Attendees of the March '03 Chevy Vettefest at Chicago's McCormick Place will have no problem remembering Donald Delmar's '70 Corvette. Certainly the maroon hues attracted attention, but perhaps the most significant modification is that the chrome-bumper shark wears 17-inch Cragar SS wheels.
"At the show, people stopped in awe, asking how I could fit the 17-inch wheels on my Corvette," says Donald. The credit, according to Donald, goes to Vette Brakes & Products, who provided Donald offset trailing arms, rear dual-mount leaf springs, and front mono-springs. "I explained to those in attendance that VBP components helped make it possible to fit the tires and wheels in the wheelwells and completely control ride height at all four corners," says Donald. In fact, he is such a satisfied customer that he assisted VBP at the Chevy Vettefest by handing out its catalogs at the spring '03 event.
The Morton Grove, Illinois, Corvette has far more modifications, including a 498 rear-wheel-horsepower 468ci big-block fitted with Dart Pro 1 rectangular port heads and an NOS Nitrous Fogger Pro Shot system. A full MSD ignition system lights off the fuel supplied by an 830-cfm Holley Pro Series HP carburetor sitting atop an Edelbrock RPM Air Gap intake manifold. Ceramic-coated Hooker headers expel spent gases through Flowmaster mufflers. The engine combination is the result of the efforts of Rich Groh of Algonquin, Illinois.
Accompanying the VBP suspension modifications is a Speed Direct Steeroids rack-and-pinion steering assembly. The stars of this Corvette, however, remain the Cragar SS Series 61 wheels. Up front, the 17x8 wheels are fitted with BFGoodrich g-Force 245/45ZR17s, while in the rear 17x9 wheels wear g-Force 275/40ZR17 tires.
Of course, this Corvette has one killer sound system. Simply fitting 14 Infinity and Kicker speakers is one thing for a Corvette, but to do it with the Kenwood in-dash head unit, a 10-disc CD controller, with a pair of 200-watt amps makes for a huge wall of sound.
"Bow Tie Boulevard" judges at Chevy Vettefest were also impressed with the car in whole as it secured 993 of 1,000 points. We're impressed too!
The 468ci big-block made 498 rear wheel horsepower and 540 lb-ft of torque.
The front suspension includes a VBP front composite mono-spring, Speed Direct's Steeroids rack-and-pinion, and Bilstein heavy-duty shocks.
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"I have been a Corvette enthusiast from the time I came home in 1968," says Dennis Mansour of Clark, New Jersey. "I recall when I was in Vietnam, I promised myself I would purchase a Corvette if I made it home alive."
Dennis has done more than keep a promise he made to himself: He's become a Corvette lifer. He has owned six Corvettes and is the proud caretaker of the '81 coupe pictured here.
"I've enjoyed every one I've owned," he says. But at some point, "due to circumstances," each toy had to go.
"My first Corvette was a '68 Mulsanne Blue coupe. I wanted to sleep in the car that first night [I brought it home]. My parents thought I was crazy. My Corvettes have always been weekend cars and, of course, have been driven to shows. I've won many trophies with some of the Corvettes I've owned, including the '68, '70, '72, '75, '86, and now the '81."
Dennis has always kept his cars in great condition, and this red-on-red coupe is no different. It's an automatic with power steering, windows, and door locks, a tilt/tele steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with eight-track, CB, and glass tops. There are around 40,000 miles on the odometer.
Dennis adds, "My wonderful wife, Patricia, has always supported my buying the Corvette of my choice. She says the '81 is a fabulous car and she enjoys taking rides in it on weekends. The ride is so comfortable and there's lots of room inside."
Now, Dennis finds himself in the scariest situation he's seen since his soldiering days.
"I have three sons of driving age and they all want the car," he says. "It goes to show they, too, have excellent taste in cars."