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GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500

Reviewed by:   Tom Pine
     
  GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car
 
 
 

In 1956, Zora Arkus-Duntov brought Corvette to the racetrack. His goal was to make the little, fiberglass roadster into a competitive racecar, and he earned it respect on the race circuits of America. Then, in 1960, Briggs Cunningham brought three, specially prepared Corvettes to Le Mans. Drivers John Fitch and Bob Grossman, driving the third car, finished eighth overall. This was quite an accomplishment for the seven-year-old sports car, competing against some of the finest sports and all-out racing cars of the era. With the introduction of the third generation of Corvettes in 1968, the marque dominated racing in the late ‘60s and into the ‘70s. Sixteen SCCA national A- and B-production titles were added to Corvette’s racing trophies and the cars finished as high as third place at Daytona and Sebring. Trans-Am racing was next on the agenda in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and Corvette continued making records against formidable competition. Duntov’s dream of an international, racing champion, American sports car had certainly come to pass.

In the late ‘80s—though Corvette continued to race in the production classes—the exotic IMSA GTP Corvettes were introduced. Running with 1,200 horsepower, turbo V-8s, these cars reached speeds well over 200 miles per hour. Corvette raced against, and defeated, some of the most sophisticated and expensive racecars in the world in the early 1990’s, when they competed in the Bridgestone Potenza Super Car Series, setting new records for speed and durability. Corvette had arrived as a world class sports car. At the start of the new millennium, Corvette brought out a new version of the Z06 designation that dated back to the ‘60s. Based on the lightest and fastest of the Corvette models—the hardtop—the 2001 Z06 made 385-hp and 385 lbs.-feet of torque. It was a production car for the hard-core performance-minded owner. Close cousins to the Z06, the Compuware Racing Corvette C5-Rs were created to compete in the American Le Mans Series. In 2003, Corvette celebrated its 50th anniversary by entering car number 50, driven by the (Andy) Pilgrim/(Kelly) Collins/(Oliver) Gavin racing team (two Americans and a Brit) in the 24-hrs of Le Mans. Though their car was hit and spun out, the team persisted with a damaged car and battled their way to a well-earned second in the GTS class and eleventh place overall. With the rugged, fast, C5-R racecars, Corvette has continued its decades-long heritage of competing with the best the world has to offer—and to prevail.

Here are the specs. on the mighty, C5-R Corvette racecars: ENGINE – Valvetrain: LS1 Pushrod V-8 with overhead valves. Bore & Stroke: 4.124 x 4.00 inches. Displacement: 7.0 liters (427 cid). Fuel system: electronic fuel injection using 100 octane, unleaded gasoline; 26.4 gallon (100 liters) fuel tank. Ignition: GEN III Delphi. Cam: modified stock w/aftermarket rockers. Compression: 12.5:1. Horsepower: 610 hp @6,200 rpm. Torque: 570 lbs.-ft. @5,600 rpm. GENERAL – Body: Two-door hatchback coupe; front engine w/rear wheel drive. Chassis: steel weld w/hydro-formed rails, carbon fiber, composite body. Length: 182.8 in. (15.2 ft.). Width: 74.7 in. (6.2 ft.). Wheelbase: 104.7 in. (8.7 ft.). Total Sweep Area: front to rear 343 sq. in. x 292 sq. in. Transmission: 6-speed manual transaxle. Brakes: Four-wheel disc mono-block calipers, carbon rotors and pads; 15.0 in. dia., 1.38 thickness front, 14.0 in. dia., 1.26 in thickness rear. Weight: 2,530 lbs. Wheels: 18” dia. x 12.5” wide (front) 18” dia. x 13” wide (rear), BBS forged magnesium, 1-piece center lock. Tires: Goodyear Racing Eagles; front tread 74.7 in., rear tread 76.1 in. Top Speed: 205 mph (330 kph).

GMP has turned its hand to making super-deluxe, 1:12 scale images of the racing C5-R Corvettes. Weighing in at a healthy six-and-a-half pounds of die cast metal and assorted parts (more than 800 of them!), and carrying a $599.95 price tag, these images are situated firmly in the Limited Edition, high-end collector market. Let’s see how they stack up.

As expected, the large 1:12 scale affords exquisite detail—and lots of it. Back off a bit and you might as well be looking at the 1:1 racecar. Because of the large scale (essentially the size a 1:24 image prototype is made in before it goes into production at half-size), all details are crisp, clear and authentic to the 1:1 car. The first thing I notice when I look at this BIG image, is how sharp the shiny, LeMans Blue paint job looks. At the same time, I’m amazed at all the ads and logos on nearly every surface of the car. Some wag once said that the reason stock car racing was introduced was to provide more space for all the sponsors’ advertisements. This image seems to attest to that. I count 47 of them, not counting the 4 Corvette logos, the 3 Chevy bow tie logos, the 4 Goodyear logos on the tires, and the three drivers’ names on either side! But, underneath all those logos and ads is an amazing amount of detail. As with any good-quality image, the doors hinge open, in this case on automotive-style hinges (actual hinges—not just clips) and snap shut with an authoritative click. The steering wheel also operates the steering—but not much—as the 1:1 racecar probably doesn’t have a large range of motion either. The amount of cockpit detail is impressive, displaying all sorts of racing hardware and gadgets I can only imagine about. The hood (and scoop section behind the radiator) lifts off to reveal the racing engine beneath it. A rear panel, including the rear window, also lifts off (as well as a cover beneath) to reveal details in the rear of the car. What you see is a ton of painstaking detail everywhere—hoses, wires, belts, springs—if it’s on the real car, it’s probably here. If there’s a functional vent opening on the 1:1 car, then it’s a functional vent opening on the image. There’s so much to look at and wonder over you seem to spot something you previously missed each time you look. Here’s a good example. I was thinking that, with all the detailing on this image, why were the door handles just molded indentations? Then, I looked closer and found that the handle WAS a separate part and actually lifted a little! This, by the way, was not mentioned in the literature. Speaking of literature, to get the most out of this image’s features, it pays to read the booklet that comes with it. For instance, there are two panels, just under the taillights, that open. I wouldn’t have known this but for reading the literature. When you open them, they reveal empty compartments. They were put there on the 1:1 racecar to fulfill Le Mans regulations that require each racecar have a certain amount of luggage compartment space. The GMP literature also states that the tires are “weighted,” so that they display some sidewall bulge when the weight of the model is on them. I tried this out and, though the tires are hollow, it takes a lot of down force to make them bulge. GMP will have to provide thinner rubber for this to work well, but then the tires might “go flat” over a long period of display, unless jackstands are used. I also noticed in the literature that the cover over the intake manifolds should be able to be removed but that isn’t the case on my image. Perhaps the craftsman who built the image glued it on by mistake. All four wheels come off (in fact, the model is packed without the wheels on, with instructions in the literature as to how to install them) so you can examine the detail of the brake assemblies and suspension members beneath. As one would expect, the rotors spin within the calipers and the shocks telescope. You’re assisted in tire removal by jackstands built into the car, that deploy like the ones on the actual 1:1 racer. You’re given a tool that looks like a star-type lug wrench to take off the wheels and deploy/store the jackstands. There’s also a clear, Lucite rod, with a beveled end, like the FM examination tool, to lift panels and such. In a separate accessories kit, along with the lug wrench and Lucite rod, you get four adjustable jackstands and a set of eight stanchions, with chains, to put around the model for display. To add to the realism, even the rearview mirrors have inserts of silvered, clear plastic, instead of mere foil stickers.

The only other 1:12 I have is the ’67 L-88 Corvette from Franklin Mint. How does this GMP image compare? Aside from many of the same working details, the FM piece has working lights, a working horn, and a motor that “starts” (actually a recording of an L-88 starting and revving). The GMP image has none of this. Where their images excel, however, is in the sheer amount of small detail present wherever you look. It seems that no detail has been overlooked. The image also has a fair amount of working items, like the steering, shocks, rotors, jackstands, door handles, shifter, and removable panels and wheels. I think it comes down to this: if you’re a Corvette AND racing fan, and you want an ultra-limited edition (only 500) at the pinnacle of precision image-making, then the $600 price tag won’t be a problem. It’s the closest you’re going to get to the real racecar without ponying up the cash for a custom made example (and we all know how pricey they can get!). GMP certainly seems to have established its niche in the racing pantheon with its well-crafted models—in all scales. With this GMP 1:12 scale edition, the realism is so present, it makes you want to slip into the driver’s seat, buckle up the harness, press the starter button, rev it up, and enjoy the roar of the racing engine as you accelerate onto the race track. [Note: Since I mentioned the FM 1:12 67 Corvette, I reread the review I did on it. At that time, I had two quibbles with their image. One was that the doors should open on 1:1-type hinges. The other was that jackstands should have been provided to facilitate removing wheels (or displaying the image without a wheel). GMP addressed both of these items on their 1:12 images of the racing Corvettes. How 'bout that!]

(03/22/2005)
 
 
  GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500 diecast car

 
 
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GMP | 1:12
GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500

GMP 1:12 2003 Chevrolet Corvette #50 Compuware- Pilgrim/Collins/Gavin- Le Mans- Ltd Ed of 500

 
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