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!

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