Chip’s Choice to honor Greenwood, Guldstrand Corvettes

Greenwood - Owner Andy Rumford
Greenwood Corvette, owned by Andy Rumford | Carlisle Events Photos

Each year, Corvettes at Carlisle attracts more than 5,000 Chevrolet Corvettes and more than 50,000 people to a weekend that includes, among many other things, a special display known as Chip’s Choice. The display honors Carlisle Events late co-founder Chip Miller, while providing a themed showcase.

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Pick of the Day: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagon

1969 Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagon
1969 Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagon

After unveiling the Chevrolet Corvette roadster at its GM Motorama shows in 1953, a year later the automaker displayed variations on the theme that included a Buick (Wildcat II), Pontiac (Bonneville Special), Oldsmobile (F-88), fastback (Chevrolet Corvair) and even a station wagon (Chevrolet Nomad).

Those vehicles were concept cars that didn’t go into production, though Chevrolet did apply the Corvair name to another vehicle and used Nomad as the badge for a full-sized, two-door station wagon. Continue reading

Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette custom convertible

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette custom convertible | Barrett-Jackson Photos

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

The seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette was introduced in 2014 and was the first to bear the Corvette Stingray name since a third-generation model in 1976.

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Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 convertible

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1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible | Barrett-Jackson Photos

Editor’s note: This is the third in a 30-day sponsored series featuring cars to be sold January 23-31 during Barrett-Jackson’s 45th Scottsdale auction.

A total of 216 L88 Corvettes were produced during 1967-1969 as what was essentially a factory racing option, powered by the 427/430 horsepower V8 and heavy-duty four-speed transmission. The L88 package for the Corvette included all the ingredients to allow the everyday driver to destroy any potential competition at local track events, while the pros were able to dominate the 12 hours of Sebring, 24 hours of Daytona, FIA GT and the SCCA A Production Competition.

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New Year, new exhibits at National Corvette Museum

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No, that’s not a Corvette, but it is part of the new American Muscle exhibit at the National Corvette Museum | NCM Photos

The National Corvette Museum opens its 2016 exhibition schedule with American Muscle, featuring hot rods and street rods, running from January 15 to March 25, 2016. On display will be a 1932 Black Coupe, 1934 Ford Coupe, 1934 Ford High Boy Coupe, and 1941 Willis.
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Hagerty charts collectors’ favorite modern vehicles

Hagerty graph

Cars built during this century may be too new to be considered classics, but there are some models produced during the past 15 years that are especially popular among car collectors as their weekend drivers, according to research by Hagerty, the insurance and valuation company.

Hagerty’s graph shows which of these cars are most popular among holders of the company’s classic car insurance for their older collector vehicles.  Led by Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang, naturally, the top 10 are mostly sporty domestic cars with three German brands also making the cutoff.

Most of the cars are also a nod to the past as the latest versions of models that have long been favorite vintage collector cars.

Mecum collector-car auction in Chicago surpasses $13 million

The 1961 Chevy Corvette Big Brake Fuelie crosses the block at the Mecum Chicago auction | Mecum Auctions photos
The 1961 Chevy Corvette Big Brake Fuelie crosses the block at the Mecum Chicago auction | Mecum Auctions photos

Mecum sold more than $13 million worth of collector cars during its three-day Chicago auction, held October 8-10, as 494 vehicles went to new owners. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Car Part Art exhibit at the National Corvette Museum

Just part of the car-part art on display at the National Corvette Museum | Larry Edsall photos
Just part of the car-part art on display at the National Corvette Museum | Larry Edsall photos

Many people consider classic cars to be rolling sculptures, works of art that still work.

Collector cars do more than just sit on a pedestal or hang on a wall. They still function as their makers intended, transporting people and their stuff from place to place, even if now it’s just from the home garage to a local cruise-in and back again.

And while they may have outlived their usefulness on a functioning vehicle, old car parts also have artistic value. More than 70 such works of art are part of a temporary exhibit — Car Part Art — that opened in mid-September and runs through January 8, 2016, at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Continue reading

Eye Candy: National Corvette Museum reopens the Skydome

Inside the repaired and reopened Skydome at the National Corvette Museum | Larry Edsall photos
Inside the repaired and reopened Skydome at the National Corvette Museum | Larry Edsall photos

Yellow and red tape snake in what seems an erratically pattern across the floor. In some places they intersect. In others, they cross. The yellow tape is marked “Cave Outline.” The red says “Sinkhole Outline.”

I am back in the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I think this is my fourth visit, though it may be the fifth. Regardless, I am sure it is my first since repairs were completed following the sinkhole that swallowed eight of the Chevrolet Corvettes that were on display the first time I visited.

That first visit took place maybe three or four years ago. Like so many who have visited the museum since it opened a couple of decades ago, I was impressed, not just by the various exhibits designed to tell the story of America’s sports car, but by the architecture of the buildings that house those exhibits.

You can see the Skydome from nearby Interstate 65. It is shaped like a volcanic cone, though its exterior isn’t matte gray in color but boasts a stunningly bright yellow shade. And its interior isn’t dark, but is very well lit by a glass skylight supplemented by electric lights.

As if that bright yellow shape reaching into the sky isn’t enough to draw traffic off the highway, the cone’s skylight is pierced by yet another cone, this one narrower and taller. It looks like a gigantic pinched drinking straw, its bright-red hue standing out above and in contrast to the massive yellow cone.

But since February 12, 2014, those inside the Skydome have been looking down rather than up. Early that morning, before anyone was in the building, a sinkhole opened beneath the Skydome, the catastrophe was caught on security cameras. Though no people were injured, several of the Corvettes were crushed beyond repair. Others could be fixed, and the historic One-Millionth Corvette was restored by GM Design.

Scientists explored the cave beneath the sinkhole and construction experts made things safe for visitors — me among them — to re-enter the building during the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration over the Labor Day weekend of 2014. We could see the cars that had been recovered and, from a safe distance, we could look down into the abyss.

Various options for restoration were considered. Decisions were made. Work was completed and the Skydome reopened for the 21st anniversary celebration late this summer.

The Corvette Hall of Fame banners are back in place on the interior walls of the cone, with exhibits on the most recent inductees featured inside the bright red tube. Various Corvettes are again displayed around the big room’s perimeter.

But the focus is on the sinkhole and the eight cars that are back above ground, on the taped outlines on the floor, and on a metal door in the Skydome floor, which has been reinforced and now rests on a series of steel-and-concrete support pillars.

That door in the floor has two porthole-style windows so you can see a ladder the descends through yet another tube, this one providing scientists and engineers with access to what remains of the cave.

Access to the Skydome itself continues to be through a tunnel-like entryway. But early in 2016, that tunnel will be transformed into a cave-like entry — The Skydome Sinkhole Experience — which not only will feature sinkhole exhibits but will use 360-degree computer-imaging animation projectors, rushing air, vibrating walls and a state-of-the-art sound system to let visitors feel what it was like inside the Skydome the morning of the sinkhole.

Looks like I’ll be making yet another pilgrimage to Bowling Green in the new year.

Photos by Larry Edsall

‘Purple People Eater’ Corvette heads for Barrett-Jackson auction

The champion ‘Purple People Eater’ Corvette will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson in January | Barrett-Jackson photos
The champion ‘Purple People Eater’ Corvette will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson in January | Barrett-Jackson photos

For one week in the summer of 1958, the Number 1 song on the American pop charts was the tale of a one-eyed, one-horned flying creature that ate purple people and had come to Earth to get a job with a rock ’n’ roll band.

Written and performed by Sheb Wooley, “The Purple People Eater” would share its name with various enterprises, including a 1988 movie featuring Neil Patrick Harris, Ned Beatty, Shelley Winters and assorted early rock stars (including Wooley); the defensive line of the Minnesota Vikings professional football team; and three very special Chevrolet Corvette race cars. Continue reading