Return of veteran ’Vette. Replica honours the five original Corvette Grand Sports. Words Glen Waddington.
A 1962 #Chevrolet-Corvette
in the new car pages? Don’t worry, we haven’t gone mad. This is the latest offering from Superformance, the company that brought you the Pete Brockapproved Cobra Daytona Coupe replica.
Zora Arkus-Duntov isn’t around to sanction this one, but #GM
has licensed its production. Duntov, the engineer behind the ’Vette, originally planned a run of 125 cars, set to dominate the international road racing community, and the Grand Sport qualified as a GT production car – but only five had been built before GM executives pulled the plug and ordered their destruction. All five survived, but try prising one from the hands of its collector owner.
Which is where Superformance comes in. The cars are sold as TKM: ‘turn-key minus engine/transmission’. But Superformance is on hand to offer the final jigsaw pieces too. This test car is fitted with a 460bhp 6.2-litre GM-LT1-V8 and Tremec T-56 six-speed manual gearbox. Out back is the regular transverse-leaf suspension layout and the whole is wrapped in an ‘aesthetically and dimensionally correct’ glassfibre body, just like the real thing. Inside there’s a periodstyle steering wheel but greater comfort: power steering for a start, plus air-con and electric windows. Optionally you can install a ‘Touring interior package’, which offers more of an authentic look. The wheels are the correct raw matt Halibrand alloys.
Price? Call it $170,000 built and finished to this spec, though you can spend above that to gain a more powerful engine and different cosmetics.
You’d have to question whether such power is necessary though: this car isn’t lacking. There’s massive shove from the off, accompanied by a traditional V8 beat and thrillingly raw exhaust – side-exiting, naturally. Heard the racing ’Vettes thunder down Goodwood’s start/finish straight? The loudest cars at the event, and that jackhammer racket is authentically replicated here. It’s worth the entry price on its own.
Control weights are surprisingly light, with excellent brake moderation, light yet extremely precise and feelsome steering, and a satisfyingly substantial yet free-moving gearshift. You soon settle in and enjoy the flow, despite the threatening noises-off from under the door. Over Laureles Grade from the Laguna Seca raceway, the Grand Sport looks as though it’s escaped from its natural environment, yet it feels perfectly at home, riding ruts with enough body movement to let you know what’s going on yet without too much harshness. Power oversteer can only ever be a twitch of the throttle away but, as this twisting rollercoaster road proves, the Grand Sport is really a benign yet rapid device. If one of those five originals remains beyond your means, you can have an awful lot of fun pretending in this one.
Left and below The right looks, inside and out, plus the correct chassis spec. Pictured car sports a period-correct 377 engine, too.