Sunday, May 26, 2024

Indianapolis 500 Corvette E-Ray Pace Car And The Rest Of The Corvettes That Served Indy


2024 E-Ray Corvette Pace Car for the Indy 500

Sunday, May 26, 2024, we will once again see a Corvette running laps as a pace car for the Indianapolis 500. But this won't be just any Corvette—it is Corvette's first all-new 2024 Corvette ELZ E-Rayall-new 2024 Corvette ELZ E-Ray

This is Corvette's 21st time pacing the Indy 500 since 1978, more than any other car in history. If you add that up with all 35 appearances of Chevorlets that paced the event since 1948, Chevy is by far the leader for this honor.

How Does The E-Ray Corvette Stack Up To Its Syblines?

The Electric All-Wheel Drive (eAWD) E-Ray is the quickest production Corvette that has ever come off the assembly line at the Corvette Plant in Bowling Green, KY. 

Using a 6.2-liter powerhouse V8 running6.2-liter powerhouse V8 running in tandem with an electric motor that adds an additional 160 horsepower and 125 lb.-ft. of torque to the front wheels, this Corvette is good for 655 combined horsepower. 

2024 Corvette E-Ray Indy 500

What do these numbers mean while the Corvette is in motion? How about a 0-60 MPH time in just 2.5 seconds, and if you decide to keep the pedal to the metal, you'll cover the quarter-mile track in just 10.5 seconds. The E-Ray can also drive on its electric motor alone for up to 4 miles at 45 MPH when Stealth Mode is selected.  

Who's Going To Be Driving The E-Ray Pace Car?
Ken Griffey Jr. Driving the Indianapolis 500 Pace car.

Piloting the E-Ray at the Indy 500 is going to a famous former MLB outfielder, All-Star, Ken Griffey Jr.All-Star, Ken Griffey Jr. If you haven't heard of this guy, even if you don't watch sport, you must have been living under a rock for the 35 years. All you have to do is punch his name into a search engine, and you'll see the mountain of awards and accomplishments he has made—Golden Glove Awards, All-Star awards, hitting awards, and more. 

Here's A Run Down Of The Past Corvettes To Take The Indy Honor

1. May 26, 1978, the 62nd Annual Indianapolis 500 is the first time Corvette graces Indy fans with its presence. Driven by American race car driver Jim Rathmann.

1979 Corvette Pace Car

2. May 25, 1986, the 70th Indianapolis 500 chose this 1986 Corvette because it was the first convertible Corvette put into production in ten years. Driven by General Chuck Yeager. He was one of the finest American fighter pilots, who also was the first person to break the sound barrier. 

1986 Corvette Pace Car


3. May 28, 1995, the 79th running of the Indianapolis 500, brought to the stage one of the more colorful Corvette Pace Cars. This 1995 Corvette Pace Car version was raced equipped with a five-point safety harness, an onboard fire suppression system, a special "halo" roll-bar, and a special strobe light setup for more eye appeal. For this year the Corvette was driven by former Chevrolet Manager Jim Perkins.  

1995 Corvette Pace Car

4. May 24, 1998, the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 Corvette Pace Car showed off some more colorful action. Driven by American race car driver and team owner Parnelli Jones, this Corvette was hard to miss with Radar Blue paint, eye-grabbing graphics, and bright blazing yellow seats and matching wheels.

1995 Corvette Pace Car

5. May 25, 2003, the 86th Indianapolis 500 celebrates the 50th annerverary of Corvette production by seeing to it that it once again leads the pack at the famous race. Actor Jim Caviezel gets the honor of driving this most important Corvette with the big "50th" badge on top of the hood. 

2003 Indy 500 Corvette Pace

6. May 30th, 2004, the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 sees the first time that Corvette gets a back-to-back appearance. This is also the first time that Chevrolet and Corvette decided to make no replicas of the Indy Pace Car. It's Morgan Freeman, who takes the reigns this year in pacing the Indy Cars around the track. The Corvette's patriotic color scheme makes this pace car one of the more iconic ones.

2004 Indy 500 Corvette Pace

7. May 29, 2005, the 89th Indianapolis 500 will see its first sixth-generation Corvette leading the Indy Car field. This was not just the first time the 6th-gen made it to Indy, but also the first time the general public was introduced to the car, other than renderings, pictures, and spy photos. General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State was put in the Driver's seat for pace car duties. 

2005 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car

8. On May 28, 2006, the official pace car of the 90th Indianapolis 500 was the 2006 Corvette Z06. Back to a patriotic color scheme, the 505 horsepower sports car would be driven by the seven-time Tuor de France winner Lance Armstrong. 

2006 Corvette Z06 Indy 500 Pace Car

9. May 27, 2007, the 91st Indianapolis 500 brings Corvette on board again for pace car duties. Team owner and actor Patrick Dempsey would take on pace car duties in this Atomic Orange LS2 400 horsepower machine.

2007 Corvette Indy 500 pace car

10. May 25, 2008, the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 would see two pace cars for the first time. First, there was a 2008 Corvette Z06 engineered to run off of E85 Ethanol fuel. And then there was another pace car dressed in a black and silver color scheme to celebrate the anniversary of the first Corvette Indy 500 car that debuted 30 years earlier. These pace cars would be driven by celebrity race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi.

Indy 500

11. After a little break from the action, Corvette returns to Indy. May 27, 2012, the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 saw its first 6th-generation ZR1. This car took Americans by storm with its supercar-like performance. Famous Emmy Award-winning television cook and personality received the honor of driving this LS9 powerhouse around the track—too bad he wasn't able to reach its top speed of 205 MPH at pace mode.

2013 Indy 500 Corvette ZR1 pace car

12. May 26, 2013, the 97th running of the Indy 500 brought onboard the all-new seventh-generation Corvette Stingray. San Francisco 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh was asked to take on the pace car duties for the year, he happily obliged. 


Corvette Pace Car q

13. May 24, 2015, the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 would bring a superstar race car driver from NASCAR on board to pilot the 2015 Corvette Z06 Pace Car. Jeff Gordon won his first NASCAR race in Indianapolis before going on to become a legend in the sport. Although he won't be going as fast as he's used to on the track, this supercharged 550 horsepower sports car is certainly capable of high speeds. 

2015 Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car

14. May 28, 2017, was the first year where the Indy 500 Corvette Pace Car would not change much in the way of a color scheme from the year before, but the Vette was different. This year for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, Corvette debuted its new 2017 Corvette Grand Sport. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan seat behind the wheel and paced the Indy Car field around the famous track. 

2017 Corvette Grand Sport Indy 500

15. May 27, 2018, the 102nd Indianapolis 500 pace car would be another ZR1, but this 2019 Corvette ZR1 would boast 755 horsepower, get a 0-60 time of 2.85 seconds, and reach a top speed of 212 MPH. This powerful supercharged Corvette would be driven by Victor Oladipo, an Indiana University and Indiana Pacers basketball player.


2019 Corvette ZR1 Pace Car

16. May 26, 2019, the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 would see another 2019 version of the Corvette as a Pace Car. Following the previous year's '19 ZR1 pace car, the Corvette Grand Sport would take center stage for pace car duties. Getting to have some non-competitive fun on the track would be Dale Earnhardt Jr. pacing the Indy Car field.


2019 Corvette pace car

17. On to the unveiling of the mid-engine Corvette. It was a long-time conversion in the makings, and that made it an obvious choice to become the official Pace Car for the 2020 Indianapolis 500. GM President Mark Reuss was honored to be the driver who got to pace the track for this Indy 500.

Corvette Mid-Engine


18. May 30, 2021, the 105th Inianaplos 500 adopts another mid-engine Corvette for pace car duties. Its white exterior color with yellow accents and black rims, makes the Corvette stand out. Chosen to take this beautiful ride around the track is the beautiful and most successful open-wheel racer in history, Danica Patrick. 

2021 Corvette Pace Car

19. May 29, 2022, this 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 would bring you a masterpiece 2023 Corvette Z06. This 70th-anniversary Vette was complemented with a naturally-aspirated flat-crank 5.5-liter V8. This sports car was a beast all of its own. Chosen to pilot this Corvette was former Indy Car driver and three-time podium-finisher Sarah Fisher. 

2023 Corvette Z06 Indy 500 pace car

20. May 28, 2023, Corvette paced the Indianapolis 500 with their first-ever convertible hard-top Z06first-ever convertible hard-top Z06. This badass-looking ride is something anyone can fall in love with. So who gets to drive this fine sports car on the big day? Tyrese Haliburton, an Indian Paces basketball point guard. 

2023 Corvette Z06

Monday, May 13, 2024

Corvette Does Have One 1983 C4 That Has Survived


1983 Corvette C4

1983 C4 Corvette

That's right, above is the only 1983 C4 Corvette that exists. Most people don't believe that there were any built for that year, but there were a few (none sold), and there is one survivor that resides at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 

For the people who do know it exists, they often refer to it as a 1 of 1 Corvette. But this is not true because, altogether there were 14 prototypes built and 43 "Pilot Cars" built, which were going to be sold to the public. The surviving '83 Corvette was #4 in the bunch that rolled off the assembly line at the Bowling Green, Kentucky, Corvette Plant. 

What Happened to the Other '83 C4? 

General Motors, Corvette executives, engineers, and designers decided that with all the quicks with the new frame, new body style, and all other things that still needed more engineering adjustments—the new generation just wasn't ready to be sold to the public. 

They also decided that the original T-tops weren't the way to go. They wanted to design a targa top for the Corvette because it would be more appropriate to keep up and compete with the design of the European sports cars.

After testing the Corvettes at the GM Milford proving grounds, all 1983 C4 Corvettes were marked for destruction. It's a common practice for automotive companies to crush cars they have no intention to sell to the public. 

GM brought in their car crusher and got to work turning the test Corvettes into hunks of metal. This is where the story gets dicey. No one really knows how this #4 1983 Corvette with the VIN # 1G1AY0783D5110023 survived, but one of the stories is that someone hid the Corvette just to keep at least one left around. 

Another story goes, that the work crew ended thier shift, and the last remaining Corvette was simply going to be put out of its misery the next day. Fortunately, for the survival of this piece of history, the compactor was picked up early and taken away, leaving the #4 1983 Corvette forgotten about.

There are more than just two stories, but we would all just be guessing as to what the true story is. But the story of how it was found is quite frank. Two years after the crushing of the '83 Corvettes, the Bowling Green Plant Manager was poking around the car lot on a different mission and found the out-of-shape, dirty run down '83 Corvette on a fluke

Not knowing exactly what the sports car was or why it was sitting there, the Corvette was pulled into the plant, and the  VIN # was cross-referenced with meticulous records, eventually revealing its true identity.  

1983 Corvette C4

Bringing The '83 Back to Life

The guys at the plant cleaned the Corvette up and gave it a red, white, and blue paint job. The Corvette stayed at the plant until 1994 when the National Corvette Museum was built, which was built right across the street from the famous Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette Assembly Plant. 

Realizing how important the Corvette was to Corvette history, it was eventually donated to the Corvette Museum. The decision was made to repaint the Corvette back to its original white body color with the original blue interior color—and everything else was restored back to its original being according to records. 

1989 Corvette

The '83 Corvette became a showcase for the grand opening of the National Corvette Museum, especially since most people didn't even know that they ever existed. 

The 1983 Corvette leap year is said to be one of Corvette's best decisions. They would have put a vehicle on the market that had massive changes for a new generation, but still needed a lot of work to get it perfect. 

When the 1984 Corvette was introduced, it made a big splash in the market and everyone enjoyed the new look, sophisticated suspension, stiffer chassis, and the many other upgrades that came along with it.  

Thursday, May 2, 2024

2001 Corvette Z06: The First Modern Day Z06


2002 Corvette Z06

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know about the extremely potent 2023 Corvette Z06 that is on its way to the market sometime in late 2022. If you want to read about that, just look up any automotive website on the web and you can find out everything you know or you can go to this ride-along video/article with top engineers on the project, written by me for Muscle Cars & Trucks (C8 Corvette Z06 Engineers Share Untold Details On New Supercar: Video.

1963 Corvette Z06

1963 Corvette Z06

Since we all should know everything about the new Corvette Z06, I decided that we should take a look back at the birth of the first modern Corvette Z06. But first, let's take a short look at the birth of the very first Z06. 

The first Z06 became available in 1963 and there were only 199 produced and sold. These Corvette Z06's sole purpose was to be sold for road course racing. They came with a 327 (5.4-liter) engine, four-speed transmission, a beefed-up suspension, a massive brake system upgrade that included dual master cylinders, and an optional 36.5 US gal (138 l; 30 imp gal) tank.

The thing about these C2 Corvette Z06s was you didn't just go to the dealership and buy one, you had to know someone who knew what boxes to check in the order form if you wanted one of these race-ready (RPO Z06) Corvettes, and just like the 2001 Corvette Z06, you didn't get many luxuries with the car, it was truly for going fast. 

2001 Corvette Z06

2021 Corvette Z06

This Corvette was built to surprise and dominate the market. The Z06 was designed for the track and pushed the boundaries of what was really possible from a production car that could drive to the track, make better times than its competition, and drive back home with the air conditioning kicking and the radio blasting. 

Basic Spec:

  • 5.7-liter LS6 V8
  • 6-speed manual
  • 385 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque
  • New FE4 Suspension (four-wheel independent suspension)
  • Bose speaker system
  • Leather bucket seats
  • 17" front and 18” rear rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 SC tires
  • Hardtop only
  • Brake coolers
  • Curb weight: 3,118 lbs.

  • Gas Mileage: 17 City / 26 highway

Z06 Engine Corvette

Engine And Transmission

The LS6 is essentially a more powerful version of Corvette's LS1 V8. The LS6 engine upgrades start with a redesigned intake manifold with better-flowing internal passageways. Reengineered cylinder heads create more flow through the intake and exhaust valves, and the combustion chambers were redesigned to reduce valve shrouding.

All these upgrades led to a higher compression ratio which then led to a redesigned thin-walled cast-iron exhaust manifold system to provide a smoother exit for the combustion escape.

Of course, all this extra flow wouldn’t be worth much without a redesigned camshaft. So a beefier cam was installed by Corvette engineers with more valve overlap and greater valve lift. Chrome-vanadium-steel valve springs and stronger pistons cast from a more durable alloy were implicated in the engine’s design for toughness. And finally, the LS6 was engineered with windows cast into the internal crankcase walls to help air retreat from the underside of the burning hot pistons.

This new engine setup gave the New Corvette Z06 385 horsepower at 6,000 RPMs and 385 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 RPMs, and a redline RPM of 6,500. In between all the power and the rear wheels was a beefed-up clutch (with lighter pedal effort), a larger-diameter driveshaft, and a revised six-speed manual transaxle. This new M12 gearbox was introduced with shooter 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears to better utilize the new higher-revving LS6. All gears were 10-16 percent shorter except for the 4th gear which remained the same.

Corvette Suspension

2001 Corvette Z06 Suspension

More power always means more changes all around. To accommodate the power of the LS6, Corvette went with a new FE4 suspension that included revised shock calibrations, a stiffer rear transverse leaf spring setup, and stiffer anti-roll bars for the front and rear.

To add ground support, each corner of the Vette receives 1-inch wider tires, bringing them up to 9.5-inch wide in the front and 10.5-inch wide in the back. New custom light-weight 10-spoke wheels were wrapped in Goodyear F1 Eagle tires: 265/40ZR-17s in the front and 295/35ZR-18s rears. The F1 Eagle SC tires were designed with more flexible sidewalls achieved by doing away with the famous run-flat tire design. This permitted a half-degree more negative camber to keep the tread flatter during hard cornering for track use.

To prove the Corvette was built for business, engineers found places around the car where they could shave pounds off the curb weight. Helping save weight was the deletion of the run-flat tire design, mufflers were made from Titanium, and the windshield and rear glass were all lightened to help bring the Corvette’s curb weight down to 3,118 pounds, that is 38 pounds lighter than its original form. A lot of weight was saved in the Titanium mufflers alone, but the weight of the new suspension offset the weight-saving by a lot.  

2001 Cobra R

Step Aside Cobra R

The Cobra R was making some big waves at the track. Performance numbers were pretty impressive, and the Corvette Z06 was Chevrolet's answer to those performance numbers.

The Cobra R and the Z06 were pretty close in performance numbers at the time (numbers for Z06 below). The Cobra R turned numbers out of its 5.4-liter that looked a little like this: 385 horsepower and 385 lb.-ft. of torque (the same as the Z06), 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 13.2 (Ford tested) and 12.9 (Motor Trend tested) with a top speed of 170 mph, and stops from 60-0 in 127 feet.

Although the numbers were somewhat close, the Corvette beat out the Cobra R in other places. The Cobra R lacked air conditioning, an audio system, rear seats, sound dampening, and cruise control. The Corvette also lacked a back seat, but that's because it was never meant to have one, it wasn't a compromise. Also, because of the limited number of Cobra Rs that were built, the sticker price showed $55,5ish, but you couldn't buy one for under $75,000. The Corvette Z06 stuck pretty close to its price tag of just under $50,000 without a lot of limited edition inflation.

2001 Corvette Z06

Let's Go Over Some 2001 Corvette Z06 Numbers 

The 2001 Corvette Z06's proof of superiority is in the numbers. A 0-60-mph time is recorded at 4.3 seconds, and a 70-mph to 0 stop takes only 152 feet. In a quarter-mile sprint, the Corvette can cover it in 12.7 seconds at 113 mph. Hitting 150 mph will only take you 28 seconds total, while a top speed of 170 mph is easily manageable. Although the top speed does suffer a little bit as the C5 Vettes will hit 175 mph, that's because of the Z06's closer transmission clutch gear ratios. 

Hitting corners is another place where the Corvette Z06 shows no mercy to its competitors. Pulling .98 Gs in and out of corners is just what this sports car does, and that actually beats out all other sports cars out of there including the Viper GTS and the Ferrari 360 Modena, which are above the Corvette Z06s price bracket by a lot. 

Racing Z06 Corvette

Z06 Performance Built

Making sure everything was performance-built was what this Corvette was all about, even both the dual mesh grilles in the front and the rear brake coolers in front of the rear wheel wells are completely functional. 

The 2001 Corvette Z06 is just like the new Z06s, although classified as a sports car, they perform like a supercar compared to its competition.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Rare Chevrolet 454 SS Half-Ton Pick-Up From The Early '90s

   1990 Chevy SS

With only 17,000 produced between 1990-93, these Chevy 454 SS trucks are some of the rarest Chevrolet C1500s of the 90s. In fact, purchasing one of these badasses was the only way you could get a 454 cu.-in. big-block stock in a half-ton truck. 

There is nothing really too special about these trucks. Let's face it, in this day and age, a higher trim-modeled crossover could take it off the line and beat down the quarter-mile. But it is outfitted for a 454, meaning a healthier one could be built and dropped in with no problem. 

Also, it's a truck, and you can always do some cool stuff to a truck. A Cowl Induction hood, lowering springs, rims, etc. — with the right imagination, you can turn a 454 SS truck into a show stopper without hurting its original value. 

Power and Specifications

  •  230 - 255 horsepower
  • 385 - 405 lb.-ft. of torque
  • HD 4-speed automatic transmission
  • 3:71.1 - 4:10 rear-end ratio 
  • 10 mpg city
  • 500 lbs. max payload
  • Dual exhaust
  • Bilstein Shocks
  • 7.7 seconds 0-60 mph 
  • 15.9 seconds 87 mph - 1/4 mile
  • Colors: Black / Summit White / Victory

Chevrolet 454 SS

The Chevy 454 SS trucks had some serious competition in the early 90s — the GMC Cyclone, Typhoon, and the Ford Lighting. But for Chevy, this was their way of showing everyone that people still craved a big-block even if it wasn't the fastest truck on the market. 

You might come across one of these sweet Chevys for sale with a nice price tag on it. They are not very sought-after by vehicle collectors right now, so if you find one in good shape, it might not be a bad investment. They have the potential to be nice little street cruisers with a lot of old-school power. And for you old-school gearheads, that might be a class you'd fit right into. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

1959 Corvette: Unbeatable Purple People Eater MKIII


1959 Corvette Purple Eater MKIII

1959 Corvette Purple People Eater MKIII

Oddly enough, this Corvette was named after the very odd song - "One Eye, One Horn, Flying Purple People Eater”, a Sheb Wooley hit back in the 50s. 

There were two reasons for the paint job and the name for this 1959 Corvette. The idea for the paint job was because the Corvette racing team was having trouble finding their car in the pits and on the track - all the cars looked too similar to one another. Kind of like finding your car in a mall parking lot on the weekend, the week before Christmas.

So a standout color scheme was born. The color scheme that was created was a metallic purple for the base color and bright white for the trim and decals. Next, they needed a name for the Corvette, so they decided on the "Purple People Eater". It was kind of a no-brainer since the song itself was topping the charts in 1958-59, and the Purple People Eater Corvette was eating up all the competition on the track every single weekend.

Nickey Chevrolet In Chicago 

Back in the 50s, a lot of racing teams were owned by dealerships and this Corvette team was no different. Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago was the owner of this team and, at the time, the largest factory dealership specializing in high-performance muscle car sales and service. Their parts department functioned as a huge speed shop. 

When it came time for the Nickey Chevrolet Race Team to hire a driver and a mechanic, Nickey Chevrolet took some help and advice from none other than the legendary Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Corvette engineer and designer who made Corvette what it is today. Zora suggested they use an aggressive driver named Jim Jeffords and a talented mechanic who was known as the guy who could turn a “Javelin into a competitive race car," Ronnie Kaplan. 

The “Purple People Eater” Corvette Eating Up The Competition

The Purple People Eater Corvettes (yes, there were three altogether) raced during the ‘58 and ‘59 seasons. During that time, they won the SCCA National B-Production titles and a race at Nassau Speed Week. During the 1959 season, the cars never finished worse than second place in any race, always making the Purple People Eater the car to beat at the track.

Ordering Your Own Corvette With Race Specs

If you ordered a factory Corvette with race specs in the late 1950s, you received a Corvette with heater delete, and a heavy-duty brake and suspension package. 

285 cu.-in. Chevy engine

The Corvette came with a 283 Chevrolet V-8 with factory Rochester fuel injection and a four-speed manual transmission, the same way the Purple People Eater was raced. In an interview, Kaplan said, "GM helped with some technical advice, and I got that fuel injection figured out pretty quick." It was very reliable. I told Jim to keep that engine at about 6,000 rpm, and it never broke. He is a very big, strong man and was tough on equipment. I swear he could break off a shifter."  

Where Did The Purple People Eater End Up?

The last one known to exist is the “Purple People Eater MKIII”. It was sold for $800 to a Chip Miller and Ken Heckert, who raced the 1959 Corvette for a short time at Autocross events. Not knowing its future historical significance, it was parked and used as a workbench for a very long time.

After 14 years of being a garage workbench, the sharp eye of car expert/enthusiast Mike Philsbury notices that there were a few things different about some of the parts and options on the car. After some deep research, Mike, Chip, and Ken confirmed that they were eating their lunch every day on the 1959 Corvette “Purple People Eater MKIII”. 

The American Heritage Award In 2002

Knowing what they knew, Chip and Ken went to work and restored the Corvette back to its racing form - color and all. 

In 2002, the Corvette was awarded the American Heritage Award. Thanks to two guys who just wanted a Corvette to go autocross racing in, and a car enthusiast named Mike Philsbury, the 1959 Corvette “Purple People Eater MKIII” lives on.