January 29, 2023


Still car-crazy after all these years

Vette Shop Display

Vette Shop Display 1967

The Vette Shop display at the 1967 Autorama

The Vette shop exhibited two injected, big-block drag racing Corvettes at the 1967 Detroit Autorama. Just the thing to get Corvette fans to stop and stare.
Vette Shop display 1967 Autorama
n=”alignnone” The Vette shop display at the 1967 Autorama featured two wicked looking injected Corvettes. Tom Bonner photo (Instamatic 126)

The Vette Shop had a huge display at the 1967 Detroit Autorama. They probably didn’t anticipate that forty-odd years later there would be something called the Internet and that someone like me would be showing photos of that display.

These two Vettes caught my attention, in part because both appear to have injected big-block power plants.

The dark Corvette in the foreground is interesting. It is a Stringray model, and it is possible it is the more desirable 1963 split-window fastback, because I can’t see much through the rear window.

The factory retractable headlights seem to be glassed over, but oddly, there appear to be headlamps located behind the custom grille. My only question is why? with the injectors and lettering, this Vette is obviously a full-tilt race car. So why the lights? My only guess is they might help the driver navigate in the pit area at night, but that is stretching things. Most drag cars dispense with headlights and seem to do just fine.

I also wonder about those shafts on the ground next to the car. Are they some sort of performance axle shaft? Or are they simply part of a display that has not been set up as yet?

The white Corvette in the background is a wild-looking piece. I think it is a roadster fitted with the factory hard-top; it is definitely not a fastback.

Those tall injector stacks that protrude nearly as high as the roof are a tip-off that this is a big block Corvette, injector setups for the small block typically have shorter, smaller diameter tubes arranged in a less geometrical pattern.

I wonder what class the white Vette ran in. It isn’t an early funny car, but I don’t remember seeing any Corvette gassers. Probably ran in one of the altered classes.

Note the banner in the background claims the Vette shop has repaired almost 10,000 Corvettes. The first Corvettes appeared in 1953, and didn’t have much market share until 1957 or so. Since there wouldn’t be sufficient Corvettes on the road to support a dedicated shop until the late 1950s, that is an incredible number in 1967.

Assuming the Vette Shop opened in 1957, (In actuality it probably didn’t open until the early ’60s.) that would mean the place would had to have averaged over a thousand Corvettes repairs a year to make that 10,000 claim in January of 1967. That is a lot of fiberglass cars for a single shop in Detroit to have fixed!

Tom Bonner