Custom Search
Corvette - An American Dream

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back in time

I'm inspired by this photo to talk a little about how this whole Corvette phenomenon began. So let's hop again into the Way Back Machine and take a trip back to 1951.

While there were many involved in its design and production, Zora Arkus-Duntov is generally considered to be the "Father" of the Corvette. But designing and building a classic vehicle that has stood the test of time for over 50 years takes more than one man. At that time Harley Earl’s “Special Projects” crew began work on this new sports car for General Motors. As the concept work began, Bob McLean designed a general layout for the car which was originally code named, "Project Opel."

Chevrolet’s chief photographer at the time, Myron Scott, is credited for coming up with the name that has become legendary in the automotive world — Corvette — drawing from the small, fast warships of the "Corvette" class.

The logo for the new car was supposedly determined by the wallpaper design on a hotel room in Paris in 1908. The story goes that William Durant, the founder of GM, ripped off a small piece of this wallpaper and brought the scrap back to Detroit. It apparently had designs on it that resembled a bow tie.

For its introductory year, the Corvette was produced in a temporary GM facility in Flint, Michigan. This 1st generation Corvette (C1) was available only in Polo White with a red vinyl interior, black soft top and red wheels. Although Corvette was not the first car to be made with a fiberglass body, it was the first car — and the last — to have a wrap-around windshield.
Corvette's fiberglass body was comprised of 46 pieces glued together to form the nine major subassemblies.

A 150 hp Blue Flame Six engine powered it, and it was backed up by a Powerglide transmission. At only 150 hp, the performance was less than startling, but with a total production run of only 300 units, the 1953 is still the rarest of all model year Corvettes. And although only 300 were produced, there are approximately 225 still existing today.

At the Autorama show circuit the new Corvette featured crossed American and checkered flags on the front emblem and horn button. When it was later discovered that using an American flag on a product trademark was illegal, the emblem was changed shortly before the Corvette made its debut in January, 1953, at the Motorama in New York.

Less than six months later, on Tuesday, June 30, 1953, Corvette #1 Serial Number E53F001001 rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan, and Corvette production began. The first two Corvettes, VIN Numbers 1 and 2 were said to have been destroyed, but no records prove that fact, and there are no witnesses to the destruction. You may want to quit reading now and go check the Serial Number of the one in your garage. It might be one of them.

The following year production was moved to the plant in St. Louis. Every Corvette from model year 1954 through model year 1981 was produced in the St. Louis facility.

If you would like additional information the 1953 Corvette, here's a great website with more info than you can imagine:

If you found this article interesting, please leave a comment by clicking on the word "comment" at the bottom of this post. You may as well find it now and get used to clicking it because you're going to be clicking it a lot when we start having the Corvette Giveaways. Also, if there is anything inaccurate in here, please let me know so I can correct it.

Look for the word "comment" below. It should be right under the right front tire of that 1953 Corvette you see there. See it? Well click it, and you can add anything you'd like.
This is a repost of a previous story from back in January.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Where is your gas tank?

I haven't verified this information yet, but I have no doubt it's accurate. And I found it quite informative since it was something I had never heard of before. Perhaps you haven't either.

If you drive more than two or three cars, there's a good possibility that you're going to pull into the gas station with the pumps on the wrong side of the car someday, simply because you don't remember which side of the car the gas tank filler tube is on. You don't have to worry about ever doing that again because there's an easy way to determine this ahead of time.

If you look at your instrument panel, you'll see a little gas pump next to your gas gauge. The side of the pump that the handle is on indicates which side of the car you fill the tank from. Take a look at the photo. If the pump handle is on the left, your tank is filled from the left. If it's on the right, it's the opposite side. Another possible option is a gas tank icon with an arrow. That's what my Lexus has. Now how handy is that to know?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Save the Wave

So, you ask yourself, what in the world is this guy doing putting a picture of the ocean on a site related to Corvettes?

And you're absolutely right. We're not supposed to be talking about the ocean here, but I thought this photo was kind of cool, and it adds some interest and color to the page. If I knew who the photographer was, I would give them a credit because they caught a great shot.

But it's springtime, and those Corvettes are coming out of winter storage and hitting the road. Surf's up! The subject of this post is a different kind of wave. So let's wander back in time a bit (Set the Wayback Machine for 1969, Sherman) and see what we can learn about this time-honored tradition among Corvette owners.

Below is an article entitled "Save the Wave" that was published in the August/September, 1969, issue of Corvette News. I hope you find it interesting and informative.

Ever since Corvette No. 00001 first met Corvette No. 00002 on the road, their drivers saluted each other with waves. Today, unfortunately, this grand and glorious tradition is wavering.

There's one item of standard equipment that comes as a pleasant surprise to every new Corvette owner. It's an instant wave of recognition he or she recieves when he meets one of their ilks on the road. The first time it happens, they will be taken by surprise.

He immediately thinks: 1. He has been mistaken for Stirling Moss. 2. His lights are on. 3. He has just been given the bird.

Soon, however, the new Vette owner anticipates, indeed even relishes, encountering other Vettes as he drives. During this period, he experiments with his waves, running the gamut from the gaping "yoo hoo" to the ultra cool "two finger flip." He perfects his timing, making sure he affects neither a too-early wave, nor the jaded "oh brother" too-late variety.

Determined not to be one upped, he even developes a defense mechanism for non wavers, usually settling on the "Wave"? My hand was just on the way to scratch my head" approach. (This is especially useful when you're not driving your Vette, but you forget, and like a dummy, you wave anyway.)

Indeed, one of the most perplexing problems facing a would-be waver is what to do when driving next to a fellow Vette owner. Passing him going in opposite directions is one thing. Greetings are exchanged, and that's that. But what happens when you pull up next to a guy at a light, wave, nod, smile and then pull up to him at the next light, a block later? Wave again? Nod bashfully? Grin self-consciously? Ignore him? Or take the chicken's way out and turn down the next side street? If you're expecting an answer, you won't find it here. Sad to say, some questions don't have any.

Girl-type Corvette drivers also have a unique problem: to wave or not to wave. This miss or misses who borrows her man's Corvette for the first time is immediately faced with this quandary. Should she wave first and look overly friendly, or ignore the wave and look like a snob? Most ladies who drive their own Vettes prefer to suffer the latter rather than take a chance of being misread. For this reason, all girls are excused for occassionally failing to return a well-meaning wave. So are new owners who are still learning the ropes.

There is no excuse, however, for a guy who refuses to return the wave, not out of ignorance, but of arrogance or apathy. While this type of behavior is the exception to the rule, it seems a few owners of newer models refuse to recognize anything older than theirs, while some others simply won't wave, period. Boo on them. These ding-a-lings don't seem to realize that they are helping to squash a tradition that had its beginnings back when most of us were still driving tootsietoys.

So now you know, and you have no excuse. When you meet another Corvette driver out there on the Great American Road, don't forget to wave. It's a tradition.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Old Man Winter is on his way. (Repost from 10/23/08)

The days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping in many parts of our country. Fall is winding down and winter will soon be rapping at the window.

If any of you live in the less tropical areas, I'm certain you have figured out that it will soon be time to put the Vette into hibernation for a long winter's nap. Here are some things you can to protect your investment and make sure everything is okay again when the warm breath of spring pushes the winter out for another year.

I've listed the minimum requirements below. Others readers may had additional items to add. If so, just click on that COMMENT link at the bottom and give us your information.

Gas Tank:
Fill the tank and add a bottle of Sta-Bil.
This prevents condensation.

Put a battery tender on to keep the voltage up.
Obvious benefit need not be explained.

Over-inflate to 40-45 pounds.
Prevents flat spots.

Fill exhaust tips with steel wool or cover with aluminum foil
Keeps rodents out.

Coat with Dielectric Gel (available from GM or your dealer or parts store)
Keeps it soft and supple.

Place some dryer sheets in an aluminum pie pan and place inside the car. Desiccants will help keep the moisture down also. Moth balls in pie pans will discourage rodent invasion. You can also place these in the engine compartment.

If you're lucky and Mother Nature decides to let the sun shine and melt the snow and ice, and you have a decent driving day, be sure to get the engine up to operating temperature before you quit driving for the day.

That's all I have. As I said, any additional advice or comments are welcome.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This is amazing...

Although it's not Corvette-related, it's still an amazing piece of video.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DIC codes

At some point in your Corvette experience, you're going to need to find out what type of error occurred in your engine that caused your "Check Engine" light to come on.

It could something as simple as a loose fuel cap, or it may be something more serious that needs attention. In case that's happened to you, here's an easy way to see where the problem originated.

In the center of your instrument panel, below the speedometer and tach, there is a horizontal readout that comes one when you start the car. It usually begins with the word "CORVETTE" and then changes to "BY CHEVROLET." This is what is referred to as your DIC, or Digital Information Center.

Turn the ignition key on, but don't start the car. Hold down the OPTIONS button and press the FUEL button four times. You're now in DIAGNOSTIC MODE.

The computer will display what are referred to as DTCs or Diagnostic Trouble Codes. There are two kinds of DTCs, "Current" and "History," designated with a letter suffix, "C" or "H". A current code indicates that the malfunction is present in the system whose module is displaying data. A history code indicates a problem existed in that module sometime in the last 40 or 50 ignition cycles. When not accompanied by a current code of the same number, it is possible it's evidence of a previous problem, now solved, that was not removed by clearing codes. More likely is that a history code indicates an intermittent malfunction. "Intermittents" are the most challenging DTCs. An intermittent may have happened only once, may have happened more than once but is inconsistent in its appearance or may be happening on a regular basis but not at the time the IPC is displaying codes.

History codes can also be caused by a current malfunction in a system that is not operating at the time DTCs are displayed. An example is the rear window defogger which doesn¹t operate until the BCM detects engine rpm. For history codes set by a system that does not operate with the key on and engine off, a special diagnostic tool called a "scan tester" is necessary to properly diagnose the malfunction.

Inititially, the on-board diagnostics go into the "automatic" mode which shows each module's DTCs in a pre-set sequence:

10 PCM Powertrain Control Module
28 TCS Traction Control system ABS
?? RTD Real Time damping
40 BCM Body Control Module
60 IPC Instrument Panel Cluster
80 radio
99 HVAC Heater Vent-Air Conditioning
A0 LDCM Left Door Control module
A1 RDCM Right Door Control Module
AC SCM Seat Control module
B0 RFA Remote Function Actuation

For each module, all DTCs will be displayed. If none are present in a module, you will see "no more codes" on the ICP display.

Once the IPC has displayed all 11 modules, the system goes into the manual mode which allows selection of each module using combinations of DIC buttons. The manual mode can also be entered at any time during the automatic sequence by pressing any button except "E/M". Once the IPC displays "manual diagnostics," you may select a particular module by pressing the "options" button to go forward or the "trip" button to go back. Once a system is selected and a DTC is displayed, if more than one are present; press "gages" to move forward or "fuel" to go back.

To exit the diagnostic mode at any time, press "E/M". If you want to erase or "clear" codes, press "reset." Clearing a code does not repair a problem. You are simply erasing the evidence of it in the module's memory.

So, now that you have the codes, what do they mean? Rather than list them all here, I'm going to refer you to another site. This site provides a great listing of all the error codes you may encounter.

Hope that helps.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stingray Concept Design Overview

Now let's jump forward to today and take a look at this concept design for the Stingray. Pretty impressive.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Devil vs Blue Angel

If you love speed, this is the video you've been waiting for.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jim Mero Driving the ZR1

If you're up for a little adrenaline rush, hop in the passenger seat and strap in. This is an exciting ride at Nurburgring when Jim drove the 7:26.4 record lap. Hang on because it's a great ride in a great car.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

How do those nannies work?

Active Handling was introduced by GM in 1998 as an option. It became standard equipment on the 2001 and newer models. Like me, there may be a few of you who don’t realize what it does, how it does it, and the other options you have in changing the features. I’m not recommending you disengage it, but I thought you might like to know the options. Following is an abbreviated version of a GM Press Release from the fall of 1998. If you would like to read the full press release, this link will take you there:

What Active Handling Does

The Active Handling system activates when there is a significant difference between how the driver intends for the car to corner and how the car is actually cornering. Working together with the ABS and traction control systems as needed, it automatically applies any of the four brakes to help correct the situation

Active Handling uses a simple yet sophisticated system of sensors to detect unwanted vehicle manuevers. These sensors include a steering angle sensor, yaw-rate sensor, lateral accelerometer and sensors in the vehicle's ABS brake and traction control systems. All of the data that these sensors provide is fed into the Corvette's onboard computer where specially-developed software "reads" all of the inputs and automatically activates the car's brakes selectively to help the driver bring the vehicle back under control.

Steering Angle Sensor: This digital sensor monitors the driver's steering inputs immediately and communicates the steering angle that the driver has selected back to the system. It is accurate to within one degree of steering angle change and is located in the car's steering column.

Yaw-Rate Sensor: This solid-state device utilizes a tiny pair of ceramic tuning forks to measure the actual rate that the car is turning or yawing from the centerline. This data is continuously fed into the Corvette's computer where the yaw rate is compared to the steering angle. Any variation beyond a pre-programmed set of values will result in activation of the Active Handling system's assist features. The yaw-rate sensor on the Corvette is located inside the center console.

Lateral Accelerometer: The lateral acceleration sensor measures the centrifugal force created in a turn. The data it provides is weighed against all of the other inputs and is used to calculate whether or not the car's limits are being exceeded for the speed and traction conditions that exist. This sensor is located beneath the passenger seat.

Unique Controller & Software: All of the information being provided by the sensors mentioned above is processed by the Corvette Active Handling system's computer through a very sophisticated and specialized software package. This computer is actively linked to the ABS brake system and the traction control system -- all these systems share information continuously. This multiple linkage is vital because the combined inputs from each system make the fully-integrated system better able to respond to a wider variety of inputs from the driver.

Competitive Driving Mode

The Corvette Active Handling system will be the first of its type to offer dual mode operation. In addition to an "OFF" mode, in which Active Handling is disabled, the system also allows the driver to select a "COMPETITIVE DRIVING" mode for autocross or gymkhana competitions. In this mode, the Active Handling system remains fully-functional -- measuring steering, yaw rate and lateral acceleration inputs as well as applying individual wheel brakes as required -- but the traction control system is disabled, allowing for some wheelspin and oversteer that skilled drivers often find beneficial in competitive driving.

Summary of Active Handling System Modes

ON - Active Handling is automatically enabled when the car is started. This is also true of the ABS brake and traction control systems.

OFF - Like traction control, the Active Handling system may be manually turned off if the driver so desires. This is not true of the ABS brake system which is always enabled.

COMPETITIVE DRIVING - In this mode, Active Handling and ABS are both enabled, but traction control is shut off.

The "OFF" and "COMPETITIVE DRIVING" modes are important features on a high-performance sports car like the Corvette. As mentioned earlier, skilled drivers may find that some wheelspin and oversteer can be beneficial to their lap times in competitive events, and the Corvette system allows them to operate the car in this fashion when appropriate. Chevrolet recommends against selecting these modes for street use.


The overall effectiveness of the Corvette Active Handling system, or any similar system, is directly related to available tire traction and the aggressiveness of a given maneuver. Active Handling is designed to work to use existing traction to assist the driver -- but it cannot overcome the laws of physics. The Active Handling system reacts only in extreme situations, and special care should be taken when the system does activate because it's a clear signal that vehicle or tire limits are being exceeded.

This information wasn't placed on this site to encourge anyone to drive without the Active Handling system turned on. The Corvette is a powerful car, and a system of this type can be beneficial in preventing out-of-control situations from remaining that way.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Corvette vs Ferrari... Fun Stuff.

I found this interesting and exciting. What fun. I'm going to go out later today and find me a Ferrari to beat up on.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How to use a claybar...

Some of our readers have asked about claybarring. This is one of the easiest and most important first steps in giving your pride and joy a beautiful shine. Naturally, you would follow the clay bar procedure with your polishing and waxing processes. We'll talk aobut those in a future post.

From experience, I can tell you the most important part is to use ample wetting agent to prevent the clay from sticking to the paint. It won't cause any damage if this happens but makes it a bit difficult to get it loose. Not a bit deal, but easily prevented.