Octane editor and XK140 owner Robert Coucher appreciates a good straight-six engine – but even he was surprised to discover that Australia’s iconic Chrysler Valiant Charger earned its spurs thanks to, not despite of, its six-cylinder motor.
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The 30th Anniversary of the Corvette Club shows that there's still plenty of love for 'vette in the UK.
The Classic Corvette Club UK celebrated their 30th Anniversary Nationals, mustering a splendid variety of cars from all generations, including stock concours, through to modified, race cars and recreations, small blocks, big blocks, Collectors Edition, Sting Rays, Pace Cars, 1988 C4 Engineering Prototype, they were all there.
One of the most interesting recreations was Tony Pitt’s Sting Ray Racer - the original of which was based upon the 1957 SS. Back then Bill Mitchell, the head of GM styling, acquired this car and subsequently Peter Brock and Larry Shinoda designed a new body and it became the forerunner of the highly successful Sting Ray series of cars. The Sting Ray Racer was campaigned for 1959 and 1960, then withdrawn and later driven on the road by Bill Mitchell. Tony Pitt’s recreation was built by specialists Corvette Kingdom in Norfolk and is based upon a 1978 Corvette C3 chassis, shortened by two-inches, with a 350ci engine and TH350 transmission. It features a one-off custom made GRP body with clam-shell style opening front and rear bodywork.
Another Corvette built by Corvette Kingdom for customer Chris Fitch was a car based upon the legendary 1963 454ci Grand Sport race car. A GS kit was purchased from the USA and incorporated into a badly damaged 1966 coupe shell that was restored and fitted with a 425bhp engine. The car isn’t an exact faithful recreation of a Grand sport car, but it looks pretty close and, with no power steering or power brakes, its performance and handling isn’t for the faint hearted!
Santa Pod Raceway brought along several competition cars, including a second generation coupe that’s been around for a very long time. Originally built by Ronnie Picardo, it’s now driven by his son Gary and is ostensibly a demonstration/stunt car used to ‘wheelie’ down the quarter mile! The engine is mounted way back aft of the centreline for the perfect weight transfer and there’s a Perspex floor so Gary can see where he’s going!
The Custom Exotics company run by Scott and Brett Brocklehurst based in Harlow, Essex, have earned themselves something of a reputation in recent years for exemplary restoration, paintwork and show preparation on Corvettes. 2010 was definitely a vintage year for the company with Scott & Brett’s mother Carol picking up Best C5 Award, following a major makeover of the car she’s owned for many years. Carol only saw the car’s transformation for the first time on the morning of the show and was taken back almost to tears with the new House of Kolour dramatic Wild Cherry Candy paintwork, that’s replaced the original silver. Daren Parish’s Corvettes restored by Custom Exotics also gleaned much silverware, with his C3 being awarded Best in Premier Class, Best Engine and Runner-up Best in Show, while his C1 took Best in Class, Best in Show, Best Paintwork, and his C2 took Best in Class!