Saturday, December 31, 2022
Oh, this ain't sung well, but, it's the lyrics are spot on... Ford G.T. by Jackie and the Giants - who seem to be ripping off the melodies from My Little GTO, a AND Little Deuce Coupe
She was dreamed up in Detroit, on a Saturday afternoon
and she looked good on paper at the time
then they started to producer her back in 1964,
and she's become a legend in her time
She's the Ford GT, hottest in the Gran Prix
set a track record
for the low et
the Ferrari couldn't catch her
the Maseratti couldn't take her
the Lola's couldn't shake her
She's the GT Ford
She lined up with the best
then she lasso them in
(Can't make out the next two lines)
Written by B Russell, who also wrote the no.1 hit "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", the Grammy Award-winning "Little Green Apples", and Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey"
he was the husband of Vicki Lawrence between 1972 - 1974
the front and back cover under the dust jacket, is a terrific over view of what's in between. Nearly everything.
the dust jacket
also a beautiful photo
there are 30 chapters, and they are only missing one thing because the book seems to be of such a singular purpose and focus, that while easily accomplishing the nearly encyclopedic categorizing of the making and racing of Corvettes, and their design - it never mentioned the impact that the Corvette had on the American culture.
It's missing a chapter on astronauts, Hollywood, and pop culture in general. It has nothing on the high school prom car, the drag racing butchery, the secretary AND the boss of the small company parking matching Corvettes in the parking lot, the labor union strike effecting the manufacturing delays, the dealership grand spectacles and salesmanship, the use of the car in research and development of racing tires, the Baldwin Motion/Gibb/and Yenko specials sold to the public, the autoshow cut apart specials
It would be easy to mistake this book as a General Motors or Chevrolet Division official publication.
Anyway, this is a review, not a ass kidding smootcheroo. It's an opinion piece from my point of view, and I guess that by reading this, you're not interested in how much the author loves the result of their work, or how much the factory management and board of directors is blown away by the high praise for the history of, and the present new mid engine Corvette.
So, the book takes about 12 hours to read, the first half is simple to read through about 3 chapters an hour, and the 2nd half of the book may as well be categorized RACING.
There is a sweet dive into the early years and development, and if the 70s happened, well, no one seems to be looking to mention much of them here. Instead, there are chapters that instantly distract the reader with the special development mules, the racing specials, the long term prototypes that kept the autoshow circuit buzzing about the mid engine car that might yet come to be, etc.
Duntov in a 3 piece suit at Milford, seeing about the altimeter reading
The book also isn't linear. Though roughly left to right, history to present, it's often jumping ahead to something interesting, and then after paragraphs on that, heads back to catch up on the less dazzling year to year improvements. Example, the 1st 3 chapters are the 50s to 62, then 2 chapters on racing, styling, engineering, and then the 63.
Everything I was interested in learning about was covered quite well, the ZR1, ZL1, the L88, and the ZR 2. The fuelies, the tankers, etc. Covered.
Now, also it's worth pointing out that the author is utterly devoted to the brand, and isn't objective, nor comparative as most car guys are. If you were talking to most car guys, they'd say what they admire about some car, AND what was as flop, or a fail. Not in this book. So, like I said earlier, this a all about the Corvette. If this was about how the Corvette struggled, was upstaged, was competing in GM for the "ooh shiny!" ago pumps, it would mention a lot of stuff that this book doesn't, but that car guy culture sure keeps in mind when discussing most things, and doesn't avoid the bad and ugly aspects. This book's author isn't aware of the existence of the word "blemish" or "blister"
Now, I suppose if I were getting the open door treatment to the archives of something only the librarians get to look at, I wouldn't see that there was anything but trophys and treasures. Like Disney's white glove areas... not a museum, but, not open to anyone that hasn't devoted decades to keep out of the public access. Know what I mean? I certainly would love access, and dang, tunnel vision ENGAGE!
So, getting back on track... the Corvette, affordable sports car, top of the GM food chain, and out performing the Italian, British, German, etc etc competition at less than 1/2 or probably 1/4 of the price - without using metric tools. I love that.
The book is an eye opener to the world of GM divisions and departments. I have never heard of most of the departments that specialized in focused vehicle aspects, like aerodynamics, etc. The author is fantastic in bring light to the development of the crucial design aspects, and how these challenges were solved by the brilliant engineers in the Chevrolet Engineering Center, Chevrolet Research and Development, the Packard Electric Division, and cooperation with Cal Tech, Lockheed Martin, etc.
For example, page 56 dives into the hidden headlight development at Cal Tech's GALCIT wind tunnel, by engineer Carl Jakust, a former B 17 pilot. Also the aerodynamic testing of Dr Keyopoulos, head of GM Design, who fixed the lift problem for the C2. Page 103 gets into the solutions of improved handling and braking via the FE7 and ZO7 packages.
Hell, I thought Ken Block invented the word Gymkhana, but learned it was the FE7 suspension package on the Corvette
this book excels where it focused the most, showing the evolution of the Corvette.
To read along is to see how every year there was an effort to succeed in losing weight, increasing performance, improving the manufacturing, etc. It's a page by page and year by year analysis of how each important factor was improved on, and where the materials were changed, lightened, hydroformed, and even pultruded. (page 229, the hollow rear bumper bear of carbon fiber is formed by pultrusion) Yup, that's a new one to me, and when getting the chassis perfected for the 2020 rear engine Corvette, they found a new method to make it thinner, lighter, AND stronger.
Ok, onto my pet peeve about the editor, author, etc who don't realize that spellcheck is NOT preventing mistakes from getting into print, as I often find these, and wish I was offered the opportunity to read these books BEFORE they go to print with these mistakes (or better yet, offered a consultation job!)
if you see that, then for god's sake, take some mental health moments to add spaces between words. I can't imagine how that wasn't corrected before going to print. Page 230 and 231
But the one that really jarred me out of reading utopia, was
to show the error, I used the next paragraph that demonstrates that a mention of torsion results in the use of the term Stiff, not Still.
Hey, I only need to post about these little errors to build a resume for future publishers, where I can send the links, so they can see how useful I will be in preventing the embarrassment of these from going to print in THEIR books. It's too late for this one.
I-25, Santa Fe, NM yesterday