|Heritage/History: TheGrand Sport Corvette made it's first appearance early in the 1963 seasonin the C-Modified class with a production 360 HP 327 Fl engine in its lightened2000 pound body. It raced the season as a "stock" appearing racer. Theseason finale was held at Nassau each year with a "no holes barred" weekof races on the island where all the teams could compete against each otherusing all of the latest high tech performance parts that were otherwisebanned from regular club racing. When the Grand Sport made it's appearanceat Nassau, it looked as if it had been given a big injection of steroids.Flared fenders, hood scoops, wider wheels and tires, and other visiblechanges only touched the surface of the technological advances that werein these Grand Sports. Under the hood was found an all aluminum 377 cubicinch small block with 58 mm side draft Weber carbs. These aluminum engineswere of the second casting batch from Chevrolet's Research and Developmentdepartment. There were 12 of these castings made. They were identifiedby the single letter "A' through "L" which was stamped on the traditionallocation on the passenger side of the engine block. This engine used inthe Grand Sport is letter "F" in the series. These all aluminum engineswere shared with Jim Hall's Chaparral, but his sports racers used smaller48mm webers that were more suited to the RPM requirements of the uniqueautomatic transmissions that were in these revolutionary racing cars. TheGrand Sports either annihilated the competition or won everything in sightthat week at Nassau. The teams were so confident with their wins, thatpreparation began for the 12 hours of Sebring. All three coupes enteredthe 196412 Hours of Sebring. Roger Penske and Jim Hall shared a newly paintedwhite Grand Sport. This car was the most prepared car of the group. A pneumaticsystem was installed on the car which happened to be one of the earliestapplications of an air driven jack device on any sports racer. This pneumaticjack system not only reduced pit stop times but also eliminated any damageto the fragile fiberglass body and tube frame that could so easily occurwhen changing tires. The external fittings for the air jacks are seen onthe right front fender. The attention to detail paid off , for this GrandSport finished 1 st in it's class! The '64 season ended with the Nassauraces once again. Roger Penske returned with his white Grand Sport forwhat was to be his final week as a professional driver. Although the allaluminum engine performed well during the season, it was replaced witha 364 cubic inch iron block for it's final hurrah at Nassau. The aluminumheads were retained as well as the webers. The iron block was chosen becauseit flexed less at high RPM, thus allowing the engine to produce more horsepower.The extra horsepower would be needed against the other "no holes barred"racers. The car was further lightened by removing the pneumatic jack systemwhich brought it's weight down to 1900 pounds! Though the lead in the racewas initially held by a lightweight Cobra that was powered by a new 390cubic inch all aluminum Ford engine, Roger was able to wear down this Cobraand pass it for the lead and eventually get the checkered flag. Roger tookalmost a year off from racing after acquiring a Chevrolet dealership earlyin 1965, but he would return, this time as a team owner. Late in '65 hereceived a phone call from Zora Duntov, telling him that a racing versionof the newly introduced 427 cubic inch Mark IV big block engine would beavailable to select individuals. It was to be called the L-88. Zora promisedthat he would take care of the homologation papers and Roger soon tookdelivery of the first production L-88 Corvette. (That story will be toldnext month). Roger also acquired the last two Grand Sports from Duntovshortly after that. They had been converted to convertibles in an attemptto reduce wind drag at high speed. It was Rogers idea to install the newL-88 into these drag reduced convertibles and race them one more time atSebring. One Grand Sport was picked, the L-88 was installed, the pneumaticjack system which was used two years earlier, was installed, and largerwheels and tires were installed. Roger felt that this setup would be enoughto keep up with the 7 liter Ford Mark II GT40's. Due to the limited preparationtime and no track time, only estimates could be made in regards to tiresize and spring rates. The aluminum heads on the L-88 were replaced withcast iron versions for the actual race ONLY because these iron heads couldbe ported much more aggressively than the new aluminum heads. During the'66 Sebring, this Grand Sport did compete competitively with the GT40'sbut it failed to finish after it was forced off the track by a slower car.After the race at Sebring, the other Grand Sport was passed to a friendof Roger Penske's, George Wintersteen. George was able to fine tune theGrand Sport convertible with the proper springs and tires. The aluminumheaded L-88 performed quite well also. Unfortunately, the Grand Sport wasnow without a doubt outclassed by the rapidly evolving Lolas and McLarensthat it was forced to compete against. Had the Grand Sport been availablein this final form back in 1964, it could have possibly even beaten thesemid engine prototypes. The owners of today's Corvettes can thank the individualsinvolved with these Grand Sports for the technology that they now takefor granted. Wide tires, great suspension geometry, all aluminum engines,etc. can all be traced back to 1963, when the Grand Sport underwent it'smetamorphosis into a muscular sports racer. |
Grand Sport Legend article by: CorvetteLegends
Tommy Jenkins' Grand Sport replica
DETAILS:1963 Corvette Grand Sport replicaof #003 with c-4 suspension upgrades designed by Bill Adams, engineer/designerwho worked on the original Grand Sport project for Zora Duntov. This carhas been built with the best of everything and is sorted and ready to raceseriously or drive on the street. If Bow Tie vehicles make your bloodboil than this is the ultimate trip!
OPTIONS: Engine is 400/400+, race prepared,5 speed Tremac KKO trans, Dana 44-88 3:73 posi rear end, Aldan coil-overshocks, Aluminum flywheel, Balanced & blue printed engine, Childs &Albert connecting rods, Wiseco pistons, 350 crankshaft yielding 383 cubicinches, Full roll cage, 4 inch tube frame, 1990 refurbished Corvette suspension,knock-off wheels, all necessary road racing safety equiptment. Car hasbeen tested and accepted race track worthy at louden Speedway, Lowden,NH and has seen very little use since new.
This car has been sold