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						Duntov Roadster
Sunoco Star

Duntov Motor Company Grand Sport

By Dean Larson

Photos: Worldwide Auctioneers

”It’s like a hand grenade duct taped to a skateboard,” its current owner quips, and with 480 hp crammed under the hood of an open-top track machine with a license plate, you start to see his point. This retro-cool roadster was manufactured by the Duntov Motor Company using blueprints from the original Grand Sport No. 002, meaning it’s just about the closest thing you can get to the original. Wearing a fresh coat of Sunoco blue paint, this Duntov Grand Sport will cross the block at Worldwide Auctioneers block in Auburn, Indiana on September 5th.

One of the most revered stories in bowtie history is that of Zora Arkus-Duntov and his lightweight Corvette Grand Sports. While the father of the Corvette would have to be Harley Earl, Zora became somewhat of a mischievous uncle to ’Vette in his engineering roles, always insisting the car needed to exemplify true performance traits and prove itself in competition. A whole slew of GM prototypes owe their existence to Zora, but it’s the story of the Grand Sport that is likely the most romantic of them all.

To put it briefly, Zora knew the road-going Corvette was outgunned by the stripped down Cobra roadsters, so he orchestrated a program in GM’s skunkworks to put the car on a lightweight diet to take Shelby head on. But of the planned 125 cars, just five were produced before top GM execs learned of the program and shut it down. So sadly Zora’s vision of a ’Vette guised Cobra killer was not to be, but the Grand Sport did have its day, as the story goes, at the 1963 Nassau Speed Week. With their new 377 ci aluminum Chevrolet engines, the Grand Sports beat the Cobras handily. “We were outgunned,” recalled Carroll Shelby, in response to the Grand Sport’s stiffer chassis, better brakes and more contemporary suspension design.

For all it could have been, it comes as no surprise that bowtie fans want a piece of the Grand Sport story. Good replicas have been problematic though, as GM took a hardnosed approach to re-creations, punctuated by legal action that took most companies out of the replica business. That’s not the case with this car though, a product of Duntov Motor Company, a GM licensed manufacturer with permission to use the Duntov name by Zora’s wife Elfi. The car seen here on Worldwide Auctioneers’ site is actually the first car produced by Duntov Motor Company in 2011, a car that they raced successfully for two seasons.

It all starts with a set of blueprints from the original Grand Sports, with a stiff proprietary chassis with transverse leaf spring suspension in the rear and coils up front. This car was finished with an open-top roadster body that emulates Grand Sport No. 001 in its Penske/Sunoco livery. While this car originally raced with an 875 plus hp 460 ci big-block, it’s now powered by a ZZ427/480 big-block for more sensible street performance. But don’t think for a second that she’s lost her pep, because this engine is still good for 480 hp and 490 lb-ft, all controlled by a T-56 six-speed.

With all that power on tap and a title for street driving, this Duntov Motor Company Grand Sport is quite the weapon, fit for dual duties with a little bit of setup work. Check it out here on Worldwide Auctioneers site, coming up in their Auburn, Indiana auction on September 5th.

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