Articles: Concept Corner: Corvette GTP – 96
The Corvette GTP is essentially a Corvette in name only. Built exclusively for the IMSA racing series, only seven were …full story
The Corvette GTP is essentially a Corvette in name only. Built exclusively for the IMSA racing series, only seven were …full story
Holden will unveil its fastest, most powerful and most expensive car ever at the Melbourne Motor Show this morning. Yes, it’s based on the Commodore, and yes, it’ll have a whopping seven litres of race-bred engine wedged between the fenders, sourced from the Chevrolet Corvette.
It may have 370kW and be able to paint big black lines up the road, but it will be almost as fuel efficient as current Holden V8s due to strict requirements in the USA where the engine is sourced from. This will propel the car to 100kph in 4.7 seconds, 0.1 seconds quicker than HSV’s 307 GTS.
The HSV will likely cost somewhere north of $150 grand.
Ford is recalling 470,000 Ford Mustangs from the 2005-2008 model years due to problems with how forcefully the airbag deploys on the front passenger side of the car. Internal testing showed the air bag could cause injury to a small unbelted passenger (we’d say if they’re unbelted, the probably should be removed from the gene pool anyway). So far there have been no reports of injuries or accidents tied to the recall.
There are very few of the cars in New Zealand, and New Zealand owners should contact their point of sale, or Ford in New Zealand to assess whether action is required.
GM Holden today marked the diamond anniversary of the first all Australian-made car by unveiling a stunning two-door pillarless performance thoroughbred called Coupe 60.
Coupe 60 celebrates the six decades since GM Holden built the 48-215 at its Fishermans Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria, and provides a glimpse of Holden’s future directions in design, engineering and emerging engine technologies.
Exemplifying sports luxury, Coupe 60 is a concept car that explores the limits of Holden’s current rear-wheel drive capabilities, combining racing looks and technology into a road going sports experience.
Its sophisticated appearance is delivered through simple and powerful design, highlighted by a pillarless construction and V8 supercar inspired cockpit layout and side-exiting chambered exhaust system with billet alloy tips.
At 57mm shorter in length than its sedan equivalent, and sitting on 21-inch centre-lock alloy wheels with unique design Kumho high performance semi-slick tyres, this vehicle captures all that’s exciting about the Holden DNA.
Other racing-derived enhancements include full flat under body, rear underbody air diffuser and functional rear deck-lid spoiler with unique designed LED tail lamps.
The interior also has a number of unique features including one piece carbon fiber bucket seats featuring leather and suede pad design and a sports-inspired flat bottomed steering wheel with integrated shift light display and LCD sports instrument cluster.
The high gloss carbon fiber carries through to doors and rear trim providing a contrast to the leather trimmed instrument panel and black suede trimmed pillars, headliners and parcel shelf.
Details and accents are picked out with a distinctive red high shine leather on the seats and dark gunmental finish and satin chrome on the consoles and doors.
Front seats are adjustable fore and aft to allow easy access to the rear, with four-point race harness restraints for all seating positions.
Under the bonnet is just as forward looking, with a 6.0 litre V8 incorporating the latest technologies such as active fuel management and calibrated for E85 ethanol fuel.
Even the paint is a one-off giving a liquid aluminium finish is a colour dubbed ‘diamond silver’ by Holden designers.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss said, “Coupe 60 is the design department’s 60th anniversary gift to Holden fans and Australian motoring enthusiasts in general.
“It highlights Holden’s heritage of rear wheel drive performance whilst looking ahead to the potential offered by new technologies and materials.
“This is a vehicle I know our designers would dearly love to see go into production, but for the moment it has to remain a concept only,” he said.
Designer Manager on the project, Peter Hughes, said, “We were looking to mark the 60th anniversary with a car that captured the Holden DNA and took the current VE range to an exciting next step.
“Even in the early stages of VE development, we knew there was a sensational coupe waiting to get out and the 60th anniversary has given us the chance to explore that.
“With Coupe 60 we think we have designed a car that has the potential to write another chapter in the book of Holden icons.”
(* estimates by GM Holden Powertrain based on 98 RON fuel)
Words: Todd Wylie Pics: Quinn Hamill
It wasn’t Dean Gibbens’s intention to stand out from the crowd. But it’s hard not to when you’re driving a tubbed and blown Monaro around the streets of Nelson.
Although Dean Gibbens hails from Nelson, where he helps run the family business (Richmond Auto Painters), this story starts a bit further down the coast. Daryl Sutherland, a West Coast local, is well known in the area for his adventures with hugely powerful V8 race boats. What many people may not realise, however, is that he is responsible for building this tough-as-a-junkyard-dog HJ GTS Monaro.
Looking at the immaculately finished car, it’s hard to tell the work was actually performed 10 years ago in Daryl’s own shed. One can only imagine the impact it would have had on the scene if he’d showed it off when he’d finished it. Instead, he preferred the joy of the build, so it sat there, gathering dust for a decade. To have a toy as impressive as this just sitting is a real shame, but also a sign that Daryl was getting his speed fix elsewhere ” in the boats.
Our man Dean is a bit of a boat fan too, and made the trip down to Daryl’s to take a look at one of his aquatic machines when he saw the Monaro in the corner, covered in a couple of centimetres of dust. “He refused to sell it to me. Even though he wasn’t using it, and had never used it; he just wasn’t interested,” Dean says. “But I kept hassling him; one day he finally broke and a price was settled on.”
“The setup looks as if it will make a fair whack of power. AND It does.”
Kick Her in the Guts
Dean’s an optimist, but even so he hoped he had done the right thing, as he was completely in love with the vehicle before he’d even handed over the cash. Being a good engine builder and an all-round clever bastard, he knew no corners had been cut when Daryl was assembling the car.
Before he commenced the build, Daryl actually had three Monaros to choose from, two sedans and a coupe, all genuine GTSs. While the coupe would no doubt have looked better once tubbed, its value would have been affected more in the process than the sedan’s. The sedan platform also had a longer wheelbase and would provide a more stable ride once a huge amount of power was thrown at it.
Having built and driven a huge range of V8-powered race boats, Daryl knew exactly what path he would go down for the Monaro’s motivation. He’s a true believer in the saying “there’s no replacement for displacement”, so the GTS’s stock donk was soon up for grabs in the local Buy and Sell. The replacement was a rare, mega-dollar LS7 7440cc (454ci) big block Chev motor. Remember, this was 10 years ago and the LS7 was a very expensive motor, especially with all the fruit Daryl has built the engine up with. The LS7 motors are known to be tough in stock form, but with a supercharger as a pivotal part of the vehicle’s build plan, factory tough just wasn’t enough.
With TWR 7.5:1 pistons fitted atop forged rods that rotate from a nitrided steel crank, the rotating assembly is as tough as can be. Throw in a full stud girdle below, and the bottom end would survive a bomb blast.
To force-feed power into the engine there’s a nice, shiny 6/71 supercharger. Atop this sit the twin 660cfm Holley carbs and Mr Gasket bug catcher. The setup looks as if it will make a fair whack of power. And it does. With a Mallory Comp 9000 ignition system, Mallory distributor and Taylor leads taking care of ignition, and a Holley blue pump fuelling the system, power output is approximately 520 to 600kW (up to around 800hp).
As with all superchargers that run a wide, ribbed belt, the noise emitted from the front of the car is music to fans of high power ” as is the tone from the rear.
It’s been a few years since we’ve seen Supertrap mufflers on anything, but they suit the style of the Monaro down to the ground. And even if you somehow fail to see the massive rear treads, the mufflers give a good indication that the orange machine means business.
Add on an aftermarket four-core radiator, and the car has no problems cruising the mean streets of Richmond, although a large custom oil cooler has been added to keep the black stuff cold.
Turning the Tyres
Getting 800-odd hp to the ground is never an easy task, especially if you wish to have a vehicle that is well behaved on the street. As with the rest of the build, the driveline has been constructed with quality components throughout. The Turbo 400 auto trans now encases a high stall converter and has been converted to manual with a shift kit, so it’ll only change under Dean’s instructions. Down the rear a full floating nine-inch diff with an alloy Detroit locker centre happily turns the power into forward momentum. With the 4.11:1 gear ratio fitted, the car has a good mix of street and strip get-up-and-go.
“the attention to detail and workmanship on the chassis are second to none”
Come drag time, the massive 31/15/18.5-inch Hoosier street tyres will be exchanged for something a bit more sticky, to test the durability of the 35-spline Romac axles. The massive treads are fitted round Weld Prostar rims measuring in at a substantial 15×14 inches in size. Up front are smaller 15×6-inchers from the same maker, shod with Cooper Cobra tyres.
Fitting wheels that are 14 inches wide is never an easy task with a full-bodied car, let alone a four-door. Thankfully, the long wheelbase, combined with an adjustable four-link, was enough to prevent the wheels from fouling on the underside of the door jambs.
The custom four-link setup attaches to a custom box chassis that stretches forward to the front sub frame. The attention to detail and workmanship on the chassis are second to none, and a testament to its constructor. Likewise the fabrication and forethought that have gone into the sheet metal work behind the front seats. For example, a removable panel has been constructed to ease diff head access, yet thanks to the custom interior retrim, it almost goes un-noticed.
“despite its age it is as immaculate as the day it was built”
Hidden below the sheet work are Carrera coil-over adjustable shocks, while up the front Lovell springs and Koni shocks have dropped the ride height to a more suitable level. The suspension setup is for more than just looks, but there is no doubting the side-on profile means business.
Thanks to custom leather seats and a half cage, the interior of the GTS is not a bad place to be. Besides these items and a custom retrim, however, it is fairly stock. Even the factory stereo is still in place, although it’s not connected to any speakers. A monster tacho and a B&M Quicksilver shifter finish off the interior package, as the essential gauges are fitted just forward of the windscreen.
Because the engine was built 10 years ago and has hardly been fired up since, Dean was pleased to find it relatively sound. Just a few little freshen-ups were required, such as overhauling the two-pot PRB front callipers and four-pot rears.
Luckily for Dean, his family business is right next door to Richmond Auto Brake and Clutch, which has provided vital assistance in the vehicle’s resurrection.
Seen and Heard
The car has now been in Dean’s possession for around a year, and has been on the street for the last few months. Despite a few hassles getting it back on the road, Dean is thrilled with his purchase. Mind you, a tubbed and blown GTS surely can’t be a bad toy to have in the garage, especially when it goes as hard and looks as good as this.
The plan at this stage is to drive the car as much as possible, and hopefully get it up to a few North Island events.
It may not be the most recently built car or packed with the latest technology, but it stands out like¦ well, like a tubbed and blown car in a sleepy town. It goes like shit off a shovel and so far has proved to be as reliable as Dean’s 447kW (600hp) daily-driven late-model Holden ute.
Despite its age it is still as immaculate as the day it was built, making it one of the best all-round packages on the road. How anyone could live with this car sitting in a shed and covered in dust for 10 years is quite frankly beyond us!
Engine: LS7 7440cc bored to 7554cc (454 to 461ci), TWR 7.5:1 pistons, steel nitrided crank, four-bolt block, L88 open chamber alloy heads, stainless roller rockers, full stud girdle, 6/71 GM supercharger four per cent overdriven, Weiand intake manifold, Mr Gasket scoop, twin 660cfm Holley carbs, Mallory regulator, Holley blue pump, 45-litre fuel cell, Mallory Comp 9000 ignition, Mallory distributor, Taylor 8mm leads, Pacemaker two-inch extractors, three-inch collectors, twin three-inch Flowmasters, Supertrap mufflers, custom radiator, custom oil cooler
Driveline: Turbo 400 transmission, high stall, shift kitted, manual conversion, full floating nine-inch diff, 4.11:1 gears, Detroit locker, alloy centre, 35-spline Romac axles
Suspension: Carrera rear coil-overs, Koni front shocks, Lovell front springs, custom four-link
Brakes: Twin-pot PRB front callipers, drilled and slotted rotors, four-pot rear callipers, Lockhead Racing discs, single calliper mechanical handbrake
Wheels/tyres: 15×6 and 15×14-inch Weld Prostar rims, 225/60R15 Cooper Cobra front tyres, 31/15-18.5 Hoosier rear tyres
Chassis: Rebuilt half chassis, strengthened front chassis, fabricated floor pan and tunnel, four-point cage
Interior: Bucket seats, Quicksilver shifter, Auto Meter gauges
Performance: Approx 520-600kW (approx 700-800hp)
Occupation: Automotive refinisher
Previously owned cars: Tunnel-rammed HQ Premier, blown VC Commodore, blown VU ute
Dream car: Still dreaming
Why the Monaro? Love at first sight!
Build time: Unknown
Length of ownership: One year
Dean thanks: Richmond Auto Painters (Ray Gibbens), Richmond Auto Brake and Clutch, Richmond Vehicle Testing Station, Richmond Motor Bodies, Steve Woodfine at Rusty Acres, his girlfriend Rebecca, and Daryl Sutherland for building the car.
Hot Rod Jakob is a unique combination of classical car-building craftsmanship allied to modern technology and design. In February 2008 the car will be unveiled at the Volvo Museum in GÃ¶teborg before setting off on a tour of the Nordic region and the USA.
1925-1926: The prototypes of what would eventually become the first Volvo slowly take shape in a simple workshop on the island of Hisingen in GÃ¶teborg on Sweden’s west coast. Volvo’s enthusiastic founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson and their skilled craftsmen proceed with immense skill and precision. They design and engineer all the parts themselves. They test-drive and make changes in preparation for the next prototype. And in doing so they lay the very foundation for the excellent quality reputation that has been a Volvo trademark over the decades.
On April 14, 1927, the very first series-produced Volvo car leaves the factory that was built alongside the workshop. The model is called the Ã–V4 (the Swedish abbreviation for Open Car, 4 cylinders), but it soon gains a new pet-name – Jakob.
2005-2006: In Leif Tufvesson’s workshop in the rural south of Sweden, work gets under way in earnest. After documenting the original in detail, his company Caresto starts building a car that will develop into Hot Rod Jakob – his personal interpretation of that very first Volvo. He harnesses the full width of his knowledge, which has already won him awards such as “Hot Rod of the Year” and “Most Innovative Car” in that Mecca of Hot Rods, the USA.
On December 18, 2007, in a perfect grand finale to Volvo’s 80th jubilee celebrations, the car is first revealed to Volvo Personbilar Sverige’s highly impressed top management.
“Volvo has always been a special make for me. These were the cars I learned my skills on in my youth, and I also worked for a while at Volvo’s concept-car department. So instead of obtaining inspiration from an old Ford, as is usually the case in Hot Rod circles, I wanted to build something that meant more to me personally. That’s why I chose to bring together the most classic attributes of Volvo, the Jakob, and my own modern Hot Rod style,” explains Leif Tufvesson.
Parked side by side, the similarities between old and new are remarkable. The curvature of the bonnet has exactly the same radius. The characteristic windscreen attachment pillar that runs down the body side follows the original in detail as regards dimensions, materials and the number of screws used. Equally identical is the radiator grille with its characteristic mesh pattern and diagonal bar that incorporates the classic iron symbol. The body has been built by hand from raw aluminium panels that were bent into their final shape using a hammer and English wheel. Exactly as it was done in the prototype workshop back in the 1920s.
That said, however, the differences are naturally also obvious. Hot Rod Jakob is far smaller than the original. It is a two-seater instead of offering space for four. And it has those typical Hot Rod attributes: large wheels, no wings and a muscular rear axle. And if you get a bit closer it is possible to see differences in terms of materials and details. The chassis is built of lightweight carbon fibre, just like today’s most advanced racing cars, not from heavy steel beams as in bygone times. The brake discs are remarkably slim, but their huge diameter (450 mm front, 515 mm rear) guarantee that the braking surface is still going to be more than sufficient. The wheel spokes are made of aluminium instead of wood, but they are exactly the same in number. The massive tyres with their specially milled tread in the form of Volvo’s iron symbol give an assertive, modern aura, while the charming luggage compartment at the very front – in actual fact an elegant leather case – instead conjures up images of white suits, straw hats and wide skirts.
The entire build is typical of Leif Tufvesson’s style. Lean. Aesthetically elegant. Stylishly minimalist. Largely because most of the components have been hidden away inside the body. For instance the springs and dampers, the electrical components and exhaust system. The result is that the body and axles look like they are floating in the air.
A closer look at the seating compartment reveals deeply rounded backrests instead of a single flat bench, creating a robust and sporty atmosphere. The seats are upholstered in light brown hide. The piping, the upright rifling on the backrest, resembles the original, while the perforated flat upper section behind the seat echoes more modern styling cues. A glance at the instrument panels reveals no conventional gauges. Instead, all the functions are gathered into a single, in-house-developed instrument to the right of the steering wheel. The dial face changes colour and function when pressed. Press once: the ignition comes on and the button glows red. Press the clutch and the button turns purple. Press once more and the engine fires up smoothly at the same time as the button’s colour turns Volvo Blue.
“I really love combining old solutions with my very own ideas. Creating a fine balance between high-tech and tradition that works seamlessly. Dusting off old parts to renovate a car to original condition is not something that appeals to me,” says Leif Tufvesson.
But there are nonetheless a number of classic Volvo parts in the Hot Rod Jakob. The steering wheel comes from a 1962 P1800, as do the gear lever gaiter and steering column. The brake pedal and brake master cylinder are from the 140 Series. Supplied by Volvo Genuine Classic Parts (Volvo has one of the industry’s widest ranges of genuine manufacturer’s spare parts). The M90 gearbox is Volvo’s last rear-wheel drive variant and comes from a Volvo 960. The engine, on the other hand, is brand new – a powerful Volvo T5 converted to run on eco-friendly ethanol, all so as to underline the lifecycle approach to this entire project.
The Hot Rod Jakob project has challenged not only Leif’s skills as a car builder but also perceptions of the Volvo brand. Just how does this car fit in with the image of safe, secure Volvo?
“Absolutely perfectly, in fact. We have for some time now been moving Volvo towards a more daring design language. The Hot Rod Jakob does of course go its own way, but I regard it more as a work of art than as a Hot Rod. The car is built with the very same Scandinavian design tradition as our modern Volvo models. Lean elegance, yet in a way that sticks out,” says Volvo Cars design director Steve Martin.
“That was exactly what made it so exciting. The paradoxes in the project. Challenging the usual perceptions of Volvo. And showing that it is perfectly possible to balance modern design and technology with classic Volvo and Hot Rod traditions,” answers Leif Tufvesson when asked the same question.
After being unveiled at the Volvo Museum in GÃ¶teborg on February 26, 2008, Hot Rod Jakob will be exhibited at the four Nordic winners of Volvo Best Partner 2007. In November Hot Rod Jakob will visit the SEMA show in Las Vegas in the USA.
Gumpert is taking two black Apollo models to Geneva in partnership with Yes!, manufacturer of the Audi-powered Elise-sized Roadster.
For those who haven’t been exposed to the Gumpert Apollo, here are the specs. Oh how we wish someone would bring one into New Zealand!
V8 4.2l Twin-Turbo, 650 hp at 6000 1/min, maximum torque 850 Nm, emission standard Euro 4
Two-seater super sports car with mid engine arrangement, steel chassis and integrated carbon monocoque, fibre glass body, air box street in fibre glass, boot in fibre glass with 12V plug in system and interior lighting, power windows
Electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system, steering wheel removable and manually adjustable in height and space
Basic price ex works: 260,000 â‚¬ (plus VAT)
Mike Williams’ Dodge Challenger may be green inside and out, but with a 550hp blown Mopar in the engine bay, the envy is all yours.
The tough-looking street machine you see here is proudly owned by Mike Williams of Wellington. This member of Western Bays Street Rodders Inc refers to himself as a plastic surgeon, but keep those shirts on girls, as Mike’s handiwork takes place out at All Bumper Repairs Ltd, where the committed team manipulates plastic skin of the automotive kind. Mike, a true Wellingtonian, has been brought up around V8s most of his life and has owned a reasonable selection, including a ’69 HT Monaro, a small block T Bucket, V8 Commodores, a 440ci (7210cc) Chrysler limo, and a ’69 Dodge Charger to name a few.
But this boy doesn’t restrict his passion to street-driven V8s only; he also has a love affair with drag racing, and after many years of following the sport — which included crew duties for another well-known Wellington drag racer, Dave ‘Rocket’ Drew. Mike got his opportunity to hit the track after a generous offer from Dave to run his small block Chevy Altered, ‘Noiseworks’, as Dave had teamed up with Dennis from DenMac Autos to run another Altered, ‘Cheap Trick’. Again, this was small block Chevy-powered, but with the added bonus of some very special internals, a blower with injected alcohol dropping his quarter mile ETs to consistent seven-second passes. Driver duties for Mike in Noiseworks seemed a simple transition (as I suppose it would when someone lends you a car!) and he cut consistent low nines in the little 331ci (5424cc) Chevy, many a time finishing at the top end of his race class.
The ’72 Dodge Challenger, originally imported to Kiwi-ville approximately 12 years back, was purchased locally by Mike seven years ago boasting the same colour scheme (super bright Barbados Green), but running a single four-barrel carb and semi high-rise manifold on the big-block 440ci (7210cc) Mopar. Mike drove the car regularly for a couple of years, and even had the courage to loan it to his siblings as their ride to high school proms! (Brave boy). Perhaps thoughts of more bling — but more that likely more power for this drag racer-come-hot rodder — saw Mike purchase the Mooneyham blower and Weiand manifold to sit aloft of the existing big block, and yes, good spotting, although most select a 6-71 supercharger for the street, Mike opted for the bigger 8-71 for this bad girl. A custom snout by Al’s Blower Drives was supplied and fitted to the new blower.
This became the start of a four-year rest from the road for the Challenger, as it was decided to remove the drivetrain to strip and inspect the motor and trans before installing the huffer. Although it was in reasonable condition Mike wanted to ensure the new boost wouldn’t do something silly, like push the pistons through the sump. So Darren Hacche from Headmaster Engine Reconditioners was enlisted to add the magic, which included new blower pistons, H-beam shot penned rods, a crank grind, complete balancing, and head porting with new big-ass valves, while Kelford Cams took care of the performance cam (as it does).
Renowned Automotive Fine Arts Society sculptor, Richard Pietruska, will highlight “Veronique GT Series II” at the 2008 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 7-9, 2008, in Amelia Island, Fla. Inspired by the original Veronique masterpiece that won Pietruska the prestigious Peter Helck Award in 2005, the second edition sculpture again portrays a beautiful marriage between the female body and automotive design. “Veronique GT Series II” and other Pietruska works will be offered at the annual AFAS art show on the fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island.
“‘Veronique GT Series II’ is without a doubt the ultimate fantasy driving machine,” noted Pietruska. “With more curves and attention to detail than anything I have ever created before, this piece took me more than two years to complete. She really wowed the crowd last summer in Pebble Beach. I expect the auto enthusiasts and art collectors who attend our show in Amelia Island to fall in love with her as well.”
Borrowing styling cues from classic 1950s automobiles, “Veronique GT Series II” has the smooth, clean look of a Cadillac El Dorado and the bold, powerful stance of a Ford Thunderbird. Pietruska chose Ruby Red paint for the body and Satin Black for the fenders and roof, further capturing the essence of 1950s dream cars.
“This sculpture was designed for the discriminating enthusiast who has a luxurious taste and an appreciation of all things beautiful and exotic,” added Pietruska. “This certainly isn’t a piece that enters a collection obscurely. It’s low and sleek, sensual and dynamic, daring and bold — all traits that appeal to someone who appreciates the ultimate automobile art form.”
Celebrated in publications and collections across the world, Pietruska’s influence extends far beyond his art. He has worked for the past three decades as a professor in the Transportation and Product Design Department at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. There, he molds the minds of future automobile designers. Some of his former students include top automotive designers in the U.S. and Japan, as well as head designers at Ford and BMW. More information on Pietruska is available at www.rpmart.com.