Corvette Kit Cars - Some Assembly Was Required

Did You Know You Could Buy A C5 In Kit Form Back In The Day?

Richard Newton May 25, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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You also didn't get a brake master cylinder or any of the necessary brake lines in 1999. Essentially, though, the front and rear cradles were complete. This changed in 2000 when you got the ABS controller as a part of the package. As the years rolled on, the packages got more complete. Each year Chevrolet learned a little more about how to get things packaged correctly.

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Are They Collectible?
There's no question that these are the rarest Corvette models produced during the C5 production run. Does rare make them valuable? So far the answer is not really. Remember a three-speed manual in a '63 is extremely rare but no one wants one. Don't confuse rare and valuable here.

There are a couple of issues with these cars that haven't been sorted out. First, they're race cars. Corvette people generally don't collect race cars. At least not the way Porsche and Ferrari people collect them. Porsche people actually create clones of the most famous race cars and put them on display. Corvette folks, on the other hand, take perfectly good race cars and turn them back into street cars. That's because Corvettes are normally judged on the basis of how well they mimic what left the Corvette factory. It's all about how the car left the plant. All signs of patina and real use have to be removed. That sort of kills the idea of displaying old Corvette race cars. (Unless a car has a serious race history like the 67-69 L88 cars, most race Corvettes are just that . . . old race cars and not worth much. -Ed.)

If we use the standard NCRS and Bloomington Gold judging criteria that is current today, you would have to show these Corvette kit cars as a rolling chassis accompanied by a bunch of boxes containing all the extra parts. After all, that was the way these Corvettes left the Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant. Seriously though, I'm not even sure if we have rules about judging these cars. In the end, these cars will become highly collectible. Whether they can be judged or not is an interesting question. Personally, I see no reason to ever subject a race car to show car judging. That's just wrong. That's also just me.

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Next, the people who currently own these kit cars have to finish racing them, which probably won't happen any time too soon. Danny Kellermyer is still winning championships with his '99 kit car. On certain courses, his old '99 kit cars are faster than his brand-new C6 Corvette racer. It would be a shame to take cars this good and simply park them on a show car lawn someplace. I suspect the C5 kit cars will become great vintage racers before they become show cars. After all, wasn't that the whole point when GM Racing put this program together? Drive the cars on the track and win some races. This program wasn't about putting cars on display in some parking lot. These are race cars.

The Inside Track on Building the Corvette Kit Cars The memories I have are of joy that we could do this for Chevrolet to help with the racing program. The process for building the kit cars was complex and had to be a combination of on-line and off-line manufacturing. The key was to do all that was required and not cause any lost production in the main process of regular production Corvettes. We were told this would be a one-time request and the truth was told. Later, there seemed to be some interest in doing it again, but there were no takers. Today could be a different story.


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