It felt like I would never get out of North Carolina, but now that I’ve escaped the Tar Heel State, it’s time to investigate Kentucky. My first stop was the Chained Rock, just south of Pineville Kentucky.
The Chained Rock is, as the name implies, a big rock chained to the side of a mountain. Legend has it that the chain is the only thing preventing the rock from breaking off the side of the mountain and destroying the city of Pineville. Whether it’s true or not, I cannot say. At a little over a mile, round trip, the hike to the rock is fairly easy, and extremely beautiful.
National Corvette Museum
For pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with Corvettes. As one of the Corvette faithful, I had to swing by Bowing Green and visit the National Corvette Museum.
This 2005 Corvette has a unique history. She started life slated for use as a suspension test mule. Over the next few years she was used and abused by GM. In 2006 she was equipped with an LS3 motor and a 6-speed automatic. GM proceeded to use her to calibrate the suspension and stability control systems for the 2008 Corvettes.
Once her life as a test mule was done, Car and Driver got a hold of the car and prepped her for a trip to Alaska. Preparations included a custom roof rack with a pair of 5-gallon fuel cans, a spare front tire, a pair of “zillion-candlepower” aux lights and plexiglass stone deflectors for the windshield. She was then dubbed the “Dempster Corvette“.
This 1995 Camaro was retrofit with C5 Corvette internals. This allowed GM to test the C5 Corvette’s running gear without undo attention.
In 2008 an ’09 ZR-1 lapped the Nürburgring at 7:26.24, almost 3 seconds faster than the Nissan GTR. Three years later, the 2012 ZR-1 pictured above set a new lap record for production cars at the ‘Ring; 7:19:63
In the early 60’s the Shelby Cobra was tearing up the SCCA circuits and consistently defeating the hottest Corvettes out there, the Z06’s. In an effort to put the Cobra’s in their places, Corvette chief engineer, Zora Arkus Duntov commissioned a new program known as the “Lightweight.” The idea was to beat the Cobras at their own game. Lots of horsepower in an extremely light car.
The Lightweight debuted at the 1963 Nassau Speed Week as the Corvette Grand Sport. In total 5 Grand Sports were built, 3 coupes and 2 roadsters. The 3 Grand Sport coupes went head-to-head with Shelby’s Cobras. The Grand Sports dominated the Cobras. Unfortunately, the Grand Sport program was cut short when GM cut funding. All 5 cars ended up being raced by privateer teams, where they continued to rack up win after win.
The 5 original Grand Sports are now the most valuable Corvettes ever built. All 5 are in the hands of private collectors.
Art’s Auto Mart
Across the street from the NCM is Art’s Auto Mart. Officially, they are a car dealer. It’s the only car dealer I’ve ever had to pay admission to get into though. There are around 150 cars and trucks on display. Considering the dealers close proximity to the National Corvette Museum, it is no surprise that there was a wide selection of Corvettes on display.
I don’t know what the history of this Corvette is, but it looks like it is pretty interesting. All those swirls look like they were done with finger paints. The asking price on the windshield was $75k, pretty expensive for a Corvette covered in finger paint doodles.