The 18th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Chevrolet’s iconic Corvette Sting Ray on March 8-10 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
The milestone 1959 Corvette XP-87 will be on Amelia’s field as the centerpiece of the celebration. This Bill Mitchell–styled one-off won the 1960 Sports Car Club of America’s C Modified National Championship and directly influenced the striking design of the ’63 Sting Ray production car. A rare Sting Ray Grand Sport and several Z06 racing Corvettes will join the XP-87 on Amelia’s concours field on Sunday, March 10.
“The Sting Ray changed everything,” says Amelia Island founder and Chairman Bill Warner. “More power and a longer options list made it better, not bloated. Men liked it, women liked it, and you could get a Sting Ray serviced at any Chevy dealer. That’s the real brilliance of its world-class performance. It didn’t hurt that Chevy’s new sports car looked crisp, fresh, and beautiful.”
To further celebrate the Sting Ray’s 50th, GM Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn and one of the car’s original stylists, Peter Brock, will lead a 90-minute seminar on its groundbreaking design. The seminar will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8 in the Talbot Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Tickets are available through www.ameliaconcours.org or by calling 904-636-0027.
Getting Dirty with “America’s Favorite Sports 4 x 4”
Talk about unconventional! Tom Hahn and Dan Linden of Port St. Lucie, Florida, have taken their love for the Corvette to new heights, literally, by building what is currently the nation’s only professional-competition ’63 Corvette 4x4 “mudder.”
“I owned a factory-body ’66 coupe quarter-miler, a ’67 street car, and an ’04 Z06,” Hahn says. “I won the NHRA Division 1 Maryland State Championships with the ’66 in 1977 and 1978, so my history with Corvettes goes way back.”
“Mud Slinger” comprises a hand-built tube chassis topped with a fiberglass, carbon- fiber, and Kevlar ’63 coupe body. Power comes from a GM Performance Parts 572ci big-block crate engine, to which Hahn and Linden added a Comp hydraulic roller cam and a Holley 1,000-cfm carburetor. Its estimated 700-plus hp roars through a manual-shift Turbo 400, a 205 transfer case, and Dana 60 and Dana 70 differentials stuffed with 7.17:1 gears. The, er, car rolls on towering 54-inch DOT tires, front and rear.
Mud Slinger competes in “1-ton DOT 44-inch [tire] and up” side-by-side mud drags. As the name suggests, these races take place in 300-feet mud trenches, not on quarter-mile asphalt.
“We’re unbeaten in our class,” Hahn says. “We wanted to stand out and not have a cookie-cutter truck like everyone else. No actual Sting Rays were dismantled in the production of this 4x4 tribute. It’s sure a lot of fun for people to watch, especially Corvette fans.”
NCM to Hold Corvette 60th Anniversary Celebration
Sixty years after the first Corvettes rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan, Chevrolet, the GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant (BGAP), and the National Corvette Museum (NCM) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, are planning a special affair to celebrate the marque’s milestone anniversary. It all starts on Thursday, June 27, when the Corvette 60th Anniversary Celebration kicks off with a 60 Years Display. Corvette owners may submit their cars for this exhibit by emailing a photo, contact information, and car details (model and model year) to Karen Renfrow at the museum (email@example.com).
NCM reps tell VETTE that a number of the all-new ’14 C7 Corvettes will be available for viewing, and members of the Corvette team from the Warren [Michigan] Tech Center and BGAP will conduct detailed walk-arounds of the cars.
Friday, June 28 will mark another notable moment in Corvette history, as the museum’s motorsports park will officially break ground after months of planning and preparations. The target completion date for a portion of Phase One is Labor Day Weekend, 2014.
The biggest highlight of the event will be a special tour of the Corvette Plant, where attendees can watch C7s in various stages of assembly. “Plant tours closed late summer 2012 and are not expected to reopen until fall 2013, so this is a rare opportunity to see the retooled factory with ’14 Corvettes rolling off the line,” NCM spokesperson Katie Frassinelli says. Tour registrants will also attend a special dinner at the museum with a presentation by BGAP Manager Dave Tatman and members of his team.
While there is no registration required to attend the 60th Anniversary event, there are a limited number of spots for the special plant tour and dinner. The cost for this function is $250 per person, and it is expected to sell out.
Chevrolet and the NCM have been working together to bring Corvette enthusiasts a number of special, behind-the-scenes experiences and tours. To be the first to know about these offerings, subscribe to the museum’s weekly email newsletter by visiting www.corvettemuseum.org.
Heartland Customs Announces SPECVETTE Program
Heartland Customs of Purcell, Oklahoma, recently unveiled its innovative SPECVETTE program. The program enables customers to choose their favorite year of classic Corvette, from 1953 to 1982, then have Heartland modernize every function in the car to today’s specs, including light-sensing headlights, electronic ride control, and even one-touch power windows. The idea is to give buyers the classic looks they desire, and the supercar performance, comfort, and reliability they receive in a new Corvette. Three performance levels are available, ranging from the 430hp “Intro” up to the supercharged, 660hp “SPEC-V.” Each SPECVETTE is offered at a fixed price.
In addition, Heartland Customs has partnered with the National Corvette Museum to offer a special experience for SPECVETTE customers. The SPECVETTE Xperience offers VIP tours of the GM Corvette Assembly Plant and NCM, and everyone who participates will have his or her SPECVETTE unveiled on the Corvette Boulevard in the Museum. A one-year NCM family membership, lunch for four in the Corvette Café, an individual brick in the Museum Walk of Fame, a commemorative wooden plaque, a personalized letter signed by the museum’s executive director, and other red-carpet features are also included.
For more information, visit www.heartlandcustoms.us.