Thursday, June 25, 2020

On The Road Again: Ottawa Region Craft Breweries Tour Continued--June 25, 2020

With the unprecedented lockdown of the province (and the world) thanks to the Covid-19 virus, there have been few opportunities to take out the Corvette as car events have been cancelled and most cafes or restaurants are not yet open for business.  However, craft brewers have been able to offer pick-up sales for retail customers and taking advantage of this my friend Karl and I set out to visit a number of breweries in the western end of Ottawa we had not tried before.  I believe this would be our fourth such tour--it is hard to keep up as new breweries are constantly opening in the National Capital Region.

First up was Evergreen Craft Ales on Silver Seven Road in Kanata.  Like many craft brewers here, it occupied a unit in an row of commercial buildings, more retail than industrial.  There was a selection of four different beers and the Red Rye Ale looked interesting, so I took a pair of those plus two Raspberry wheat.  We chatted with the saleslady, who was excited that their big new outdoor patio would soon be open.

Our travels next took us to Covered Bridge Brewing in Stittsville, which was established in 2013.  We chatted for a while with the cheerful brewer and each had a small glass of beer to sample.  In the end we came away with some of the excellent Irish Red beer, a Balgian Quad and a novelty--a pilsner made with Sea Buckthorn fruit.

We turned the car eastwards now towards Bell's Corners and soon came to our third brewery, Whiprsnapr Brewing Company.  Another small location in an industrial building, it has a patio as well.  The selection of beers available was limited but novel, including an "ISA," which is an "Indian Session Ale," an Indian Pale Ale with reduced hop bitterness and fairly low alcohol.  The Whiprsnapr version included lactose to make a light summer "milkshake" beer with 0% IBU.  A bit too novel for us, we went with the Root of Evil Pre-Prohibition Lager, along with some Strawberry Blonde Wheat Ale for summertime drinking.

Our final beer stop of the day was also in Bell's Corners.  Kitchesippi Beer Co. One of the city's older craft breweries, Kitchesippi recently moved into new and expanded quarters in a former car dealership and was the largest of the breweries we visited.  Its name comes from that used to denote the Ottawa River until 1855.  The brewery had the largest beer selection and also offers some soft drinks as well.

From the wide selection I ended up taking some of the Cerny, a dark Czech-style lager, as well as some Hefeweizen.  Our tour successfully completed for the day, we headed back to the highway and went to Almonte and Joe's Italian Kitchen for some excellent pizza from the wood-fired oven.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tuque de Broue's C3 Lager

We are currently in the Great Lockdown as the Covid-19 virus stalks the country.  Non-essential businesses are closed for the moment but take-out is still available at restaurants.  One of our favourite craft brewers, Tuque de Broue, east of Ottawa in Embrun, Ontario, offers curbside pickup at their store as well as delivery.  Today they announced their latest beer, C3 Lager, which marks the 45th Anniversary of the Capital Corvette Club.  Luckily our C6 is back on insurance coverage on Saturday so I know where I will be going on the first drive of 2020!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Sir Stirling Moss, 1929-2020

Considered amongst the greatest racing drivers of his generation (and the finest Formula 1 World Champion who never was), Stirling Moss passed away quietly at home today.  Famed as a Grand Prix competitor as well as a sports car racer, Moss did have a fleeting connection to Corvette as the photo above shows.  He is standing with Zora Arkus-Duntov at the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring road race, where Duntov let him drive the Corvette SS practice car but not the actual magnesium-bodied racer as Moss had a reputation for being hard on cars and the Corvette SS.  Moss came second in the race with Harry Schell in a Maserati 300S behind the winning Maserati 450S of Fangio/Behra, while the Corvette SS failed to finish.

From the book "Star-Spangled Sportscar," a history of the first three generations of Corvette, it seems that the practice car, an engineering "mule," may have become the basis for the famous Bill Mitchell-designed Stingray Racer of 1959, that in turn heavily influenced the design of the iconic 1963 production Corvette.  The chassis was sold to Mitchell for a mere $500 but he eventually was required to return it to GM.

1959 Corvette Stingray Racer
1959 was the year that Stirling Moss was photographed at Riverside International Raceway with "Miss Corvette," British model June Wilkinson, who was a discovery of Playboy's Hugh Hefner and one of the world's most photographed women in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1966 racing enthusiast Laurie Craig became the first Canadian to win an overall event title and trophy in an unmodified street car when he drove his 1964 Corvette to a remarkable victory at the Player's Pacific Race on May 15 against an international field that included McLarens, Ford GTs, Porsches, Brabhams, and other purpose-built racers.  After the race, Stirling Moss drove a lap of the Westwood Race Track in the Corvette and signed a photo for Mr. Craig.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Detailed Review of the Revolutionary C8 Corvette

Although we saw the new C8 on static display at Corvettes at Carlisle and at the National Corvette Museum's 25th Anniversary event in Bowling Green in August, the first cars for customers are only being produced now in February 2020 and first deliveries will take place soon.  This video came out today and is a very good overview of the car.  Still pictures do not do the car justice.

The title of the video suggests the C8 will be strong competition for Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren. I do not think this is the case for the first two cars although it could be for McLaren.  People who want Ferraris and Porsches (especially 911s) want those cars for reasons beyond performance only.  However, there are number of other sports cars (Cayman, Supra, Z4, even NSX) that will feel the pressure.  The Corvette offers impressive performance, a beautiful interior and a degree of practicality at a very competitive price.

Friday, January 17, 2020

January 17, 1953: The Corvette Revealed

It was 67 years ago today that the Corvette was first revealed to an enthusiastic world when a prototype was shown at General Motors' Motorama show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.  The first production car came out of the plant in Flint, Michigan on June 30, 1953 and America's Sports Car became a reality.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Genovation GXE Corvette

I have seen the Genovation GXE  at two different car events.  Although it has a very fancy interior and some extra lights, it looks like a customized C7 Corvette but watching it whistle to a new electric car speed record is much more impressive!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Corvettes for Chip Show, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2019

Carlisle Expo Center
After enjoying several days of nice weather for our extended Corvette Racing Weekend events, Sunday, October 27 did not start off well.  Leaving Hershey for Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a drive of about 45 minutes, we ran into some massive downpours.  This was unfortunate as our destination was Corvettes for Chip, an annual car show with indoor and outdoor displays.  Hosted by the York County Corvette Club, it raises money for the Chip Miller Foundation.  Miller, one of the co-founders of Carlisle Events (and the huge Corvettes at Carlisle held each August), died in March 2004 after being diagnosed three months earlier with a very rare illness, amyloidosis, which causes an abnormal protein buildup in tissue and organs.  Only a few thousand people in the United States are diagnosed with it each year.  

The turnout for cars to be displayed outside was pretty low and the organizers offered us the opportunity to move into the Expo Center where the other cars were but as we had planned to leave before the show ended at 2 pm for the long drive home, we left the Rapid Rabbit in the parking lot.  Which also meant we did not have to spend much time cleaning it!

The Expo Center offers around 30,000 square feet of space, so we were not very crowded.  In addition to the cars on display (one C3, two C4s and the majority being the newer C5/6/7 generations), there was a DJ playing 1960s music, several vendors offering model cars and Corvette memorabilia, some ladies selling gourmet cupcakes, as well as a vendor of auto detailing supplies.  There were things up for auction, including a vast collection of "collector" beer steins, outnumbering the sum of attendees at the event.

Nicely modded 1970 C3 Corvette Coupe

2015 C7 Grand Sport, which looked as if it had never been driven.  The owner assured me that it was used and in fact he had put 500 miles on the car this year!

2005 C6 Corvette Coupe
Enormous effort and considerable expense went into this yellow C6 show car and its owner was proud to tell us about all the parts that were added.  The hood features a "ghost" paint job with the Corvette Racing "Jake" logo, although you have to stand at the right angle to catch the light in order to see it.  The flying buttresses on the rear window were something we had never seen before.

Corvette ZR-1 Coupe
 This C4, in the rather rare Polo Green exterior colour, was a ZR-1 model, featuring the spectacular Lotus-designed LT5 with four overhead cams and 32 valves.  Introduced in 1990, the car was produced until 1995 and cost nearly twice as much as a non-ZR-1 Corvette at the time.  The LT5's output was raised from the 375 hp at introduction to 405 hp by 1993.  Nearly 7,000 ZR-1s were built over the six years of production but the cost of the car, coupled with the development of the LS-series of pushrod V8s with equivalent power at a much lower price, spelled the end.  The C4 ZR-1 was used for some record-setting endurance drives at a track in 1990, demonstrating the robustness of the LT5 engine.

C4 LT1 Corvette Coupe
The 350 cu. in. LT1 engine was introduced in 1992 and produced 300 hp in the Corvette.  The engine was used until the end of C4 production in 1996.

Of course the highlight of the show for us was the presence of Corvette Racing's C5-R, Chassis No. 004.  Altogether there were ten C5-Rs built for the team (with an additional one going to a privateer) and the car, developed by Pratt & Miller, was raced from 1999 until 2004, when it was followed by the C6-R.  This particular C5-R was raced to a GTS class win at the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta in 2000, then second in class at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001.  The car has been restored to its Daytona appearance, when it was raced by a team of four drivers, including the father-and-son combo of Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr.

The car is part of the collection owned by Lance Miller, son of Chip Miller, who gave a talk at the Corvette Racing Weekend about the 1960 Corvette raced at Le Mans to a class win that year, and he was present at this show as well.  We chatted with him about the C5-R and unprompted he asked if we wanted to sit in it.  Having been to watch Corvette Racing in action three times, and attended the Corvette Racing Weekend twice, there was no need to be asked twice!  Definitely worth driving in the rain for the chance to open the door, climb over the massive roll cage and settle in behind that massive 7 litre 610 hp engine.  A wonderful experience just to sit in it!