Thursday, December 11, 2014

Corvette Engine Repeats Win as WardsAuto 10 Best

The high performance, technology-packed LT1 Small Block 6.2L V8 that powers the 2015 Corvette Stingray is a Ward’s 10 Best Engine for 2015. The engine also was recognized with this award in 2014.

WardsAuto reviewed 37 engines and propulsion systems from 12 manufacturers in this year’s competition, which looked at power, fuel efficiency, new technology and refinement and compared the attributes with data for similar engines.

“This recognition is another step in earning customers for life,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, GM Global Powertrain. Having the WardsAuto experts choose the LT1 as one of the best in the industry two years in a row is proof of what this Powertrain team can deliver – uncompromised performance, durability and efficiency that helps make the Stingray one of the best sports cars in the world today.”

The LT1 Small Block technologies contribute to making the new Corvette the quickest, most powerful and most fuel-efficient standard Corvette ever. The engine delivers an SAE-certified 460 horsepower, helping propel the car from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and a quarter mile in 12 seconds while offering EPA-estimated 29 mpg highway with an 8-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission.

“The 6.2L LT1 V-8 is the heart and soul of the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, and it proudly upholds the 60-year legacy of small-block engines from General Motors,” said Tom Murphy, executive editor of WardsAuto World digital magazine. “This one's been re-engineered from head to torque converter, and the LT1 is the crown jewel of this massive engine family.”

“In the Corvette, this 460-hp V-8 barks with authority, delivering an exhaust note reminiscent of Detroit’s finest muscle cars. And it's efficient, too. WardsAuto editors flogging the 'Vette for more than 300 miles managed better than 20 mpg with the new 8-speed automatic."

The LT1, part of the Gen 5 family of Small Block engines, combines several advanced technologies – direct injection, Active Fuel Management, or cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing – to support an advanced combustion system.

Direct injection is a primary contributor to greater combustion efficiency by ensuring a more complete burn of the fuel in the air-fuel mixture. This is achieved by precisely controlling the mixture motion and fuel injection spray pattern. Direct injection also keeps the combustion chamber cooler, which allows for a higher compression ratio.

Increased power and efficiency result from more than 10 million hours of computational analysis including computational fluid dynamics, to make the most of the combustion system, the direct injection fuel system, active fuel management and variable valve timing systems that support it. The combustion system itself benefited from 6 million hours of dedicated CPU analysis time.

Other variants of the Gen 5 Small Block include the 4.3L V6, 5.3L and 6.2L V8 truck engines offered in the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, the GMC Sierra pickups, Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade SUVs. The LT1 is manufactured in Tonawanda, N.Y.

2007 Z06 Donated to Museum

For most of his life, Cliff Young was a Mustang man, but it was in 2006 that he fell in love with Corvette.  After a trip to a high performance driving school, he immediately started calling around trying to find a Chevrolet dealership with allocation for a Z06.  “It just had to be LeMans Blue as 2007 would be the last year for that color,” wife Sally remembers.  “It was a bit of a fiasco trying to get the car ordered.  Cliff knew he wanted to order it with the Museum Delivery option, so he spoke with the Delivery Department and happened to mention to Lori that he wasn’t able to get a car yet.  Lori connected him with a broker in Bowling Green that had allocation and made it happen.”

The Youngs picked up the car on June 27, 2007.  It was their first visit to Bowling Green, and sadly Cliff’s last.  The couple had planned on visiting April 2014, but Cliff experienced major health complications from Agent Orange – an exposure that occurred while serving in Vietnam – and passed on January 28, 2014 at the age of 68.

“While the Museum is in our wills, Cliff didn’t specifically list the car but I felt donating it was the most appropriate thing,” said Sally.  “He was always so impressed with how the Museum is run, I know he would be pleased with its new home.”  Sally was excited to hear that the car would be used for Parade Laps and other activities at the Museum’s new Motorsports Park.   The Youngs had already stepped up and supported the Park by joining the One Acre Club, donating funds for a purchase of one acre of land for the track.

“While Cliff enjoyed taking his car to the track, he didn’t race it,” said Sally.  “Cliff’s friend Mike Pettiford operates Go 4 It Racing Schools, and Cliff would attend and help out with the classes.  Mike would host special corporate events so Cliff would bring his car to use for instruction purposes and to enjoy an occasional drive around the track,” added Sally.  “Cliff also belonged to SCCA and would do flagging at races.”

While Cliff’s day job prior to retirement had been as a systems analyst, he was also a pilot, a flight instructor, scuba diver, parachutist, ham radio operator, and spelunker, and even spent over 30 years planning and designing his and Sally’s dream home.  “He was very gifted in electrical, plumbing and construction,” Sally noted.  “He lived a very full life.”

Indeed he did, and his legacy will continue through every enthusiast who steps foot for a ride in Cliff’s 2007 LeMans Blue Z06.

Monday, December 1, 2014

First 2015 Corvette Z06s on Way to Customers

Chevrolet is now shipping the all-new 2015 Corvette Z06 coupe from Bowling Green Assembly and some early customers could receive the much-anticipated supercar later this week.

“It has been an incredible opportunity to work on Chevy’s most capable model,” said Jeff Lamarche, plant manager of General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly plant, “It truly is an amazing car, and we’re thrilled to get them into the hands of our eager customers.”

The new Corvette Z06 offers the most choice for customers in the model’s history. It is the first Z06 to offer an available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission and, thanks to a stronger aluminum frame, a removable roof panel. In addition, it is the first time since 1963 that the Z06 is available as a convertible – which will arrive in early 2015.

The new LT4 supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine is SAE-certified at 650 horsepower (485 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 650 lb-ft of torque (881 Nm) at 3,600 rpm – making the 2015 Corvette Z06 the most powerful production car ever from General Motors and one of the most powerful production cars available in the United States.

To balance performance and efficiency, the LT4 leverages a trio of advanced technologies – direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing –with a new, more efficient supercharger.

The LT4 helps make the Corvette Z06 the most capable car in the brand’s history. The Z06 accelerates from a rest to 60 mph in only 2.95 seconds when equipped with the all-new, available eight-speed automatic transmission – and achieves it in 3.2 seconds with the standard seven-speed manual transmission.

A quarter-mile sprint takes just 10.95 seconds with the eight-speed automatic and 11.2 seconds with the seven-speed manual. With both versions, the Corvette Z06 hits 127 mph at the end of the quarter-mile.

When it comes to braking performance, the Z06 can stop from 60 mph in only 99.6 feet. That’s the best braking performance of any production car GM has ever tested. Additionally, the Corvette Z06 achieves 1.2 g in lateral acceleration compared with the Corvette’s previous best 1.13 g.

All test results were achieved with Z06 coupes fitted with the Z07 Performance package, which adds Brembo carbon ceramic brake rotors and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The Z07 package also features the most aggressive aerodynamic package available on the Corvette Z06, which delivers the most downforce of any production car GM has ever tested.

The Z06 also offers the industry-first Performance Data Recorder – or PDR – which enables users to record high-definition video, with telemetry overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track. The racing-derived system is included with the available navigation system.

Pricing for the 2015 Corvette Z06 starts at $78,995 including destination, while the convertible model will start at $83,995.

Editors’ Note: Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price includes destination freight charge but excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Museum Car Loaner Becomes Car Donor

Whenever the next evolution of the Corvette legend comes out of Detroit, it’s not long before high performance enthusiasts begin looking toward Connecticut for what will happen next. That is where Callaway Cars, Inc. has their headquarters and a staff ready to study it, take it apart, and create their own interpretation of America’s Sports Car. Since the late 1980s, a team led by Reeves Callaway has been finding ways to make “fast” faster much to the delight of the Corvette enthusiast who wants something a little (or a lot) different.

Over the years we’ve hosted an unveiling of a Callaway Corvette, along with having historic Callaway Corvettes like the Sledgehammer on exhibit. Recently we had an exhibit featuring Callaway Corvettes where one C5 Corvette in particular got a lot of attention. Owned by Gary Nichols, he decided to donate it to the Museum after facility manager Bob Hellmann told him about how popular the car was with guests.

“When Bob told me about how it drew a crowd, I realized how much it was appreciated here. I even had people come up to me at Carlisle and tell me they saw it here. It made perfect sense to donate it to the Museum. It is a special car and needs to be preserved and displayed.”

While he could have sold it, his concern was that it would have been bought for the performance causing the history to be lost. “I would have felt good about getting it in the hands of a Callaway collector who would honor the car, but this is really a win-win as the car can be a part of the Museum and part of history.”

The thing that makes this car special is that it was purchased by Callaway and used in their development of their C5 Power Groups. This was the test mule used before the car went into production. For one of these to make its way into the public is a rare thing.

“I was looking for a silver C5 Z06 when I heard about this car,” Gary says. “I knew about the work Callaway had done with Twin Turbos, so I drove up to his plant in Old Lyme, Connecticut to see it. Reeves told me he’d never sold a test car before, making it that much more special to get. We worked out a deal and I took it home.”

Knowing what he had, he made it a point to keep everything original. “It is an integral part of Callaway history. It’s been featured in Corvette Enthusiast and Vette Magazine, and has Bloomington certification, and been exhibited at the Museum and elsewhere. The way it sits now it has power group 1, 2 and 3, and it ran an 11.7 at 121 mph. It has almost 500 hp. At one point, one of the engines they put in it tested at 10.9 making the track manager kick them off the track for not having a roll cage at that speed.”

While he will miss it, he feels honored that it has a new home at the Museum. “I feel good about people coming to look it and learn from it. Besides, I like having an excuse to come out and visit it once a year.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Museum Skydome Closes for Construction Monday; Military Appreciation Month Brings Special Helicopter Display

If you have not yet made the trek to Bowling Green, Kentucky to view the massive sinkhole that opened inside the National Corvette Museum on February 12 of this year, you have just a few more days to do so. Construction is slated to begin on Monday, November 10 and is expected to take approximately eight months to complete.

Currently six of the eight “sinkhole Corvettes” are on display in the Skydome: the 1962 Tuxedo Black Corvette, 1984 PPG Pace Car, 1993 ZR-1 Spyder, 1993 40th Anniversary Ruby Red Corvette, 2001 “Mallet Hammer” Z06 and 2009 “1.5 Millionth” Corvette. After November 9th the Museum plans to move three of the cars into other public viewing areas until the Skydome re-opens in July, 2015.

Chevrolet also unveiled this week at SEMA in Las Vegas the restored 2009 "Blue Devil" ZR1 Corvette. The Corvette will be shipped to the Museum after the show and is scheduled to return to the floor in July as part of the grand re-opening of the Skydome.

In addition to the plexiglas viewing window which will be open during construction for guests to view the progress, a temporary sinkhole mini-exhibit will be available in the Museum, providing photos, videos, details and artifacts.

To kick off Military Appreciation Month at the Museum, four special helicopters from the NC Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's Association will be on display Wednesday afternoon through Saturday. They will also make an appearance in the Bowling Green Veteran's Day Parade on Saturday. The helicopters include an OH-6 light observation helicopter, OH-58 bate helicopter for the gunships, UH-1H Huey (Slick) used to carry troops and supplies, and a UH-1C Huey gunship.

The helicopters will be joined by a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Resupply Vehicle (RSV) from the Kentucky National Guard, which will be available for viewing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The displays are part of the ExxonMobil Vets 'n Vettes event at the Museum November 6-8. All military veterans plus police and firefighters, and their immediate accompanying family receive free admission to the Museum in November as part of Military Appreciation Month.

The National Corvette Museum is located at I-65 exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is open seven days a week, from 8am until 5pm Central Time. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 6 to 16, $8 for seniors or $25 family admission. Children age 5 and under are free but are not allowed in the Skydome building. For more information on the Museum, visit, download their free app on iTunes or Google Play or call 800-538-3883.

First Sinkhole Corvette Restored

Corvette ZR1 ‘Blue Devil’ debuts at SEMA Show on way back to museum 

LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet today unveiled the restored 2009 Corvette ZR1 that was damaged earlier this year when a sinkhole developed beneath the National Corvette Museum. It’s on display this week at the SEMA Show, before heading back to the museum in Bowling Green, Ky.

The ZR1, nicknamed the “Blue Devil,” is the first of the eight cars swallowed by the sinkhole to be restored. One of two show cars used to introduce the all-new Corvette ZR1 in January 2008, the car was on loan from Chevrolet to the National Corvette Museum when the sinkhole developed. 

Museum personnel were alerted about motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the facility on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 12. They arrived to find a sinkhole measuring about 45 feet wide, 60 feet long and up to 30 feet deep – and it had swallowed eight Corvettes. 

Three weeks later, the ZR1 was pulled out of the sinkhole. Despite falling nearly 30 feet, it started and drove out of the Skydome under its own power. 

“After that unprecedented event, the ZR1 was the first car to be lifted out of the sinkhole,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports. “It was great to recover it, bring it back to Chevrolet and begin the restoration of this significant Corvette.” 

The ZR1 remained on display at the museum until September, when it was returned to Chevrolet for restoration. The damage included:
* Cracked carbon-fiber ground effects and a broken passenger-side rocker panel 
* Damaged passenger front fender, as well as cracks in both doors
* Cracked windshield, hood window glass and passenger headlamp assembly 
* Bent rear control arms on the driver’s side 
* Cracked oil lines to the supercharged LS9 engine’s dry-sump oiling system. 

Six weeks after work began, the restored ZR1 was started for the first time at the General Motors Heritage Center. 

Two other cars will be restored next year – the 1-millionth Corvette and a 1962 Corvette – while the other five will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve their historical significance. They will become part of a future display at the museum.

Join the social conversation at #CHEVYSEMA.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Team ChEaparral Donates 1986 "Sucker Vette"

One of our top priorities at the National Corvette Museum is to create opportunities that will inspire, educate and engage young minds. The automobile, and Corvette in particular, is in itself the ideal classroom combining art, science, cultural trends, commerce and innovative thinking into what truly is a marvel of human ingenuity. So what better place is there than the Museum to introduce students of all ages to the technologies that go into it?

We often attract like-minded people and organizations who are also on a mission to ignite the imaginations of tomorrow’s innovators. Such was the case last Friday when the members of Team ChEaparral donated their 1986 ChEaparral J2J “sucker Vette” to the Museum.

Part fun, part engineering exercise, and part financial challenge, this was a project taken on by a group of engineers from Proctor & Gamble, looking to come up with an entry to compete in the $2007 Grassroots Motorsports Challenge. The goal for this contest was to build a car for under $2,007 that they could enter in a variety of competitions.

With the challenge of doing this on the cheap, they found a wrecked Corvette in a barn for $1400. It already had a hole in the hood so they cut it out further to make room for twin turbos that gave it an extra 100 horses.

Because they couldn’t get fast enough in an autocross to generate downforce in the usual way, they came up with another idea to get more grip inspired by the Jim Hall vacuum enhanced Chaparral 2J from the 1970’s. For their CHEAParral version of Jim’s car, they rigged up a skirt under the car connected to a cooling fan from an Abrams tank installed in the passenger seat. They powered the fan with a snowmobile engine, to create so much suction that you can actually see the car being pulled to the ground. They wound up getting around 1000 pounds of downforce while making quite a spectacle of themselves for the crowds. With a beer keg for a gas tank designed to keep the engine from being gas starved in the hard turns, they were ready to see what they could do with this car.

They competed against 50 others, winning the autocross, concourse, best-engineered award, top finishing team and the 2007 Challenge Overall Champion award. Having succeeded in their goal of making this car a winner, the question eventually came up of what should happen to the car.

“It is sad for us to let the car go, but we are happy that the car is coming here,” says Cliff Papsdorf when he handed over the keys. “The National Corvette Museum is the perfect home for it.”

The team hopes that the ChEaparral will show future generations what a group of people can make happen with hard work, a good education, and a focused devotion to a cause.