Welcome to Quick Shifts! Quick Shifts is a content feature here at CorvetteBlogger featuring links to Corvette and automotive-related stories of interest. This weekend’s reading and viewing material includes the C8 vs. the new 911, C8 mentioned in exotic comparison test, you should buy a new C7, ZR-1 of One, two brothers and their ’72, was 1967 the best year of automotive production ever? Corvette concept cars, the ‘Vette version of a Singer 911, and classic first drives.
Last week we started QS with Automobile’s 2020 All-Stars list. It has been the gift that keeps on giving this week. We already know that former Porsche employee, Doug DeMuro rates the C8 ahead of the new, 992 generation 911 but Automobile had both cars on hand for their All-Stars test and wanted to see for themselves. Both cars made the final cut for their prestigious list and they lined them up for a one-on-one battle at Willow Springs. Before we share the link with you, we just want to remind everyone how much even the base model price of Porsche’s iconic sportscar has ballooned. The Carrera S going up against the staple of attainable American performance rings up at an embarrassing $143,350! We are talking ZR1 money for a Stingray competitor.
Read the full comparison and watch the brief lapping video with 2000-2003 C5.R Le Mans driver Andy Pilgrim behind the wheel.
Automobile, also as a part of their All-Stars roundup, ran a head to head between the Lamborghini Huracán Evo and the successor to the successor to the C8 Z06 mule’s running mate, the Ferrari F8 Tributo. The coolest part of this comparison between super-exotics is that only one of them made the All-Star list and the C8’s excellence gets a shout out as a reason why one was left out. See which one didn’t make the cut on Automobilemag.com.
Automobile has one more thing that we would like to share for anyone who is stuck at home with bored kids during all of the school shutdowns. Check out their links to the Petersen Automotive Museum’s educational activities and livestreams right here.
Hagerty’s Jack Baruth went further in depth with the Chevy Cares Program that we detailed this week. His piece specifics how you can use the program to score a fantastic deal on your very own piece of the rapidly dwindling new C7 inventory. He also makes some very compelling points about why exactly anyone would want to buy a seventh-gen car now that C8s are hitting dealer lots.
See the full article on Hagerty.com.
In an attempt to entertain the masses of adults stuck at home in self-quarantine, Hagerty has also been running “Long Read Rewinds” (LRR) and the one we are sharing here is about an “almost was” that ranks up there with the 1970 LS7 454 in Corvette lore, phase three of the DOHC LT5 program which would have seen the C4 ZR-1’s output swell to an unheard-of at the time 475 horsepower. The story follows the man most closely associated with the gen-III LT5 program before the King of the Hill met its demise, Graham Behan and his quest to finish what he started with the help of some guy named Ken Lingenfelter. Definitely file this one in the must-read section! Get your popcorn ready for this story!
Bonus Content 1: Hagerty also posted all 30 episodes of their series of shorts entitled, “Why I Drive” that can be accessed at the bottom of this post that highlights three favorites, one of which features some beautiful videography of a Sunflower Yellow 1972 Stingray. Enjoy the marathon or just the Corvette episode, your choice!
Bonus Content 2: Here’s another LRR that poises the question, “Was 1967 the pinnacle for the Automobile?” Of course, a large part of the author’s case (and the lead picture) is the final rendition of mid-year Corvette. Picking the year that marks “peak performance car” is extremely tough but you could do a lot worse than ’67. Give this long read a gander.
Hotcars posted a fun look at Corvette concepts throughout the years. While most of our readers know them all, it is fun to see them all on the same page. Picking a favorite is exceptionally difficult with so many good choices ranging from the ‘Vette Nomad, CERV III, Mako Shark II, SS, and more. Let us know which is your favorite and why in the comments after seeing the full list here.
I was recently mulling over an article idea about the desire for a shop to go into business with the expressed purpose of creating a line of bespoke Corvette creations to rival the magical 911s Reimagined by Singer. If you aren’t hip to what Singer Vehicle Design does to 1989-1994 Porsche 911s, the gist of it is this; to create the ultimate 911, Singer takes a 964 generation customer donor car and keeps the chassis and steering components (apparently they provide the best feedback of anything that has ever shipped from Stuttgart), replaces the majority of the bodywork with gorgeously crafted carbon fiber panels and adds one of a range of reworked or completely new 3.8-4.0L air-cooled flat-sixes developed by Cosworth, Ed Pink Racing, or in collaboration with the Williams F1 team and Porsche engine legend, Hanz Mezger. All of that is topped off with the finest materials, attention to detail, and customization limited only by each individual customer’s creativity. Each car looks like it came from a more glamourous time when 911s were driven by people like Steve McQueen while also providing golden-age dynamics and present-day power and technology.
I eventually abandoned the Singer-style Corvette project because of two fatal flaws; 1. Up until 2020, the Corvette hasn’t had a purist maddening paradigm-shifting moment comparable to the 911’s switch from air-cooled engines to water-cooling. Maybe such a project will be feasible in 10+ years when enough demand surfaces for a front-engine Corvette with a great, old-school driving experience but from 1953-2019, it has always been a case of “the best Corvette you can buy is the newest one that you can afford.” Most Corvette people don’t pine for a bygone era with better steering feel because the Corvette has, for the most part, continually improved during its existence. And flaw the 2nd, Chevrolet actually applies a brand-new design every time they turn the page on a generation of their halo sportscar. The largely-derivative changes that Germany’s rear-engined machine has undergone since 1964 allow Singer to make a version from the ’90s look strikingly similar to one from the ’70s. No matter how good a shop is at fabrication, a C4 can’t, and shouldn’t, be made to look like a mid-year Corvette. What Corvette fans have to resort to instead is retromodding and recently we have featured the work of Jeff Hayes, who might just have the perfect formula down for “reimagining” the coveted 1963-67 Corvette for modern times. His latest creation came to our attention via autoevolution who posted about the interior that has that Singer-level attention to detail and beauty, Hayes and his team just might be able to sell the package to a decent number of discerning enthusiasts.
See it for yourself and let us know what components would make up your ultimate Corvette reimagination in the comments.
We will be wrapping up our “Reverse” series from the past two weeks in this edition of QS by taking a look back at first drives from first through third generation Corvettes.
The C3 debuted in 1968 and, just like today, Car and Driver was there to do the difficult job of letting the public know if it was any good. See the review of the latest Corvette, circa May 1968, complete with the original photography by clicking here.
C&D was also there at the dawn of the independent rear suspension in America’s Sportscar. The closing paragraph of their first go in the split-window coupe from the October, 1962 issue highlights how stable the Corvette has been in an ever-changing world, “Prices of the two Corvette Sting Ray models have not yet been announced, but Chevrolet spokesmen have indicated that no appreciable increase is expected. If this is true, they offer fantastic value for money, whether you want to race or drive fast over long distances in comfort, or merely need a smart-looking car to use around town.” It really is amazing how that could have been copied and pasted into a C8 review last month and nobody would have batted an eye!
The Corvette’s debut preceded Car and Driver’s inaugural issue (then called Sports Cars Illustrated) by two years. The did their first test of a first-generation ‘Vette once it had become truly worthy of being called a sportscar in May of ’56. Motor Trend actually does pre-date the Corvette, though we aren’t really sure what they even wrote about between ’49 and ’53 but we are guessing there weren’t many readers before the 1953 General Motors Motorama. Unfortunately, they don’t have a full archive of their first drive in a first-year Corvette but they do have a good-enough little excerpt section from that original test by founding editor, Walt Woron, check it out here.
We hope that you enjoyed this edition of Quick Shifts, thank you for reading, and stay healthy out there, Corvette Nation!
Previous Quick Shifts:
Base C8 Review, End of the Pushrod V8, C8 Compared to C7 ZR1, 7 Things, GM Goes Electric and More!
2020 Makes C&D Editor’s List, C8 Reviews and Gripes, Mid-Engine History, 10 Things, and RIP Impala
Top Gear Review, Best Holdens, Don Sherman’s C8 Chassis Analysis, Millennial Buyers, Corvette Trivia, and More!