A car tested by history, the Corvette was tested by time and from the racing history of its lineage this car has without a doubt stood up to every test it’s put through, oh yeah it’s had its downtime, that’s what it said 1980s for the Corvette, and a lot of people wondered if it was going to make a comeback, you could say it did just that.
Every car goes through its bumps, its design flaws and its makeovers, the Corvette is one of the best examples of durability an automaker has ever seen, usually sports cars and muscle cars come and go, but the Corvette has never gone anywhere yet it seems simply standing the test of time and evolving into an ever better car.
You might say what about the Mustang while bragging about cars that stand the test of time, the Corvette came out eleven years before the Mustang, just to prove that theory, the Mustang was introduced to compete with the Corvette to compete. and the Corvette was simply the better car in many ways, handling, performance and most other tests it ran beating the Mustang.
The Corvette has a fantastic history, the Chevrolet Motor Company, in 1953 Chevrolet hired Zora Arkus Duntov to design the Corvette and he did that, he was the lead engineer on the Corvette project and he got them to do some amazing things Continue to update amazing people.
Zora joined General Motors in 1953 after seeing the Motorama Corvette in New York. Maybe it was just fate that Zora was among the thousands of people who attended the GM event. Zora thought the car looked great but was disappointed with what was underneath. He wrote Chevrolet chief engineer Ed Cole that working on such a beautiful car would be his compliment; He also included a technical paper that proposed an analytical method for determining a car’s top speed. Chevrolet was so impressed that engineer Maurice Olley invited him to Detroit. On May 1, 1953, Zora Arkus-Duntov joined Chevrolet as an assistant staff engineer.
In 1963, Zora started the Gran Sport program. The original idea captured the interest and imagination of Corvette fans around the world. The idea was to develop a special lightweight Corvette weighing only 1,800 pounds and race it on an international circuit not only against Cobras and other GT class cars, but also against prototypes from Ferrari, Ford and Porsche. Power for the Grand Sport was to come from an aluminum version of the small-block V8 fitted with special twin-plug cylinder heads. At 377ci, power was expected to be 550 hp at 6,400 rpm. But as is often the case, GM policy banned Zora from racing, but not before five Grand Sports were built. The five Grand Sports eventually fell into the hands of private owners, and Zora somehow found a way to support them despite the official ban.
Zora retired in 1975, handing the reins to Dave McLellan. At 81, Zora Arkus-Duntov was still passionate and opinionated about his car, the Corvette. In the time between Zora’s retirement and his death, his legend grew. Whenever something happened to Corvette, Zora was there. A member of the Drag Racing Hall of Fame, the Chevrolet Legends of Performance and the Automotive Hall of Fame, Zora attended the launch of the 1 millionth Corvette at Bowling Green in 1992. He also drove the bulldozer at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the National Corvette Museum in 1994. Six weeks before his death, Zora was a guest speaker on “Corvette: A Celebration of an American Dream,” an evening held at the Jack Cauley Chevrolet Detroit showrooms . That night was Dave McLellen and current Corvette chief engineer Dave Hill, but no one could argue that Zora stole the show from everyone.
In 1966 Chevrolet had a brain fracture and built a beast called the L88 Corvette which had a factory rating of 435hp which was a serious understatement, the car was producing closer to 600hp, in 1967 the Corvette would once again prove itself by winning the 24 Hours of Lemans proving against the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, this time he would find global recognition and become a real player in the world of sports cars, the US was finally with the big boys. The Corvette had made a huge impact on the racing world.
This car rivaled the best the Europeans had to offer, it would skyrocket Chevrolet’s sales, it had surpassed Chevrolet’s wildest dreams, and it qualified in two categories, a sports car and a muscle car Corvette had done what no other American car had ever done before, the L88 Corvette was truly a car to behold.
And that wasn’t the end of the amazing feats for this very special car, in 1969 a slip happened at the Chevrolet manufacturing plant when they were building two very special cars for some of the big wigs at Chevrolet Motor Division, these cars were never intended for the be released to the general public, they were built to compete on the track and were really race cars, not street cars.
The slip would allow these two cars to leave the factory and be sold in two of Chevrolet’s showrooms. I don’t know what showrooms they were but these cars were called ZL1 Corvettes and a white Corvettes was built and a yellow Saturn, the yellow was auctioned after the government seized it in a drug bust, it went at auction for 500,000 dollars.
The Zl1 Corvette was rated at 450hp from the factory but estimates put it closer to a honest 670hp making this the most powerful car ever built during that era and as you can imagine these cars are one A lot of money worth if you could find one today they came from the factory with a roll bar and lots of other racing attire as they were meant for racing.