• SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!

    Recommended reading from Keith Cornett, CorvetteBlogger and founder of VetteFinders. Not only a ‘pretty face’, CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS is an invaluable resource for information about iconic and collectible performance models.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!At first glance, Keith Cornett’s new book is a little misleading. The title does not reveal the wealth of photography and information that goes well beyond Special Editions. To many, Special Editions often refers to Indy Pace Car replicas, commemorative models celebrating racing victories, anniversaries, performance achievements, regional editions, or a particular individual who has devoted a great deal of his life to elevating the status of the Corvette. It is all that, but so much more.

    CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS is way beyond the 43 official Chevrolet limited production, special edition Corvettes starting with the 1978 Silver Anniversary and Indy 500 Pace Car replica and ending with the 2018 Carbon 65 I found the most interesting sections of this book are devoted to the history of the Corvette and iconic road and track performance models that are coveted by serious collectors.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!Even the first Corvette in 1953 must be considered a “special edition” since only 300 were built! Coverage of low-volume, track-oriented Corvettes started when Zora Arkus-Duntov convinced the powers at Chevrolet of the value of being involved in sports car racing. Nothing showcases Duntov’s position more than the first fuel-injected, four-speed, 283/283 ’57 Corvette with RPO 579D “Airbox” option. Just 43 were built and they led the charge to the Corvette earning America’s Sports Car cred! Great coverage on a black Airbox car, above, with coke-bottle hubcaps tells the unique option’s story.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!After Keith runs out of actual factory production Special Editions, like the Grand Sport, Z06 Sting Ray, 1967-1969 aluminum-head big-block L88s, above, the yellow all-aluminum big-block ZL1, above, and Zora’s hardcore ZR1small-block and ZR2 big-block Stingrays, he focuses on low-volume, very-special-edition “tuner” Corvettes that go one step beyond what the factory could do. Corvette-based, tuner cars and their builders make up one of the most interesting chapters, Chapter 6, DEALERS, TUNERS, AND THIRD-PARTY SPECIAL EDITIONS.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!Many, like the Baldwin-Motion Phase III, Maco Shark, Manta Ray, Can-Am Spyder and the ultimate Phase III GT Corvette, above & right, were created by Joel Rosen between 1968 and 1974, were built to order. Horsepower started around 500 and, like Alice’s Restaurant, “you could get anything you want!”

    In addition to Joel Rosen’s Baldwin-Motion, there’s coverage on John and Burt Greenwood’s extensive lineup, Reeves Callaway who is still producing tuner Corvettes, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, American Custom Industries’ Duntov Turbo, Dick Guldstrand GS80/GS90, Avelate Corvette, Larry Shinoda/Rick Mears Special Edition, Pratt & Miller C6RS and others. This chapter is a treasure trove of seriously high-performance, some over-the-top, fantasy rides.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!2018 Carbon 65

    Well-written and beautifully illustrated, CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS presents the cars as a group instead of chronologically. It’s organized into six categories: Anniversary Editions, Indy 500 Pace Cars, Commemoratives and Tributes, Special Editions, Historic Corvettes, and Third-Party Special Editions. This 192-page coffee table book is available at https://www.amazon.com/Corvette-Special-Editions-Pace-Callaways/dp/1613253931/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1537450923&sr=8-1&keywords=Corvette+special+editions&linkCode=sl1&tag=corvettespeci-20&linkId=a53cda67c42cfbbc1a9c4e2349fde608

    If you are interested in a signed copy, please visit https://www.corvettespecialeditions.com/

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  • PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!

    These lightweight multi-carb, four-cam and even Hemi engines were being developed for future production engine research and, in some cases racing projects.

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!Between 1969 and 1970, Oldsmobile Engineering was responsible for creating powerful ultra-efficient 350 to 455 cubic-inch V-8 engines rated up to 700 horsepower! Some were naturally aspirated and fitted with single Quadrajet four-barrel or Weber carburetors; others were fuel-injected and turbocharged. Most had aluminum blocks and heads. It was hard to imagine that these engines were anything other than veiled attempts at building pure racing engines, but they actually were. Oldsmobile engineering used these engines as prototypes for developing lighter, more fuel-efficient and “cleaner” production engines.

     Olds engineers were responsible for the radical OW-43, above, a racing-only, four-cam 455 tested with four Weber carburetors and fuel injection with three-inch ram stacks. The OW-43 was developed at the same time Chevrolet Engineering was working on the ZL1 for Corvette and Camaro applications and Can-Am racing. The OW-43 was tested in a Can-Am racecar, but never used in competition.

    Based on the same bore-stroke configuration of a production 455, the OW-43 had heads and block with steel cylinder liners cast from Reynolds 356-T-6 heat-treated aluminum. With a redline of just under 8,500 rpm, it produced 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with Webers and 700 horsepower at 6,800 rpm with Lucas direct-port fuel-injection. The DOHC prototype had Forged-True 12.20-to-1 pistons, Carillo billet steel rods and a forged steel crank. It weighed 50 pounds less than a production cast-iron 455.

    The mildest of the group was an all-aluminum 350 small-block, displacing 389 cubic inches and utilizing dual-throat Weber 48IDA carburetors, above, right. The alloy 389-inch engine ended up in a Cutlass that was driven to the C/Production record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1968. A friend and editor at Hot Rod, Lee Kelley, drove a factory-supplied Cutlass 169.133 mph to set the record. Apparently during impound, SCTA officials never detected that the engine was an all-aluminum prototype.The engine in Lee Kelley’s record-setter was a one-off, rated at close to 500 horsepower and built in Lansing by Dave Maurer, a special projects engineer. At Bonneville, the Cutlass was crewed by Maurer along with racing legends, Ak Miller, Jack Lufkin and Ed Iskenderian.

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!One of the most interesting engines was the 455-inch W-43 Hemi. There were cast-iron and aluminum iterations with four-valve, Hemi-chamber heads. The W-43 engine was designed to be easily converted to chain or gear-driven overhead camshafts. Fitted with a single Quadrajet, it produced in excess of 500 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. The aluminum version weighed 75 pounds less than the then current production 455 engine. This engine found its way into Mule cars tested at the Milford Proving Ground.

    PROTOTYPE ENGINES: OLDSMOBILE ‘ROCKET’ SCIENCE!Oldsmobile engines displacing 389 to 455 cubic inches had powered Can-Am Series cars, like Bob McKee-built Cro-Sal racers in 1967. The highest output Can-Am Olds was an all-aluminum, single-cam 455 with injection and twin turbochargers. It generated 659 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 554 pound-feet of torque at 6,200 rpm.

    Oldsmobile Rocket Science

    This story is from DAY ONE, An Automotive Journalist’s Muscle-Car Memoir, covering domestic 1962-1974 high-performance vehicles, https://www.amazon.com/Day-One-Automotive-Journalists-Muscle-Car/dp/0760352364/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493561421&sr=1-1&keywords=Day+One+by+Martyn+L.+Schorr

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  • NITRO REVIVAL: DRAG CARS AT LAGUNA SECA!

    NITRO REVIVAL: DRAG CARS AT LAGUNA SECA!

    Spring Classic hosts vintage Nitro-fueled drag cars and legendary racers from the 1960s to 1990s.

    NITRO REVIVAL: DRAG CARS AT LAGUNA SECA!The distinct cackle of Nitro Revival will be coming to the Monterey Peninsula during the second annual Spring Classic on May 18-20. The gathering of vintage and restored Nitro-fueled drag cars and legendary drag racing personalities will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the iconic facility’s vintage racing event. Feature activity will occur on Saturday, May 19. Nitro Revival: Drag Cars At Laguna Seca celebrates motorsports eras from the Sixties to the Nineties.

    Nitro Revival brings the sights and sounds of the early days of front-engine Top Fuel dragsters and other organized hot rod racing back to life with a large lineup of fully restored machines. It serves as a reunion for racers from that era and gives fans the experience of a drag racing museum come to life. Fuelers will do push starts with period-correct push start vehicles and burnouts. There will also be a large turnout of classic street rods and hot rods. The Saturday event will close with a “Line of Fire” that will have the cackling sounds of vintage drag cars echoing through the rolling hills of the scenic Monterey Peninsula.

    NITRO REVIVAL: DRAG CARS AT LAGUNA SECA!“Nitro Revival is a unique car show with unique vehicles that celebrate drag racing,” said Steve Gibbs, Nitro Revival producer. “Laguna Seca is an iconic place with a facility that can accommodate the growth of Nitro Revival, and we are able to add a historical drag race element to their event. There is a lot of drag racing history on the Central Coast and Bay Area. Monterey also has a lot to offer as a destination.”

    Nitro Revival will enhance the paddock experience of the three-day vintage race held May 18-20. The 11 run groups of approximately 200 historically-correct sports and racecars that will run on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course during the Spring Classic range from 1966-‘74 Can-Am to 1974-‘94 Stock Cars to Historic Motorcycle exhibitions.

    For more information about Nitro Revival and other events at Laguna Seca, please visithttp://www.mazdaraceway.com/

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