We came across this Ebay ad for a 1972 Corvette that was listed as a “1972 Corvette Greenwood Turbo”. There’s been a lot of hype lately about future offerings that may potentially use power-snails to blow additional horsepower into the engine, but did you know that they were also bantered around within GM back in the ‘70s and ‘80s?
Turns out that Zora Arkus-Duntov, the guy who brought you fuelies, four-speeds and GM’s first aluminum-blocked engines was also interested in boosting performance of the C3 Corvettes, even after he retired from GM!
In an interview way back in 1980, Zora confessed that he pushed to turbocharge the Corvette but was shot down by the bean counters. They were adamant that they couldn’t recoup the cost of the option, and felt that they would only sell 1,000 versions of the boosted Corvette. Zora was convinced that he could sell six times that amount, but invariably, he who holds the purse strings prevailed and the turbo-vette was stillborn.
After Zora retired, he was looking for something to do with his time. At the same moment, Bob Schuller, the owner of American Custom Industries (ACI), was looking to do something with Zora to promote his wide-body Corvette kits. ACI had just finished a promotion with famed Corvette racer John Greenwood and Schuller was itching to keep the shipping labels moving on their wide-body Corvette kits. At the same time, Zora had some unfinished business, and a 1974 Corvette of his own.
The two men agreed to have Zora speak at ACI’s annual open-house, and instead of paying Zora his usual speaking fee, Bob agreed to endow Zora’s personal Corvette with an ACI wide-body kit and an external refurbishment. When Bob expressed his desire to brand their creation with Zora’s name, the retired engineer had one request – he wanted them to all feature the turbocharging option that GM would never allow.
There were several shortcomings to the deal, and eventually, just over 30 examples of the turbocharged “Duntov Turbo” Corvette were built. Original paperwork has been lost to the ages, and even though the Duntov Turbo Corvettes were festooned with logos and serialized plaques, there isn’t much conclusive evidence to show how many are still in existence.
Then, there’s this specific 1972 Corvette sporting what looks like a Duntov Turbo system and Greenwood-esque wide-body. While the original Duntov Turbo Corvettes were all 1980 vintage, there’s no doubting that this turbo arrangement has roots in what would be used under the hoods of those cars. Interestingly, this car began its life as a big-block, 454 cubic-inch, LS5-equipped Corvette. While the ad doesn’t give much of a description, it does list the car as having an automatic trans, Tilt/Telly steering, air conditioning, power-steering and power-brakes. In addition to what looks more like a Greenwood wide-body kit, there is also the side-pipes, glass T-tops and wild paint scheme to draw you feet first into the 70’s way-back machine.
The owner of the car reports that they have been caretakers of the car since 1982, two years after the Duntov Turbo Corvette endeavor. Perhaps this is one of the remaining kits, installed after the fact to help recoup the costs? The car has one day left on the online auction and currently, is bid up to $13,000 with over forty bids trying to seal the deal. We’ll keep an eye on this one, and who knows, maybe we’ll start seeing it at the Corvette shows this summer! Check it out and keep your eyes peeled this show season.