Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And Then There Was the Corvette SS ...

Chevrolet has had two potential world-beaters that were orphaned by sudden corporate decisions to withdraw from official participation in motorsports.

Here is the 1957 Corvette SS, which made a few laps during practice at Sebring, including some with Juan Fangio at the wheel of the development mule if I recall correctly.

Fangio spoke highly of the car, but it was mothballed after General Motors went along with the industry decision to get out of racing in early 1957. The SS would see new life a few years later when Bill Mitchell got a hankering for something with which to do some road racing.

The other orphan, by the way, was the Grand Sport, which was Zora Arkus Duntov's answer to the Cobra - a super lightweight Corvette with enough horsepower to lift the front wheels at speed.

Jim Hall and Roger Penske won the Bahamas Speed Weeks with Grand Sports and one of my favorite childhood memories was seeing a Hall/Penske Grand Sport pass a couple of Ferrari prototypes for the lead early in the 1964 Sebring 12 Hour.

What might have been had GM supported the SS and the Grand Sport?

BTW: These Corvette SS photos are from the Chevrolet image gallery for media. They are for editorial use only. The shots in the preceding post of the Camaro Concept are also from the Chevrolet image gallery and are similarly strictly for editorial use only.