General Motors recruited engineer and race car driver, Zora Arkus Duntov, to help them inject some performance into their brands.
Duntov wanted to make the Corvette competitive with sports cars from Europe like Ferrari and Maserati. To gain respect it needed to win on the track. He organized a team to build the SS or "Experimental Corvette" and took it to Sebring.
Corvette SS at Sebring Race Day 1957
The Chevrolet Corvette 'SS' is an experimental magnesium-bodied car and set
a new lap record at Sebring, Florida, in 1957. It has served as the
forerunner of many Corvette sports/racing models.
The Corvette SS raced for the first time at Sebring, where suspension
problems and other mechanical defects forced its retirement after only 23
laps. General Motors was enthusiastic about the potential of the SS based
on results from practice and lap speeds.
Juan Manuel Fangio, the winner at Sebring in 1957, was impressed enough
with the car to test the SS under practice conditions. The results was
astonishing: Fangio completed a full lap a full 3:27.4 seconds faster in a car he had never driven before
than other drivers could in cars they were experienced driving.
Harley Earl - GM Designer Extraordinaire
Harley Earl, the larger than life, first head of styling for a major
automobile manufacturer gave the world the joy of excess in color, chrome
and steel. Recruited by GM in the late 20s to transform its drab autos and
make them stand out from the offerings of its competitors, Earl transformed
the industry and the American psyche.
He invented the annual model change over, the concept car and put swagger
and some Hollywood panache into a staid industry. While its hard to defend
his buoyant designs as fine art, he captured the imagination of millions
worldwide, especially in Post WWII America, who embraced the outlandish
vehicles as proof that there will be a big and better tomorrow. He knew
how to create and sell dreams. Which is what he learned from his neighbor,
C. B. DeMille.
Hemi Under Glass Last Ride
After 39 years at the wheel of one of the most famous and unusual cars in
drag racing, the Hemi Under Glass, Bob Riggle decided to hang it up.
We were there to capture the last runs of this iconic car and the driver
who thrilled crowds at drag strips all over the country.
Mickey Thompson Breaks 400 MPH Speed Barrirer
Thompson's life in the fast lane provides ample material for the
filmmakers. From the drag strips, to desert racing to land speed record
challenges, to car building, designing and race promotion Thompson earned
his place as a certified automotive icon.
He started calling himself the Fastest American on Wheels in 1958 after
setting a record of 194 miles per hour. His goal was to break the world
record of 394.2 miles per hour set in 1947. He began to build a world land
speed record car -- the Challenger 1.
Thompson took his new car out to the Bonneville Salt Flats on October 6,
1959 and piloted it to a World Speed Record of 363.48 miles per hour. He
also set a world speed record in A/BFS Class that remained unbeaten
until1990 when Al Teague broke it at 389.372 miles per hour in his
In 1960, Thompson returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats with a modified
Challenger 1 for another record attempt. Its four 410 cubic-inch engines
secured his title when he set a new American record at 330.51 miles per
hour. He bested the world speed with a run at 407 miles per hour (which
was faster than any man had drive
a car before) but crashed before he could make a second run and thus secure
the official record.
The Challenger 1 had its last record run two year later on July 24, 1962.
The poor conditions of the salt flats halted the first attempt because he
couldnt get any traction as the car bounced on the salt bed. He found a
smoother part of the Flats for another run and turned in a speed of 357
mph. But he announced that the Challengers days on the Salt Flats were
The Original Sting Ray - /BIG MUSCLE
• BRIAN HOBAUGH
When did you first realize that you loved cars? Maybe it was the time you
caught a glimpse of a Ferrari as you were sitting in the back of your
parents minivan. Or maybe it happened after watching your older brother do
a burnout in his rusted out Camaro. For owner Brian Hobaugh,
his love of cars started thanks to his Dad and a certain 1965 Chevrolet
Corvette that's been in their family for over 30 years.
1963 Corvette Stingray - Jay Leno's Garage
1963 Corvette Stingray: Master judge and restorer Mike McCluskey took this
rare fuel-injected Sting Ray (that Jay bought sight unseen) back to stock
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ABOUT JAY LENO'S GARAGE
A new video every Sunday! Visit Jay Leno's Garage, the Emmy-winning series
where Jay Leno gives car reviews, motorcycle reviews, compares cars, and
shares his passion and expertise on anything that rolls, explodes, and
makes noise. Classic cars, restomods, super cars like the McLaren P1,
sports cars like Porsche 918 Spyder and Camaro Z28, cafe racers, vintage
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1963 Corvette Stingray - Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage
Supercar Hits 714mph
Powered by two Phantom II jet fighter engines, the Thrust SSC hits 714mph
(1149km/h) in the Black Rock Desert in 1997.
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Check out some of our more intense video's including high speed chases and
a Spectacular 100mph train crash in this new playlist:
Monsters' Brawl! Corvette ZR1 vs Porsche 911 Turbo
It's the King of the Hill vs the Autobahn Kaiser. The Chevrolet Corvette
ZR1 and the Porsche 911 turbo do battle
in a comparison of epic proportions at the track with professional hot shoe
Justin Bell, on the drag strip and through a standing mile...
Read the full story here:
Shot by: Mike Suggett, Gordon Green & Duane Sempson
Edited by: Mike Suggett
OLDSMOBILE 455 W-43 EXPERIMENTAL HEMI AND OTHER EXOTIC ENGINES - THE JOHN BELTZ YEARS PHOTO TRIBUTE
John Beltz was Oldsmobile's chief engineer in 1964 and one of the prime
movers of the Toronado and 442 project. Beltz was promoted to Oldsmobile
general manager at age 43 in 1969 when Harold N. Metzel retired. Beltz
passed away in May of 1972 from cancer at the age of 46.
John Beltz is leaning on a dual fan 455 Olds and posing with other
experimental Olds engines that never saw production.
Here are descriptions of these engines:
1. The 0W-43 all aluminum 455 with 4 valve per cylinders, four overhead cam
Weber engine. With a redline of just under 8,500rpm it was originally
conceived for CAN AM racing. At 3,000rpm it put out 300hp and at 6,000rpm
registered over 600hp. The top output recorded for this engine in the
Lansing Dyno facility
was 700 real hp at 6,800rpm. Tests were run with both carbueration and fuel
injection. The block was cast from Reynolds 356 alloy and fitted with
pressed-in dry steel cylinder liners for the Forged-True 12.20to 1 pistons.
Billet steel connecting rods by Carillo was used along with a forged steel
crank. The engine weighed in at 50 pounds lighter than the production 455
motor! It was developed at the same time as the ZL-1 Chevy 427 motor.
2. The W-43 4 valve per cylinder 455 developed by JOHN BELTZ , LLOYD GILL ,
JOE JONES AND FRANK BALL. Rated at 500-550hp with a single Rochester
Quadrajet on an aluminum manifold. Constructed with both cast iron heads
and block and with aluminum-alloy block and heads 75 pounds lighter than
the conventional 455 production engine. Engine featured four valves per
cylinder with narrowed angles for a super efficient combustion chamber
design, central spark plugs and could easily be adapted for chain for gear
driven overhead camshafts. 455 engine had 4.625inch cylinder centers, a
4.125 bore and 4.250 stroke. Making use of the 3inch main bearings and 2.50
inch rod journals, the engine was fitted with a specially prepared cast
crank fitted with SAE-1140 forged steel rods, forged 10.20-to-1 pistons
which rode on Morraine 400 bearings. Four bolt main block boasted 2
additional 5/8inch drain holes. Four valve heads featured 1.750inch intake
valves (SAE-8640 steel) with 22 degree stems and 1.375 Exhaust (214-N stainless steel) with 15 degree
stems, special Stellite seats, bronze alloy guides, o ring plug tubes, 14mm
spark plugs, 3/8 inch pushrods and aluminum rocker arms. (Of all the
experimental Olds engines, this one came the closest to production and
there are photos of this engine in street gear. MAY 71 HOT ROD MAGAZINE
features some of these engines and the sadness of the Olds engineers of
that time of how they would never be released.)
3. 455 dual turbocharged CAN AM ROCKET
CHALLENGE. 659hp @ 6250rpm. 554lbs torque @ 6,250 rpm. Alloy block with 4
bolt mains. Forged steel crankshaft. Forged True pistons with 8.5 to 1
compression. 3inch main journals. 2.499inch rod journals. Carillo billet
steel rods. alloy heads. 2inch intake valves. 1.625inch Exhaust valves. Crower roller camshaft with
555inch lift and 320 degrees duration. Dual TRW-375-E-10 turbochargers with Boost Wastegate 10and 1/2psi. Lucas fuel
injection. Olds alloy intake.
Competed with big block Chevy Mclarens and Porsche Panzers in CAN AM racing
This video is merely a couple of old magazine pages strung together with
the exception of that blue 455 hemi which was found on the internet. Thats
BRUCE MCLAREN in that green can am race car which is Olds powered. AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE VIDEO JOHN BELTZ IS POSING WITH SOME ENGINES FEATURED IN
THE JULY 1969 ISSUE OF HOT ROD MAGAZINE AND THE BLUE OLDSMOBILE 455 HEMI
WAS FEATURED IN THE MAY 1971 ISSUE OF HOT ROD MAGAZINE. The incidental
music I overlayed onto this video was muted by youtube.
Sounds of 1961 Corvette
This is from a 1961 Sales Demo 33 1/3 recording. Zora Arkus-Duntov - The
name Zora Arkus-Duntov has long been inextricably linked with Corvette in
the minds of automotive historians and enthusiasts. But the story of Zora
Arkus-Duntov runs far deeper than his twenty plus years of professional
involvement as both Corvette's primary advocate within General Motors and
as the fiberglass sports car's first chief engineer.
ZR1 Vette vs Jet! - Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Races A U.S. Navy Fighter Jet
MT Editor at Large Arthur St. Antoine pits Chevy's awesome "Blue Devil" --
the Corvette ZR1 -- against its toughest adversary yet: a Blue Angels
F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet.
Shot By: Jim Gleason & Terren Lin
Edited By: Jim Gleason
Read the story here: