Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Winter 2020
						1963 Continuation Corvette Grand Sport 14
PUREBRED PROTOTYPE

Pre-production Superformance Grand Sport test drive

Just about any veteran Corvette enthusiast knows the story of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s over-achieving ’63 Grand Sport. How it handily bested Shelby’s Cobras, only to disappear from the racing scene and become the absolute pinnacle of collectible Corvettes.

Unlike Shelby’s Cobras, however, Grand Sports have not been revitalized as much. Only a handful of firms have offered revisionist versions over the years, but Superformance enjoys a special distinction: GM’s written authorization as a licensed Continuation Corvette Grand Sport. In other words, a pedigree. One obvious benefit of GM’s corporate blessing is that you don’t have to worry about the vehicle manufacturer being subject to legal sanctions.

A prototype of this Corvette GS has been making the rounds on the car-show circuit for a few years, while we’ve been eagerly awaiting production versions from the factory in South Africa. They are scheduled to appear soon, with a coupe due stateside later this year, and a roadster some time after that. 

In the meantime, we corralled the prototype for a shoot and brief drive, to whet your appetite. Given that it needed a bit more time in the oven, and was not presented to us in its final disposition, we won’t nitpick about some pre-production issues that needed to be sorted out. While still rough around the edges (literally, in some areas), the car qualifies as proof of concept, and the power/weight ratio felt exhilarating.

So we’ll focus instead on what’s included, and what’s required to complete the vehicle. As with other Superformance vehicles, it comes in “turnkey-minus” form, meaning that it has all the parts, prep and paint done for you, sans drivetrain. So don’t expect to be able to re-use any Corvette components gathering dust on the shelves of your garage.

With a price starting at slightly less than $90K, two versions are available: Corvette Grand Sport Traditional, and Touring. The former is as close as possible to the bare-bones racer, yet with a few non-original options such as A/C, power steering and electric windows.

The Touring model is more plush, with the creature-comfort options noted above, along with a few others to be determined, plus padded door panels and bucket seats.

Getting back to the components you’ll need to supply for completing the car, three basic engine options are possible: small-block Chevy 350, big-block Chevy (454, 502, etc.), or selected LS-series engines. Transmissions options include four-, five- or six-speeds. Brakes can be upgraded with aftermarket units, as long as they are engineered for a Corvette suspension. The one we drove had GM’s 430hp, emissions-compliant E-Rod LS3 crate engine, which sidesteps potential DMV-registration issues. We’re hoping to set up a face-off against a Cobra in an upcoming issue, to see if history will repeat itself.

Somewhere, Duntov is smiling in eager anticipation.

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