Tag Archives: Corvette

Chevy Cranks Up for SEMA

At the world’s largest convention of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories, the SEMA Show –Specialty Equipment Market Association – one of the highlights is the Chevrolet display; and the chance for a sneak preview at the Media Party held on Monday night before SEMA opens.

Besides catching up with various executives and seeing some great cars, Chevrolet brings in a few celebrities to spice up the night.  Fortunately these celebrities have straight connections to the cars featured at this press event.

This year NASCAR racers Ricky Carmichael (and AMA racer and X Games champ) and Jeff Gordon were there to delight the crowds. Some of the featured cars were:

Ricky Carmichael’s Chevy All-Activity Sonic concept

The All-Activity Sonic concept was introduced by Carmichael and had a cold air induction, a lowered suspension and enhanced braking.Spark EV Tech Performance concept

Sonic Chevy
Ricky Carmichael’s Sonic

Chevy Spark EV Tech Performance concept

Chevy “powered up” this all-electric tire smoking mini-car, the Spark, with an instant on 400 lb-ft of torque –http://route66pubco.com/wp-admin/post-new.php more than the classic 1969 Camaro SS muscle car with a 350 V-8 – for exhilarating acceleration. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in only 7.5 seconds.

Electric car
Amped up Chevy Spark

2014 Chevy COPO

It seems that Chevrolet always has a new version of the legendary COPO drag cars for SEMA, and they didn’t disappoint this year with a light blue version.  Very well designed and ready for the drag strip as is.  This year will feature new front and rear fascia and be limited to the fabled 69 cars.

Light Blue drag car
2014 COPO Camaro

Gran Turismo C7 Corvette Stingray

A flat blue Corvette that will be featured in the latest version of Playstation’s Gran Turismo was promoted.  All week at the Chevy display show goers will be able to play an advanced version of the game.

blue Corvette
Corvette Stingray from Gran Turismo

Restored 1978 pick up

This truck was a restored beauty and featured a new crate engine package from Chevy.  The E ROD 5.3 L package is a plug and play emissions compliant powertrain.

Black truck
Restored Chevy Pickup with E ROD power

Jeff Gordon’s SS

His SS came with a red satin (flat) finish was an awesome car with subtle power touches.  A LS3 engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission were the power plant for the SS.

Red SS
Red Satin SS from Jeff Gordon

2014 Camaro Z28

The road worthy Z/28 in all black was released at this event.  Featuring Brembo brakes, less weight and a LS7 engine helps make this track car a worthy competitor and lives up to its namesake.

Black camaro
Black Z/28

Transformers 4

Three cars from the 2014 Transformer movie were on hand to be admired; a new Bumble Bee Camaro, a Sonic and bright Green Corvette Stingray

 

Green Corvette
Green Transformer Staingray
Yellow Camaro
Transformer 4 Bumble Bee Camaro
white Sonic
Chevy Sonic from Transformer 4

Good times, good cars, good people.  SEMA cranks up in full power mode in a few hour son Tuesday November 5th.  More details at Chevy Performance.

 

 

Predictions for SEMA Show 2013

SEMA Signage
SEMA

SEMA – the Specialty Equipment Market Association – show starts officially on Tuesday November 5, 2013 in Las Vegas.  Car Nirvana is spread over 2 million square feet of interior space and even more cars are positioned outside.  I figured if Hot Rod Magazine can prediction what the SEMA 2013 will highlight, I can predict too.

Predictions for SEMA

I’ll be more modest and only give you five trends to be spotted at SEMA this year.

Prediction #1

Car of the Year – Has to be the Corvette Stingray.  This is the after-market convention after all and there has been no more pent-up demand, than seeing the Corvette C7 hit the streets.

prediction corvette is SEMA's car of the year
Corvette Stingray

Prediction #2

Flat is back.  We’ve seen variations of flat paint jobs in the past, and that trend is going to explode.  Both from the mainstream manufacturers but also the specialty shops.  And contrary to some opinions, it takes as much prep work on a car body to spray it flat as it does for the shiny clear coats.

Prediction #3

Step up the transmissions.  Used to be standard to row through four speeds, but not that Detroit is issuing out sheet metal with 7 speed transmissions to help up the EPA gas mileage, so will the aftermarket.

Silver truck
Sweet Trucker

Prediction #4

Truck of the year?  Got to be the Chevrolet Silverado.  Demand is back up for trucks, that’s where the money is and that’s where General Motors has hit a home run.  It might be apolitical to have two winners from the same manufacturer, but the Silverado deserves it!

Prediction #5

Retro is back with a passion.  Clothing, accessories, and cars will all be showing an old fashioned look.  Woodies, rat rods, salt wagons will all be highly visible.???????????????????????????????

Stayed tuned and we’ll see how many of these predictions you might agree with after Friday and the show wraps up.

 

 

Harley Earl’s 1963 Corvette Sold Again

The Mecum Auction concluded their Chicago area auction last week, with the big seller being a 1963 Corvette originally gifted by General Motors to their famed car stylist Harley Earl.

Harley Earl

Portrait of Harley Earl
Harley J. Earl

Harley J. Earl spent thirty years with General Motors and retired as the Vice President of Design.  He left a lasting mark during this iconic era, including working on the special Motorama era cars, concept cars, stylish sports coupes (hardtops) and two toned paint jobs with outrageous fins.  His 1938 Buick Y Job is actually considered the first “concept” car produced from Detroit.

1938 Buick concept car
1938 Buick Y-Job concept car

A little known fact is that the Daytona 500 NASCAR trophy is named the Harley J. Earl Trophy; showing the impact this designer had in automotive circles.

1963 Corvette

While titled as a 1963, it has several touches from the 1965, like 4 wheel disc brakes,  and many one-off designs including a set of custom gauges in the passenger pod.  The exhaust pipes coming out the side cove is also a unique touch.  It has a 327 power plant and the requisite four speed. It generally is suspected to be a mule (or test car) and hence even rarer and more valuable.  The car was originally destined for the Chicago Car Show. but then re-deployed as well deserved thanks to an automotive icon.Harley Earl Interior

Past Sales

This Corvette doesn’t seem to stay in one collection for long.  Mecum sold it in 2010 for $925,000, and previously  in 2009 for $985,000 and it was also sold by Barrett-Jackson in 1999 for $145,000 (all prices are listed without buyer’s premium).

Mecum Auction results for Chicago

During the three days of car selling frenzy, covered by Velocity TV, 965 cars were offered up for sale with 615 hammered sold (that is nearly a 65% selling rate) with over $18 million in sales.  Like most auctions many cars are offered on “reserve” meaning if the bid doesn’t reach a certain set amount, the car is not sold.

So what do you think?  Did the buyer get a deal?

 

Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions and Barrett-Jackson Auction

Harley J. Earl photos © General Motors

Lambrecht Chevrolet Classic Car Auction

This past weekend the Lambrecht Chevrolet auction was held in Pierce Nebraska by VanDerBrink Auctions.  If you hadn’t heard about this nearly 500 car auction in advance, you missed out on a surely once in our lifetime event.  It seems the mom and pop owners of Lambrecht Chevrolet had a history of keeping both new cars that just didn’t seem to move off their lot; or some cars that they took in as trade ins.

Some of these cars were kept in fields, some were stored in warehouses until literally the roof fell in and some were kept at the Lambrecht dealership showroom.    Well the cars weathered and finally the surrounding trees were chopped down and the cars were offered up for sale this past weekend (September 28-29, 2013).  Even the History Channel got in the act and offered coverage from the farm fields.

Lambrecht Chevrolet

These Lambrecht Chevrolet vehicles were generally what I would call rough, survivor cars.  They were stored outside, after all, and exposed to Mother Nature.  Even the better vehicles were bound to need some work.  You can’t ignore a vehicle for fifty plus years and expect the radiator, belts, brakes and even engine to be road worthy.

VanDerBrink Auctions

VanDerBrink auctions seemed to have a good handle on this auction. Bearing in mind that they are not a usual purveyor of high-end collector cars, they had things well in hand.  This wasn’t their first rodeo!  Parking was available nearby and while probably high by Pierce, Nebraska local standards, $20 seems a fair deal given the circumstances.  Their website stayed up and had generally accurate descriptions and pictures of the cars.  They had plans for temporary storage of the cars, since most had no functional tires!

MSO’s

Most of the low mileage “new” cars were offered with Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO), meaning that the cars never were sold and titled in the state.  A few cars were noted as being issued a Nebraska title, which I took to mean the MSO wasn’t located.  And the balance of the nearly 500 cars were used vehicles, generally with 50,000+ miles on the odometers.  It indicates the organizational skills maintained by a small dealership like Lambrecht had, to locate MSO’s from sixty years ago!  I know some owners with one classic car that can’t find their titles!

The value in these cars was the low mileage status of them.  They are survivors and few and far between.  To quote the pundits, “they are only original once.”  But many buyers  were quoted as indicating they had plans of fixing up the cars and driving them.  But once you start putting miles on these cars, their provenance drops.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe – Anniversary Edition

1978 Corvette Pace car sold from Lambrecht Collection by VanDerBrink Auctions
1978 Corvette Pace car Edition

As an example a 1978 Corvette was sold with only 4 miles on the odometer and sold for $80,000.  This was the 25th anniversary model and is a pretty eye-catching model.  Being a Corvette, you would expect a few well-heeled buyers and sure enough it was sold for $80,000.  VanDerBrink charged a 5% buyers premium on site and a web buyers premium of 8-10%

As a comparison, the Barrett-Jackson auction has sold three low mileage similar Corvettes.  In 2011, they sold a 1978 with only 48 miles for $45,100.  More recently in January 2013 Barrett-Jackson sold one with 158 miles for $44,000 and in Spring, 2013 at Palm Beach a coupe with 928 miles sold for $33,000.  So the Lambrecht version had probably a $40,000 premium for those four miles.

The best news is that nearly 500 cars have found new homes and were saved from the metal shredders.  And for that we all should be grateful!

Photo © GM

Woodward vs. Pebble Beach – Car Shows – Auctions

Classic Cruiser
Classic Cruiser

Decisions abound on this weekend.  In Michigan you can choose from two unique car events – Woodward Dream Cruise and the Back to the Bricks car show; while in California you have an abundance of car shows and auctions concluding with the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Woodward Dream Cruise

Woodward Dream Cruise resurrects a moving car cruise along 16 miles of Woodward Avenue.  a million folks line the highway as FOURTY thousand of American muscle cars go out for the a cruise through eight communities.  Surrounding towns have held impromptu shows in the days leading up to this Saturday.  Detroit manufacturers bring out concept cars, historical cars and lots of steel eye candy.  And if you are not up for exhaust fumes and a few tires chirping and burning  you can truck over to Flint, Michigan.

Back to the Bricks

Back to the Bricks takes over the streets of Downtown Flint and allows for a car show of classic American iron.  And inside the Bricks show is a sub set of cars, the Corvette Reunion.  With upwards of 700 Corvettes there alone, there is plenty for all to see.  Plus in the days leading up to Saturday there were a variety of car related shows and cruises.

Pebble Beach and Monterrey, California

On the left coast along Monterrey, California classic cars of all calibers are out in force, cruising and selling.  Five separate auction houses hold unique auctions this week.  The familiar names of Mecum and Russo Steele are joined by Bonhams , RM and Gooding to offer twelve days of classic car auctions.  This are too offers a variety of downtown car shows and cruises plus the Rolex Monterrey Motorsports Reunion of historical race cars and the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  The price for admission to the Pebble beach show?  A hefty $250 in advance, yes that is per person!  I think I’ll watch in on the web instead.

This is clearly a weekend I wish I could be in two (or more) places at once.

Hug a tree and buy a Corvette Stingray

 

I can hear it now, “But honey buying a new Corvette will save us money and help the environment!”

As if anybody needed any more inducements to buy the new 2014 Corvette, the first year for the seventh generation of the iconic American sports car, now you can add great gas mileage!

General Motors recently announced that the 2 seater Stingray, with a powerful 455 horsepower V8 LT1 engine mated with a manual transmission, will have an EPA sticker estimate for gas mileage of 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and 17 miles in the city.  And yet the car will still go 0-60 MPH in under 4 seconds.  All this with a LT1 engine that is delivering 6% more horsepower than the 2013 model.

Now surprisingly Corvettes have been saddled with the misconception that muscle cars are gas hogs.  Even today some current offerings from Detroit are not known as miserly fuel users.  But Corvettes for years have been able to provide their happy owners with some great gas mileage.

General Motors was able to obtain the highway estimate by two tricks; the standard test was in “tour” mode and improved upon by using the “eco” mode – Active Fuel Management.  Under ideal situations, with eco mode the engine turns off fuel to four of the cylinders without significant changes in performance.  I have that same system on a six banger Impala and when it switches off three cylinders, I wouldn’t notice it without the dashboard indicator.

The second trick is the manual transmission involves SEVEN gears.  This allows drivers to get a big right bicep while swapping gears and optimizing performance.

It’ll be interesting to see how the automatic fares under the EPA rules.  The automatic will also use Active Fuel management to conserve fuel.

So now you can have a car with both performance and economy!  Thanks GM

 

 

Happy 60th Birthday – Corvette

Unveiling of the 60th Anniversary Corvette at Barrett-Jackson Auction
Unveiling of the 60th Anniversary Corvette at Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ

America’s longest lasting sports car icon, the Corvette, first went into production in Flint, Michigan. on June 30, 1953. Since then, Corvette has become an American icon that continues to offer the arguably best in today’s technology and performance for the price.

Over 1.5 million cars have been produced over the past sixty years.

All 300 of the 1953 models were Polo White with a red interior and listed at $3,498.

Since 1956, the sport scar has only been powered by V8 engines. Corvette was available solely as a convertible for its first 10 years.

Since 1981 Bowling Green, KY has been the birthplace for all Corvettes offering both a factory tour and a Corvette museum on the premises.

Chevy’s Suburban is the only nameplate that has been in production longer in America.

 

2014 Corvette Stingray will be shod with Michelin’s

For the recent past, Corvettes came out of Detroit with Goodyear Run Flats.  The stiff sidewall helped carry the tire in the event of no air pressure but also contributed to a stiff ride.  many owners derisively referred to them as run craps.

Many owners actually used regular speed rated tires and risked a flat tire or carried a small portable compressor and a patch kit.  Some switched to Michelin’s version of the run flats – the ZP – Zero Pressure

For 2014 the Corvette Stingray (the C7 generation) will sport Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport ZP.  These tires will have the same size but should offer a smoother ride.  It’ll be interesting to see what the new owners say, and why Goodyear was dropped.