""The GM Engineer that transformed the Fifties-Era Corvette into America’s sports car...." 

""He brought out the best in his staff, and led by example in his willingness to innovate. Perhaps no better example is the legendary Grand Sport program. Despite friction with upper management, Zora obtained unofficial assistance from Chevrolet’s general manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, who provided a black-ops budget and a secret skunkworks. 

An entire book could be written about these five competition cars (including rumors about the possible existence of a sixth one, as originally planned). 

Whatever the final tally, thanks to a their tubular space frame, thinner fiberglass body panels and an aluminum version of the SBC, each of these Cobra-skinners boasted as much as 550 horses and weighed in at 1800 pounds or so. Such a radically skewed power-to-weight ratio would be revisited by Zora in later years. 

Zora wanted the Grand Sports to face off against the seemingly unstoppable Shelby Cobras, among other GT-class cars and racing prototypes. That actually happened for a brief, shining moment at Nassau Speed Week in 1963, when the Grand Sports stomped on some unsuspecting snakes. But it would prove to be short lived, as GM yet again put the kibosh on racing, and yet again Zora had to finagle a way to get them back on the track, and into the itchy palms of privateers. " 

Read the full article at : Here Posted by Steve Temple for Rod Authority