You find yourself standing on a gentle hillside, surrounded by green grass, trees and the odd little bunny hopping about. The sky is blue, the flowers are fragrant. Yet still, you can’t shake this feeling that something is about to change… something drastic.
You begin to sense a little vibration in your feet. Everything is still fine except for the inexplicable sensation that is creeping up over you. The vibration turns into a full-blown rolling thunder as the ground around you begins to shake. The deafening sound of fury fast approaches the spot where you stand. And suddenly, over the crest of a hill comes a herd of wild horses at full gallop, their breath steaming in the cold morning air. The pounding of the hooves encircles you as they run past producing an absolutely incredible sound. The ground feels like you’re standing in the middle of an earthquake now.
As they rush past and suddenly disappear over the crest of the hill directly behind you, your heart is trying to leap out of your chest. You are scared, breathless yet totally exhilarated.
Welcome to the Port Authority Storage Lot in Nanaimo, BC on Vancouver Island in Canada. This past weekend we were lucky enough to have a chance to attend the first of many events organized for the members of the Victoria Corvette Club. This is going to be a long post, so strap yourself in for a ride!!
For those who are regular followers of our blog and work, you know about our favorite little toy, our 1987 Corvette Roadster. This car is the culmination of a life-long dream and today it has become a member of our family. Last year we did an extensive post titled “The Toad’s Chariot” that went into great detail showcasing some photographs of the car and discussing how it came to our family, and what it means to us. It means a whole lot, to say the very least…
Flash back a few weeks with us, if you will. One day on my way home from work I just randomly happened across our new friend, Paul. It took no time for me to realize that we had found someone who is just as passionate about Corvettes as we are, and to add further excitement, he is really wound into the local community of enthusiasts and has been for quite some time. His car is absolutely beautiful, beyond description, and him and I stood outside the storefront where we met talking about these cars for quite some time.
We exchanged contact information and within a few days had a call together. Paul invited us up to watch the Slalom Event scheduled for April 29th, 2012 in Nanaimo. We knew it was going to be an absolutely exciting day, but just HOW exciting was left to be seen.
Our love for Corvettes runs deep in our family. There’s something purely magical about this car, no matter what year or generation is your favorite, these are very serious sports cars. Not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. I find it utterly amazing that the engineers at Chevrolet have designed a platform that houses a very powerful V8 engine, and from there they surround that with the most technically advanced engineering concepts to get all the power to the ground, to get it to turn gracefully, and to stop on a dime.
And then, they wrap it in the most beautiful body you’ve ever seen on a car. Sleek lines define this beauty, each of which is intended to accent the sense of power, speed, precision and grace that you find as you take the car in.
The light dances off the edges delivering a strong sensation of drama and power. Almost as if the car cuts through the air, rather than pushing through it. Low and wide, these cars are built to go fast, and to do it well.
Our friend Paul has owned many during his life, and this gorgeous C6 is his latest. 430hp sits right behind the throttle, ready with a seconds notice to unleash incredible bursts of speed and power. Things happen fast in these cars, be prepared to have a lot come at you, and for it to come at you VERY quickly. Split second decisions need to be made, especially on the track where the cars are being pushed to their limits and the g-forces at work are truly incredible.
After the registration process was complete and the drivers meetings had happened, the drivers started working their way to their cars and getting lined up for their chance to get their cars out on the track. The electricity in the air was truly palpable. Everywhere you turned, a friendly and excited face was there to greet you. A nicer set of folks you’d be hard-pressed to find, and quite honestly we’re pretty thrilled to be joining the club and getting a chance to participate in some of the upcoming events.
And, of course, to have the chance to photograph some of these epic beauties in their natural environs!
In no time flat Mrs. Toad and I had set up our camera right by the fence where the cars launched from. Less than 60 seconds later, this C4 Corvette was back where it started… as it came to rest the sonic boom followed it. This particular car is absolutely wonderful. It was a school project for one of our local high schools and burns propane. Yes, you read that correctly; propane. Designing a high performance engine to use propane as a power-source requires different techniques and specifications due to the differences in the fuel. To make over 500hp from a platform like this is totally possible if you know what you’re doing. The folks who built this car knew what they were doing.
This is one of the fastest cars on the track for the day, and consistently put up numbers that were very hard to come close to.
There is no way, no WAY, I can pick a favorite from our festivities of the day. But, I can tell you this is close to being it. This is a C6 Corvette Z06. From the factory this car is ready to pull off the trailer from production and more than happy to head straight for the track to start proving to everyone where it’s reputation comes from. This owner was not satisfied with automotive perfection and had to strap on a supercharger, for that “little extra”.
That little extra takes this car into the 600hp territory we imagine, and a car that is not to be trifled with or misjudged. This car LOOKS fast parked… and it backs it up on track with blazing fast speeds and times.
This very red Corvette is from the fourth generation, just as our own roadster is. That’s where the similarities end, though. This car is owned by an ex-police officer who takes his “go fast gear” very seriously and has spent what has to be an incredible amount of time and money building this car. Starting with a Crate ZZ4 engine from GM Performance, he proceeded to modify this platform to fit his needs. Today it pounds out over 500hp, creating a car that is as blistering fast to drive as it is to look at. A bullet-proof rear-end takes all the power and transfers it to the ground. From talking to the owner, we understand he had the internals for this rear-end shipped to a facility in the States where they cryogenically hardened all the parts. This gorgeous Corvette will still be pounding the pavement long after we’re gone, that’s for sure!
This is a C5 Corvette Z06 in millennium yellow. When this car was introduced to the world, it came onto the scene breathing fire and looking for victims to lay asunder. This is a race car in sheep’s clothing, my friends… and it looks so good doing it! The good folks at GM really outdid themselves with this one. Notice the black vent just below and behind the door, it adds a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) element that just screams power. Beautiful lines, lovely aluminum wheels and the standard swooping fenders bring this package together in one epic bundle. A bundle that wants to be taken out on the track to have a chance to prove its heritage and reputation comes from a place that can be backed up with times that are amazing beyond words.
The Corvette is born from a history that is storied, and the convertible/roadster version figures prominently in American culture. This gorgeous black C6 edition was a head-turner and sounded absolutely incredible out on the track making its rounds. Again we find ourselves entranced with a car that seriously looks like it’s going about 400 mph standing still. Graceful, swooping lines accent the features of the drop-top version, carrying the eye naturally over the car. Don’t be fooled by the grace that we espouse, though, under the hood of this beast lives something that is formidable beyond description. If you have the nerve, this car will scare you straight or silly… depending on your preference.
In all, 4 heats were scheduled and run this day, and between the events Mrs. Toad and I wandered the lot looking for photo opportunities. The problem wasn’t finding those opportunities, the problem was in planning to make sure we had room left on our memory card to get the photographs we wanted! When we came across the C3 above we were overcome with awe and wonder and had to throw caution to the wind and grab as many HDR shots as we possibly could.
No matter what angle you approach this car from, it stops you dead in your tracks. So many wonderful details to take in and enjoy, all accented by the incredible paint-job that dresses it. The front vents under the Stingray badge are gently decorated with airbrushed flames, just adding a little something to an already incredible scene.
I. Love. This. Shot.
Look closely my friends, The Heartbeat of America is on FIRE! If you look closely at the inset panels on the hood, near the front where the flames originate from are a pair of very tiny bowties… obviously the source of all the heat here! Also, noteworthy are the seats backs themselves; a custom Chevrolet logo is embedded in the headrests. This car is gorgeous beyond words and we sought it out from across the parking lot.
We begin to wrap up today’s post with this ultra-rare edition; a ZR1. Steeped in history, the ZR1 badge was previously reserved for a model of Corvette in the late 80′s that had a fire-breathing Mercury marine designed V8 under the hood. This car was absolutely legendary in the Corvette realm, and even today is spoken about in a quiet hush almost as if to avoid awaking a monster.
Today’s ZR1 is outlined on Chevrolet’s site and is truly something not to be trifled with. I understand Jay Leno took delivery of one of the very first ones, and it holds a special place in his personal garage and in his heart. Read the article “2009 Chevrolet ZR1: Jay Leno – “Greatest Corvette Ever”” to see for yourself. Code-named “The Blue Devil” during development, this fire-snorting beast delivers over 638hp to the backside of anyone who has the courage to strap themselves in. The Wikipedia post discusses the rich history and current standing of this fabled platform, and is something that will amaze everyone who loves cars.
As we wrap up today’s post, we need to mention that we’re not done yet. We featured here today a large series of new HDR images captured during the event which really showcase the beauty and prowess of these incredible automobiles. Between the first and second set of runs, a track marshal approached us and asked us if we’d like to head out to the center of the track so we could photograph the cars from feet away as they went blowing by us!! We have come home with a huge set of conventional photographs from this opportunity, and we’ll be sharing those as soon as we finish processing them all so please do stay tuned!
In conclusion for today, we’d really like to mention our love for cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and all toys mechanical runs deep. If you have a car or other meaningful item you’d like for us to photograph for you, we welcome you to visit our About page and contact us to set up a complimentary meeting to discuss your specific needs. We have packages starting from as low as $300 that deliver at least 8 HDR images of your ride, call today to talk to us!