Thursday, September 4, 2014

Museum Owned GS90 Unveiled at 20th Anniversary Event

Enthusiast funds restoration of car to former glory

On Thursday, August 28, 2014 as part of the National Corvette Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, a special Corvette was unveiled, one that had recently undergone a cosmetic facelift.  The story of the car’s rebirth began during a Museum Display Committee meeting.

“Our collection of Corvettes was continuing to grown, so the committee was reviewing the list to see if there were any we might consider selling,” said Adam Boca, committee member and NCM Insurance Agent.  “The GS90 was in rough shape when we received it, and does not even have a motor so we thought it would be worth exploring a new home for it.”  In December 2013, Adam worked closely with Museum Lifetime Member Charlie Budenz to insure the GS90 #2 that he had recently purchased.  “I thought perhaps Charlie would be interested in the car, so I gave him a call and from there, the conversations turn to bringing the car back to life.”

Charlie offered to fund the restoration of the car and create a Museum quality showpiece.  “Basically, I couldn’t afford to corner the market on these cars… and I didn’t feel that I needed a set of bookends,” Charlie said.  “Then, in February of this year, the very Earth opened up and swallowed so many special NCM display Corvettes.  All of a sudden, the GS90 project went on a ‘front burner’ in order to replace some of the display cars,” he added.

Work on the car began in July and was completed in about a month.  The team at Final Finish in Morgantown, KY (a member of the Motorsports Park One Acre Club) complete some fiberglass repair, sanded the body down to the gel coat, then painted, striped and clear coated the car.  The wheels were also cleaned and new center caps made and applied.

Charlie Budenz provided some history of the car at the event, and former Project Manager for the GS90, Detlef Stevenson, was also on hand to share information and answer questions (and sign a few autographs!).

“Many diverse people have come to this 20th Anniversary Celebration of the National Corvette Museum to share and enjoy its success! These good folks are the fans, the enthusiasts, the hobbyists who have the stories which make the cars so interesting. So many people have contributed to the stories as well as the success of this especially American museum… and they have contributed in large and small ways, which combined have made the huge success possible today,” Charlie said.  “It has been my profound pleasure to provide the donation resulting in the GS90s refurbishment for display as honored at the National Corvette Museum.”

The car is currently on display in the lobby of the Museum.  In addition to the Museum’s GS90, Charlie owns #2 while the other four are thought to be in museums in Detroit, Europe and Japan.

History of the GS-90

In 1994, Corvette racing driver and tuner, Dick Guldstrand introduced his first and only coachbuilt Corvette: the GS90.  The car is based on the Corvette ZR-1 chassis and engine designed by Steve Winter.  When the C4 ZR-1 was released, Guldstrand saw an opportunity to bring back the Grand Sport he used to race with, pitching the concept of his radically restyled ZR-1 to Chevrolet.  He requested several ZR-1s and a few million dollars.  Instead he received one car and a blessing.

The GS90 was Guldstrand’s ultimate 475hp version of the ZR-1, incorporating influences from the Grand Sports of the early 60s inside a distinctive body style that is a throwback to the original 1963 Corvette Grand Sport race cars.   Guldstrand left the ZR-1 cabin alone, concentrating instead on the chassis and engine development, and bespoke coachbuilt distinctive body. 

The car was debuted at the L.A. Auto Show and had a price tag of $134,500, and as a result, only six GS90s were built and sold.