ROAD & TRACK
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Chevy's answer to the Cobra never saw its potential
Chevrolet developed some potential Corvette racers in the 1950s, but the FIA's 1958 limit of a 3.0-liter engine displacement for all sports cars made the project not financially viable for GM. Arkus-Duntov spotted a loophole, though: the FIA didn't set a displacement limits in the GT category, so he set to work developing a purpose-built Corvette racer with a big V8 to homologate for GT. The thinking was much the same as Caroll Shelby's with the Cobra: A lightweight body with powerful V8 mounted up front.
"It was well and truly a racer. Thumping down the highway on the tremendous Firestone Indy tires, the familiar odors of oil and hot paint wafted into the cockpit, along with the sound of air rushing around the hand-operated plexiglass windows. This mingled with the whine of the fully-locked differential gears and the slick prototype Muncie gearbox.
The gearbox and brakes were nearly perfect. That means stops like the car had just run into a mud bank, while the transmission was as loose -- and yet precise -- as any we've ever handled. The locked rear end made it an awful chore to negotiate corners under 30 mph, mainly because the inside rear wheel would moan and scuff the pavement, and the rear end sounded as if it was going to explode through its cast aluminum housing, but at high speeds the car was a dream. It had virtually neutral steering characteristics, and we could find nothing in its entire handling range that could be described as treacherous or unstable."