Cornett on October 17, 2006

This is the second of our five-part series where we take an in depth look at the factors that drive Corvette values. Yesterday, we looked at the Quantity Factor. Today, our attention turns to Condition. Like any used car, pricing and valuations are based on the Corvette’s present condition at the time of the sale. Many like to use the 1 to 5 scale with 1 or C1 (Condition 1) being excellent, show quality and 5 or C5 (Condition 5) being a project car that is usually not running or unassembled in some fashion. Pricing between these points on the scale can vary wildly so it is important to know what your chosen Corvette model can be purchased for at any point on the condition scale. Most of the price guides will give you an idea as to what the price should be along each point of the scale or at the very least, a High, Low and Average figure. Corvettes that have been restored are generally classified as excellent, show condition. They are usually a 1 or 2 on the Condition Scale. There are usually two types of restorations. Frame-off or Body-off restorations refer to the car being completely torn down with all components and body panels removed from the frame, and then reassembled. A Body-On restoration refers to a Corvette that may have had as complete a restoration as possible without removing the body panels from the frame. Some Corvettes may have been restored several years prior and are sometimes referred to as an older restoration. These Corvettes may be a 2 or even a 3 on the Condition Scale. Then there are the Corvettes have been so well taken care of, that restoration may not be needed. At the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show, a separate class called Survivor was created for these unrestored, original Corvettes. While a Survivor Corvette may not be as polished as a restored Corvette, make no mistake that the condition of a Survivor Corvette’s value based on condition may just as well make it as valuable as that of one that has recently went through a frame-off restoration. Lastly, there is the Project Corvette. Oh yes, the project car, with all its potential and a seductively low price that can lure you in and trap you. Unless you are experienced in the mechanical and body issues that a project Corvette will have, as well as having the budget, you are best advised to leave these examples to the professionals. Many times you’ll be looking at Corvettes for sale and come across an ad for a “freshly restored” model, but the price seems to be thousands more than Corvettes in similar condition. This pricing anomaly could be the result of someone who got into a project and ended up spending way more than Corvette is worth. On Wednesday, our attention turns to Options. The Five Factors that Drive Corvette Values:
Part One: Quantity
Part Two: Condition
Part Three: Options

Five Factors That Drive Corvette Values – Quantity

by Keith Cornett on October 16, 2006

This is the first of our five-part series where we take an in depth look at the factors that drive Corvette values. So what drives the values of Corvettes? Much like any other automobile, Corvette values are based on a number of factors including quantity produced, condition of the car, options, originality and market forces. To arrive at an approximation of price or value, these five factors are combined and those with the best combinations rise to the top of the pricing matrix. All of this is common sense really. Take a low production car in top condition, that contains desirable options, is a documented original and then add demand and you get a highly valued Corvette. The first factor that drives Corvette values is Quantity. Corvettes were never really produced in mass like other vehicles. Sure it seems there’s a lot of Corvettes on the road, but only 1.4 million Corvettes have been made since 1953. Looking at the Total Corvette Production Chart, you can see how production rises and falls throughout the years. Chevrolet broke the 10,000 units per year mark in 1960, the 8th year of production for Corvettes, and by 1963 had moved past 20,000 units per year. In the late Seventies and early Eighties, Chevrolet was averaging 40,000 Corvettes yearly. Production then fell during the early Nineties to the 20,000 level but rose again to average in the mid 30,000’s for the C5 and C6 generations. Many Corvettes were produced in such limited number that price is high due to the limited quantity available. In 1953, the first year of the Corvette, 300 were produced, but because availability is so low, we don’t see these Corvettes for sale all that often. Vette-N-Vestments tracked the sale of just two 1953 Corvettes in all of 2005, with sales of said year averaging over $100,000. In 1979, nearly 50,000 Corvettes were produced and because such a large quantity exists, decent cars can be found for $6,000 and up. The Quantity Factor is also impacted by the production of various body styles. Looking at our previous example of the 1979 Corvette, only one model was offered that year, the T-Top Coupe. In 1963, Chevrolet offered buyers a choice between a coupe and a convertible, and production between the two models was split nearly 50-50. But because the 1963 Coupe model was the first and only year with the famous “Split-Window” design, and because only 10,594 were built, the 63 Coupe is worth more due to its limited availability. However, just because one year’s production total is lower doesn’t always make it more valuable than same models in similar years. In 1997, the first of the C5 Corvette, only 9,752 Corvettes were produced. Examples of these Corvettes can be found in the $15,000-$20,000 range and even though they are the first year of the C5 generation and produced in limited quantity, they still lead the C5 category in depreciation.

Total Corvette Production Statistics 1963 Corvette Split-Window Coupe 1979 Corvette T-Top Coupe
That leads us to the next factor we’ll cover on Tuesday: Condition. The Five Factors that Drive Corvette Values:
Part One: Quantity
Part Two: Condition
Part Three: Options

Coming Monday: Five Factors That Drive Corvette Prices

by Keith Cornett on October 13, 2006

On Monday, October 16th, we will be kicking off a five-part series entitled “The Five Factors That Drive Corvette Prices”. This in depth look at Corvette pricing and valuations will run through Friday, October 20th. Here is a preview:

What drives the values of Corvettes? Much like any other automobile, Corvette values are based on a number of factors including quantity produced, condition of the car, options, originality and market forces.
See you on Monday!
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Featured Corvettes at VetteFinders.com

by Keith Cornett on October 13, 2006

October is upon us. Keep winter at bay by cruising in your new Corvette. If you’ve been dreaming about getting behind the wheel of a Corvette, there is no better place to start looking than VetteFinders.com. The following six cars were highlighted in our October Featured Corvettes Newsletter which is just a small sampling of the 500+ Corvettes now available.

1958 Corvette Convertible For Sale 1966 Corvette Coupe For Sale 1971 Corvette Coupe For Sale
1958 Convertible 1966 Coupe 1971 Coupe
$59,995 $44,490 $14,900
     
1996 Corvette Convertible For Sale 2003 Corvette Hardtop For Sale 2006 Corvette Convertible For Sale
1996 Convertible 2003 Z06 2006 Convertible
$18,900 $38,900 $52,995
Interested in receiving the Featured Corvettes newsletter? Click here to subscribe. Selling Your Corvette? Now is the time and VetteFinders.com is the place to reach more qualified Corvette Buyers. Corvette Classified Ads are only $25 and run for 3 months. You can post unlimited photos and you have access to make any changes at any time.
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Video: Corvette Museum Details Expansion Plans

by Keith Cornett on October 12, 2006

The National Corvette Museum's Expansion PlansThe National Corvette Museum unveiled their 50,000 square foot expansion plans at the annual membership meeting over Labor Day Weekend. The expansion includes a library and archives, a cafe, conference center and additional space for the Delivery program. The cost of the expansion is expected to cost around $12 million dollars. The Building Campaign fund currently stands at over $2.4 million dollars in pledges and donations. With groundbreaking planned for Labor Day Weekend 2007, the museum is busy soliciting donations to determine the amount of the square footage that will be included in Phase 1 of construction. The video contains the plans for the museum and how the expansion will be integrated into the current structure. It also shows architectural representations of how the space will be allocated. I will be contacting the museum to discuss our building fund contribution and I urge all Corvette supporters to do the same. Here is the link if you are interested in helping the National Corvette Museum with a tax deductible gift to the building fund. Source: National Corvette Museum Editor’s Note:We did have the video embedded on the site but it was causing problems with loading the rest of the page. We removed the embed code and replaced it with a link to the Museum. The video can be viewed here.
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Celebrity Sighting: Rush Hour Corvette For Sale on eBay

by Keith Cornett on October 11, 2006

The 1972 Corvette Convertible driven by Chris Tucker in the movie Rush Hour is up for grabs on eBay. The current bid is at $17,990 and there is just a little over one day left for bidding. The Corvette has a reserve price which has not yet been met, and the Buy It Now price is listed at $49,998. The seller claims that this Corvette is one of the most famous Corvettes in existence due to the movies. I don’t think I would go that far, but the 72 Corvette Stingray is a beauty, despite the fact that Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan signed the dash. Oh wait, that should only add to the collectibility, right? Here are some photos of the Rush Hour Corvette:

The Rush Hour Corvette - 1972 Convertible The Rush Hour Corvette - 1972 Convertible The Rush Hour Corvette - 1972 Convertible
The Rush Hour Corvette - 1972 Convertible The Rush Hour Corvette - 1972 Convertible
Click here to view the eBay auction
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2006 Z06 CorvetteI just stumbled across this podcast from Open Road Podcast which was posted September 22nd. The discussion of the Z06 Corvette by the commentators covers the good, the bad and the ugly of the new Z06 Corvette. Mr. Black, as the story goes, finally coaxed a Z06 loaner from GM for a week and the podcast covers the countless burnouts, powerslides and the phenomenal horsepower of the 7.0 liter engine. His comments on the failings of the Z06 are blunt though so don’t get expect a puff piece. His rant about the interior and gearbox may be useful to those within the Corvette engineering/design team. Following the Z06 review is some talk about the Blue Devil/Stingray/SS Corvette. The last part of the conversation details the design of the C7 Corvette. Supposedly, the car is in now in the design stage and from sources who are knowledgeable of the project say that it has some overtones of the Midyear Coupe without being too retro looking. Specifically the term “Split Window” was used. Hmmm…. The guys behind the Open Road Podcasts are consultants within the auto industry and therefore their pseudo names (Mr. Black, Mr. White, Mr. Blonde) allow them to discuss insider information without fear of prosecution. These guys were a lot of fun to listen to and this particular podcast was a great listen. You can download the podcast from their website or subscribe to the Open Road Podcast at iTunes. Source: Open Road Podcast
Image: CorvetteImages.com
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