Between January 10th and 18th, auction house Barrett-Jackson will hold its Scottsdale event in Arizona. After a little peering through the digital catalogue, our attention was grabbed by a particular Corvette, which is arguably one of the maddest concept vehicles to be built in the United States.
The punchiest mill ever offered on a production C3 Corvette was the 427 cubic inch (7.0L) ZL1 big-block V8, which produced a SAE gross 450 hp and a lot of low-end torque. But a fantasy car based on the third-generation Chevy Corvette tops that almost twofold.
Cue in the 1978 turbine-powered Corvette C3 and its Pratt & Whitney ST6B turbine engine, packing a humongous 880 horsepower. Vince Granatelli, the guy that came up with it, then claimed it clocked 2.5 seconds to 60 mph (96 km/h), while a Motor Trend magazine editor managed to hit that speed in 3.2.
3.2 seconds to 60 is on par with the 691 horsepower dual-motor Tesla Model S P85D
It’s an impressive package, more so when you consider the body shell looks like the production model’s, minus the space-age wheels. Want to hear the best thing about this blast from the past?
Even to this day, this machine is the fastest street-legal Corvette. As you know from an older Spider Man flick, with great power comes great responsibility, more so when you have to keep a turbine in check.
This is why Vince Granatelli fabricated an all-new subframe for the turbine, fitted NASCAR-spec disc brakes, fortified the drive shaft and gave this baby 3.03:1 gearing and a reduction gearbox. Why the latter? Well, Vince needed to bring down the turbine’s 37,500 rpm for very obvious reasons like NVH.
It’s hard to put a price on the winning bid, but a Corvette fitted with a jet turbine and an airplane-inspired instrument panel… well, not even the 2015 Corvette Z06 can top it on the coolness scale.