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1978 Corvette Art Prints



The World's Only Jet Turbine-Powered 1978 Corvette
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 163 - 1978 Jet Turbine-Powered Corvette
To read the story, CLICK HERE.
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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Corvette Pace Cars Montague

1978 Corvette Pace Car
11x17 Color Laser Print
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11x17 Color Laser Print
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Illustrated Corvette Series-II No. 163
1978 Jet Turbine-Powered Corvette

1978 Jet Turbine-Powered Corvette
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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Illustrated Corvette Series No. 163
1978 Jet Turbine-Powered Corvette
Laser-Etched Print

1978 Jet Turbine-Powered Corvette
Laser-Etched Print
11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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Illustrated Corvette Series No. 60
1978 Corvette
To read the story, CLICK HERE.

Illustrated Corvette Series No. 61
1978 Indy 500
Pace Car Special Corvette
To read the story, CLICK HERE.
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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Illustrated Corvette Series II - No. 60
1978 Corvette

Illustrated Corvette Series II - No. 61
1978 Indy 500
Pace Car Special Corvette
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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Laser-Etched
llustrated Corvette Series II - No. 60
1978 Corvette

Laser-Etched
llustrated Corvette Series II - No. 61
1978 Indy 500
Pace Car Special Corvette
11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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11x17 Laser-Etched Print
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1978 Indy 500
Pace Car Special Corvette Profile

1978 Corvette Coupe Profile
11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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1978 Pace Car Corvette C3-13 / 11x17 Parchment Paper Print
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made on heavy watercolor paper.

Sizes start at 11" x 17" for $99.95 + $6.95 S&H.
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Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 163 - 1978 Turbine-Powered Corvette
"Granetelli's Jet Vette"

Detroit in the 50s and ‘60s was a time of “let’s try it” thinking. GM tinkered with the turbine-engine Firebird I, II, and III cars in the ‘50s. Chrysler had been making turboprop engines since before WW II and started their turbine car program in ‘54. Turbine-powered race cars showed up at the Indy 500 in ‘62 and ‘66, with little success. But it was the red STP-sponsored, Andy Granatelli car that stunned everyone in ‘67. By the end of the second turn of the first lap, Parnelli Jones took the lead until rain stopped the race. The next day, Jones picked up where he’s left off, leaving everyone far behind, until lap 197 when a $5 transmission ball bearing broke, putting the car out of the race. Granatelli was back the following year, but restrictions placed on his Lotus-built turbine car ended the Indy 500 turbine experience forever.

In the ‘70s, Vince Granatelli (Andy’s son) had a shop in Van Nuys, California called, “Pit Stop Service” specializing in one-of-a-kind cars. Granatelli had always wanted to build a turbine-powered street car. One day in ‘78, Granatelli’s wealthy friend, Herb Orlowits asked him to build him “something really fast.” With four turbine engines in his shop left from the Indy car project, Granatelli quickly determined that the only car with a long enough long enough front end to accommodate the long Pratt & Whitney ST6B engine, was a new Corvette. The other factor was that the stock suspension and drive train was already a proven high-performance design.

The long engine necessitated the removal of the entire front body substructure, rendering the nose as just a shell. Using his skills as a race car builder, Granatelli built a special subframe to replace the removed factory structure. Over-sized NASCAR disc brakes were installed to handle the unusual mode of driving the car. A stock Turbo 400 automatic transmission with a beefed up drive shaft and 3.03:1 gearing handles the turbine's massive torque. Because the turbine spins at 37,500 RPM, a reduction gearbox was used to bring the RPMs down to a manageable 6,230 RPM. To disperse the tremendous heat from the turbine, Granatelli built a flat box that covers the entire bottom of the car, with exhaust exiting through a narrow slot that runs the width of the back of the car.

The completed car was a beauty and graced the cover of the November ‘79 issue of Motor Trend. With a silver and black paint job similar to the 25th Anniversary Corvette and wide strips that run over the hood, blacked out windows, and spun-aluminum wheels, the car looks like a mildly modified ‘78-’79 Corvette. The only non-stock body part is the modified hood with it’s done moved forward for engine clearance and slots to vent hot air.

Mr. Orlowitz was not disappointed. His car ran the quarter-mile in 12-seconds flat, at 111-mph. With over 1,100 FT/LBS of torque instantly on tap, the car would PULL like a freight train at any speed. Since the car will do 60-MPH with the engine idling, to drive, all one has to do to move forward is let off the brakes. Step on the throttle, and HOLD ON for a torque ride.

Orlowits eventually sold the car and by the time the current owner, Cliff Martin from Ohio, came along, the car had been sold and bought a few times. Like the previous owners, Martin doesn’t drive the car often because of the inconvenient startup procedure and nonstop cop-bait. When a car sounding like a jet whooshes by a police officer, they want a look-see.

When executives from Pratt & Whitney learned of the Jet Vette, they offered to rebuild the engine in exchange for having the car to display. The engine received a full restoration and was giving hot laps at the Pratt & Whitney open house! The Jet Vette brought P&W more news, TV coverage, and PR than anything they’d ever done before.

Martin describes driving the car as not what you’d expect because of the turbine lag. But once it starts pulling, hold on. Everything in the car still works and is the way it was when Granatelli built the car. Aside from the car’s unusual features, Martin says its very much like a hot rodded late-’70s Corvette. One of the former owners expressed interest in buying the car back. Not yet, but maybe someday, it will be someone else’s turn to experience the world’s only turbine-engine-powered Corvette.


Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 60 - 1978 Corvette
"Finally A New Look"

As the Corvette's silver anniversary was approaching, there was quite a lot of excitement in the automotive press over the possibility of an all-new, mid-engine '78 Corvette. This was not pure speculation though. Since '68, Chevrolet had teased Corvette fans with seven mid-engine prototypes! But, it was not to be. Why? Corvettes were just too successfull.

The 500,000th Corvette rolled off the assembly line on March 15, 1977. This was due in large part to the huge surge in sales beginning in '72. Management at G.M. figured, "Why stop a good thing?" However, by '77, the overall styling was 10-years old, getting stale, and a mid-engine redesign was out of the question. The front and rear bumpers, hood, and fenders had been updated, so the only thing left to change was the roof. The new glass fastback roof was a refreshing improvement.

The '78 Corvette had three variations: the stock Corvette with the new roof and all the new options, the Silver Anniversary paint option, and the Pace Car Replica option. (To be covered next.)

The improved package was a winner with buyers, selling 46,776 units, down from '77, but higher than '76. Overall, it was a solid hit.The base price of the '78 Corvette was up $704 from '77, to $9,351. Well-optioned cars cost over $11,000! Besides the new fastback roof, there were many other improvements. The base engine had another 5hp, and the optional $525 L82 was up 10hp, to 220hp. A wide-ratio four-speed gear box, T-top, and leather interior was standard. The Corvette finally had optional 60-series tires for $216, and the gas tank how held 24 gallons. The interior had new features as well. The dash had a square housing around the speedometer and tachometer, new controls for the wiper controls, a real glove box, new door panels, and a roller-type screen for the fastback area. Finally, the $349 glass T-top panels were available. Special 25th Anniversary badges were on the nose and the gas filler cap, and there was a $399, two-tone, light and dark silver paint option.

The '78 Corvette was a much- improved car. But, at 3,595 pounds, the extra 20hp in the L82 had little affect on performance. Chief of Corvette Engineering Dave McLellan's mission was to satisfy the current Corvette customers who wanted style and comfort. Dwindling power and performance didn't matter to buyers. It's hard to tell if Duntov could have made a difference. After all, this is General Motors, and "sales" is the bottom line. - K. Scott Teeters


Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 61 - 1978 Pace Car Special Corvette
"25th Anniversary Collectible?"

The Corvette legend is founded on racing and performance, and the mid-to-late '70s was the pits. Power was down, weight was up, and Porsches were eating the Corvette's lunch at the race track. The announcement that the 25th anniversary Corvette would also be the pace car at the '78 Indy 500, looked like the highlight of the decade for Corvette fans. But controversy was in the mix right from the beginning.

Initially, it looked like a triple-play for Chevrolet. First, the '78 Corvette received a sleek new fastback roof that completed the overall redesign started in '73 with the soft bumper covers. Second, all Corvettes wore the 25th Anniversary badges. And third, a special edition Corvette would serve as the pace car at the '78 Indy 500. Then the details set in.

The initial idea was that there would be 300 pace car replicas the same number as the '53 production run. The car would have a two-tone silver paint (for the silver anniversary), red pin striping, and special Goodyear tires with "CORVETTE" sidewall lettering. Then the plan was to make 2,500 replicas, 100 for each year of production. But there were 6,200 dealers that all wanted at least one replica, so production went up to 6,502 units.

Then there was the price issue. The RPO Z78 package cost $4,302! Here's what came with the option. The exterior had special two-tone paint and pin striping, front and rear spoilers, glass roof panels, sport mirrors, and red pin stripped aluminum wheels on P225/60R15 tires. The interior came with power windows and door locks, tilt-telescopic steering column, convenience group, silver thin-shell seats, AM/FM with a CB radio or an 8-track tape player, dual rear speakers, and a power antenna. The $525 L82 engine rated at 220 hp was not part of the package.

The controversy started right on the showroom floor. For a "preminm collectible," quality was not good fender seams were clearly visable on many cars. Then there were the opportunistic dealers who tacked on surcharges that bumped the price up to between $15,000 to $22,000. One dealer was asking $75,000 for his replica. Then, there were individuals making replicas of the pace car replica, asking full price for their creations! All that, for a car with no more "grunt" than a regular Corvette.

In today's market, '78 Pace Car Corvettes can be purchased for between $6,500 to $37,500. Between the high volumn and low performance, the car's value never really took off. But imagine a '69 427/435 Pace Car Corvette, instead of the '69 Pace Car Camaro. Now you're talking! - K. Scott Teeters


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