Monday, December 9, 2013

Dick Coup Donates 1963 Grand Sport Replica

Dick Coup created a car - all hand built - that was inspired by the Chaparral of Jim Hall and all of his racing. Back in 1964 Dick saw that car lead the first lap of the Sebring race, and after learning more about what a Grand Sport was... he decided he wanted to build one.

He purchased and engine and a six-speed transmission from Chevrolet, and a body and frame from D&D Corvette in 1996.  After eight years of carefully putting the car together, it was on the race circuit for five years, at shows for a year and then retired to Dick's barn. "It was built as a show car. In a barn [people] could not appreciate it." Dick felt strongly that people needed to see the car, and there was no chance of that in his barn.

"Talking with Johnny Downs [NCM Board Member], he kind of triggered the idea that it would get an everlasting view from the public if it were at the Museum," said Dick. "And I gave thought to it, and I didn't have to think too hard. And it's my indeed honor to put this in this building and have the public exposed to it."

Dick’s Corvette has many unique features incorporated, including front fender louvers that were fabricated and are thought to be the only pressure relief in the front fenders of any Grand Sport replica.  The seats use dune buggy slugs with a support built up around them.

Dick says the most unintentional modification on the car is the split rear window.  Zora Arkus-Duntov, the creator of the Grand Sports, disliked the ’63 Split Window because it hampered rear vision, so the race version of the car had a vented one piece rear window.  Dick’s intention was to do the same, but after a series of unfortunate events Dick created what he calls the “Worf Module” because of its resemblance to the Star Trek character.

The car also incorporates some parts that are not your run-of-the-mill automotive nuts and bolts.  “For many years I worked with a company that manufactured a medical tool,” said Dick.  “Over those same years all kinds of obsolete or surplus medical materials were donated that were of no use to the company.  Rather than see the various screws and devices scrapped I acquired a varied selection of materials.  Much of this material is used throughout this car.”

Dick said many of the covers and enclosures are held together with stainless medical lag screws, the inside door handles are chrome cobalt artificial hip joint heads, the trunk door rod is a scoliosis spinal support fixation rod and the plugs in the Cross Ram Weber carburetor velocity stacks are spinal anchor fixtures.

“The Grand Sport project was a real education for me, and probably my last. It seems ironic that the racing life of the original Grand Sports lasted only about five years, and the Chaparral2 World Class racing program only a couple of years longer, yet those two programs are giants in road racing history,” said Dick.  And even yet, the technological legacy of the Chaparral racers still lives today in contemporary racing.”

Friday, December 6, 2013

Helmintollers Donate Track-Ready Z06

The NCM Motorsports Park continues to gain traction, and not just with regard to the construction, rentals and overall interest.  The Museum has now received a third track-worthy Corvette donation in just over a week.

“The track… wow.  This car is perfect for that.  It’s nearly a full blown race car,” said Kevin Helmintoller of Land O’ Lakes, Florida about his 2001Mallett Hammer Z06.  “I really wasn’t using this car very much… and if I were to sell it, someone would just tear it up.  If it were to run on the NCM track it would be all good.”
Kevin and wife Linda purchased the car from Kerbeck Chevrolet in June of 2001.  The Mallett Hammer conversion was completed in June 2002 – build number 009 of all ever built as this was the first year of the Z06.  Since the conversion, Greg Lovell, owner of AntiVenom LSX Performance in Seffner, FL, has added many performance mods, including a one of one AV436 conversion.  The car’s motor boasts approximately 700hp and 575 torque at the flywheel.
The car has a run best of 10.6 seconds at 128 mph in the quarter mile… and Kevin acknowledges that while it isn’t much by today’s standards it’s not bad for a Corvette that really isn’t set-up for drag racing, and lacks today’s sophisticated engine management and launch control systems.  The car participated in a one mile top speed event – where cars go from a dead stop to one mile using radar and GPS speed measurement.  It ran a 178 on radar, 181 on GPS (without the hood, which had buckled on a previous run, and in 120 degree track temp with 100% humidity) netting it the cover of GM High Tech magazine.  But Kevin is quick to add that this car is not just a track rat… it was a full participant in the 50th anniversary Caravan from Stamford, CT to Bowling Green, KY and Kevin and Linda drove it eight hours up to the Museum for the donation!
“We donated this car to the Museum to help with the continued growth, but also think she could be a good vehicle for training other drivers at the new Motorsports Park, and to give some 9/10ths passenger rides.”  Kevin added that donating her also makes him feel like the car will still be a part of him.
Kevin and Linda are Lifetime Members of the Museum and have participated in several R8C Museum Deliveries, including a 2008 delivery of a 2009 ZR1 – one of eight Corvettes they have owned.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chevrolet to Introduce 2015 Corvette Z06 at Detroit Show

Most-capable Corvette ever will lead industry’s broadest range of performance cars

Chevrolet will introduce the 2015 Corvette Z06 next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It will be the most track-capable Corvette ever, designed to deliver supercar levels of performance through unique powertrain, chassis and aerodynamic features.

The Corvette Z06 will complete Chevrolet’s performance car lineup, which will also see the addition of the Corvette Stingray Convertible, Camaro Z/28 and SS sedan.

“Chevrolet is America’s favorite performance car brand, and for 2014 we are going to offer enthusiasts more choices than ever before,” said Alan Batey, senior vice president, Global Chevrolet. “No other manufacturer will be able to match the breath of performance cars from Chevrolet.”

Chevrolet sells one out of four performance cars in 2013
For the first 11 months of 2013, Chevrolet has accounted for about 25 percent of all performance car sales in the U.S. as Corvette and Camaro continue to lead their respective segments.

Corvette outsold its closest competitor, the Porsche 911, for the first 11 months of 2013. This is all the more remarkable given Corvette production was halted for six months as the Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant prepared to build the 2014 Corvette Stingray. In November, Corvette sales jumped 229 percent year-over-year, as demand for the new Stingray continues to outstrip supply.

Camaro also outsold its closest competitor, the Ford Mustang, for the first 11 months of 2013. Camaro enters December with a 4,093-unit lead in total sales. More importantly, Camaro has an estimated 10,000-unit lead in retail sales. If that lead continues through the end of the year, 2013 will be the fourth consecutive year Camaro has been the best-selling sports car in the U.S.

Four new performance cars for 2014
The sales lead for Chevrolet is expected to accelerate as the brand adds four new performance cars to the lineup, including:
  • First full calendar year of sales of the 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan: The all-new SS, which went on sale in October, is based on a race-proven, global platform that underpins the Camaro, Caprice police vehicle and, in Australia, the high-performance Holden VF Commodore. Elements including lightweight aluminum hood and deck lid panels help give the SS a nearly 50/50 weight balance, while the performance of its 6.2L V-8 – rated at 415 horsepower – and six-speed automatic transmission enable 0-60 mph acceleration in five seconds flat.
  • First full year of sales of the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible: The Stingray Convertible, which goes on sale this month, shares identical chassis tuning and performance technologies with the coupe, with structural changes limited to accommodations for the folding top and repositioned safety belt mounts. As such, the Stingray Convertible requires no sacrifices for a drop-top driving experience, offering up to 460 horsepower /465 lb-ft with the available performance exhaust system; capable of more than 1 g in cornering; and sprinting from 0-60 in under 4 seconds.
  • Arrival of the 2014 Camaro Z/28: The Camaro Z/28, which arrives in dealerships in the second quarter of 2014, will be the most track-capable Camaro ever. Recently, the Z/28 logged a 7:37.40 lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course, a time comparable with some of the world’s most prestigious sports cars – and the Z/28 lap was completed in the rain.
  • Debut of the 2015 Corvette Z06: The all-new Corvette Z06 will make its public debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Production is expected to begin in late 2014.