The Superformance Corvette Grand Sport adventure to SEMA 2010
Posted on Tuesday 11-02-2010
Well, the Corvette Grand Sport adventure is finally starting to show the fruits of everyone’s labor. The factory was under the gun for a couple of months to make the deadline allow us the opportunity to be at the SEMA show. They were working up to 18 hour shifts to get the car done. Many hours were spent on the phone and internet exchanging info through the night with the factory representatives.
A big thanks goes out to Jimmy Price (Hi Tech Automotive) and his compliment of staff along with Mike Copland and the guys that worked with him to complete this project. Over the last few months we have been collaborating with GM and they have been supplying parts left-and-right to South Africa. At the eleventh hour, the factory managed to pull the rabbit out of their hat and we were able to arrange for air transportation to get the Corvette Grand Sport here in time to allow GM to do their magic and make the SEMA show.
The whole airplane ride did not come without its fair share of excitement either. The factory had made arrangements for the car to leave the factory for a 10 hour journey to Johannesburg where it would be flown out to New York. Todd (VP Superformance) had made arrangements to meet the Corvette Grand Sport at the NY airport bright and early on a Friday morning calculating the ride from Michigan to New York to be about 12 hours.
At the last minute the plans were changed when early on Thursday morning we were notified that the car was now on its way to Washington, D.C. Actually this shortened and fortunately the initial drive headed me along the same route. The DC trip would shave about 400 miles from each leg of my trip.
Todd arrived in Virginia about 8PM and settled into the hotel to get some much needed rest. The next morning we arrived at the Washington DC office for South African Airlines where we were informed that there was no record of the car on this designated flight. While Todd paced the floor they began to check into it and we could not help but wonder if the car was not actually in New York as originally planned. The air line could neither confirm nor deny this.
After a couple of hours confirmation arrived and the Corvette Grand Sport was indeed on the right plane. When Todd finally saw it he got a lump in my throat. It was beautiful, although it had not made it across the pond unscathed. The driver’s door had somehow been knocked out of alignment as the car was no longer properly secured to the skid having shifted during the transportation. The car was pretty dirty but all in all in pretty good shape.
We later discovered that the lack of presence on the manifest was because the date of arrival incorrectly stated the day before. This created another cluster of problems when it came to releasing the car through Customs. Long story short, well kind of… We began our trip to MI having taken 6 hours to obtain the release. We headed towards the GM Proving Grounds in Milford, MI.
On Saturday morning at 7 am we arrived at the GM Proving Grounds and what an awesome place it is. The facility covers 2 square miles and is the home of one of the best test tracks in the world. Security at this place is incredible. We were escorted in with the Corvette Grand Sport in tow and taken to an area known as “Special Projects.” They have a lot of very cool stuff in there. We were met by a team of 5 guys headed up by their leader, Mike Copeland. After getting the car unloaded, we spent the next couple of hours going over what needed to be done on this end. The plan all along had been to showcase the Superformance Corvette Grand Sport as one of the halo models at SEMA to promote the GM Performance E-rod series of crate engines. In this case it was the LSA. This is the same engine used in the Cadillac CTS-V. It’s one bad boy and yeah… It’s supercharged.
Hi-Tech had been sent an engine for mock-up work but now it was up to Mike and his crew to drop the real deal in on this side of the pond – and make it run. When I say “Drop it in” I think that I should clarify that it was much more than that. These guys only had 4 days before this car needed to be on a truck heading for Vegas. Dave from Hillbank shipped parts in from various suppliers every day for 3 days and Mike’s team kept installing them as we went along. Todd was there to help as much as possible and Lance was kept updated constantly.
Lance was the one who did all of the wheel homework a nail biting exercise since the car was not on hand to take measurements off when the wheels were being made. When all of the hub adapters and wheels and tires arrived at GM Todd installed them on the car and waited to see if Lance’s math worked. Everything fit like a glove. The car has 305/40/18’s on the rear and 17’s on the front. The wheels look awesome with torque thrust grey color centers and a polished lip.
The GM Team re-aligned the door for us on arrival and set about the install. The Corvette Grand sport was plumbed for fuel, a bung was added to the tank for a return line and battery cables were run to the rear of the car. The installation of the engine and transmission was underway including the running of wires for the controller and the addition of calibration. The final stages were installing the mirrors, rear tail lights, safety belts, and buffing and polishing the car. The GM teams are true Craftsman.
To make SEMA in time the Corvette Grand Sport had to ship out by 10AM on Thursday morning (Oct. 28).The Corvette Grand Sport had not yet been started and we waited for our call from Mike Copeland with baited breath. At 10PM on Wednesday night he confirmed all was well and she was breathing fire. The Corvette Grand Sport was loaded on the transporter and headed for Vegas right on schedule. The famous, high-paid magicians performing in Vegas had nothing on this team.
Dr. Jamie Meyer (GM) expressed his excitement about the GM / Superformance / Duntov partnership. It’s great to be associated with the GM team and we look forward to unveiling the Corvette Grand Sport on the GM booth on Tuesday November 2, 2010.