1986 ‘Sucker Vette’ Donated to the National Corvette Museum


1986 'Sucker Vette' Donated to the National Corvette Museum

We first told you about the 1986 ChEaparral J2J ‘Sucker Vette’ back in 2008 when it was part of the $2007 Grassroots Motorsports Challenge.

To refresh your memory, the Sucker Vette was the result of 3,000 hours of hard work by a group of Proctor & Gamble engineers. To compete in the $2007 Grassroots Motorsports Challenge, participants had to build a car for less than $2007, then use it in a series of competitions.

Proctor & Gamble’s engineers found a 1986 Corvette parked in a nearby barn and bought it for $1,400. The hood already had a hole in it, so they cut it out a little more to make room for a pair of twin turbochargers for an extra 100 horsepower.

To make the car more competitive in the autocross, the engineers used an M1 Abrams tank cooling fan mounted in the passenger seat and powered by a snowmobile engine. The fan evacuates 10,000 cfm of air from underneath the car which generates 1,000 pounds of downforce and allows the Corvette to pull 1.3g on a skidpad. That’s a concept they borrowed from racing legend Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2J vacuum enhanced “sucker” car from the 1970 Can Am Racing series.

Hence, the name of the ChEaparral Sucker Vette.

The ChEaparral team competed against 50 others at the Grassroots Motorsports Challenge in Gainesville, Fla., and won every category, including the autocross, concourse, best-engineered award, top finishing team and the 2007 Challenge Overall Champion award.

After all that success, the car wound up on eBay after that 2008 challenge (with proceeds going to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati), and we’re not sure where it’s been since then.

But now, members of Team ChEaparral have just donated the Sucker Vette to the National Corvette Museum, where it will help “ignite the imaginations of tomorrow’s innovators,” the NCM says.

“One of our top priorities at the National Corvette Museum is to create opportunities that will inspire, educate, and engage young minds,” the museum said in an e-mail newsletter Thursday. “The automobile, and Corvette in particular, is in itself the ideal classroom combining art, science, cultural trends, commerce, and innovative thinking into what truly is a marvel of human ingenuity. So what better place is there than the Museum to introduce students of all ages to the technologies that go into it?”

National Corvette Museum

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  1. When they sold it on eBay for charity I was the person that purchased the car. After about a year I decided to sell the car so I offered it to the engineers that built it first but then Proctor and Gamble Corp ended up buying it. They used it to promote engineering for a little while longer then donated it to the museum. After reading this article I decided to make a trip to see my old friend in the museum… It looks great in there=)… I think I may build a replica=)

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