1981 Chevrolet Corvette - Tenth Turbo

Drop-Top Duntov Turbo Is A Rare Performer

When he and co-owner, Bob Bremmer, found it, this car had already covered great distances around the world, thanks to its three previous owners. "It's gone through a couple of Corvette specialty shops. ProTeam had it, and I believe Corvette Country had it," Jeffrey says. "Somewhere along the line, one of those places had it at a Barrett-Jackson auction back in the '90s, and it sold then for about $46-47,000, and it went overseas, where it got into a German car publication." One more ownership change and cross-Atlantic trip back to the United States followed. "That [owner], who was some kind of model, came back to California. That's where I got it; the guy who was sponsoring her said she needed money. The guy got the car from her, and me and my partner, a good friend of mine, got the car."

What they got was a head-turner that was in very good original condition. Despite its globe-hopping, the odometer showed only about 41,000 miles. The first time Jeffrey showed it, he found success. "In fact, the first car show that I took it to, I brought home a First Place trophy, which was pretty nice." He says this shark sees plenty of show duty, as well as time spent where Zora intended-on the road. "I usually take it to shows and cruise nights. It's a pleasure to drive. You get in, and you drive it. It's a pleasure, and the looks you get are unbelievable."

Looks are one thing, but performance is another-and another area in which this car excels. "I tell you, you hit the gas on that, and there's a little hesitation with the turbo," says Jeffrey. "As soon as the turbo kicks in, it's like it doesn't want to stop. It's almost like you have nitrous; you just hit that button, and it just takes off." When the road turns twisty, Jeffrey, who's owned a number of stock '78-'82 sharks in the past, says the drop-top Duntov handles better and is quicker. "It's unbelievable. I think what they did was tightened up the suspension a lot on this car, and with the turbo, of course, it's phenomenal."

The only visible difference between this car as it was delivered new in 1981 and its current condition is inside the fenderwells, where a set of Goodyear GT Radials replaced the long-out-of-production Wingfoots decades ago.

How much did all that cost in 1981? At a time when base Corvette sticker prices started around $16,250, this Duntov Turbo's retail price was closer to $45,000 out the door. Phase I Duntov Turbos started at around $27,000, and 65-large got you the top-line Phase III. As a result, only about 86 Duntov Turbos were built instead of a planned 200-car production run. "It was kind of a tough era then, during the early '80s," says Jeffrey. "Money was a little tight back then. I can understand why they never built the full production of the 200."

Jeffrey adds that he's talked with ACI's current owner, who says that Duntov Turbo convertible production may be anywhere from 28 to 37 cars, as their production records are incomplete (following a move many years ago), and that seven Greenwood turbo convertibles and one maroon Duntov Turbo coupe were built around the same time.

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