1978 Greenwood Turbo GT - Rare Air

This One-Of-Three Greenwood Turbo GT Broke New Ground For Corvette Forced-Induction

Wayne Ellwood Dec 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0812_01_z 1978_greenwood_turbo_GT Front_view 1/13

Rare cars make for good stories. And when the vehicle in question is a one-of-three unit no longer thought to exist, the tale becomes downright incredible. That's exactly what happened with Corvette collector Roger Abshire's latest find, the third and final Greenwood Turbo GT.

Abshire located the car in Long Island, New York, more or less by accident, late in 2004, while trolling the Internet for a Duntov steering wheel. When he typed the word "Duntov" into a search engine, this car came up. It was being offered for sale by a company in Long Island that dealt primarily in used limousines but took other cars in trade as well.

Vemp_0812_02_z 1978_greenwood_turbo_GT Engine 2/13

Blow-through turbo designs were complex for the era. Note the custom aluminum hat on the sealed carburetor.

It didn't take much examination for Abshire to realize that the car was not a Duntov. Yes, it had the requisite headlight buckets, but too many other features were incorrect for that model. As he carefully scanned each one of the 95 high-quality photos that had been posted with the ad, Abshire began to think the car might be a Greenwood Turbo GT. But when he talked to his various contacts, most of them told him that the third GT-the only one unaccounted for-had either been lost or destroyed. After all, no one had seen it in more than 20 years. But Abshire enjoys the research. For him, it's half the fun of collecting.

There were two obvious starting points. First, the numerous photos revealed a long list of specific features, almost all of which were Greenwood in design. Second, there was the auction company that was offering the car for sale.

Vemp_0812_03_z 1978_greenwood_turbo_GT Interior 3/13

The trim tag shows a Mahogany cloth interior as being correct for the '78 Turbo GT. Greenwood ads referred to the color as "Saffron."

One of the photos was a clear shot of the trim tag. Even though the car was now painted black, the tag indicated that it was originally Burgundy, the color used on the third GT. In fact, Burgundy paint was (and still is) visible on the car where the black had worn off. The trim tag also showed a Saffron cloth interior, also correct for the GT. More photos showed coilover Koni shocks, a four-link suspension, and twin fuel pumps-all Greenwood essentials.

Abshire then called Mike Guyette, who owns the second GT, as well as John Greenwood. Greenwood was confident that the car was correct based on the photos of the rear suspension, but to be sure, he referred Abshire to Bart Lea, owner of longtime Greenwood collaborator ACI. Lea had firsthand knowledge of the car, since his company had built it. Guyette and Lea took the same approach. They asked questions about items they knew were unique to the third Turbo GT. When Abshire was able to locate every one of these pieces in the photos, they became convinced that this was the right car.

Vemp_0812_04_z 1978_greenwood_turbo_GT Rear_view 4/13

Lea then referred Abshire to Dennie Willard, the ACI engineer responsible for the car's fuel system, and former ACI marketing rep Michael LaEnvi. As Abshire told each of them about the car, they were able to confirm that it had various features specific to the third Turbo GT. In Willard's case, these included the motion-detector alarm, the fuel-management system, and the special decorative center caps for the wheels.

The fuel system, in particular, was a clincher. Willard had worked hard on the car's pressurized carburetor, which was an update of the unit used on the earlier models. Dual fuel pumps helped manage fuel delivery. The car normally ran on one pump, but when the turbo created enough pressure, the second pump was triggered by a system that keyed turbo boost to manifold vacuum. This pump fed a second set of fuel lines to the carburetor. These fed extra fuel to the carburetor bowls, thus keeping fuel volume up and temperatures down.

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