Willard also asked about the motion-sensor alarm system. Abshire hadn't even noticed it originally, but when prompted to describe the appearance of the car's T-roof bar, his description elicited a positive response.
Other items like the raised rear floor and Greenwood suspension were common to all three GTs, but even these small validations helped establish the car's provenance. LaEnvi also remembered that he had driven the car to Detroit one spring for an show, and he supplied Abshire with some photos taken there.
When Abshire contacted the car's former owners, he learned that it had been bought new in 1978 for $32,000, by a gentleman who owned an insurance company in the Northeast. He used the car lightly before sending it back to ACI in Sylvania, Ohio, for the addition of the Duntov headlights and a functional hatchback kit. In July 1988, the car was sold to the gentleman who owned the limousine service. It then sat in a garage for a number of years before being offered for sale online. As offered, the car had only 44,000 miles on the odometer.
Having confirmed that this was indeed the third Turbo GT, Abshire bought it (he won't say for how much). Rather than returning the car to original condition, he decided to leave the Duntov headlight treatment and the hatchback in place, since these were modifications performed by original builder ACI. But somewhere along the line, he does plan to repaint it in the original Burgundy color and refresh the upholstery. The engine bay will also be tidied up, and replacement center caps will be manufactured for the wheels.
As the car sits, its condition speaks well for the generally good care provided by the prior owners. In fact, the only things that were done to the Vette before Abshire's son arrived to pick it up were to install a new master cylinder and check over the brake system. Other than that, it started and ran well. For a low-volume, high-performance vintage tuner car, that's a rare thing indeed.
The History Of The Greenwood Turbo GT
John and Burt Greenwood built quite a few race-based street cars in the '70s. Although they had developed their own unique Corvette suspension and aerodynamic systems to support their racing program, these technologies eventually found their way into production autos as part of an effort to offset their high tooling costs. Initially, the street cars were offered with minor aerodynamic improvements and exaggerated styling cues, but they quickly evolved into nothing short of high-speed endurance racers for the road.
Between 1975 and 1981, approximately 43 custom-made street cars based on five distinct body styles were produced under the umbrella of Greenwood International. These included the GT/Sebring GT (32 produced), the Sportwagon (1), the Turbo GT (3), the Daytona (5) and the GTO (2).
In 1976, even as production of the Sebring GT continued, a prototype fastback coupe was being built to showcase Greenwood's growing expertise with turbochargers and the company's next generation of radical aerodynamics. Interestingly, this is the same time period when GM was exploring turbocharging as a serious option for the Corvette.
Greenwood chose a blow-through design-as opposed to a draw-through approach-to turbocharging because of its potential for superior performance, but serious developmental effort was required to make this fledgling technology work consistently and reliably. The second and third Turbo GTs reflected incremental design improvements, with the third one having an intricate fuel-management system added.