Saturday, May 19, 2012

Car Of The Day: May 19, 2012

Today's car of the day is Road Champs' 1987 Chevrolet Corvette convertible.

The Chevrolet Corvette is a sports car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors that has been produced in six generations. The first model, a convertible, was designed by Harley Earl and introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. Myron Scott is credited for naming the car after the type of small, maneuverable warship called corvette. Originally built in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri, the Corvette is currently built in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is the official sports car of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The National Corvette Museum documents the car's worldwide history and hosts the annual event.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Corvette

Now this is a relative rarity in 1/64 scale- a convertible with the roof cast in the up position.  This was not among the cars Road Champs offered with removable tops, so the top up version seen here is the only way to get this particular casting (they also did the regular C4 Corvette hatchback- with opening hatch!).  You can see the ribs in the roof to simulate the folding top from the overhead picture.

The Chevrolet Corvette (C4) is a sports car produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1984 through 1996 model years. The editors of Consumer Guide stated: "The first fully redesigned Corvette in 15 years was more sophisticated and more practical than the beloved Shark. And like previous generations, the new C4 only got better in time." The convertible returned, as did higher performing engines, exemplified by the 405 hp (302 kW) LT5 found in the ZR-1. In early March 1990, the ZR-1 would set a new record for the highest 24 hour-5,000 mile land-speed by going over 175 mph (282 km/h). Though prices rose even as sales declined, the fourth generation Corvette won its own loyal following as one of the world's most desirable sports cars. The last C4 was produced on June 20, 1996.

The C4 Corvette was known for its evolved, sleek and modern look. In a departure from the fiberglass panels of its forebearers, the c4's rear bumpers and panels were made from molding plastics, a sheet molding compound. The C4 coupe was the first general production Corvette to have a glass hatchback (the limited edition 1982 Collector Edition being the first Corvette equipped with this feature) for better storage access. It also had all new brakes with aluminum calipers. The Corvette C4 came standard with an electronic dashboard with a digital liquid crystal display dash, with graphics for speed and RPM and digital displays for other important engine functions.

The C4 represented a clean break and a better, newer look with the previous generation of Corvette. Since emissions regulations were still changing and electronic engine management was in its infancy, horsepower was, compared to earlier generations, comparatively low. Therefore the primary design emphasis, at least for the launch, was on handling. The price of this no-holds-barred emphasis on handling was ride comfort, especially with the Z51 performance handling package. The unit-body frame used in the C4 was prone to rattles and squeaks due to minimal sound deadening. Also due to the external unit-body frame, the door sills were quite deep, with entry and exit likened by contemporary auto journals to a "fall in and climb out" experience. The emergency brake, located between the door sill and the drivers seat, was moved lower and toward the rear of the car in 1988 for easier entry and exit.

From 1984 through 1988, the Corvette was available with a Doug Nash "4+3" transmission - a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears. This unusual transmission was a synergy that allowed Corvette to keep a stout 4 speed, but add an overdrive. As technology progressed, it was replaced by a modern ZF 6-speed manual. However, the C4 performance was hampered by its L98 250 hp (186 kW) engine until 1992, when the second-generation Chevy small block, LT1, was introduced, markedly improving the C4s performance. 1996 was a high point of small block Chevrolet development and the 330 hp (246 kW) LT4 was introduced in all manual transmission cars.

The 1986 Corvette saw the reintroduction of the convertible and was named as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. GM had created the Pass Key I, wherein each key contained a special pellet that could be detected and identified by the car's computer system by detecting electrical resistance. Being early in the rollout of this new technology, there were only 15 different resistance values available, which, once thieves discovered this weakness, markedly reduced the value of this early system.

44 Corvettes were manufactured with a 1983 Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), but none were released to the public as official production vehicles. All were destroyed except one, VIN 1G1AY0783D5100023 (white with medium blue interior), L83 350 cu in (5.7 L), 250 hp (186 kW) V8, 4-speed automatic transmission and was retired to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (MY1984 Corvettes were produced for 17 months.)

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