Did you apprehend that Zora Arkus-Duntov didn’t body bristles 1963 Grand Sport Corvettes, he congenital six? Did you bolt that one? On July 26, 2018, Autoweek acquaint “Amelia Island Grand Sport Reunion Remember the Grand Sport. Booty a attending aback at greatest antagonism ‘Vettes ever” adventure as a looking-back story. The 2003 adventure by William Jeanes, blue-blooded “Grand Sport Corvettes – Now We Are Six,” covered the celebrated acquisition of all bristles Grand Sports at Amelia Island. It was the aboriginal time all bristles cars had anytime been calm in public. In the story, Jeanes asserted that six Grand Sports were built, not five.
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I begin this adventure in 2011 as a PDF in a Corvette forum. I brash the commodity and wrote my own annotation blog column on CorvetteReport.com. The adventure has the beautiful, now acclaimed photo with all bristles Grand Sports in advanced of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island. The adventure covered the reunion; again went off on a abrupt and aspersing analysis of the Grand Sport Corvette’s antagonism record, saying. “The Grand Sport’s blah record, alarming aerodynamics and anachronous front-engine agreement would assume to abate adjoin its acceptable an icon. Why then, aback bristles actual Grand Sports appeared together, did Corvette lovers booty to their amazement couches?”
“Outdated front-engine configuration,” really? I assumption the columnist didn’t apperceive that the “outdated” front-engine C5-R won Le Mans in 2001 and 2002; won 10 of 11 contest in 2002; and by July 2003 had won 2-of-4 contest (2nd at Le Mans). Not too bare for an anachronous configuration.
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Then the adventure went off into burghal fable land. The columnist asserted that Texas oilman and ancient chase car aggregation owner, John Mecom (Mecom Antagonism Team) told Autoweek in an account that Duntov congenital half-a-dozen Grand Sports and awash them all to Mecom Racing, to “make it legal.” Mecom additionally claimed that he had all six cars in his Houston boutique at atomic once. He said, “I’d affirm on a assemblage of Bibles there were six.” This absolutely flies adjoin every Corvette history book.
Mecom went on to say that he believes that Senior VP of Design, Bill Mitchell took the sixth. Why? Mecom said, “Bill Mitchell got authority of one and I’m abiding he fabricated a administration car out of it.” By this time, alarms are activity off in my head! No such car has been accounted for. All of the Corvette history books are wrong? Mecom said, “No one anytime interviewed me for those books.” One Grand Sport book columnist contacted Mecom afterwards the book’s publication. Mecom said, “He told me he didn’t account me because he’d already talked to the experts.” The Autoweek adventure closes with a account from Mecom’s friend, automotive artisan Bill Neale. “There was a affected photograph of the Hobby Airport boutique in John’s bays room, and you could see, if you looked, six Grand Sports.” So breadth is the sixth Grand Sport now?
In addition Autoweek story, the aforementioned columnist that tells of retired GM Proving Ground agent Jim Champlin actuality tasked to abort one of the Grand Sports that came aback from the Bahamas in backward 1964 or aboriginal 1965. Champlin claims that he and his boss, Bob Cameron took the car to an breadth area GM activated aggressive vehicles, put two tires in the car, caked gasoline on the car and austere it. Really? Isn’t that what crushers are for? However, a retired Corvette architect told me that he heard about that, but it was afore he started alive there. So what are we to accomplish of all this? It’s aperitive story, attending it up online, but it’s loaded with holes. Let’s explore.
From 1963-1967, aback the bristles Grand Sports raced, thrashed, bashed and crashed, their buying almanac is clear. There are additionally photographs of the cars racing. A sixth Grand Sport was never photographed anywhere. This is observably true. And speaking of photographs, the above-mentioned photograph apparent by Neale has additionally never been seen. And if such a photograph is anytime found, it would accept to be anxiously brash because today it is so accessible to affected photographs.
The best affirmation that this is all a Corvette burghal fable is in Alan Sevadjian’s 2018 book, Fifty Years of the Corvette Grand Sport. Sevadjian is one of the owners of Duntov Motors and is accountant by GM to body assiduity Grand Sport chase cars. Sevadjian already endemic Grand Sport #003. As a licensee, Sevadjian was able to get the absolute affidavit apropos Grand Sport #006.
Chapter 9 of the book explains how the Grand Sport was built-in as an acknowledgment to Carroll Shelby’s failing Cobra. Chevrolet General Manager, Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen asked GM President, Frederick Donner for an absolution from GM’s adherence to the 1957 AMA Antagonism Ban for the Corvette. Donner said he would accede it. But in the background, GM admiral were actual anxious that if GM got any bigger, the government would breach up the aggregation via the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. Top GM controlling and Corvette supporter, Ed Cole brash Donner that if the Grand Sports were successful, it could advance sales accomplished the 60 percent mark and GM could be burst up the aforementioned as Standard Oil was in 1911. Donner agreed and the Grand Sport action was ordered stopped.
Sevadjian was able to analysis a announcement in the GM Heritage Center from R. J. Avery, Engineering Department to Duntov, anachronous January 29, 1963. The announcement ordered; “Grand Sports #001 to #004 would be completed, accessible to run, and stored at Twelve Mile Warehouse. Grand Sport #005 was abridged and to be left, “as is” in “body-in-white” action and stored. Grand Sport #006 was to be stored as a “birdcage assembled, with the majority of metal genitalia completed, with a few artificial panels completed.” Experimental accoutrement for genitalia and assorted accessories were additionally stored. Body assets were renamed, “Experimental Build.”
Former GM architect and Corvette historian Franz Estereicher told me that he has apparent the centralized announcement administering #006 to be “completed,” but did not acquisition affidavit that #006 “had been completed.” There are appear photographs of the aboriginal accumulation of Grand Sports afore and afterwards the alertness for the Nassau invasion, as able-bodied as the about-face of #001 and #002 into roadsters, but no photographs of the Grand Sport #006.
The ultimate questions are; Where’s Mecom’s photograph? GM accurate everything, where’s the affidavit and photographs of the achievement of #006? And best of all, where’s Grand Sport #006? These things are boilerplate to be begin because the car was never completed. This writer’s cessation is that this adventure is fiction, and appropriately is “The Ultimate Corvette Burghal Legend.” Vette
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