George Barris slated for 2015 Corvette Funfest

king of kustomsGeorge Barris, creator of Barris Kustom Industries, is slated to be a special guest at the 2015 Corvette Funfest at Mid America Motorworks corporate campus September 17-20 at Effingham Illinois. Barris the “kind of the kustomizers,” will host seminars and will present a “best kustom award” each day to feature an enthusiast who has made his or her Corvettes truly unique. Continue reading

Supercars star at Russo and Steele in Newport Beach

The Porsche Carrera GT on the block at the Newport Beach auction | Russo and Steele
The Porsche Carrera GT on the block at the Newport Beach auction | Russo and Steele

Three modern supercars from three different continents led the bidding at Russo and Steele’s third annual Newport Beach auction, which reported a 71 percent jump in total sales compared with year-ago figures.

In preliminary results, the auction reported sales of $7.2 million, which is $3 million more than the total for the 2014 event. Continue reading

Sinkhole update: Restoration of 1 Millionth Corvette progressing at GM Design

The 1 Millionths Corvette and part of the team that's restoring it | Larry Edsall photos
The 1 Millionths Corvette and part of the team that’s restoring it | Larry Edsall photos

In February 2014, a sinkhole beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum swallowed eight cars, among them the 1 Millionth Corvette built, a white 1992 model. Tuesday, Chevrolet opened the usually off-limits Mechanical Assembly garage within the GM Design building in Warren, Michigan, to a few visitors from the news media to show the restoration work that has been done on that historic car. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Keith’s 1977 and 1962 Chevrolet Corvettes

Head-turning 1962 Chevrolet Corvette | Keith Lawson photos
Head-turning 1962 Chevrolet Corvette | Keith Lawson photos

When I was in high school back in the 1980s, I worked as a movie theater doorman and mowed lawns to earn money. I was a miser. I saved my money whenever possible. I didn’t own a bicycle. I didn’t go to summer camp. All I did was put away cash for the goal of owning a Corvette. Continue reading

Only remaining ’83 gets featured spot at Corvette museum

1983 Corvettes moves to museum's 'gateway' entrance area | National Corvette Museum photo
1983 Corvettes moves to museum’s ‘gateway’ entrance area | National Corvette Museum photo

The only surviving 1983 Chevrolet Corvette finally has its own place of prominence at the National Corvette Museum, thanks to a grant from a family foundation. Continue reading

SEMA Seen: 1971 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Beautifully restored 1971 Chevrolet Corvette has something special under its hood | Larry Edsall
Beautifully restored 1971 Chevrolet Corvette has something special under its hood | Larry Edsall

ClassicCars.com’s editorial director Larry Edsall is among the staffers attending the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show this week. In addition to checking out the newest in vehicle customization, preservation and restoration supplies, one of his duties is to post a classic car of the day. Here is his latest selection:

If you see it with its hood down, this 1971 Chevrolet Corvette looks like just another very nicely restored Stingray.

The front fender vents have been restyled, there’s a hood air extractor that might remind you of the one on the new C7 Corvette, and there are some carbon trim and 18-inch rally wheels with the same trim-color accents.

Nice job by someone.

New LT1 crate engine will be available in early 2015
New LT1 crate engine will be available in early 2015

But not just anyone because if you see this car with its hood open, you’ll see that it doesn’t carry its original LT1 engine but General Motors’ latest 6.2-liter LT1 crate engine, with direct injection and variable valve timing, and 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Upon further examination, you also can discover that such power flows to the rear wheels through a Super Magnum 6-speed manual transmission. And that the car rides on coil-over suspension and stops via the same brakes used on the sixth-generation Z06 Corvette.

OK, so what’s up with this car? That new LT1 crate engine isn’t even available yet (though it will be very soon; Chevy says in the first quarter of 2015, and in wet- or dry-sump setups).

Jimmie Johnson Concept shows off its LT1 crate engine
Jimmie Johnson Concept shows off its LT1 crate engine

The answer comes when you look inside this Stingray, where the seats have been retrimmed in black leather and suede, the three-spoke steering wheels has been wrapped in suede, and where there are carbon-fiber trim accents and “Jimmie Johnson” signatures on the seat backs, console and door panels.

Oh, and that exterior color is a shade officially called “J.J. Blue.”

This Stingray, the Jimmie Johnson Concept Corvette, was a project by Chevrolet and the six-time NASCAR stock-car racing champion. Johnson visited the GM Design studios and engineering facilities in Michigan a couple of times this summer to work through the car’s design and details, and then he stopped in at the SEMA Show to unveil the car before going on to Phoenix for this weekend’s NASCAR race.

 

‘Reborn’ 1963 Corvette Z06 race coupe going to Mecum auction in Monterey

The 1963 Corvette Z06 has been restored as Paul Reinhart raced it | Mecum Auctions
The 1963 Corvette Z06 has been restored as Paul Reinhart raced it | Mecum Auctions

A 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Z06 race car with a storybook tale of loss and rebirth will be up for auction during Mecum Auctions’ Monterey sale in August.

The Z06 was originally owned by Oakland, California, racer Paul Reinhart, who was a powerful force among Corvette competitors during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his 1957 roadster, Reinhart won back-to-back championships in SCCA Pacific Coast B-Production racing in 1960 and 1961.

When the newly minted 1963 Corvette Z06 performance coupe – a Chevrolet factory race car project spearheaded by legendary Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus Duntov – became available in 1962, the Union 76 dealer was among the short list of proven racing stars selected for the initial batch of six cars. That impressive list included Dave McDonald, Doug Hooper, Jerry Grant, Bob Bondurant and the “Flying Dentist,” Dr. Dick Thompson.

But unlike the others who were backed by sponsors, Reinhart bought his own car to drive in competition. Reinhart ordered his Sting Ray coupe, number 0895, during the summer of ’62, but his career with the Z06 was star-crossed by circumstances out of his control.

The Sting Ray coupe is one of the first six Z06 cars | Mecum Auctions
The Sting Ray coupe is one of the first six Z06 cars | Mecum Auctions

One was the fierce competition from Carroll Shelby’s new Cobras, which were taking their toll just as the specially prepared Z06s were hitting the track. The other was Chevrolet’s unexpected announcement in February 1963 that it was pulling factory support from racing.

“Dispirited, Paul Reinhart began racing in regional events: Pomona, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Santa Barbara, Del Mar, Vaca Valley, Cotati, Stockton, and other West Coast venues,” according to the Mecum catalog description. “He put 0895 up for sale at the end of the 1964 season.

“Commenting on the period years later, he said, ‘It took years to get over the Z06 in terms of racing in form again’.”

Reinhart did decide years later that he would go at it again, this time in vintage racing. He began searching in 1982 for a suitable Corvette. And here’s where the magic comes in.

Searching the classified ads in the San Francisco Examiner, he found a 1963 Corvette race car for sale. Amazingly, when he went to examine it, he found that it was his old race car, number 0895. It was pretty worn out and in need of restoration, but it was all there, including Reinhart’s own performance tweaks to the engine, suspension and brakes, and its 36-gallon fuel tank.

The Z06 is powered by a 327/360 hp V8 race engine | Mecum Auctions
The Z06 is powered by a 327/360 hp V8 race engine | Mecum Auctions

So not only was he able to re-ignite his Corvette racing passion, he was able to do it in the very same car. He restored old 0895 and started in 1983 to compete in vintage racing events including the Monterey Historics, Wine Country Classic and Coronado Speed Festival.

He sold the car in 2000 to fellow vintage racer Susan Armstrong of Issaquah, Washington, who continued running it in the same events for years until she sold it to its current owner.

The 1963 Corvette Z06 coupe ticks some important boxes for collectors, such as being among the first batch of six factory competition cars, its ownership by an elite West Coast racer who added his own performance enhancements, and the car’s rediscovery and rebirth to become a fixture in West Coast historic racing for more than 30 years.

The Corvette has once again been completely restored, according to Mecum, and is ready to resume its place on the vintage racing circuit.

Billed as “The Daytime Auction,” Mecum’s Monterey sale happens August 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course.

Bloomington Gold show revels in Corvette glory

A lineup of 1960s Corvette coupes draws attention at the Illinois show | Bloomington Gold
A lineup of 1960s Corvette coupes draws attention | Bloomington Gold

The Bloomington Gold Corvette Show has seen plenty of changes since it started in 1973, especially in recent years, but it has kept the faith through the decades as an unmitigated celebration of Chevrolet’s fiberglass sports car.

During that time, the longest running Corvette show in the country has become synonymous with Corvette excellence, featuring intensive judging to high standards and cars vying to meet prestigious Bloomington Gold Certification ratings for authenticity.

The 42nd annual Bloomington Gold show, to be held June 27-29 in its second year on the grounds of the University of Illinois in Champaign, also includes just about everything imaginable for Corvette enthusiasts, with a number of competitions, shows, workshops, swap meets, vendors, dealers and car corrals of Corvettes for sale.

Chevrolet will have the new Corvette Z06 coupe and convertible on display, as well as a complete rolling chassis of the C7 Z06, a 2015 Stingray Pacific and a 2015 Stingray Atlantic. This show’s Gold Year display will feature the 1964 Corvette.

One thing that won’t be there, however, is a Corvette auction. Mecum Auctions, which has held Corvette-only sales at Bloomington Gold events for a number of years, announced recently that it was pulling out of the event starting this year, citing falling consignments and results.

For more information about Bloomington Gold, see www.bloomingtongold.com.

Ruby 2: Corvette owner donates her 40th Anniversary car to replace the one damaged in sinkhole

Lynda Patterson delivers her cherish 40th Anniversary car to the museum | National Corvette Museum
Lynda Patterson delivers her cherished40th Anniversary car to the museum | National Corvette Museum
1993 'Ruby Red' 40th anniversary car
Damaged 1993 ‘Ruby Red’ 40th anniversary car

It was nearly 20 years ago that Mike and Lynda Patterson decided that someday they’d donate their Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette to the National Corvette Museum. Someday turned out to be April 17. Continue reading