Vette Magazine History - Looking Back Over Vette's First 25 Years

Part Two: The Second Decade And Beyond

Rob Wallace, III Mar 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)
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Over a quarter century ago, in the summer of 1976, Martyn L. Schorr founded a magazine known initially as VETTE Quarterly, which evolved into the publication you are reading today. It has been a long road, indeed.

Last December, Team VETTE looked at the developments of the magazine and the Corvette world as a whole from our first issue through the first ten years of print. We pick up here, in our concluding installment, in 1986 and watch as new life is bred into the automotive world. As we'll see, VETTE was there to cover it all-the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. America's Sports Car, while always setting the standards by which others were judged, reemerged as a true performance car with almost infinite possibilities as the kinks were worked out of computer-controlled engine management. This led up to the present, where Corvette enthusiasts enjoy unprecedented levels of comfort, performance, and quality. So, sit back and enjoy the ride as we take a drive down Memory Lane.

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December 1985/January 1986 was labeled Vol. 9, No. 6. It had 84 pages including covers, 20 of which were color, and was published bi-monthly by CSK/ Stephen Schneider in South Hackensack, New Jersey. Magazine founder Marty Schorr held the title of Senior Editor, with Cliff Gromer simply called "Editor," Art Director Morgan Smith, and phantom Technical Editor Sal Zaino also on staff. Contributors included former racers Dick Guldstrand and John Greenwood, Jerry Heasley (who's still an active contributor), tech guru Roger Huntington, Bill Erdman (a future staffer), and Ralph Eckler. Regular columns were Inside by publisher Stephen Schneider, Corvetting by Cliff Gromer, Retrospect written by Mr. Schorr, Pricing by Jerry Heasley, Racing contributed by Greenwood, and Eckler wrote a Q&A column on his specialty, Fiberglassing. The layout of the early issues was reminiscent of a newspaper, with articles broken up and continued a paragraph or two at a time over numerous pages at times, making it somewhat confusing, not to mention that the articles were not always continued on the pages said.

The Dec./Jan. issue contained a chronicle of the '63 Z06's debut at SoCal's now-late Riverside International Raceway, as well as a history of aluminum Chevy cylinder heads. There were rumors of a super C4 to come, and this issue highlighted sketches of yet another mid-engine "next Vette," tentatively labeled as a '90 Grand Sport.

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February/March (Vol. 10, No. 1) announced the return of a Corvette convertible for 1986, which would also be the '86 Indy 500 Pace Car. On the cover was one of the most over-the-top and grotesque custom Corvettes to ever "grace" these pages. Entitled "Captain Nemo," it took the form of a fully rebodied '71 coupe, with countless louvers, scoops and wings, pseudo jet engines stuck on the back, sidepipes and four exhaust tips in the tail, wheelie bars, get the idea. It made the Corvette Summer movie car look subtle. VETTE also reported that Corvette racers were destroying the Porsche 944 Turbo prototypes in SCCA Showroom Stock competition.

April/May looked at the sleek Corvette Indy concept car with a 2.65L, four-cam, 32-valve Chevy Indy racing engine, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. VETTE peeked into the GM proving grounds at factory prototype turbocharged V-8 and V-6 Corvettes. There was a guide to Corvette literature and a look at the LS-7 454 Corvette that never was. The June/July issue saw an increase to 27 color pages, with spreads on old big-block ads, Italian-style Corvette body kits, and Retrospect had a great piece on escalating prices and the late-'80s/early-'90s Corvette commodity phase.

In the September/October issue, VETTE gained two new staffers: Jim Koscs as Associate Editor, and Tony DeFeo replaced Sal Zaino as Technical Editor. Sal never once had a byline. There was also the first-ever Old versus New Shootout, with a '67 427 Tri-power matched against an '86 C4. October/November's Inside bragged that subscribers would now receive their magazines in a protective plastic wrap. Content included an '87 Corvette preview, and introduced RPO B2K, the factory-approved Callaway Twin-Turbo option which provided 345 horses for an extra $20G over base. This was the first major power option from GM since the '71 LS6.




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