June 24, 2024


Where Innovation Lives


7 min read

Editor’s Notice: This deal with of this week’s version of Automotive News (autonews.com) features a tale about GM’s pioneering advancement of the EV “skateboard” and how it set the desk for an totally new direction in the enhancement of the automobile. A variation of the GM “skateboard” is now utilised by each manufacturer of EVs in the planet, and it continues to be a testomony to GM’s Correct Believers in Engineering and Style. In truth, GM has a long history of innovation and groundbreaking engineering breakthroughs going again to the 1930s. Just just one case in point? The Firebird I, II and III concepts from the ’50s were so highly developed that quite a few of the capabilities produced for all those equipment are continue to found in cars built right now. The 1958 Firebird III, for instance, was driven by a 225HP gas turbine engine with a 2-cylinder 10HP gas motor to run the onboard components. It experienced cruise management, anti-lock brakes, air drag brakes, remote opening doors, an automated steerage method, and it was steered by a joystick in the console. There have been other substantial engineering programs originating at GM all over the decades. In reality, what GM is accomplishing currently in phrases of engineering its new EVs is each individual little bit as breakthrough and modern as any time in its very long history. This week, Peter focuses on a single of GM’s most significant – and storied – engineering improvement programs: The 1960 CERV I (Chevrolet Experimental Investigation Automobile) and the 1963 CERV II. Both equally machines were being formulated underneath the direction of legendary Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov as a system to develop and refine Chevrolet system, chassis and suspension devices. At minimum that was the “official” edition. They were being genuinely created, nonetheless, as all-out racing devices. As many of you already know, Peter’s postings on Twitter (@PeterMDeLorenzo) present a colorful look at the sector and racing in unique. Peter is a company believer in historic standpoint when it arrives to motorsports, and the significant tales that will need to be explained to. And we assume you may concur that the CERV I and CERV II are certainly worthy of noting and appreciating. We hope you love looking at about them. -WG 


By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. As numerous of our viewers know, I have a presence on Twitter (@PeterMDeLorenzo). Most – but not all – of my postings on that website involve motorsports, including evocative illustrations or photos from the “glory days” of racing in the 60s and 70s. This 7 days, I preferred to commit some time to the Chevrolet Engineering Exploration Cars, the CERV I and CERV II – and the Genuine Believers accountable for them.

The CERV system originated with Corvette icon Zora Arkus-Duntov, who envisioned it as a platform for engineers to use in order to create Chevrolet – specifically Corvette – overall body, chassis and suspension techniques. The CERV I was made between 1959 and 1960 as a practical mid-engine, open up-wheel, one-seat prototype racing vehicle. The bodywork was designed by sector legends Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine. 

The CERV I was originally equipped with a gasoline-injected 283 cu. in. 350HP smaller block V8 that weighed only 350 lbs. Intense use of aluminum and magnesium motor parts saved a lot more than 175 lbs. from preceding Chevrolet V8s. The system structure was created out of fiberglass and weighed only 80 lbs. The human body framework was connected to a rigid 125 lb. chrome-molybdenum tube created frame, welded in a truss-like configuration. Combining these lightweight components contributed to the CERV I’s bodyweight of 1,600 lbs. The 96-inch wheelbase chassis features a 4-wheel impartial suspension, works by using impartial, variable level springs with shock absorbers and stabilizer bar in the entrance, and multilink, variable price springs, with double-performing shock absorbers in the rear. The wheels are solid magnesium alloy. Steering is recirculating ball type with 12:1 ratio.

The brake technique on the CERV I employs front disc/rear drum, with a two piston master cylinder to get rid of the opportunity of full brake failure. Gasoline is shipped through two rubber bladder fuel cells (20 gal. total capability). At one particular level Duntov refitted the CERV I with a 377 cu. in. aluminum tiny block, an innovative Rochester gas injection process and Indy-fashion tires and wheels. (That 377 cu. in. small block V8 grew to become the mainstay in the Corvette Grand Activity racing software.) To match this mechanical updating, Shinoda redesigned its streamlined physique structure for better aerodynamics. Top speed for the CERV I was 206 mph, attained on GM’s circular 4.5-mile check monitor at its Milford, Michigan, Proving Grounds.

Excited by its remarkable performance likely, Duntov had his eye on more substantial things for the CERV 1 – together with racing in the Indianapolis 500 – but because of to the AMA (Vehicle Manufacturer’s Association) ban on manufacturer-sponsored racing at the time – which GM painfully adhered to – the closest Duntov could get to a significant showcase for the car or truck was when he drove the device in a collection of demo laps at the U.S. Grand Prix in 1960.(GM)
Zora Arkus-Duntov in the CERV 1 at the GM Technical Middle check observe, 1960.
The CERV 1.
The CERV I appeared in the intercontinental racing colors – white with blue – assigned to the United States.

The subsequent-technology Chevrolet Engineering Analysis Motor vehicle – the CERV II – was conceived early in 1962, created more than the subsequent yr and developed underneath Duntov’s direction involving 1963 and 1964. By the time it was finished, Duntov envisioned the CERV II as a doable response to the Ford GT40 racing application. At this issue it was also in Duntov’s brain to acquire a individual line of racing Corvettes to provide, an concept that was later rejected, of training course, by GM administration. Duntov wished the CERV II to showcase upcoming technologies as applied to a racing equipment. 

Chevrolet Common Manager “Bunkie” Knudsen preferred to get again into racing so the CERV II was prepared for the worldwide prototype class with a 4-liter edition of the Chevrolet compact block V8. Knudsen has been offered rigid orders to remain out of racing by higher administration at GM, but obviously that didn’t dissuade Duntov and his team. Construction was started on the CERV II almost at the very same time that the “no racing” GM administration edict arrived down.

As with CERV I, the human body was developed by the workforce of Shinoda and Lapine. The chassis of the CERV II consisted of a glued-alongside one another metal and aluminum monocoque with a steel sub body to carry the suspension and engine. It was run by a Hilborn fuel-injected, overhead cam, 377 cu. in. aluminum tiny block V8 with a 10.8 compression ratio and 500HP. By 1970, the CERV II ran a 427 cu. in. ZL-1 V8 with 550HP. Titanium was made use of for the hubs, connecting rods, valves, and exhaust manifolds helping to carry the whole weight of the equipment under 1400 lbs. 

The CERV’s II engineering of the drive method and torque converter arrangement was handed in excess of to GM’s engineering staff and it turned out to be its most intriguing development. The final result? An innovative all-wheel push program utilizing two torque converters. This marked the 1st time that any person experienced developed a variable power shipping to each finish of the car, which diversified according to car speed. The extremely large wheels carried experimental low profile Firestone tires mounted on exclusively constructed Kelsey-Hayes magnesium wheels. The ventilated disc brakes have been mounted outboard, with the Girling calipers widened to accept the vented rotors.

The CERV II was pretty speedy: -60 in 2.5 seconds with a top velocity of 190+ mph. During its substantial progress Jim Corridor and Roger Penske were among the the prime motorists who wheeled the CERV II. 

The approach to use the CERV II as The Solution to the Ford GT40 method finished up staying killed by GM administration, as was their wont. The CERV II was utilized as a analysis resource for a mid-sixties super Corvette system that was also cancelled by management. Never raced, the CERV II ended as a present and museum piece, a tribute to the True Believers at GM Design and style and Engineering.

Editor-in-Chief’s Be aware: Thank you to the GM Heritage Centre for the particulars on the CERV I and CERV II. -PMD

The Legitimate Believers at GM Engineering stand proudly by the superb CERV II at its roll out at the GM Specialized Heart in Warren, Michigan.
Zora Arkus-Duntov in the CERV II, late 1963.
The CERV II photographed at the popular “Black Lake” at the GM Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan.
An within look at the CERV II.


Editor-in-Chief’s Take note: As section of our continuing series celebrating the “Glory Times” of racing, this week’s photographs appear from GM. – PMD

GM Specialized Middle, Warren, Michigan, 1957. Zora Arkus-Duntov currently being wheeled out for the maiden check run of the Corvette SS racing auto. GM had a short examination observe on the Tech Center grounds that observed extensive use.

GM Technological Heart, Warren, Michigan, 1957. The Corvette SS racer getting concluded just before becoming shipped down to Sebring, Florida, for its racing debut in the 12-Hour race.

Editor’s Note: You can accessibility previous problems of AE by clicking on “Next 1 Entries” beneath. – WG

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