Friday, May 8, 2020

Covid-19 Cancels Detroit's Most Anticipated Event: Detroit Auto Show

NAIAS 2019: Detroit show gearing up for major makeover | KVAL


The Covid-19 virus has caused the cancelation of one of Detroit’s most anticipated events in modern Motor City history. Like with most cities and industries, their economies have taken a huge hit due to the pandemic. But for Detroit and the surrounding regional area, having the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and the Grand Prix cancelled is the worst thing that could happen to a city that has just started to really hit its stride. 


Detroit has suffered for many years economically, and with the new build of the Little Caesar Arena, Detroit has really started to see an up-turn. The arena gave the Red Wings a new place to play and brought the Detroit Pistons back to Detroit from their previous home at the Palace in Auburn Hills, MI.


The North American International Auto Show 

This year would have been the first year for the NAIAS to be held in June instead of in January. Last year the show experienced 35,000 fewer guests than the previous year due to a massive snowstorm. And it’s these kinds of wintery problems that the NAIAS has always experienced when trying to get and keep attendance up. 


Even with the 35,000 fewer guests, the NAIAS boosted Detroit’s and the regional economy with revenue gains of over $430 Million, the equivalent of two Super Bowls. Restaurants and hotels all reap the rewards of this extraordinary event. But as of right now, with all these businesses already hammered with the restrictions of the Covid-19 virus, the cancellation of the NAIAS will only make things worse. 


More Problems For NAIAS 

The second biggest reason for the move to June other than attendance was to bring back some of the automakers that have backed out of the event in the past few years. As attendance declined because of weather and other reasons, a lot of foreign automakers have backed out of the event - with fewer people - fewer people to promote their product to. Moving the NAIAS to June from January was supposed to be the game-changer. 


Having the event outside during the summer would allow interested consumers to take vehicles for a test drive, experience new self-driving cars in the flesh, and give more room for automakers to set up their displays. Also, adding to the fun, there was going to be off-road events at the TCF Center and Hart Plaza, rally cars were to "drift" on the rooftop of the convention center, the Motor Bella festival of Italian and British cars on Broadway, live music, and more. 


Unfortunately, if you show up to any of these places this year, you’ll find that they are either closed or turned into a temporary field hospital for Covid-19 patients


Detroit Grand Prix At Belle Isle

The Detroit Grand Prix was also cancelled. The Grand Prix was to be held May 29-31 just before the June 7-20 NAIAS was to be held making Detroit a true Motor City again. The two events put together so close should have been a great chance for Detroit to get more people down to the city than usual for the two events. Gearheads and just curious people altogether who wanted to see just what Detroit was starting to become was in hopes of showing up.  


Unfortunately, like with all cities around the world, the pandemic is affecting all new and exciting things and traditional things that goes on in our cities. And for a city that was finally bouncing back after decades of decline, this will put a big halt on the progress Detroit has made.  




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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



Rich With Words LLC

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 what a lot of people may not know is that this was not always true. In fact, by the year 1955, the Corvette almost saw 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 idea. Their competition, the two-seater Ford Thunderbird sold an astonishing 16,000 units in 1955 while the Corvette only sold a depressing 700 units.


Unfortunately for Ford, the same car that was taking so many sales away from the Corvette would be the inspiration for keeping the car in the product lineup. The idea behind keeping the Corvette and spending more money on a car that was obviously tanking was brought on by a few 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 a two-seater sports car, and with a solid change for the better and the right amount of marketing the Corvette should be able to become a moneymaker.


In an ironic twist, the very car that Corvette planned to piggyback 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" 
As wide open as the market was, the Corvette needed some changes for success, ideally in the form of performance and with a new body style. 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 public's attention was documented power achievements, but to get that first they had to design a chassis that could handle future horsepower upgrades.


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." 


Many other upgrades were also included. Very rare Halibrand magnesium knock-off wheels, special heavy-duty brakes with cooling scoops, heavy-duty shocks and sway bars, an upgraded high capacity fuel tank, and more were all newly implicated to help achieve what would become some of Chevrolet's most important upgrades for the ‘56 Corvette.


After all of those upgrades, top-engineers slapped a new SR Prototype body on what was now known as project Corvette #6901. The engineers called it the "The Real McCoy" and decided it was ready to head to the racetrack.

Dayton Speedway Record
The first stop was at 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 the 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 had already heard the news of the record-breaking performance.

12 Hour Sebring Race
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 these events. But wanting to prove that the Corvette has changed and deserved respect as a truly powerful sports 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, 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 the international sportscar racing circuits, and Corvette proudly called this particular Vette "The Real McCoy."

Between all of its accomplishments and Chevrolet's ad campaigns, the '56 Corvette sold 3,467 units and in '57 they nearly doubled that with 6,339 sold. One of the main reasons why the Corvette saw such selling success was because if it were to compete in its respected class at the Sebring 12 race, every part that was changed or modified had to be documented and later made available to the public. This made potential buyers very excited about the fact they could buy a Corvette and beef it up to run and look just like the “The Real McCoy”  


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 gone forward with the Corvette and the automobile industry would definitely not be the same today.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

2020 Corvette Stingray Convertible: First Look



Rich With Words LLC

Although the Corvette is now recognized more for its speed and performance, through the years the Corvette’s heritage was mainly designed for comfortable convertible cruising. This 2020 Corvette Stingray convertible was also designed and engineered first-and-foremost around the convertible version. 





Back in 1953, the first Corvette ever available to the public was a convertible version, and that was all you were able to buy. Ever since then a hard-top and a convertible option has always been available, but this 2020 Corvette will be the first-ever convertible hard-top produced. 


Most people like the convertible hard-top version for its looks, but it also offers a few other great features. A quieter cabin, increased security, and an easy to keep clean and maintain tonneau cover are just some of the extra perks the convertible hard-top offers. Also for people who do drive their Corvette a lot, soft-top convertibles tend to need to be replaced after being exposed to the weather elements for too long. These convertible hard-tops are designed to last as long as the Corvette lasts.


The beautifully engineered 2020 Corvette Stingray convertible is still designed to fit two sets of golf clubs in the trunk plus an airline-spec carry-on and a laptop bag in the front storage compartment. For a supercar, that’s a lot of room a luxury you won’t find in other supercars. 


To make sure that the engine doesn’t suffer any circulation problems, the tonneau cover features aerodynamically shaped nacelles influenced by the housing used for jet engines. So although it looks like the engine may suffer from the convertible top being put down, Corvette ensures there is no engine power decrease.

You can activate the convertible top up or down at speeds up to 30 mph and it uses six different electric motors to get the job down in 16 seconds, a first for Corvette.