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Classics LS3-Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original’s Spirit

09:56  07 february  2020
09:56  07 february  2020 Source:   hotrod.com

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See More Corvette Grand Sports on HOT ROD! HOT ROD Drives a Modern Grand Sport Was there a Sixth Grand Sport Built in 1963 ? The Grand Sport was Zora Duntov' s response to the Cobra roadsters that were killing the production-class Sting Rays in SCCA events.

This Corvette Grand Sport replica is titled as a '65 Corvette , and it rides on a four-inch tube With its iconic Grand Sport look that includes the exposed headlights, wide body kit and aero holes between Options on this 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport include tilt wheel, power steering, seat belts

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A 1966 Corvette that has been has been made to look like a 1963 Grand Sport Corvette I shot at the Corvette Expo 2012 very cool car check it out!!

LS 3 - Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original ’ s Spirit .

In the 1950s and 1960s, Robert H. Widmer was a sports car enthusiast. He owned a 1954 Jaguar XK120M and a 1963, an XKE Coupe. Bob was surely an enthusiast, but his universe was so much more demanding than that. As an aerodynamic engineer, he ascended through technical management positions to become Vice President of Science and Engineering for all engineering activities at General Dynamics Corp. Widmer was the creator and designer of the B-58, the world's first long-range aircraft capable of sustained supersonic flight, as well as the B-36, F-111 and F-16.

In February, 1964, he brought his 15-year old son, Larry, to the Polar Prix SCCA sports car race at Green Valley Raceway in Fort Worth, Texas. The auspicious father-son activity ignited Larry's life-long passion and formed the basis for a grand relationship with his dad.

NCRS-Style, Tuxedo Black, Split-Window 1963 Corvette Sting Ray

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Heartland sourced a Grand Sport front clip from Duntov Motor Company and grafted it to the firewall. Interestingly, the Grand Sport body shell is on a slightly shrunken scale in comparison to a standard production LS 3 - Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original ’ s Spirit .

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Ostensibly, their trip to Green Valley was prompted by the fact that there were to be several "good" Jaguars running in one of the production classes. More importantly, Carroll Shelby was also attending with the Cobra race team, including the Cooper (small-block Ford powered) King Cobra with Bob Holbert at the wheel.

a car engine© Larry Widmer

When the Widmers arrived at the pits, there was a good-sized crowd around the Cobras, but there was another crowd gathering just as large around two other strange cars. These other cars were finished in slivery-blue paint and displayed small decals stating Mecom Racing. One of the cars stood just one meter tall: the Lola/Chevrolet coupe driven by Augie Papst. The other one appeared to be a Corvette Sting Ray coupe on steroids.

Larry remembered, "The Corvette sported a small badge proclaiming Grand Sport Corvette, and it had fender flare extensions, necessary to cover Halibrand knock-off magnesium wheels wrapped with huge Goodyear Stock Car Special tires. The car also sported a 3-inch-diameter exhaust pipe running down each side, air-vent holes in the rear bodywork, real side vents in the front fenders and a wild-looking hood with a riot of vents and louvers. This Corvette was a hulking, all-business vehicle, and to-date, it still rates as the most awesome-looking car I've ever seen. None of this impressed my Dad. The Grand Sports made his favorite Jaguars look like kiddy cars."

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LS 3 - Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original ’ s Spirit .

HOT ROD. LS 3 - Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original ’ s Spirit .

The Grand Sport was Zora Duntov's response to the Cobra roadsters that were killing the production-class Sting Rays in SCCA events. His plan was to build 125 cars to satisfy homologation rules so that the cars would be legal in SCCA production classes andto meet the FIA's GT rules for international competition. As we know, however, the manufacturers were already in the process of imposing a ban on anything racing-related, so only five of these special Grand Sports were assembled.

"Two of the five cars ended up here in north Texas in the mid-to-late sixties," Larry says. "Both were sold for approximately $3,000 each. I tried desperately to get my Dad to loan me the money to purchase one, but his reply was 'Hell no, why would anyone buy a dangerous car like that!'Today, those five genetic mutations are worth at least $5.5 million per copy and considered the most prized Corvettes of all time."

Years later, Larry, then in his early 1960s, was going full speed ahead at Endyn, his company dedicated to extremely high-flow aftermarket 4-valve cylinder heads for Honda engines and for the development of similar ideas for different manufacturers (Nissan among them). He finally indulged that kernel that had been burning a hole in his brain for decades. He had homework to do. He studied the aftermarket GS Corvette enablers, eventually settling on Mongoose Motor Sports in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Soon enough, Mongoose delivered a complete 4-inch round tube chassis (as per the original GS cars) and a painted and thoroughly sussed out body shell ready to join it.

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DtRockstar1 records an original 1963 Corvette Grand Sport driving around at the Simeone Museum in Philadelphia, along with a Shelby Daytona and Jaguar C-type.

LS 3 - Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original ’ s Spirit .

Larry prepared the front suspension with deburred and polished spindles, SPC adjustable upper control arms, 1984 Corvette lower arms, anti-sway bar and coil/over QA1 shock absorbers. The back of the Grand Sport assumed a modified C4 suspension system braced with coil/over shocks and an anti-sway rod. He fixed the independent axle with a Newman Creations bat wing housing and packed it with a Dana 44 differential and 3.54:1 gears. He completed the basic underlayment with power-assisted 1986 Corvette rack steering running off the LS3 pump.

To burn off excess energy, he instituted 13-inch Wilwood rotors and tended them with six-piston and four-piston calipers, systems that fit neatly within 10- and 12-inch PS Engineering S/C wheels hosting 275/40x17 Toyo Proxes R888R followed by 13.4-inch wide TQ 345/40 Drag Radials. Larry's not happy with the back tires that protrude ever so slightly beyond the fender lips. As soon as he gets a minute, he'll reduce the width of the axle a total of three inches to pull those big puppies back under the bodywork.

Grand Sports were fitted with an all-aluminum 377ci small-block sporting four 58mm Weber side-draft carburetors. Custom headers and long side-pipes handled the exhaust. The engines made a reported 535hp, which moved a vehicle of this rather slight mass (dry weight 2,000 pounds) in a big hurry.

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Larry's modern concession included an auspicious starter engine, an LS3 crate displacing 376 cubic inches. Of course, he couldn't leave it alone. He added forged pistons and connecting rods, a Cam Motion camshaft and ported cylinder heads with a much-modified Harrop intake and modified Hilborn velocity stacks. A Holley Dominator ECU presides over ignition and major engine functions. Master welder Mark Garvie built the exhaust tract that consists of 1 x 23-inch primary pipes and 4.0-inch outlets to the raucous side pipes. Larry says his small-block pretender produces 605hp at the crank flange.

a person riding on the back of a truck© Larry Widmer

To transfer torque, Larry chose a McLeod flywheel and double-disc coupler joined to a slick-shifted TKO transmission by a McLeod spun-aluminum housing infused with a titanium inner-liner. Surely, the McLeod package weighs less than an OE cast aluminum bell housing. After Larry mocked up several possibilities, he built the snaky shifter and kept it as close as possible to the steering wheel.

That Widmer was driven by the elimination of superfluous weight is readily apparent in the passenger compartment. He needed a rendition for the dashboard. He worked with Classic Instruments to produce gauges that were close approximations of the original Grand Sport's. To save more weight, he pulled a silicone-rubber mold from an OE (pot metal) Corvette instrument bezel and poured his own using a two-part epoxy resin, making a perfect fit for the Classic gauges.

Comfortable seats are paramount to a relaxed and fluid driving experience. Larry's spent decades in an Acura Integra Type R. He loves its seats. He used these buckets as the core. He left the headrests off and reconstructed/reupholstered them to fit the new mission. Now, they weigh 13 pounds apiece. His weight reduction mantra included the door hinges. He made new ones out of billet aluminum stock, paring the mass from 2282.2 grams to a gossamer 528.5 grams per copy. Further, the doors complete with side windows weigh just 14 pounds each.

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LS 3 - Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original ’ s Spirit .

And so it went: Widmer's predilection for the least amount of mass situated in the best possible location for unparalleled results. Wherever he could eliminate an ounce of superfluous he did so. It was a matter of detail. Larry's interior treatment simply follows the logic and the method of his engineering history. The interior reflects his build mentality. You start from scratch, you make something you'll think will work but it doesn't quite satisfy your own harsh parameters, so you make it again and keep doing that until the thing winds up being your part of history.

Larry wrote in 2010: "My father's health has been declining rapidly. I finally shared the pictures of the project with him and there was excitement in his voice and a smile on his face. We haven't seen him this happy in seven months, so this has been a wonderful Christmas present for him. Anticipation of going for rides in it has given him purpose again. There's no way I'll ever be able to adequately thank Gary, Steve, and the guys at Mongoose for pulling this off. Dad sat in the car for quite a while pretending he was driving and of course we knew the old engineer connected in his mind when he asked what the weight distribution was."

Then, a year later: "Dad passed away on June 20, 2011. He was 95. Life hasn't been as much fun and I miss the hell out of him, especially when I'm working on or driving my GS. Dad lived quite a life as one of the pioneers of the aerospace industry."

Larry Widmer built his car with the brain of an engineer and the heart of a hard-core enthusiast and remained true to both planes of consciousness. When the walls begin to close in, you'll likely find him in the shelter of the Grand Sport. Larry: "With its 2,200-pound weight with me and fuel in it, the drag radials fight for grip through third gear, so the old guy has to be very aware of his surroundings before laying into the throttle. My heart beats fast for over an hour after a Sunday drive with Pinkie [his bull terrier]. It's a good med, an absolute blast!"

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The 7th annual Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals (MCACN) doesn’t officially get underway until Saturday, November 21, but we showed up at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center near Chicago’s LS 3 - powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport replica stays true to the original ’ s spirit .

  LS3-Powered 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Replica Stays True to the Original’s Spirit © Larry Widmer

Specifications
1963 Corvette Grand Sport replica

Engine
Type: RPO LS3

Displacement: 376 ci

Compression Ratio: 11.4:1

Bore: 4.065 inches

Stroke: 3.622 inches

Cylinder Heads: OE, 2.165/1.590 valves, ported by Endyn, Ft. Worth, Texas

Rotating Assembly: OE nodular iron crankshaft, K1 connecting rods, Wiseco pistons

Valvetrain: OE 1.7:1 ratio rocker arms, PSI springs, titanium retainers, OE lifters/pushrods

Camshaft: Cam Motion custom hydraulic (0.620-inch lift both valves; 245/240 deg. duration at 0.050)

Induction: Modified Harrop intake manifold, electronic fuel injection, Hilborn stacks, Bosch fuel pump, 20-gallon aluminum fuel cell

Ignition: Holley Dominator ECU

Exhaust: Mike Garvie headers, 1 x 23-inch stainless steel primaries, 4.0-inch diameter side pipe system

Ancillaries: Griffin radiator, SPAL fans, deck-mounted remote differential oil cooler, Odyssey Extreme battery

Machine Work: Endyn

Assembly: Endyn

Output: 605 hp at crank

Drivetrain
Transmission: TKO 600 5-speed, slick-shifted, 0.82:1 top gear, McLeod spun aluminum scatter shield, McLeod dual-disc clutch assembly, McLeod/Endyn hydraulic throwout bearing

Rear Axle: Newman Creations batwing aluminum housing, Dana 44 differential, 3.54:1 ratio

Chassis
Frame: Mongoose Motor Sports round-tube ladder design

Front Suspension: Deburred and polished spindles, SPC adjustable upper control arms, 1984 Corvette lower control arms, QA1 adjustable coil/over shock absorbers

Rear Suspension: Corvette C4, QA1 adjustable coil/over shock absorbers

Brakes: Wilwood vented 13-inch rotors, 6-piston calipers; Wilwood 13-inch rotors, 4-piston calipers

Wheels
Rims: PS Engineering S/C, 17x10, 17x12

Tires: Toyo Proxes R888R 275/40ZR, Toyo TQ 345/40R Drag Radials

Interior
Upholstery: Larry Widmer

Seats: 1997 Integra Type R

Steering: 1986 Corvette rack, power steering

Shifter: Custom built by Larry Widmer

Dash: Custom built by Larry Widmer

Instrumentation: Classic Instruments Customs

Exterior
Bodywork: Mongoose Motor Sports

Paint By: Mongoose Motor Sports

Retro-Styled C6 'Vette Packs A Supercharged LS3 .
Classic split-window looks with late-model reliability. The 1963 split-window coupe is the most recognizable – and perhaps desirable – of all Corvette body styles, so it's no surprise this iconic design is often imitated. To even the casual automobile enthusiast, there's no pretending that this 2011 Chevrolet Corvette is actually a legit '63 split-window, but this custom creation is still a high-quality Corvette that will get plenty of looks on the street or at the car show.

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