by Rick Tavel
If you weren’t lucky enough to be at the media introduction of the new Corvette C7 in Detroit on 1-13-13, don’t worry. Amid historically significant Corvettes of every generation, the West Coast unveiling will take place this weekend at the legendary Petersen Museum. You can get all the details on how to attend here. This event is a ?must? event for every real ?Vetter!?
Over 200 Corvettes will be on display on the roof of the parking garage in addition to the several important historic Corvettes being displayed as a part of the exhibit. Historic cars of every generation will be exhibited in the museum, like the EX122?the world’s oldest Corvette!?and the legendary 1963 Grand Sport C2 we reported on over the last two days.
The third generation Corvette exhibit is anchored by the ?Sundowner,? Gale Bank’s twin turbocharged C3 Corvette Stingray.
Bank’s has been driven by a passion for top speed since he modified his mother’s automobile engine in 1958. While still in high school, as means to finance his college education, he opened ?CP’s Auto and Marine Racing Engines.? Banks sold his first performance engine for a then staggering $1,100. Building performance engines paid for his degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering at Cal-Poly. Gale made his first assault on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1966 when he drove a 1953 Studebaker to 184 MPH and set a record.
He owns or has owned several land and marine speed records in several categories since then. Interestingly, it was the sale of his beloved 1963 Corvette that gave him the financial means to open a much larger shop and begin selling performance parts.
In 1980 Banks was called upon to help build what would eventually become known as the ?Sundowner Corvette.? It was powered by a Banks? twin-turbocharged big block. In 1982 the car captured the record for the ?World’s Fastest Passenger Car? reaching 240 MPH and taking the record away from ?Hanky Panky?, a Studebaker also powered by a Banks? turbocharged engine. Visitors to the Corvette tribute will be able to inspect this historic C3 Corvette along with other important third generation cars.
For fans of the C4 the event will have Reeves Callaway on hand to speak about Callaway Corvettes.
Several RPO B2K Callaway twin-turbo Corvettes will be on hand as well. The option package was popularized in 1987 ramping up the stock Corvette L98 engine with a pair of intercooled turbochargers to almost 390 HP. In 1987 GM agreed to have Callaway perform the B2K RPO. It was the first time a GM RPO was offered by a non GM company or subsidiary. The $19,999 cost of the option was only a few thousand dollars less than the cost of a 1987 base car. Over 2000 new parts were used in the engine conversions that took place at Callaway’s shop in Lime Rock, Connecticut.
By the time the RPO was dropped in 1991 over 500 Corvettes had been modified. Since that time, the Callaway Twin-Turbo Corvettes have grown in popularity among enthusiasts and collectors. In 2012 the interest prompted Callaway?in celebration of its 25th anniversary?to bring back the famous RPO B2K option package for a limited number 2012 Corvettes.
Stay tuned for more info on this awesome event at the Petersen!