Monday, July 31, 2017

The Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners, Michigan, July 31, 2017--Part 4: Corvettes!

Once again, a blog named "Cross-Country Corvette" is unable to overlook any fine collection of vintage Corvettes and the Gilmore Museum had several nice ones on display.

1953 Chevrolet Corvette
 This car was No. 27 in the first year production run of 300 Corvettes--all Polo White with red interiors--and was owned by its original buyer, owner of a Chevrolet dealership, for 32 years.  Although causing great excitement as a concept car, the original Corvette was underpowered, only had a 2-speed automatic transmission, and lacked creature comforts such as roll-up windows.  

1955 Chevrolet Corvette
1955 saw the introduction of the Small Block Chevy V8 into the Corvette in an attempt to perk up poor sales.  In spite of this, only 700 cars were sold but the sales success of the contemporary Ford Thunderbird encouraged Chevrolet to redesign the car in 1956 rather than cancel it and within a few years the Corvette was becoming closer to the performance car its looks suggested.

1958 Chevrolet Corvette Concept Car

One of ten vehicles built by GM for the 1958 Motorama promotional car show (and the only survivor), this car was meant to appeal to female buyers.  It is in its original "Silver Olive" paint and features a leather-wrapped tray for purse storage and a floor mounted waste basket.  The car also had retractable seatbelts and recessed licence plate pockets, two features that are standard on cars today.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z-06 Coupe
This car, an example of the famous "Split Window Coupe," was used for powertrain development by GM in 1963, housing a variety of engines for test and evaluation.  At the end of a year, having only been driven 1,275 miles, it was offered for sale to GM employees and was purchased by young engineer in Spring 1964 and he remains its owner.  The car has a prototype four-speed transmission with overdrive, prototype knock-off wheels, and a fuel-injected 327 cu. in. engine.  The owner used it as a daily driver for two years before putting it into storage for three decades.

1976 Chevrolet Corvette Concept Car "The Great White"
This highly customized Corvette was built for GM's Head of Design, Bill Mitchell, as a high-performance styling exercise.  Dubbed "The Great White," it has a an aluminum ZL-1 454 cu. in. big block engine of more than 500 hp and an L88 racing drivetrain.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indy Pace Car Replica
One of the most popular special edition Corvettes, the 1978 Pace Car Replica included new glass T-tops, alloy wheels, power windows, a rear window defogger, air conditioning, sports mirrors, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a heavy duty battery, an AM/FM stereo equipped with either an eight-track tape player or a CB radio, and power door locks.  In addition to these features, each Indy Pace Car Corvette replica owner would receive a set of regalia decals that they could install at their discretion.  The decal set included the famous “winged wheel” Indy Speedway logos for the rear fenders as well as large door emblems that read “Official Pace Car, 62nd Annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, May 28, 1978.”  In all, some 6,502 examples were built and retain their value better than other Corvettes of this era.

Continue to Part 5 of the Gilmore Auto Museum visit here.

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