After the GM brass scuppered plans for
the Corvette Grand Sport as a factory
project, two cars were loaned to
privateers for racing in SCCA events.
Lessons learned were applied, including
improved cooling and 9in. wheels with
fender flares. GM’s 377cu.in. aluminum
small block V8 was also fitted, putting
them near to intended final spec for the
first time. Three were sent to the Bahamas
to race in December ’ 63’s Nassau Speed
Week, entered by John Mecom.
With no FIA GT homologation, the
’Vettes were entered as prototypes,
but would get to race head to head
with the Cobras for the first time.
Overheated differentials caused DNFs
in the opening race. But by a very happy
coincidence, several Corvette project
engineers were “vacationing” in the
Bahamas and fitted additional coolers.
In the final two races of the week,
the Grand Sports finished comfortably
ahead of the Cobras, but that merely
alerted GM that the project hadn’t
been scrapped as requested. Now, the
cars were ordered to be destroyed...
A SUCCESSFUL “VACATION”
Configuration front-engine, rear-wheel drive,
Body/frame Fiberglass over steel tube frame
and aluminum cabin frame
Engine 377cu.in ( 6.2-liter), aluminum small block
Chevrolet V8 w/ four 58mm Weber carburetors
Power/torque 485hp 6,000rpm
Transmission Borg Warner 4-speed manual
Brakes Girling discs front & rear
Suspension 4-wheel independent
DESTROY THEM? NOT SO FAST...
Of the five Corvette Grand Sports built,
three were surreptitiously handed over
to privateers after the orders had come
from GM management to destroy them.
The other two, converted to roadsters,
were kept hidden within plain sight at
Chevrolet, before being sold to Roger
Penske in 1966. The ’Vette in our shoot,
car No. 004, currently resides in The
Collier Collection at The Revs Institute
in Naples, Fla. ( revsinstitute.org).
CORVETTE GRAND SPORT
(MAIN) Purposeful fender flares
accommodate 9in. wheels. (BELOW)
A quartet of 58mm Weber carbs help the
377cu.in. small block develop 485hp.