[Body - Front Clip]

Corvette Grand Sport #002

The Corvette Grand Sport fiberglass bodies are unique in many ways.

All 5 cars originally started life looking like a normal Corvette Stingray coupe in 1962/63. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Production Corvette bodies were produced using press molded resin/fiberglass mat to form numerous fender panels, top panels, surrounds, etc. which were all pieced together with bonding strips.

The Grand Sport bodies were instead made with hand laid fiberglass cloth and essentially consisted of a one piece front clip, one piece rear clip/greenhouse, and a main floor pan/sill area armature. These were then all bonded together at the "A" pillar & "B" pillars.

The Corvette Grand Sport fiberglass bodies were lightweight, strong and had a distinctive "cloth pattern print through" in their outer surfaces. Also, many of the inner body fiberglass parts were molded over hand-shaped, glued-together, wooden block patterns at GM, which left a distinct wood grain surface in those panels.

If that wasn't unique enough, wanting to improve upon the Grand Sport coupe's performance, Zora Arkus-Duntov later came up with the final evolution of the lightest, most aerodynamic Grand Sport:
The Roadster.
Zora literally cut the roofs off of Grand Sport 001 & 002 and eliminated the "greenhouse" structure completely. The thought was, less frontal area means less drag and no roof, door tops, or rear & side windows also means less weight.
[Courtesy: GM Archives]

That brings us to the complex restoration/preservation challenge for Grand Sport #002:
To accurately recreate the entire fiberglass Roadster body, and most importantly, not do any damage to its original 1966 "as-raced" condition in the process.
In addition, the correct panel shapes, resin/cloth construction, thickness and surface textures became paramount concerns... Mold-making and duplication of an existing three-dimensional object can be a complicated process. The process is made even more complex when the object being duplicated is a piece of history. No effort was spared in preserving the original body while producing the molds.

The resulting parts are complete and exact duplicates of the original down to the thickness, surface texture, and thread pattern & direction of the fiberglass cloth.

This is the 1st step in making a plaster mold of the front clip. Care is taken to minimize damage to the paint. A dam, on top of masking tape, was made to contain the plaster. The dam is located on a peak or edge to produce a nice part line.


Front Clip - Picture 1


Front Clip - Picture 2

Threaded anchors that will be encased in the plaster mold. These anchors will hold the molds together.
Top of the front clip ready for plaster mold material. The rest of the car has been masked off for protection.


Front Clip - Picture 3


Front Clip - Picture 4

A steel reinforcing framework as made for the plaster mold. This will hold the mold together as it's pulled off the body.
This is the joint between the top section of the plaster mold and the soon-to-be-made front fender mold. Note the threaded inserts in the joint area.


Front Clip - Picture 5


Front Clip - Picture 6

This picture shows the collars attached to the threaded inserts and a removable aluminum fender flange with anchors.
The first coat of plaster is sprayed on to the right-front fender. This material is far less harmful to the paint than other methods of mold making.


Front Clip - Picture 7


Front Clip - Picture 8

This is the plaster mold of the fender after releasing from the body. The plaster mold is then sanded to remove imperfections.
This is the main mold for the top of the front clip, mounted on a steel framework for support. The mold is an exact duplicate of the original body.


Front Clip - Picture 9


Front Clip - Picture 10

The headlight area prior to making a plaster mold. All dams and anchors are in place and adjacent areas covered.
The plaster mold of the headlight bucket is symmetrical so it will work for both sides. It will be sealed and gelcoated before parts are made from it.


Front Clip - Picture 11


Front Clip - Picture 12

Same mold after spraying with white finish gelcoat. Small holes are for blowing air under the part to aid in releasing the part from the mold.
New fiberglass headlight buckets, exactly as original.


Front Clip - Picture 13


Front Clip - Picture 14

This is the left-front fender mold. Plaster molds are relatively easy to sand and remove waves & imperfections. Note where the brake master cylinder door (a latter-day modification) has been sanded out (Area marked ****)
Plaster mold for the left-front headlight area, after sealing and spraying with gelcoat. Note the number of inserts which align and hold the mold sections together.


Front Clip - Picture 15


Front Clip - Picture 16

Plaster mold of the grille area, after sealing and spraying with gelcoat. Note the grille tabs reproduced in the mold.
Main plaster mold section for the front clip top surround. Shown with grey primer gelcoat for sanding out any imperfections.


Front Clip - Picture 17


Front Clip - Picture 18

Same mold section after hours of sanding and then re-spraying with white finish gelcoat.
Front fender plaster molds after spraying with grey primer-gel and sanding.


Front Clip - Picture 19


Front Clip - Picture 20

New front clip laid-up from the molds.
All one piece, exactly as original.
Powertrain
G.S. #002 Home
Rear Clip

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