A Brief History of the Chevy Corvette

I have always been a huge fan of Corvettes, and have loved the ones I was fortunate enough to own. After doing a little reading today on Corvettes, I decided to put together a brief history of the car I have come to love.

The Corvette is a sports car produced by General Motors; it currently has seven generations. Originally introduced in 1953 as a concept show car, it was designed by Harley Earl and named by Myron Scott. Currently, the Corvette is manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The first generation of the Corvette spanned from 1953 to 1962. The original horsepower was 150; however, since no manual transmissions at that time were able to handle 150 horsepower, Chevy used a two-speed automatic. This model of Corvette was considered the “solid-axle” generation due to its suspension being dependent on each other.

The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, with its split rear window, is one of the most iconic sports cars ever created.

In 1955, Corvettes offered a V8 engine that had a 0-60 time 3 seconds faster than the previous year’s model. The next year, a fuel injection system was introduced; this engine became the first mass-produced engine to reach 1 bhp per cubic inch. By 1957, the Corvette offered a four-speed manual transmission. By 1960, the engine was significantly more powerful than its original concept car.

In 1961, the rear of the car was completely redesigned. The “duck tail” and the four round taillights were introduced; they have been a staple of the car through 2014. The 1962 Corvette offered a fuel-injected version with 360 bhp – the first generation’s fastest car.

The Sting Ray model was introduced during the second generation (1963-1967). Referred to as the mid-years, this generation was much smaller than the first. Designed by Larry Shinoda, the car had three major inspirations:

1. The Q Corvette, a concept design that was created under the direction of Bill Mitchell;
2. The Mitchell Sting Ray, a car that Mitchell sponsored because Chevy did not participate in factory racing at this time;
3. A Mako Shark that Mitchell caught while deep-sea fishing.

The 1963 model was the first coupé that Corvette had created; it featured a split rear window, hidden headlamps, an independent rear suspension and a tapered rear deck. The split rear window, however, did not hang around for long; Corvette’s chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov felt that it blocked the driver’s vision and thus changed it over to a full width window.

By 1965, the Corvette offered four-wheel disc brakes as well as the “big block” engine. This 6.49 liter V8 pumped out a whopping 425 horsepower; after the big block engine, Corvettes no longer used the Rochester fuel injection system.

The second generation of Corvettes offered a wide-variety of new features from the previous generation. The Big Block engines, AM-FM radio, air-conditioning, a telescopic steering wheel and headrests were all added. Also, an independent rear suspension was built for the Sting Ray.

In 1962,Duntov came up with a lightweight version of the Sting Ray. Only five Grand Sport Corvettes were produced; today, the Corvettes are held by private owners. They are some of the most valuable and coveted Corvettes ever produced.

from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars http://ift.tt/1HNHWlf

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Tesla Powerwall

ben sheehy tesla powerwall denver coloradoIn other car news, Tesla, the automaker who has built the best battery-operated vehicle in the industry, recently announced that it will be expanding its product and technology to the home. In addition to battery-operated cars, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla will be responsible for battery-operated homes. Tesla’s new company, called Tesla Energy, will release their first wall-mounted battery known as the Powerwall. The Powerwall, a 10 kWh home battery, is expected to cost $3,500. Not only can this new product be mounted on the wall, but the new design will allow multiple Powerwall’s to link together for up to 90 kWh of energy.

Elon Musk has a clear vision for the home of the future. Homeowners will be living in their own solar powered stations, replacing the current need and demand for coal and natural gas. Musk and Tesla plans on combining the 400-volt Powerwall with solar panels. With these pieces in place, the battery pack can be used to power an entire home overnight. According to recent numbers from the Energy Information Agency, the Powerwall can run the typical American household for approximately 8 hours. The EIA also states that the average home requires around 30 kWh a day.

Tesla is also planning on launching a line of industrial batteries that are roughly the size of a refrigerator. These larger batteries are scalable to larger sizes which could power entire neighborhoods. Tesla will be producing these products at their plant in Fremont, California. Elon Musk expects to be shipping higher volumes of these products sometime next year at the new Tesla Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada.

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Summer Car Care Products

ben sheehy sports cars denver colorado summer car careSummer time is upon us and it is time to hit the road. If you are like me, or any car lover, now is the time to start opening the windows, putting the top down, and hitting the road for a much needed drive. Before doing so, however, it is important to make sure our vehicles are in the best possible driving condition. Assuming everything under the hood is fine, let’s take a look at a couple products that will be absolutely necessary to improving the look and feel of your car.

Let’s start with the paint. Sending your car for a new paint job can really hit the bank account. The good news is that there are a lot of different products out there to touch up the common chip in the paint. Dr. ColorChip is an automotive paint chip repair product that consistently delivers. Using its three-step repair kit, you can touch up chips, scratches, and even deeper grooves that have reached the metal. Dr. ColorChip offers a few kit options, including the Basic Kit, the Road Rash Kit, and the Squirt-n-Squeegee Kit. Each kit comes complete with all necessary materials, such as the paint color of your choosing, a brush, blending cloth, and glove.

Keeping the interior of your vehicle clean can be a difficult task. With all the nooks and crannies, it is easy for dirt and trash to build up. Using a powerful vacuum like the Metrovac will help get everything out and leave you with a really clean car. The Metrovac is built for automotive detailing. Its well built design and assortment of attachments will leave no spot unclean. The hard to reach spots under the seats, in the trunk, or inside the engine bay will look a lot cleaner after a few minutes with the Metrovac. Its lightweight size and design make it easy to maneuver and store.

Whatever products you choose, be sure to give your vehicles the proper treatment they deserve!

from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars http://ift.tt/1EDBa9X

Sinkhole at National Corvette Museum

ben sheehy sports car blog denver coloradoThis is a story from last year’s Autoweek that I am just now coming across. In February of last year, a large sink hole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The following vehicles fell victim to this unexpected sinkhole:

The Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole included the following:

  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette
  • 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil

You can witness some of the collapse in this security footage. Of the 8 vehicles swallowed up by the sink hole, 3 of the Corvettes have been chosen to restored. The lucky Corvettes to be restored will be the ‘09 ZR1 Blue Devil, the white “1 millionth” ‘92 convertible, and the black ‘62. The remaining ‘Vettes will be left to be viewed as they are.

Another piece of this story which grabbed my attention was the drone footage captured inside the sink hole. You can see the video here.

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Google Seeks Self-Driving Car Suppliers

ben sheehy sports news denver co google carTechnology is finally catching up to our science-fiction driven ideas, as self-driving vehicles are just around the corner. Google is taking the next steps in producing its fully autonomous vehicles. These vehicles will be able to transport human passengers free of a steering wheels, brakes, and accelerators.

Google is currently communicating with various automakers around the world. These communications are an attempt to assemble a global supplier team and push its self-driving vehicles to market. Some of the suppliers Google has reach out to include Bosch, ZF Lenksysteme, LG, Roush, and Continental. Roush has already been confirmed as the company who engineered the two-seater vehicle which Google expects to test drive via public roads this year.

Some expected Google to reach out to larger, more notable automakers, but they just are not at that stage yet. Once the vehicles are safe and ready for commercialization, then Google will seek these partners to build the vehicles and release on the market. As reported by Reuters, Google has contacted GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota.

At some point this year Google will release its fleet of test vehicles. Google expects a fully autonomous vehicle within the next 5 years – a sentiment shared by famed auto and space pioneer Elon Musk. As Musk pointed out, while the vehicles may be ready for prime time, it is very likely that federal regulations will delay the introduction of everyday driving until around 2022.

As someone who takes such pride and joy in manually operating a vehicle, I am still on the fence, but it is hard to deny how amazing an accomplishment this will be.

 

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2015 Dodge Challenger

Ben Sheehy Sports Cars 2015 Dodge Challenger SXTThe third generation Dodge Challenger made a big splash when it entered the scene back in 2008, when it seemed that the sun had set on the American muscle car.  It has been 25 years since the 2nd generation model by Mitsubishi went off the market, and a little over 50 years since the original model by Dodge came out in 1958.  With head-turning good looks and heart stopping power, this comeback is getting car fans revved up.

With 485 horsepower, eight speed transmission, a roaring 6.4 liter engine, and an acceleration time of zero to sixty in 4.4 seconds, the new R/T Scat Pack Challenger is well endowed.  This model clearly packs a lot of heat for a base model car by Dodge. When compared with the upcoming 2015 Ford Mustang GT and the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro, the new Challenger holds its own in the competition of power, acceleration, and engine size. Of course, if that is still not enough power for you, fear not. The performance model SRT Hellcat Challenger offers more, equipped with 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque.

Stylistically, the new model differs from the previous year’s model with a narrower front grille, split LED tail lights, and a new spacious interior design. It also comes standard with rear-view backup camera and parking radar. The Challenger is built like a muscle car should be – big, heavy, and wide, with rear wheel drive and lots of power. Weighing in at 4235 pounds, the Challenger is extremely heavy when compared to the 2015 Mustang (3729 lbs), and Camaro (3908 lbs).

The new Challenger offers a redesigned interior. Contrary to the exterior, the inside of the Challenger is modern in appearance, save for the handsomely retro-inflected gauges. In addition to the modern appearance, the 2015 model allows you to fit adults in the back seat. This significant detail could really set it apart from other vehicle options. It is now a pleasant enough place to be on long drives.

 

2015 Corvette Hits Roadblock

As a fan of the Corvette this news was a bit unsettling, but not surprising given the extent of issues at GM.  According to multiple sources online, General Motors can now add the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette to a long series of recalls, bringing this years total to 67.  Announced earlier last week, approximately 2,800 Corvettes will be recalled due to problems with airbags and parking brake cables.

ben sheehy sports car blogThese reports are a significant hit, as Corvette sales have been up more than 200% since the same time last year.  The iconic american sports car will certainly see a decline in these numbers despite receiving rave reviews in recent reports.

In addition to halted sales at auto dealers, shipments of the high-selling vehicle have been delayed while the company addresses both issues.  According to GM, a public recall has not been announced.  Airbag issues will affect approximately 2,000 Corvettes, many of which are still sitting in their home factory.  It has been reported that driver side airbags in these vehicles run the risk of separating from the steering wheel in a crash, increasing the potential for injuries.  Not good.  Corvettes located at dealerships will require replacement airbag modules, which will be repaired in house.  Problems with parking brake cables appear to be slightly more complicated.  About 800 Corvettes are reported to be missing rear parking brake cables.  The missing cables will result in the operation of only 1 of 2 rear brake drums.  As many of us know, vehicles require these cables to avoid the potential risk of rolling away if parked on steep hills – a violation of federal standards.

One has to wonder if these vehicle problems will ever subside for GM, having recalled an astounding 29 million vehicles in the last year.  The latest discoveries with the 2015 Corvette are troublesome.  Are we witnessing the tail end of the recall debacle, or will this continue to be a trend for GM in the years to come?  One thing is for sure, they have a lot of ground to make up.  It is unfortunate that a high-selling, high-rated vehicle like the Corvette had to fall victim to these manufacturing problems.  Let’s hope GM leaves no issue unreported and continues to work diligently toward fixing everything and ensuring the safety of all who get behind the wheel of their vehicles.

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2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe Review

The 2015 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe is breathtaking. Designed by Ian Callum, many are considering this his best work yet – and that’s saying something. Callum designed the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, a beauty that was featured in the James Bond film Die Another Day. If they’re considering this car to be more gorgeous than something that James Bond drove, I had to see it to believe it. 

The F-Type has integrated lines throughout the body that remind you of the Aston Martins Callum has designed in the past. The front of the car reminds you of the newer Jaguar models, but the grill has been inherited from the Aston Martin. Going backwards, the top of the car slowly descends to the tail, offering a full-window rear hatch. Everything about this car reminds me of an Aston Martin – but somehow, it’s put together in a better fashion. It’s more compact yet still has enough attitude to rule the road.

Designed by Ian Callum, this car has a lot of similarities to the Aston Martin Vanquish.

Designed by Ian Callum, this car has a lot of similarities to the Aston Martin Vanquish.

I jumped inside and immediately heard the v8 erupt. This is by far the best feature of the car – that sound signature. This supercharged 5.0L V8 is loud and mean;  you might want to leave your kids at home, they’ll be scared of the roar. In dynamic mode, the sound changes over to a manic scream – pushing away the purring growl from before. The exhaust pops as if there is a firecracker under the car.

The interior is not as beautiful as the exterior but its still quite impressive. The combination of “sportiness” and luxury within the cabin is a great fit for the car. The soft leather, which features highlights, is comfortable for long-distance cruising. The seats, however, also offer the support necessary for high-speed cornering.

As for performance, this car is faster than ever before. Going zero-to-60 in under four seconds makes it the fastest V8 that Jaguar offers. And the torque that the F-Type offers is simply phenomenal – launching this car forward and launching you into the rear of your seat. The tires are 255mm wide in the front, with some fat 295mm tires in the back. These tires are identical to those of Jaguar’s V8 S Roadster.

The handling is phenomenal as well, with the steering having a great deal of precision to it. The chassis and weight distribution helps this car stick to the road, handling corners at a great speed without slipping out into the other lane. The Pirelli PZero rubber and the Adaptive Dynamics system control the vertical body movements as well as the roll and pitch rates. On top of that, the damper rates adjust 500 times a second, offering you the optimal stability. The electronic active differential also helps to vary torque transfer to each wheel, helping to maximize traction even further.

But ultimately, you’re going to have to use the brakes at some point – and with 15-inch front and 14.8-inch rear discs, this car can stop on a dime.

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