Video: The Guldstrand GS-90; Ahead of Its Time in Many Ways
In a world full of high-performance vehicles, there is always someone willing to push the limits that much more. In the 1990s, that person was Dick Guldstrand, and what resulted are what some might call some of the greatest custom accomplishments the Corvette model ever saw. While the C6 is winding down and the new C7 model is set to hit showrooms later this year, we can’t help but think how far ahead of his time Guldstrand was with his custom GS-90 Corvettes. Check out the Guldstrand GS-90 in the video above, compliments of Electric Federal.
Originally a SoCal hot rodder, Guldstrand started his automotive career modifying old classics and getting in trouble on the dry lake beds, but it wasn’t until his debut in the Sports Car Club of America that Guldstrand found his true passion – the Corvette.
Racing C1 Corvettes, Guldstrand quickly made a name for himself in the SCCA, catching the eye of Chevrolet Performance Chief Zora Duntov. With his skills and passion in mind, Duntov referred Guldstrand to the budding Rodger Penske race team where Guldstrand showed off with wins at Sebring and Daytona, and achieved a speed record at Le Mans.
Thriving within Rodger Penske’s team, Guldstrand was introduced to the original Corvette Grand Sport, a project headed by Duntov to take the Shelby Cobra by storm on the track. Unfortunately, Chevrolet shot down the project, leaving five production Grand Sports to be sold off to individual teams, one of which was Penske’s.
After opening up his own operation in the late 1960s, Guldstrand began to do technical consulting, race team management and even performance tuning. Twenty years later, this initiative allowed Guldstrand to resurrect the Grand Sport in the form of the GS-80, a modified C4 with upgraded suspension, bigger brakes, structural reinforcements, and a bigger engine – a Traco 6.1L V8.
Following the GS-80 idea, Guldstrand then produced the GS-90, a 1990 ZR-1-based GS resurrection. Based around the ZR-1’s LT-5 engine, the GS-90 brought superior performance over the production Corvettes with special tuning from Doug Rippie. With Rippie’s tweaks, the GS-90 produced 475 horsepower – a significant increase from the ZR-1’s 375 horsepower rating.
The Guldstrand GS-90 also brought about a rounder body, with many components custom-made of fiberglass, exposed headlights, and the notable 12 taillights so obviously associated with this car even today. In true GS fashion, the GS-90 was painted in Nassau Blue with a white race stripe.
Chevrolet originally backed the GS-90, agreeing to distribute it as an option (costing $145,000, mind you) to its dealerships. Unfortunately, Chevy pulled out at the last minute, leaving Guldstrand and the GS nameplate alone once again. In 1996, the Grand Sport name was resurrected by Chevrolet as a commemorative package.
Although it didn’t officially sell through dealerships as a Chevy option, the Guldstrand GS-90 did generate some interest and about a dozen actual cars were made – among them, a natural gas-powered model. Today, the Guldstrand GS-90 Corvette still remains one of the pinnacle marks for custom Vettes, and for good reason!