A Brief History of Grand Sport #004

Corvette Grand Sport #004 was the first of the five "lightweight Corvettes" to be released for competition. There was very little publicity surrounding the event, since GM was still officially abiding by the AMA's ban on racing during this period. Zora Duntov, the father of the Grand Sport, knew direct factory support was out of the question, so he would have to resort to a "privateer" race team to develop the car. Grady Davis, long time Corvette racer and VP of Gulf Oil, had both connections (Don Yenko) and engineering talent (Gulf Research Labs) to convince Zora Duntov to place GS#004 under his tutelage. In no time, Gulf Research Lab's dynos were roaring day and night with experimental, dual air meter, fuel-injected Corvette engines. [Click here for more]

#004 was soon on the track. With Dr. Dick Thompson (the "Flying Dentist") at the wheel, #004 became the first Corvette Grand Sport to win a race: the SCCA divisional at Connellsville, August 11, 1963. This first GS win by Thompson was expecially satisfying - not only because it set a new track record - but also because the Connellsville grid included the new Shelby Cobra. This helped to ease the sting of Thompson's DNF in #004 against the Cobras at the July 7 Lake Garnett, KS event.

Corvette Grand Sport #004, again driven by Dr. Dick Thompson, raced to another 1st place finish at the Watkins Glen Classic on August 25, 1963. Seemingly on a roll, Chevrolet zone letters and documents show that Grady Davis was hoping that Zora would release the other Grand Sports to him for development; possibly even an assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Unfortunately, that proved to be just wishful thinking on Davis' part. For reasons known only to Zora, when the 1963 season ended, #004 was ordered back to the Chevrolet Engineering Center (CEC) where all the Grand Sports underwent major "in-house" development. Zora's team of engineers quickly added modifications: widened fender flares over wider Halibrand wheels, special hood, 377 cid crossram 58mm weber engine, oil cooler, Muncie HD 4-speed, transistorized ignition, 4-tube header exhaust system, relocated battery, revised master cylinder arrangement and larger front brake calipers with vented rotors.

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