Double Take: 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible
I didn’t get a chance to talk to the car’s owner, so I took my pictures from a respectable distance. However, I suspect said owner has grown a little accustomed to the attention that the bright red, Corvette convertible has brought their way.
I had mentioned that the Grand Sport was a middle model for 2010. Cost wise, the standard model started in the upper $40,000 region; a Grand Sport began in the mid to upper $50,000 range, and the Z06 started out in the mid to upper $70,000 range. If you think that’s expensive, the ZR1, released for 2011, stickered at $110,000.
With regard to upgrades, here’s how a Grand Sport differs from a standard model. While they both share the 6.2-liter LS3 V8, rated at 430 HP and 424 pound-feet of torque (with optional two-mode exhaust system good for 436 HP and 428 lb-ft), the Grand Sport has a wider track and “racing-bred suspension” which includes revised shocks, stabilizer bar and spring specifications.
Further, it received Z06-size brakes, including 14-inch (355 mm) front rotors with six-piston calipers and 13.4-inch (340 mm) rear rotors with four-piston calipers. It also got specific gear ratios (for manual transmissions) and a specific rear axle ratio (for automatic transmissions).
In addition to unique 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, it has wider front and rear fenders, a Z06-style front splitter and tall rear spoiler, functional brake ducts, and extra cooling.
What this all adds up to is a sportier-looking Corvette and, according to a Chevy press release, 0 to 60 MPH times of four seconds, with 1g worth of skid pad adhesion. Oh and 26 EPA-estimated MPG on the highway.
Okay, here’s something that is really hard to look at. No denigration intended, but this driver appears to be one that parks not by intuition but by tactile feedback. Meaning, when the car stops rolling forward–because it’s front end is pressed into the curb–then you’re good.
If you like pictures, I’ve provided a massive gallery; six of the 2011 Grand Sport that made me double-take, and 26 of various 2010 Grand Sports, courtesy General Motors.
One more thing, as part of the 2010 Corvette Grand Sport press release, Chevrolet had provided the following brief “Grand Sport History”:
Envisioned by legendary Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov as a factory-built, lightweight and race-ready production model that would trump domestic and foreign road-racing competitors, the original Corvette Grand Sport was a promising idea that led to the production of five special prototypes in 1963. The project was later shelved, following GM’s agreement to stay out of manufacturer-backed motorsports.
The five prototypes were based on the styling of the 1963 Corvette and were hand-assembled under Duntov’s watchful eye. But while they looked like production models, the prototypes were purpose-built race cars that shared little with their assembly line cousins. Duntov also oversaw the Grand Sport engine program that featured a special, 377-cubic-inch small-block V-8 with side-draft carburetors.
Although never officially sanctioned by General Motors, the five Grand Sport prototypes saw extensive racing experience throughout the 1960s in the hands of “private” racers who had strong contacts within Duntov’s engineering circle. All five original cars are accounted for today and are among the most valuable in the collector market.
Chevrolet offered a limited-edition Grand Sport production model in 1996, commemorating the original racing cars and marking the end of the C4 era in Corvette production. All of the 1,000 examples were painted Admiral Blue and featured a white center stripe and red “hash mark” graphics on the left front fender, a graphic scheme that mimicked the look of some of the original race cars.
Continue below to the photo gallery.