Under the leadership of the legendary Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Corvette Grand Sports took the racing world by storm in 1963. They gave Cobra drivers fits, with powerful and exotic engines created inside Chevrolet, such as an all-aluminum 377-cubic-inch powerplant. The special engines delivered stunning speed in the lightweight, purpose-built chassis.
Only five Grand Sport race cars were built, but their legacy lives on in countless replicas created in the decades since the originals rolled into the paddock for the last time. The most authentic Grand Sport recreation models – including coupe and roadster versions – are the GM Official Licensed Products examples built by Superformance LLC (www.superformance.com), which offers a variety of GM Performance Parts (GMPP) crate engines in them.
At the 2010 SEMA Show, GM Performance Parts (GMPP) introduced the new E-ROD LSA crate engine package (part number 19257460) in a Superformance Corvette Grand Sport coupe. Packing 556 supercharged horsepower, the E-ROD LSA exemplifies the extreme performance that is available with the E-ROD portfolio.
The E-ROD LSA system will be available after the first quarter of 2011. GMPP is working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to secure an Executive Order to allow the E-ROD LSA to be used in pre-OBD-II vehicles (1995 and earlier). GMPP engineers are working with CARB to develop a process to have E-ROD systems, including the E-ROD LSA, approved for specially constructed vehicles – such as the Superformance Grand Sport – in California.
“The Grand Sport Corvette is such an iconic vehicle, that it’s great to see Superformance bring back this classic as a kit car,” said Dr. Jamie Meyer, product integration manager for GM Performance Parts. “It offers the same styling and raw performance feeling as the original, and when outfitted with an E-ROD engine, the end consumer gets a much more modern ride. The performance of this car is amazing.”
Indeed, with a curb weight of about 2,500 pounds, the E-ROD LSA’s 556 horsepower gives the car a power-to-weight ratio of only 4.5:1 – or, 1 horsepower for every 4.5 pounds of mass. That’s better than Ferrari 599 GTO’s 5.3:1 ratio.
The E-ROD LSA brings a modern level of driving ease and comfort to the classic Grand Sport design. That’s complemented with other amenities including air conditioning, leather upholstery and a smooth-shifting Tremec six-speed manual transmission.
On the outside, the Grand Sport re-creation wears historically inspired Admiral Blue paint and bright white stripes, along with wheels based on the design of the original Grand Sport race cars. Also authentic to the originals is the set of side exhausts, which emit a suitable rumble for this barely tamed street car.
Working with Superformance LLC and Duntov Motor Company, the replica parts have been painstakingly reproduced including the chassis, body parts and all accessories needed to replicate the original Grand Sports theme. With the support of GM Performance Parts and GM Official Licensed Products, the coupe and roadster editions are offered in street and racing versions. Each GS is available as a complete TKM (turn key minus) vehicle, awaiting the customer’s choice of engine and transmission.