Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supercar - Super Fast: Hennessey Venom GT


American Made -- World's Fastest -- 270.49 mph Street Car

It's official, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport no longer holds "The World's Fastest Production Car" title. Since 2010, the Bugatti held on to the record with a run on a 5.6 mile-long stretch that produced a 269.86 mph showing. But as of Feb. 14, 2014, the Hennessey Venom GT changed all that.

Only given a 3.2 mile-long stretch at the Kennedy Space Center, the Venom GT pulled off a top speed of 270.49 with power to spare. Hennessey claims that with the same amount of space the Bugatti had to reach their top speed, the Venom could of easily reached 275 mph. 

“We wanted to run in both directions, but the NASA guys wouldn’t let us. Getting into NASA isn’t easy. It was a two-year process,” Hennessey told Top Gear. “The morning was relatively calm, about a 3 mph quarter-crosswind. If we’d run in both directions, the result would have been pretty much the same.”

Unfortunately, no matter how fast Hennessey makes the Venom GT, they will not be recognized in "The Guinness Book of World Records" under the worlds fastest production car.

“For whatever reason, Guinness made a decision that to qualify [for a production car world record, you have to build 30 units,” said Hennessey. “We’re only making 29 Venom GTs. To date we’ve built and delivered 11.”

Regardless of its record holding status, the VBOX that recorded the unbelievable time, with plenty of witnesses around, doesn't lie. It may not be considered a true production car, but it is still a vehicle that you can legally register and drive on the road. And in the eyes of the car enthusiast, that makes it a production car, a very fast one at that.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Does The 2014 Z28 Kill the Road Course

LOS ANGELES, CA. NOVEMBER 20:Chevy Camaro Z28 car on display at the LA Auto Show LA Auto Show at the L.A. Convention Center on November 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA - stock photo
Since its outstanding performance at Germany’s Nürburgring racetrack -- the toughest road course in the world -- otherwise known as the Green Hell -- talks about just how badass the new Z/28 really is, have never slowed down.

Not only was the Z/28 amazingly fast and ran a whole four seconds faster around the Green Hell (7:37.47) than it's more powerful sibling, the ZL1, it also ran faster than the Porsche 911 Carrera S and Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.

What made this 505hp monster so quick around the Green Hell? Chevrolet engineers say it has to do with three main key factors that they put most of their focus on: increasing grip, increasing stopping performance, and reducing weight.

Recently, Chevrolet released a list of 28 improvements that made it possible for the Camaro to accomplish such impressive times:

1. LS7 engine with dry-sump oiling: features a durable forged-steel crankshaft, lightweight titanium connecting rods and high-flow cylinder heads with lightweight titanium intake valves, as well as racing-style dry-sump oiling system.

2. TREMEC TR6060 six-speed manual transmission: with short throws, smooth gear synchronization and shift feel, the gearbox has the capability to stand up to high-performance engines.

3. 5.1-ratio short-throw shifter: provides quicker, more precise-feeling gear changes.

4. Track capable fuel system: he road course-ready fuel system is designed to keep the primary fuel pump reservoir full even under hard cornering.

5. Air intake system: the LS7 uses a unique open air box intake system to make the most of high-rpm airflow into the engine.

6. Differential cooler: incorporates an integral heat exchanger, eliminating the need for an external pump, wiring, relays, temperature sensors and fan.

7. Strut tower brace: the same as on the Camaro SS 1LE, provides extra chassis stiffness by tying the towers together.

8. Uprated lower control arm ride link “travel limiter” bushing: offers 50-percent greater stiffness at high load than the SS.

9. Active dual-mode exhaust system and high-flow converter assembly: engineered to provide high-flow and muscular sound character under aggressive acceleration, while attenuating noise levels in cruising conditions.

10. Belly pan: helps reduce front lift and contributes to drivetrain cooling.

11. Carbon ceramic brake rotors: 21.16 lbs lighter than steel brake rotors.

12. Brembo carbon ceramic brakes: 60-0 mph in less than 120 feet (36.6m).

13. 19-inch wheels and Perille P Zero Trofeo R tires: the widest front wheels/tires of any comparable sports coupe: 19x11-inch wheels with P305/30/ZR19 tires.

14. Lightweight wheels and tires: 29.1 lbs lighter wheels and tires than on the Camaro SS.

15. Zero-preload limited-slip differential: features a concentric helical gear set that generates friction proportional to the input torque.

16. Higher-rate coil springs and smaller-diameter stabilizer bars: the stiffness rate of the Z/28’s coil springs was increased by 85 percent in the front and 65 percent in the rear.

17. DSSV damper technology: the Z/28 is the first high-volume production road car to use Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve damper technology from Multimatic.

18. Uprated rear upper control arm bushing and lower trailing link bushings: 400 percent and 25 percent stiffer, respectively, compared with the SS.

19. Unique front fascia: although the Z/28’s fascia is based on the Camaro SS, the fog lamps, air dam and the upper-base grille are replaced with covers, reducing weight.

20. Front splitter: designed to withstand 250 pounds of down-force at its tip, it is matched with an aero closeout panel under the front of the engine compartment that also enhances aero characteristics.

21. Hood extractor: made of carbon fiber, it provides increased engine cooling by allowing hot air an exit route.

22. Front wheelhouse liners: work with the vehicle underbody to make the most of airflow.

23. Performance Traction Management: integrates the chassis mode selection, Traction Control and Active Handling Systems.

24. Rear spoiler with wickerbill: to meet down-force requirements for the Z/28, the spoiler was modified with a wickerbill--a small, vertical tab at the edge of the spoiler.

25. Thinner rear window glass: Chevrolet saved 400 grams by reducing the thickness of the rear window glass from 3.5 mm to 3.2 mm.

26. Lightweight rear seat: 10.3 lbs lighter due to reduced seat foam and a fixed seatback design.

27. Rocker moldings and wheel flare moldings: help increase the car’s down-force.

28. No air conditioning: 28.4 lbs were saved.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rare Corvettes Damaged By Sinkhole at National Corvette Museum

Bowling Green, Kentucky "National Corvette Museum"

Bowling Green is not only the home to the biggest Corvette plant in the world, but also home to the famous Corvette Museum. The museum is host to some of the most rarest Corvettes know to man. From vintage to new to prototype, a lot of Chevrolet's prized possessions sit on display in the museum.

Unfortunately, Wednesday morning, their quiet comfortable home came under attack by a force of nature. A sinkhole the size of 25-35ft deep and 40ft around, swallowed several Corvettes right in the Sky Dome area of the museum.

The museum stated in a press release, "It is with heavy hearts that we report that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident."

Corvettes that were effected:
  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
  • 2009 ZR-1 Blue Divel
  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer ZO6
  •  1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette

Luckily one Corvette was saved that was in danger. Thanks to emergency officials okaying the move, an 1983 Corvette was saved. There is no telling what kind of danger other undamaged cars are in, but they will stay put for the time being while the rest of the structure of the Sky Dome is inspected along with the rest of the museum. 

Bowling Green sits in the midst of Kentucky’s Western Pennyroyal area, where many of the state’s longest and deepest caves run underground. To this day nothing like this has happened and comes as much of a surprise to the community. Luckily no injuries were reported in this incident.

As a car guy, I visited the museum when I was young, it was an awesome place. It is very sad to see what happen to some of Americas most beautiful cars.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Black Widow Corvette and Captain America: The Winter Soldier Join Forces

 Black Widow's Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The amazing looking and performing Corvette Stingray scored a side job for early this spring. It will play host to a Superhero S.H.E.I.L.D agent Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) in the new movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

You really couldn't choose a better car for an American Superhero, especially considering that the Corvette Stingray itself is somewhat of an American Superhero. Since its unveiling at last years Detroit North American Auto Show it has taken the auto industry by storm with nothing but rave reviews, following those reviews up with the car of the year at this years Detroit Auto Auto.

Those honors are what could have helped Marvel Entertainment make the decision for using the Stingray in the up coming flick. No word yet if there will be any aftermarket up-grades done to it for the movie, but one can only speculate that even if there isn't any up-grades made for its movie debut, that the black-on-black beautiful will still be more than enough to impress movie goers.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Black Widow before you see it on the big screen, you will have your chance in Chicago when they host their Annual Auto Show.

Although it seems that there will be no special edition Black Widow Stingray offered to the general public, Chevrolet will be producing a special edition comic book to celebrate the teaming-up of Chevrolet and Marvel Entrainment, LLC.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The 1956 "Real McCoy" Corvette That Saved the Corvette Brand

Just about anybody in the world who knows just a little bit about cars knows that the Corvette was the first American sports car and is now the most popular, fastest and most recognizable American sports car to date. But a lot people may not know is that this was not always true. In fact, by the year 1955 the Corvette almost seen extinction.

Rumors about the move to drop the Corvette flooded out of Chevrolet's top offices with very sad sales numbers to back-up what only seemed to be a good ideal. Their competition, the two-seater Ford Thunderbird, sold an astonishing 16,000 units in 1955 while the Corvette only sold a depressing 700 units.

But consequently enough, the same car that was taking so many sales away from the Corvette would be the inspiration for keeping the car in the product line-up. The ideal behind keeping the Corvette and spending more money on a car that was obviously tanking was brought on by a few of Chevrolet big wigs including former Corvette chief engineer Dave McLellan. He released a statement concurring that if the Ford Thunderbird was doing so well that there is obviously a market for two-seater sports cars and with a solid change for the better and the right amount of marketing the Corvette should be able to become a money maker.

In an ironic twist, the very car that Chevy planned to piggy back off of, the Ford Thunderbird, had already made future plans to market the car differently by doing away with the two-seater style and making it a four-seater touring car, thus leaving the American sports car market wide open.

"The Real McCoy" 
But as wide open as the market was, the Corvette needed some changes. Ideally in the form of performance and a new body-style and that is when Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus Dutov came in. He decided that one thing the Corvette needed to bring to the table to get the publics attention was documented performance achievements, but to get that, first they had to build something that could accomplish such achievements.

With a '55 chassis, Chevrolet engineers went to work. First they ditched the boring and heavy two-speed power-glide transmission and replaced it with an up-graded four-speed. They also took the original 265 cu. in. motor and bored it out to a 307 that sported dual Cater carbs and a now famous "Dutov high-performance cam." Chassis up-grades were also included: very rare Halibrand magnesium knock-off wheels, special heavy duty brakes with cooling scoops, heavy duty shocks and sway bars, upgraded high capacity fuel tank - all newly implicated to help achieve what would become some of Chevrolet's most important accomplishments for the Corvette.

After all of those up-grades, top-engineers slapped a new SR Prototype body on what was now know as project Corvette #6901 "The Real McCoy" and headed to the racetrack. The first stop was at the Dayton Speed Week for a two-way flying speed mile. This is where the Corvette would make its first milestone. At the time the record for the Corvettes class was 127mph. With Dutov as driver, the 255hp Corvette sped to an average speed of 150.58mph to crush the record. This was an extremely sufficient record because it occurred just weeks before the New York Motorama where the Corvette would be on display to many potential buyers, most of which would have already heard the news of the record breaking performance.

A few months later in March, the ground-breaking Corvette made its way to the famous 12 hour Sebring race. This was a race that was only made for the toughest of the toughest, the fastest of the fastest. Only cars like Jaguars, Bentleys and Aston Martins graced the racetracks for events like this. But wanting to prove that the Corvette has changed and deserved respect of a true powerful sport car, Chevrolet did not shy away.

Race drivers John Fitch and Walter Hansgen were brought on board to take on the challenging race. When the green flag dropped the race was on, but early on in the race the Corvette experienced mechanical problems, so much so they did not think that it would finish. But in the end not only did it finish, but the Corvette finished first in its respected class and 9th over-all. This was an incredible accomplishment especially considering 60 cars entered the event, but only 24 would cross the finish-line.

This was another huge milestone and Chevrolet exploited it in printing ads praising the Corvette: "a tough, road-gripping torpedo on wheels" and "the most remarkable car made in America today." Those ads were to send a message: Corvette had finally arrived as a force in international sports car racing, a feat symbolized in the simple headline: "The Real McCoy."
Between those accomplishments and Chevrolet's ad campaigns, the '56 Corvette sold 3,467 units and in '57 they nearly double that with 6,339 sold. One of the main reasons why the Corvette seem such success after the big win at the Sebring race was the fact that engineers replaced and tooled around with many different parts to get the performance that it needed to win, but to be able to race in their respected class every part that they changed or modified had to be documented and later made available to the public. This gave car enthusiast the feeling that they could go to the dealer and buy a Corvette with close to the same type of performance of which broke records at the Daytona two-way flying mile and at the Sebring 12 hour race.

In any event, if it was not for the #6901 '56 PJ Prototype "Real McCoy" Corvette, and possibly the success of the Thunderbird, Chevrolet may have never went forward with the Corvette and the automobile industry would definitely not be the same today.