But this Grand Sport, which was recently featured by YouTube's "AutotopiaLA," is a bit different. Instead of a good ole Chevy V8, this Admiral Blue coupe rocks a Mercury SB4. Yup, I'm talking about Mercury Racing, the company famous for building high-performance marine engines.
The SB4, however, is not a boat engine. You might not know it, but the brand also offers an automotive mill. And this Grand Sport replica comes to show that Mercury's 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) is as awesome as big V8s get. Based on an LS block, the powerplant generates a whopping 750 horsepower in this application. And there's no forced induction involved. It's all naturally aspirated, baby!
The Mercury mill roars unlike any crate engine you can buy from GM nowadays and gives the Grand Sport the oomph it needs to act as a wild race car. It revs up to 8,000 rpm, it makes to a Tremec T56 six-speed gearbox, and sends the Superformance 'Vette flying from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) quicker than you can say "Zora Arkus-Duntov."
Speaking of the guy who instigated the creation of the original Grand Sport, the Superformance replica is built off the original tooling from GM. You basically can't tell it's not an original.
But unlike the 1963 Grand Sport (and unlike other Superformance replicas for that matter), this specific Corvette features a nicely-appointed touring interior. It comes with leather upholstery, carpet, A/C, a tilt steering wheel, power windows, and all that jazz. It's a very livable beast if you will. Oh, and unlike a C2 Corvette, it also has a usable trunk.
If you're not familiar with the original Grand Sport, it was part of a program started by Zora-Arkus Duntov, who wanted to build a lightweight Corvette that would race against the Shelby Cobra.
The initial plan, which was kept a secret from GM executives, was to build 125 cars. But Chevrolet honchos found out about it and stopped the program after only five cars were built. GM demanded that all prototypes be destroyed, but Zora stashed away the first two cars and sold the other three.
The cars eventually found their way on the race track thanks to Roger Penske, A.J. Foyt, and Jim Hall, winning several races in the SCCA championship. All five cars survived to this day and are among the most coveted and valuable Corvettes ever built.
Many of us will never get to see an original Grand Sport in the metal, but the Superformance replica below comes really close. So hit play, crank up the volume, and enjoy!